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Latest revision as of 23:30, 12 October 2019

The Creation.

Question 7: What are the DECREES of God?

Answer: The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatever shall come to pass.

I have already spoken something concerning the decrees of God under the attribute of his immutability. God is unchangeable in his essence, and he is unchangeable in his decrees; his counsel shall stand. He decrees the outcome of all things, and carries them on to their accomplishment by his providence. I shall proceed therefore to the execution of his decrees .

Question 8: What is the work of CREATION?

Answer: It is God's making all things from nothing, by the word of his power. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

The creation is glorious to behold , and it is a pleasant and profitable study . Some think that when Isaac went abroad into the fields to meditate, it was in the book of creation .

Creation is the heathen's Bible, the ploughman's primer, and the traveler's map, through which they receive a representation of the infinite excellencies which are in God. The creation is a large volume, in which God's works are bound up; and this volume has three great pages in it—heaven, earth, and sea.

The author of the creation is God, as it is in the text, "God created." The world was created in time, and could not be from eternity. The world must have a maker, and could not make itself. If one should go into a far country, and see stately edifices, he would never imagine that they could build themselves—but that there had been some artificer to raise such majestic structures. Just so, this great fabric of the world could not create itself, it must have some builder or maker, and that is God. "In the beginning God created." To imagine that the work of the creation was not framed by the Lord Jehovah, is as if we should conceive a beautiful painting to be drawn without the hand of an artist. "God made the world and all things therein."

In the work of creation there are two things to be considered:

1. The making.

2. The adorning.

I. The MAKING of the world. Here consider,

[1] God made the world without any pre-existent matter. This is the difference between generation and creation. In generation there is suitable material at hand, some matter to work upon; but in creation there is no pre-existent matter. God brought all this glorious fabric of the world, out of the womb of nothing . Our beginning was of nothing. Some brag of their birth and ancestry; but how little cause have they to boast, who came from nothing.

[2] God made the world with a word. When Solomon had to build a temple he needed many workmen, and they all had tools to work with—but God wrought without tools. "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made." Psalm 33:3. The disciples wondered that Christ could calm the sea with a word; but it was more to make the sea with a word.

[3] God made all things at first very good, without any defect or deformity. The creation came out of God's hands as a pure piece; it was a spotless copy, without any blot, written with God's own fingers. His work was perfect.

II. The ADORNING of the world. God made this great lump and mass, with neither shape nor order; and then beautified it. He divided the sea and the earth, he decked the earth with flowers, the trees with fruit. But what is beauty when it is masked over? Therefore, that we might behold this glory, God made the light . The heavens were bespangled with the sun, moon, and stars—so that the world's beauty might be beheld and admired. God, in the creation, began with things less noble and excellent, rocks and vegetables; and then the rational creatures, angels and men. Man is the most exquisite piece in the creation. He is a microcosm, or little world. Man was made with deliberation and counsel. "Let us make man." It is the manner of artificers to be more than ordinarily accurate when they are about their masterpieces. Man was to be the masterpiece of this visible world, therefore God consulted about making so rare a piece. A solemn council of the sacred persons in the Trinity was called. "Let us make man, and let us make him in our own image." On the king's coin, his own image is stamped; so God stamped his image on man, and made him partaker of many divine qualities.

[1] I shall speak of the parts of man's BODY.

(1.) The head , the most excellent architectural part, is the fountain of thought, and the seat of reason. In nature the head is the best piece—but in grace the heart excels.

(2.) The eye is the beauty of the face; it shines and sparkles like a lesser sun in the body. The eye occasions much sin, and therefore we may well have tears in it.

(3.) The ear is the conduit-pipe through which knowledge is conveyed. Better lose our seeing than our hearing, for "faith comes by hearing." To have an ear open to God is the best jewel on the ear.

(4.) The tongue . David calls the tongue his glory, because it is an instrument to set forth the glory of God. The soul at first was a violin in tune to praise God, and the tongue made the music. God has given us two ears—but one tongue, to show that we should be swift to hear—but slow to speak. God has set a double fence before the tongue—the teeth, and the lips—to teach us to be wary that we do not sin with our tongue.

(5.) The heart is a noble part, and the seat of life.

[2] I shall speak of the SOUL of man. This is the man of the man. Man, in regard of his soul, partakes with the angels. The understanding, will, and conscience, are a looking-glass which resembles the Trinity. The soul is the diamond in the ring, it is a vessel of honor; God himself is served in this vessel. It is a spark of celestial brightness, says Damascene. David admired the rare context and workmanship of his body. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalms 139:13-14. If the cabinet of the body is so wonderfully made, what is the jewel of the soul? How richly is the soul embroidered! Thus you see how glorious a work the creation is, and man especially, who is the epitome of the world.

But why did God make the world?

(1.) Negatively. Not for himself; for he did not need it, being infinite. He was happy in reflecting upon his own sublime excellencies and perfections before the world was.

God did not make the world to be a mansion for us, since we are not to abide here forever. Heaven is our mansion house. The world is only a passage-room to eternity; the world is to us as the wilderness was to Israel, not to rest in—but to travel through to the glorious Canaan. The world is a dressing-room to dress our souls in, not a place where we are to stay forever. The apostle tells us of the world's funeral. "The elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up." 2 Pet 3:10.

(2.) Positively. God made the world to demonstrate his own glory. The world is a looking glass, in which we may see the power and goodness of God shine forth. "The heavens declare the glory of God." The world is like a wonderful piece of tapestry, in which we may see the skill and wisdom of him who made it.

Use one: Did God create this world?

(1.) This convinces us of the truth of his Godhead. To create is proper to a Deity. Plato was convinced of a Deity when he saw that not all the people in the world could not make a fly. Thus God proves himself to be the true God, and distinguishes himself from idols. "Say this to those who worship other gods: Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth." Jeremiah 10:11. Who but God can create? The creation is enough to convince the heathen, that there is a God. There are two books out of which God will judge and condemn the heathen, namely, the book of Conscience , "Which shows the work of the law written in their hearts," and the book of the Creation, "From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse." Romans 1:20. The world is full of divine emblems and hieroglyphics. Every star in the sky, every bird that flies in the air, is a witness against the heathen. A creature could not make itself.

(2.) It is a mighty support of faith, that God creates. He who made all things with a word, what can he not do? He can create strength in weakness; he can create a supply of our needs. What a foolish question was that, "Can he prepare a table in the wilderness?" Cannot he who made the world do much more? "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Rest on this God who made heaven and earth, for help. As the work of creation is a monument of God's power, so it is a support to faith. Is your heart hard ? He can with a word create softness. Is it unclean ? He can create purity. "Create in me a clean heart, O God." Is the church of God low? He can create Jerusalem a praise. There is no such golden pillar for faith to rest upon, as a creating power.

(3.) Did God make this world full of beauty and glory, everything very good? Then, what an evil thing is SIN, which has put out of frame the whole creation! Sin has much eclipsed the beauty, soured the sweetness, and marred the harmony of the world. How bitter is that gall, a drop whereof can embitter a whole sea! Sin has brought vanity and vexation into the world, yes, a curse. God cursed the ground because of man's sin. There were several fruits of the curse—

"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life." By painful toil is to be understood all the troubles and cares of this life.

"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food." In innocence Adam tilled the ground, for he must not live idly; but it was rather a delight than a labor. That tilling was without toiling. The eating in sorrow, and the sweat of the brow, came in after sin.

"Thorns and thistles shall the ground bring forth." Did the earth in in a state of innocence bear thorns, though they were afterwards threatened as a punishment? It is likely it did bear thorns; for, when God had done creating, he made no new species or kinds of things; but the meaning is—Now, after sin, the earth should bring forth more plentifully of thorns, and now those thorns should be hurtful, and choke the corn, which hurtful quality was not in them before. Ever since the fall, all the comforts of this life have a thorn and a thistle in them!

The fourth fruit of the curse was the driving of man out of paradise. "So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden." God at first brought Adam into paradise as into a house ready furnished, or as a king into his palace. "Have dominion over every living thing that moves." God's driving Adam out of paradise signified his dethroning and banishing him, that he might look after a heavenly and a better paradise.

A fifth fruit of the curse was death. "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Death was not natural to Adam—but came in after sin. As the apostle says. "By sin came death." See then how cursed a thing sin is, which has brought so many curses upon the creation. If we will not hate sin for its deformity , let us hate it for the curse it brings!

(4.) Did God make this glorious world? Did he make everything good? Was there in the creature so much beauty and sweetness? Oh! then what sweetness is there in God? The cause is always more noble than the effect. Think with yourselves—is there so much excellence in house and lands? Then how much more is there in God, who made them! Is there beauty in a rose? What beauty then is there in Christ, the Rose of Sharon! Does oil make the face shine? How will the light of God's countenance make it shine! Does wine cheer the heart? Oh! what virtue is there in the true vine! How does the blood of this grape cheer the heart! Is the fruit of the garden sweet? How delicious are the fruits of the Spirit! Is a gold mine so precious? How precious is he who founded this mine! What is Christ, in whom are hid all treasures?

We should ascend from the creature to the Creator. If there is any comfort below, how much more is there in God, who made all these things! How unreasonable is it that we should delight in the world, and not much more in him who made it! How should our hearts be set on God, and how should we long to be with God—who has infinitely more sweetness in him than any creature!

Use two: Of EXHORTATION.

(1.) Did God create the world? Let us wisely observe the works of creation. God has given us not only the book of the Scriptures to read in—but the book of the creation. Look up to the heavens, for they show much of God's glory. The sun gilds the world with its bright beams. Behold the stars , their regular motion in their orbs, their magnitude, their light and their influence. We may see God's glory blazing in the sun and twinkling in the stars. Look into the sea , and see the wonders of God in the deep. Psalm 107:74. Look into the air, there the birds make melody, and sing forth the praises of their Creator. Look into the earth , there we may wonder at the nature of minerals, the power of the loadstone, the virtue of herbs. See the earth decked as a bride with flowers. All these are the glorious effects of God's power. God has wrought the creation as with curious needlework, that we may observe his wisdom and goodness, and give him the praise due to him. "O Lord, how manifold are your works! in wisdom have you made them all!"

(2.) Did God create all things? Let us obey our Maker. We are his by right of creation, we owe ourselves to him. If another gives us our maintenance , we think ourselves bound to serve him; much more should we serve and obey God who gives us our life . "In him we live and move and have our being." God has made everything for man's service; the grain for nourishment, the animals for usefulness, the birds for music, that man should be for God's service. The rivers come from the sea—and they run into the sea again. All we have is from God. Let us honor our Creator, and live to him who made us.

(3.) Did God make our bodies out of the dust, and that dust out of nothing? Let this keep down pride. When God would humble Adam he uses this expression, "Out of the dust were you taken." Why are you proud, O dust and ashes? You are made but of dirt. "Since you are humble, why do you not walk humbly?" Bernard. David says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Your being wonderfully made, may make you thankful ; but being made of the dust, may keep you humble . If you have beauty , it is but well-colored dirt! Your body is but air and dust mingled together, and this dust will deteriorate back into the dust. When the Lord had said of the judges, they were gods, Psalm 82:6, lest they should grow proud he told them they were dying gods. "But you will die like mere men." Verse 7.

(4.) Did God create our souls after his image—but we lost it? Let us never rest until we are restored to God's image again. We have now got the devil's image in pride, malice, and envy. Let us get God's image restored, which consists in knowledge and righteousness. Grace is our best beauty, it makes us like God and angels. As the sun is to the world, so is holiness to the soul. Let us go to God to restore his image in us. "Lord! you have once made me, make me anew; sin has defaced your image in me, oh draw it again by the pencil of the Holy Spirit!"

The PROVIDENCE of God.