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Creation through the Spectacles of Scripture – An Introduction

The Beacon Lights is introducing a new rubric entitled “Creation Through the Spectacles of Scripture.” Anything from plants to planets, from stars to psychology, even physics or mathematics are possible topics. The scope is broad, but not just any article on creation will do. What follows are some guidelines for the rubric.

In the first place, the articles will reflect the “Protestant Reformed distinctive emphasis on the sovereignty of God. We maintain strongly the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation. When considering the creation, we need to carry that emphasis through by emphasizing the distinction between God as Creator and the creation as creature.

Such an emphasis will make these articles distinctly reformed. Broadly speaking, they will be distinct from anything found in scientific magazines produced by secular men. Almost everything written today about the wonders of creation emphasize in one way or another the great accomplishments of man or the greatness of the creature in itself. The creature is exalted to the position of Creator. Man has so exalted himself in the realm of science that we as Christians also are prone more than we think to wonder at the accomplishments of man in science rather than discover the glory of God in creation. Our goal in this rubric is to publish articles that will put science and the creation in the proper perspective.

Emphasis on God as the sovereign Creator will also make these articles distinct from writers who write from a Christian perspective, but yet are so enamored by the capacity of man to understand science that they compromise on their doctrine of scripture. This problem is especially evident when men give science the final authority to outline the early history of the world. Though some scientists may concede that God created the bare materials out of nothing, they often are so confident on science and scientific theories that they abandon Genesis 1 and try to explain how God formed the various creatures by means of an evolutionary process. Since the evolution idea is in sharp conflict with the plain teaching of Scripture which says “and God said, let there be…,” the book of Genesis is explained as mere mythical stories with a moral message about the relationship between God and the world.

Often the scientist is unwilling to listen to the preacher who points out to him the serious problems which such an explanation raise with regard to salvation. The proud scientist is unwilling to reexamine his data and theories. The scientist who comes with his “scientific method” ought to be humbled when the Creator tells him that he has reached the wrong conclusions with his data and calculations. By nature, man wants to exalt his own abilities and we must be reminded continually that God is sovereign over salvation and also the creation. In this rubric, we are determined to maintain a reformed doctrine of Scripture which recognizes the Creator’s absolute authority to describe the wonder of the act of creation which no science is able to dissect.

We borrow the title of our rubric from John Calvin. Calvin uses the analogy of “the spectacles of Scripture” to define the relationship between the Scriptures and science. He notes that the creation indeed reveals the glory of God, but that our spiritual eyes are so corrupted by the fall that we are unable to behold God’s glory without the aid of Scripture. The Scriptures are essential for the proper understanding of every aspect of creation. Only with a proper understanding of creation are we able to glorify God as He demands when we consider the creation. We must use these spectacles and never attempt to modify them to suit man-centered goals.

In This rubric we would like to use the spectacles of Scripture to their full advantage. When we view creation through the spectacles of Scripture then we as believers acknowledge God as the Creator of all that we see, and we stand in awe of Him and give Him all praise. Calvin writes “There are as many miracles of divine power, as many marks of divine goodness, as many proofs of divine wisdom as there are individual things, either great or small” (Inst. I. xiv.21). We would like to publish articles that express that divine power, goodness and wisdom.

Calvin also points out in the same section that those who contemplate the creation through the spectacles of Scripture must “learn to make such an application to themselves as thoroughly to affect their hearts.” Making such an application is probably the most difficult part. It involves finding the relation of the creation through the spectacles of Scripture, then we see Christ. Exactly how we see Christ in creation will be left to future articles in this rubric.

The creation and our redemption is so profound we can only expect to scratch the surface. Yet we are assured that when we look at creation through the spectacles of Scripture our labors will be fruitful. This rubric gives us an opportunity to express the power, glory and wisdom of God found in creation and explore the relationship between the physical creation and our redemption. All interested writers are invited to contribute.

John is a member of Southwest Protestant Reformed Church in Grandville, Michigan.