Creation Uplifts the Church
Note: While the editor is out of town, we are bringing you readings of interest from creation writings associated with CEH.
Creation Uplifts the Church
from “Why the Church Must Emphasize Creation,” by David Coppedge
Background and justification
Most evangelical, Bible-believing churches believe in the doctrine of creation as presented in Genesis, but few spend much time teaching or preaching it. It is often treated as a side issue, something to hold a seminar on once every few years. This presentation aims to re-open discussion about the place of creation teaching in the church, and explain how much benefit the church stands to gain by bringing creation back up to its true Biblical emphasis–especially today.
Theme and summary
Creation is a dominant doctrine and recurring theme in the Bible. It is not just about the past, but encompasses all of history and the eternal future. It is not just an intellectual doctrine, but has practical applications both to individuals and to the whole church. This series of essays provides five Biblical reasons why creation must be emphasized by evangelical churches today, how it will help the ministry, and what happens when the church neglects creation. Finally, it will provide practical steps the church can perform to harness the power of the doctrine of creation.
Many subjects are considered worthy of emphasis today in the church. Among common candidates:
- Fellowship and community; body life
- Expository preaching
- Evangelism and missions
- The family
- Biblical counseling
- Cultural and moral decline
- End times prophecy
Creation is often treated as true, but only of special interest to eggheads and intellectual types. Some pastors tend to view those involved in creation ministries as a special interest group, like the proverbial man who only has a hammer and sees every problem as a nail. Here are some initial responses to these attitudes:
(1) Beware thinking “either-or”. Each of the above topics is extremely important and must also be emphasized. In this presentation, I will only seek to say what the Bible says. If I fail, please forgive and go with the Word. Certainly the Bible talks about many subjects besides creation; but is it possible that if we really restored it to many subjects besides creation; but is it possible that if we really restored it to its Biblical emphasis, it might seem like overemphasis? This List of Bible references shows that creation is not a minor topic in the Word of God.
(2) Creation is not just about the past. It encompasses the past, present and future:
- In the past, God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen. 1-2)
- In the present, God sustains the heavens and the earth. (Ps. 104)
- In the future, God will create new heavens and a new earth. (Rev. 21)
This brings to mind three corollaries:
- We will always be God’s creatures. (We are not autonomous; we are not evolving into godhood.)
- We will always be surrounded by God’s creation.
- Get used to it! (By that I mean: enjoy it; rejoice in what God has done, is doing, and will do.) Creation is as eternal as love in I Cor. 13. (See Rev. 14:7.)
(3) Creation is a vast doctrine with a multitude of levels, ramifications and applications, as we shall see. It is not just about carbon-14, geological strata, and fossils. It is an essential part of the chief end of man– to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Standing in awe of God for his glory, wisdom and love expressed in His creation is part of our eternal calling. Our chief end is distracted in the present world because of sin and evil, but after those are done away, we will forever worship God and enjoy His new creations, no longer cursed or tainted by sin. Since that is what we will be doing for eternity, it makes good sense to start practicing it now.
(4) What floats your boat? Each of the above subjects (worship, fellowship, etc.) is important and must also be emphasized; we are not saying pastors must choose between creation and these other things. On the contrary, we would like to show that each of these subjects will be enhanced, strengthened, and revitalized by an emphasis on creation. Creation is the “rising tide that lifts all ships.”
Tomorrow we will look at some specific examples of how creation can uplift the church.
Note: this series of essays continues with five Biblical reasons why the church must emphasize creation. The entire series will be posted on CreationSafaris.com under the Worship tab.