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We believe that God has created the heavens
and the earth and all that is in them,1
and that God preserves and renews what has been made. All creation ultimately
has its source outside itself and belongs to the Creator. The world has
been created good because God is good and provides all that is needed
We believe that the universe has been called into being as an expression
of God's love and sovereign freedom alone. Creation witnesses to the eternal
power and divine nature of God, who gives meaning and purpose to life
and who alone is worthy of worship and praise.3
We acknowledge that God sustains creation in both continuity and change.
We believe that God upholds order in creation and limits the forces of
sin and evil for the sake of preserving and renewing humanity and the
world.4 God also
works to save human beings and the world from death and destruction and
to overcome the forces of sin and evil.
We therefore are called to respect the natural order of creation and
to entrust ourselves to God's care and keeping, whether in adversity or
plenty. Neither the work of human hands, nor the forces of the natural
world around us, nor the power of the nations among which we live are
worthy of the trust and honor due the Creator on whom they depend.5
In confessing God as Creator, we refer to the one and triune God,
who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, according to the Scriptures. Creation
should be understood as the work of the triune God, not as the work
of the Father or Son or the Holy Spirit alone (Hebrews 1:2-3; Colossians
1:16; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6; John 1:3, 14-18).
Some ways of speaking about God may undermine the full confession
of the triune God as Creator. For example, speaking of God only as
"Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer" rather than as "Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit" may promote the mistaken understanding that the "Father"
alone is "Creator," the "Son" alone is "Redeemer," and the "Holy
Spirit" alone is "Sustainer."
We speak of creation as an "expression" of God because of biblical
references to creation by the divine word (Genesis 1; Psalms 148:5;
John 1:1f.; Romans 4:17). In many creation stories of other religions
in Bible times, the world comes into being as an extension of the
god or gods. In these accounts, the world shares in divinity, or is
itself divine. In contrast, the biblical account of creation by the
word of God clearly distinguishes between God the Creator and what
has been created. The biblical refusal to confuse the created with
the Creator, or to ascribe divinity to the world, fits with the Bible's
rejection of idolatry in all its forms (Isaiah 45:12-21; Acts 17:22-29).
When we confess that God is the Creator of the universe, we reject
the idea that the world came into being without God. Nor do we accept
the view that God made the world out of something which had existed
before the time of creation or the view that matter is co-eternal
with God. Scripture is clear that God was before anything else existed.
Thus, both the Old Testament word for create and the witness of Scripture
as a whole imply what theology has called "creation out of nothing."
As Creator, God is ultimately owner of the earth. God has given
the earth to human beings to care for as God's stewards. See "The
Creation and Calling of Human Beings" (Article 6) and "Christian
Stewardship" (Article 21).
God continues to sustain and care for the world rather than leaving
it to itself. Although sin and evil have damaged God's original creation,
God continues to use the natural order, family, culture, and social
and political systems to sustain life and to limit the forces of evil
(Genesis 4:15; Psalms 34; Isaiah 19:12-25; Matthew 6:25-30; John 5:17;
Colossians 1:15-17). Even though natural disasters cause havoc in
the world, God continues to preserve creation and humanity from total
destruction (Genesis 8:21-22). Therefore we need not be overcome by
the fear of natural forces and other human beings which may cause
suffering, persecution, or even death.
We are called to entrust ourselves to God's care, rather than finding
our security in technology, in the elements of the natural world,
or in the nations in which we live. We accept and use the resources
of nature, society, and technology, so far as they sustain and enhance
the quality of human life and the world around us in harmony with
God's purposes, and so far as they do not undermine trust in God's
God not only preserves the world, but also acts to save the chosen
people from evil and to bless all peoples and the rest of creation.
God used elements of nature to free the Hebrew people from slavery
in Egypt, to provide them with food, to accompany the revealing of
the Law at Sinai, and to provide them with a dwelling place (Exodus
6-16; 19; Psalms 124; 136).
Because God works in ever new and surprising ways, creation is open
to change. God also works to bring newness into creation for the sake
of the covenant people and for all nations (Isaiah 42:5-9; 44:21-28).
See "Salvation" (Article 8) and "The
Reign of God" (Article 24) on the renewal of creation in Jesus
Christ and, through the work of the Holy Spirit, in the church and
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6. The Creation and Calling of Human Beings
- Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 45:11f.; John 1:3.
- Genesis 1:31; 1 Timothy 4:4.
- Psalms 19:1-6; Romans 1:19-23.
- Genesis 9:8-17; Psalms 104; Ephesians 3:9-11.
- Psalms 33; Matthew 6:25-33; Matthew 10:26-31.