Friday, March 22, 2013

Gospel and Creation

 Gospel and Creation

For a whole quarter we have been studying Creation.  Is there any relation between the Gospel and Creation?  To answer this let us start defining the gospel. 

The word gospel is an English translation from the Latin the word evangelium, from which we get the word evangelism.  It literally means a good message or good tidings.  So, what was the good message or what is the Gospel?  Paul gives us a definition in Romans 1: 16 and 17,

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

From this passage we derive that the Gospel is the power of God and the righteousness of God.  Since our emphasis is creation we will focus on the power of God.  You will see why.  
  The preaching of the cross – Christ crucified - is the proclamation of the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1: 30,18, 23,24). This power is the power of redemption which is the power of creation. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17). The power of God’s Gospel is seen in His work of creation.  Paul in writing to the Romans connected redeeming power and creative power: “The gospel of Christ…is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom 1:16, 20). The power is the same in redemption as in creation. It takes nothing less than creative energy, as demonstrated in nature and in the cross, to save and to change us.

      Paul again joined the power of redemption to creation in Col 1:14 – 16 where he wrote, “in [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins….For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” And John, also, in the first angel’s message of Rev 14:6 – 7 links redemption and creation. In the preaching of “the everlasting gospel” heaven’s call to worship the creator is clear: “worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Both the first promise of redemption in Genesis and the last message proclaimed to the world before Jesus returns place creation and the gospel together.

Let us consider that the first thing that Moses wrote, through the inspiration of the Spirit of God, was the story of creation. That, therefore, is one of the things through which we are to receive hope and comfort. Why is it that we can receive hope and comfort through the story of the creation? Because that story contains the Gospel.  How so?  It is in creation that the power of God is readily manifested and is to be seen by everybody. But, the power of God in the line of salvation is the Gospel. Therefore the works of creation teach the Gospel. When we consider the works of creation, and think of the power manifested in them, we are contemplating the power of redemption.   We can conclude thus, that The Gospel, then, is simply the creative power of God applied to men. Any gospel that leaves creation out, or which does not preach the creative power of God, as seen in the things that He has made, and which does not comfort men by that power, calling upon them ever to keep it in mind as their only source of strength, is 'another gospel,' which is simply no gospel at all, since there can be no other.

How did God make use of His power in Creation?  Let us go to Psalms 33: 6 and 9 for an answer,

Psalms 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
Psalms 33:9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

Paul agrees with the Psalmist.  Paul says in Hebrews 11: 3, “that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”  Peter says in 2 Peter 3:5 that “…by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.”  Yet, we are born again by the word of God, which lives and abides forever in us (1 Peter 1: 23).  This living word abiding in us gives us certainty that the love of God is perfected in us, and gives us strength to overcome the wicked one (1 John 2: 5, 14).  It is the word of God which sanctifies us (John 17:17).  Ellen White says that the truth - Word of God - “… is the power of God unto salvation to all who receive it, and it sheds a flood of light into the heart, and exerts a convincing influence upon the mind…” (Signs of the Times, ST, March 8, 1899); thus transforming the mind and heart. 

As it was in Creation so it is in redemption.  He healed the sick; He cast out devils; He stilled the tempest; He cleansed the lepers; He raised the dead; He forgave sins--all by His word. In all this, also, "He spake and it was."  Let us then receive His word.