Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 9

Q. 9. What is the work of creation?

A. The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

Question 8 has spoken of God fulfilling His purposes through the works of creation and providence, and Question 9 gives us a definition of the work of creation. In the 21st century there are theologians who do back flips trying to squeeze Genesis 1 and 2 into a paradigm whereby there is room for some form of evolutionary process. The Westminster divines saw no need to do so (granted, they lived 200 years before Charles Darwin took his little trip on the H. M. S. Beagle).

They speak of four characteristics which describe God’s work of creation: (1) He made all things of nothing. (2) He did it by simply “speaking” the heavens and earth into existence. (3) He did it in the space of six days. (4) Creation in its original form (before the fall of man) was “very good.”

On my ordination exam I was asked what view the Westminster Standards had of creation and I responded by quoting this catechism answer. I was informed by the chairman of the committee (a man I like and respect very much, by the way) that the PCA allowed for four different views of creation to which I responded, “That wasn’t the question that was asked.” I have no problem accepting the Biblical record in its most straightforward sense and would shout a hearty “Amen!” to the Standards’ particular view of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth.

“Lord, I thank You that You created everything “ex nihilo” and that You saw fit that I too might have life (physical and spiritual) and have it more abundantly.”


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