Creation: The Most Neglected And Underrated Teaching In Contemporary Christianity

I am very excited to announce the publication of my book The Faithful Creator: Affirming Creation and Providence in An Age of Anxiety (InterVarsity Press, 2015). I got my first copies Tuesday, September 15. I have more I want to say about the church, but in view of the arrival of the book, I want to focus on doctrines of creation and providence for the next few weeks.

Christianity affirms that the God we see in the face of Jesus Christ and experience in the power of the Holy Spirit, is the Creator of all things. The first words of the Bible are, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Paul reminded the believers in Corinth to be careful to avoid idolatry. There are many “so-called gods and lords” out there in the culture, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:6:). And the first declaration of the Nicene Creed (381) affirms: “I believe in one God, Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.”

Considering its foundational importance and its comprehensive scope, the Christian doctrine of Creation may be the most neglected and underrated teaching in contemporary Christianity—and the most hated by those outside. In the first paragraph of Chapter 1 of The Faithful Creator, I underline the importance I see in the doctrine of creation:

“Learning how a thing began tells you much about how it will end and the course of its journey. In our experience everything begins from nothing and returns to nothing. From dust to dust, sunrise to sunset, in the end everything returns to its beginning. And if our origin really is nothing, our end will be nothing as well and our story a meaningless tale. But the Bible’s story does not begin with nothing, and it does not end with nothing. It begins and ends with God. And because God is our beginning and end, our journey will not be meaningless, for God surrounds and enfolds our time in his eternity. God alone is our origin and our creature-relationship to God defines our essence, and this makes the study of divine creation supremely relevant to our existence” (p. 25).

Taking creation and the Creator seriously can transform the way you feel about the world around you and your own existence. And taking the faithfulness of the creator seriously by coming to embrace the doctrine of God’s all-embracing providential care, can begin to liberate us from the pervasive anxiety that robs us of the “peace that passes understanding.” These are the reasons I wrote this book.

You can look at the Table of Contents or browse sections or purchase the book at Amazon.com or other online sites:

http://www.amazon.com/Faithful-Creator-Affirming-Creation-Providence/dp/0830840826/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1442619010&sr=8-4&keywords=ron+highfield

Next Post to Follow Soon: “Why Contemporary Culture Hates the Christian Doctrine of Creation”

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4 thoughts on “Creation: The Most Neglected And Underrated Teaching In Contemporary Christianity

  1. nokareon

    Sounds great! I don’t actually think I’ve heard your views on Creation except secondhand yet. I can’t wait to hear how you unpack things!

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  2. ifaqtheology Post author

    Hope you can read the book some time. As you can see from the ToC, I focus centrally on the nature of divine action in creation and providence. I do this because so many contemporary writers get it wrong at this point. They do not take God’s transcendence seriously and mistakenly think that the more transcendent God is the less able he is to relate to the world. Actually, it is the other way around. I have a body that excludes me from other bodies. God’s possesses no material aspect. This does not mean that God cannot “touch” or “resist” bodies like we imagine of ghosts. God’s spirituality enables God to indwell and encompass material bodies and know them perfectly. And so on…

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  3. nokareon

    In comprehending the principle of Divine Action, it seems to me that it all starts with one’s Philosophy of Mind (or Philosophy of Self). As an example, take a incident from Peter Atkins on the podcast Unbelievable; when the Christian guest expressed that the intelligible order of creation points to a top-down structured universe in which the ultimate reality is mind (a very Highfieldian point, I might add), Peter Atkins struggled to comprehend what was even meant by the notion of an unembodied mind. “So we have this super-intelligent amorphous jelly…” he began, and the host corrected him: “Well, isn’t the point that God transcends matter and isn’t material at all? So it’s not jelly.” Atkins just looked puzzled and said, “Well then, what in the blazes is it?”

    It’s not surprising that those coming from a Materialist worldview raise objections about Divine Action from the immaterial on the material. In their framework, they have no base of reference. This is doubly true of Materialists who also work in the Natural Sciences, such as Professor Atkins. I guess this is why some scientific minds such as Einstein and Carl Sagan have gone no further than to embrace the “God of Spinoza,” revering the laws of nature but not the Lawgiver.

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