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1 Essentials fr Spiritual Leadership Study Guide CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE LESSON 3: THE CREATOR INTRODUCTION This lessn is part f a Discipleship Essentials mdule titled Christian Dctrine. This series f lessns examines dctrines which are fundatinal t ur faith, with an emphasis n hw incrrect dctrine can negatively impact true faith. Dctrine is the set f beliefs that determine hw we practise ur faith. It is critical that Christians understand crrect dctrine abut the nature f Gd and salvatin, especially if they are engaged in teaching and discipling. This mdule examines scriptures related t a number f cre dctrines f the Christian Church, and als sme f the areas f cnfusin and errr assciated with each dctrine. The Study Guide is intended fr an individual t lk deeper int a specific lessn n their wn. The lessns can be used in cnjunctin with ther Discipleship Essentials materials, such as the vide and audi prductins fund n Trans Wrld Radi Canada. Scripture qutatins are frm The Hly Bible, English Standard Versin (ESV ), cpyright 2001 by Crssway, a publishing ministry f Gd News Publishers. Used by permissin. All rights reserved. Unless therwise specified, yu may reprduce any lessn, in whle, in any frmat, withut charge r further permissin. Fr all ther purpses r uses, cntact Trans Wrld Radi Canada by visiting

2 CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE LESSON 3: THE CREATOR WHAT IS IT ABOUT? This lessn lks at the dctrine f Gd as ur Creatr; all things were created by Gd and did nt evlve accidentally. JUST SO YOU KNOW There are sme dctrines that cause cntrversy within the Church. The exact unflding f end-times events is ne, and the creatin stry in Genesis 1 is anther. This lessn des nt take a psitin n whether there was a literal six-day creatin, r whether Gd created the wrld ver a perid f time; instead it lks at the cre thelgical dctrine abut creatin plainly seen in Scripture. While this might appear t be a peripheral dctrine at first, ur understanding f the nature and purpse f human beings, f sin and salvatin, as well as the pwer and authrity f Gd, all rely heavily n the truth that Gd created and sustains the universe in a persnal, purpseful way. GETTING STARTED 1. What d yu think are the biggest life-questins peple ask themselves? (Examples: Why am I here? What is my purpse? Where did the wrld cme frm? Is there a pint t existence? Wuld anyne miss me if I were gne?) 2. D yu think that belief in science and belief in religin are cmpatible? On what issues d they agree? On what issues are they in cnflict? One Gd Page 2

3 STUDY IN THE BEGINNING, GOD : Genesis 1:1 declares that, In the beginning Gd created the heavens and the earth. These first wrds f the Bible nt nly pint t the dctrine f mntheism, ne Gd nly, but that He is the Creatr f all. The cncept f Gd alne being Creatr is central t understanding everything else the Scripture reveals t us. The accunt in Genesis f the creatin f the wrld was written by Mses, receiving his knwledge frm Gd Himself n Munt Sinai, thrugh the inspiratin f the Hly Spirit. The bk f Genesis belngs t the set f bks called the Law r the Bks f Mses. Many ther surces, including the wrds f Jesus, cnfirm that Mses authred the creatin accunt. Thus, the dctrine f creatin was passed directly frm Gd t humankind (Jhn 5:45-47). N ne was alive t witness Gd's design and creatin f the wrld except Gd Himself. Therefre, we shuld trust Gd wh is faithful in all things t tell the truth in His accunt f the creatin f the wrld. T distrust that the wrld was created by Gd and fr His purpses is t distrust Gd Himself. The truth that Gd created and sustains us and everything in ur visible and invisible universe is a fundatinal dctrine within Christianity (Clssians 1:15-17). T review, dctrines are what we are taught and which we pass n t thers. One f the essential dctrines f the Church is that f creatin. This dctrine is fundatinal t many ther dctrines, including ur understanding f sin and redemptin, and the nature f Gd and peple. The dctrine f creatin hlds that ut f nthing, Gd alne created and sustains the universe and everything in it fr His divine purpses. Read ver Genesis 1 and 2 carefully, and answer the fllwing questins: What existed befre Genesis? Out f what did Gd create the universe? What was Gd's evaluatin f His creatin? What was different abut the creatin f man and wman when cmpared with the creatin f all ther things? One Gd Page 3

4 GOD THE CREATOR: The first aspect f the dctrine f creatin is that Gd alne created the universe and everything in it fr His divine purpses. It is imprtant fr us t see that ur beliefs abut sin, salvatin and the purpse f the wrld are right here in the beginning f the Bible. The teaching that it was Gd wh created all things is repeated thrughut Gd s Wrd and clearly seen in the fllwing chart. Statement In Genesis Other Scriptures Befre creatin, Gd was all that existed. Everything has a beginning and wes its existence t Gd. Genesis 1:1 Psalm 90:2 Revelatin 4:11 Hebrews 1:10 Jhn 1:3 Gd created all things thrugh His Wrd (Jesus). Gd created man and wman in a purpseful, persnal way. Gd saw that His creatin was very gd. Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26 Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:4-25 Clssians 1:16 Jhn 1:1-3 Hebrews 11:3 Psalm 33:6 Isaiah 45:11-12 Acts 17: Timthy 2:13 Psalm 139:13-14 Matthew 19:4-6 Genesis 1:31 1 Timthy 4:4 Isaiah 40:26 Psalm 104:31 Why des it matter that Gd created us in a persnal, purpseful way, and that His creatin was very gd? GOD THE SUSTAINER: The secnd aspect f the dctrine f creatin is that Gd alne sustains the universe and everything in it fr His divine purpses. T say that Gd sustains His creatin is t say that we nly cntinue ur existence because He actively wills it t be s. His pwer is what gives us life. Part f this aspect f the dctrine f creatin is that Gd is bth immanent (invlved in, active with) and transcendent (abve r greater than). Gd s creatin depends n Him, but is separate frm Him. Cnsider the pwerful ways Gd sustains the earth as revealed in His Wrd. Read the fllwing verses and write dwn what yu learn: One Gd Page 4

5 Psalm 54:4 Hebrews 1:3 Clssians 1:16-17 Isaiah 46:3-4 Hw is Gd invlved in His creatin? What des Gd prvide that allws us t have life? (Think f the many aspects f creatin, such as gravity and sunlight that are necessary fr us t remain alive!) GOD S PURPOSE IN CREATION: The dctrine f creatin states that nt nly has Gd created the earth and sustains it, but that it was made purpsefully. We can see this als thrughut the pages f Gd s Wrd. Creatin was nt a passive event! We may wnder why Gd made us in the first place, and what His purpse is with this elabrate, beautiful and cmplicated wrld! Gd desn t need His creatin: We must understand that Gd lacks nthing. While we are entirely dependent n Gd, Gd is nt dependent n us (Acts 17:24-25). Therefre, Gd did nt create the wrld because He needed us. Gd did nt create the wrld because f lneliness. Gd did nt create the wrld because He lnged t be wrshipped. Gd lavishes lve n His creatin: We knw that Gd expresses lve t His creatin, and that we came int being because f Jesus and fr Jesus (Clssians 1:15-17). What are sme f the purpses fr which we were made? One Gd Page 5

6 Gd created the wrld t express infinite lve and t have relatinship with humanity. He pursued this relatinship with Adam and Eve befre sin entered the wrld, and cntinues t ffer restratin f relatinship with us because f His great lve. Write dwn what yu learn frm these verses: Rmans 5:8 1 Jhn 3:1 Jeremiah 31:3 Gd created the wrld t reveal His glry and share His glry. Gd des nt need the wrship f anyne, but is wrthy f wrship. He gives us the jy f delighting in His greatness, in His lve that satisfies us, and in relatinship with Him that fulfills us. Rmans 8:17 Isaiah 43:6-7 Revelatin 4:11 Gd created the wrld t reveal wh He is t His creatin. Sme f the details f creatin reveal t us mre f wh Gd is! Gd shares Himself with us thrugh His artwrk His creatin! Rmans 1:18-20 Jb 12:7-9 Psalm 19:1-2 One Gd Page 6

7 Gd created the wrld t fulfill His eternal plans. Gd s plan f redemptin is als a plan f cnquering evil, and bringing peple back int relatinship with Him. Creatin is where these eternal plans are played ut. Gd has purpses fr what happens here n earth, and indeed He had plans fr these things befre He created the wrld! Ephesians 3:9-11 Ephesians 1: Timthy 1:9-10 Dctrinal Errrs related t Creatin: The Church believes that Gd created and sustains us fr His purpses. But ther religius ideas and philsphies may cnfuse us and lead t incrrect beliefs if we are nt grunded in Gd's Wrd. The fllwing are sme cmmn errrs regarding creatin. Each directly cntradicts what Gd s Wrd says abut creatin, and what the Church has upheld as crrect dctrine: Materialism: Only the material wrld exists, there is n spiritual realm and n gd. The wrld, and all that is in it, are prducts f a natural accident and the evlutin f rganisms. We were nt created, we have n purpse. Pantheism: Only the spiritual realm exists there is nly Gd. We are all a part f Gd, wh is neither transcendent nr persnal, and we have existed eternally with Him. Deism: Gd is distant and impersnal. He began the events that led t ur being frmed and created, but des nt sustain creatin. Gd is nt immanent, we have n purpse. Theistic Natural Evlutin: Gd created the wrld, but the creatin accunt in Genesis is nly a stry. Gd used the prcesses f evlutin t frm the wrld as we knw it, and there was n histrical Adam and Eve, r sin entering the wrld. There was n special creatin f humanity, rather we are ne animal amng millins f thers. There are Christians and churches wh hld t the belief that evlutin may have been the means by which Gd created the wrld, but they still hld t a belief in the basic dctrines f creatin as utlined in this lessn. Cnclusin: It is Gd alne wh created and sustains us. It is because f Him and in Him that we live and mve and have ur being. What we believe abut ur purpse affects everything abut us. This is an imprtant dctrine f the Church. One Gd Page 7

8 SUMMARY The dctrine f creatin hlds that ut f nthing, Gd alne created and sustains the universe and everything in it fr His divine purpses. Nthing existed befre Gd, and it is thrugh Gd that everything has been made. Gd created all things thrugh His Wrd (Jesus) and He saw that His creatin was very gd. Man and wman were made in a purpseful, persnal way. Gd nt nly created us, but sustains us as He des the entire universe. Gd created us t express His infinite lve, t reveal and share His glry, t reveal His nature t His creatin, and t fulfill His eternal plans. REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. D yu believe that Gd is immanent that is, active and present in ur daily lives and nt a farff, impersnal frce? What prf frm yur life wuld yu ffer t smene wh is struggling t believe this? 2. Des yur life reflect the belief that there is mre t existence than just the material wrld? Hw wuld yur life be different withut yur belief in Gd? One Gd Page 8