Hebrews 11:3: Faith and Creation
Read: Hebrews 11:3: Faith and Creation
When the author of Hebrews writes about faith as it relates to creation – he says that by faith we understand that the world was called into existence by God’s word and from things “not seen” it has its being. The author of Hebrews is recalling the creation account from Genesis 1. Genesis 1:1 asserts that God created the heavens and the earth, and then continues to give the account of creation through the end of the chapter. Genesis 1:2 asserts that the earth is “formless” and “void”. Psalm 33:6 says that God made the universe by a word – that is he spoke it into existence out of nothingness. The traditional understanding of this is called “ex nihilo” creation – creation out of nothing rather than out of some sort of pre-existing matter.
Perhaps the reason the author of Hebrews asserts that believers understand creation as an act of God is because people were not present during the act of creation. But the act of creation is evident in the created on many counts. The act of creation from nothing is evident from cause and purpose. Any number of things exhibit cause. Children are a result of their parents, who are a result of their parents and so on. A table made of wood is derived from a tree, which owes its existence to growth from the ground, rain, and sunshine, and other elements and so on. These causal chains, however, are not circular nor are they infinite and thereby require an ultimate first cause, which is God. These arguments form a class of arguments called “cosmological arguments”. Purpose is exhibited in creation as well in the form of design, morality, and ascetics. The arguments here reason that such things are not the product of natural processes, rather the product of a being, who is God. These arguments form a class of arguments called “teleological arguments”.
Paul argues in Romans 1:18-20 that the creator is evidence in the created, such that men are “without excuse”. In a similar fashion, Paul argues that God created man such that man is not far from God. And for some time, God overlooked ignorance and is calling men to repent (Acts 17:22-31). Creation testifies to the glory of God, and should spur men towards repentance. But this is not enough to result in salvation. Believing that God exists is not enough – one needs Jesus for salvation. For this reason, Paul closes the letter to the Romans, he declaring his intent to go to Spain so he can declare Jesus where Jesus was not known (Romans 15:18-25). While the creator is evident in the created, the creator has given believers the task of declaring Jesus to the world (Matthew 28:19-20). People cannot believe in something they have never heard about, and for this reason it is the responsibility of Christians to take the gospel to the nations so they may have a complete faith resulting in salvation (Romans 10:4-17).
Lord, creation declares your splendor!
Help me to declare Jesus!