Creation and Its Competitors
I. Why Call God Creator?
Nicene Creed: God is "maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible"
Creation names God as the universe's only cause
"all things ... invisible": creation is a faith claim (Heb. 11:3)
Father creates through Son, by Spirit (Gen. 1, Ps. 33:6, John 1, Col. 1, Irenaeus, creeds)
So creation is not about showing the explanatory inadequacy of science (e.g., evolution), but envisioning the universe in terms of God
 
II. "formless and void" (Gen. 1:2): creatio prima/immediata
God caused the universe from nothing (creatio ex nihilo: Gen. 1:1-2, Gen. 2:4b-6)
Apart from creation, God was and remains complete
Alternatives to creation out of nothing:
1. Polytheism: The universe has many causes and powers
2. Platonism: God forms (and is bound by) a pre-existing universe
3. Pantheism: All is God; the universe is divine
4. Atheism: No creator-God; the universe is absolute
5. Dualism: The universe is a battleground for two equal powers
So our vision of the world influences our vision of God, and vice versa
 
III. "finished, and all their array" (Gen. 2:1): creatio segunda/mediata
God shaped the universe, giving it form (Gen. 1:3ff, Gen. 2:7ff)
"God is in the details," not merely the generalities, of the universe
Alternatives to mediate creation:
6. Gnosticism: God only causes inferior, mediating creators; the world is evil
7. Naturalism: God merely authors natural laws which govern a closed universe
So creation is not just about identifying the "first cause" of the material universe
 
IV. "I will make a helper" (Gen. 2:18): creatio continuata
Providence is God's continuing renewal, maintenance, and care for the creation
God is personally involved in creation, including our own lives (Luther's pro me)
Providence identifies God as creator with God as redeemer and perfecter (John 1:2-3, John 6:35, Col. 1:16)
Alternatives to providence:
8. Fatalism: God manipulates unfree creatures, rather than being "with" them
9. Deism: Like a watchmaker, God has no continuing relationship with his creation
So creation is not just about "intelligent design"
 
V. "It was very good" (Gen. 1:31): The Point of Creation
Against all these alternatives, Israel affirms all three forms of creation
The universe is thus creation, the sign-ificant work of a loving, involved God
(Gen. 1:14-19, Ps. 104:19; Gen. 1:21, Ps. 104:26-27)
Creation is radically affirmed, yet radically relativized
As an act of God's will, creation has purpose
Goodness names the purposefulness of the work of God's love (Gen. 1:31)
VI. "The way to the tree of life": (Gen. 3:24): creatio nova
The purposeful creation points forward to its end (telos), not merely back to its beginning
Westminster Catechism: Our chief end is to "glorify God and enjoy him forever"
Christians alone affirm that the new creation has arrived
The risen Jesus is the beginning of new creation (2 Cor. 5:17, Col. 1:18, Rev. 1:5)
The Son is the means and form of the Father's creation, enacted by the Spirit
The Son's incarnation brings creation and God into each other (Col. 1:15-20)
Only here should we speak of God as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc.
 

VII. Is Creation Creationism?
Creation science reads Gen. 1 (but not Gen. 2 or Ps. 104) as a scientific/historical record
But the doctrine of creation does not demand such interpretations of Gen. 1-2, Ps. 104, etc.
Barth: Gen. 1-11 is "saga," "historical myth"
Gen. 1:1-2:5 is true, but is it a chronology?
Literary readings of these poetic texts bypass "creation science" and scientific reductionism