Creation and Corruption
God fashioned this universe and designed it to testify to his wisdom. Since the Creator’s “name brand” is imprinted on the fabric of the creation itself absolutely everything serves as ‘evidence’ for the biblical worldview. In fact, Scripture helps to make sense of the creation and corruption, the wonder and the brokenness of our world.
Creation. The Bible makes sense of our most deeply held intuitions about this world. Anyone who’s been to the top of a mountain, viewed their native landscape from an airplane, or observed an early morning sunrise has directly, and non-discursively (i.e. not the result of rigorous logical exercises), experienced the grandeur, design, and beauty of creation. Wide-spreading vistas, oceans clear as glass, and stunning moonlit nights tell us this world was made for something greater than our small, sometimes petty, dog-eat-dog existence.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:1-6)
The marvels of the human mind, the wonders of the imagination, and the reality of lasting, passionate, self-sacrificing love also tell us that humankind is something great, more than the beasts of the field.
Corruption. Unfortunately, this is not the only voice we hear. So often it seems as if creation speaks with a forked tongue. We see nature revolting against those who try to subdue it. Famine, plagues, tsunamis, and earthquakes strike when we least expect it, taking multitudes in their wake. Likewise, the human heart suffers from a form of spiritual schizophrenia. The evils of the human heart are too numerous to count.
Something is terribly wrong with the world, and deep down we all know it.
How do we make sense of this chaos? How do we make sense of creation’s glory? Do Christians have an answer? Do non-Christians have any answer?
The Biblical response. Christians should have no difficulty making sense of this tension. The first chapters of Scripture teach us two things:
- Creation is skillfully designed by God, and
- Humankind is also God’s handiwork, created in His own image.
This makes intelligible the wonder and beauty of creation as well as our value, worth, dignity and creativity.
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)
But the Bible doesn’t stop there. Humanity, the pinnacle of God’s creation has rebelled against his loving rule and turned in on itself. Our moral compasses are severely impaired; and we live to serve anything but the Self-giving king of the universe.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (Matthew 15:19)
Famine, drought, and natural disasters are all the result of creation’s subjection to futility (Romans 8:20-23). No longer are man and his environment in harmony. Why? Because man and his Creator are no longer in harmony.
So it looks like it’s not only the nice bits of creation that point to the truthfulness of the Bible. The Scriptures provide us with a framework for understanding the world as it is now, in all its beauty and brokenness.