Understanding God's Creative Power By Faith

Dr. Brian Allison

Are you an evolutionist? Do you believe that the universe arose out of some infinitely dense matter, which developed, changed, and mutated over time, increasing in complexity and sophistication? Do you believe that lower life forms gave way to higher life forms over billions of years, according to the principles of the survival of the fittest and natural selection? Are you an evolutionist?

When I was in seminary, I was subjected to the teachings of a rather high profile evangelical Christian scholar, who has written a number of books, who is an evolutionist. There are many Christians who believe that there is no contradiction between being an evolutionist and believing in the truth of the Scriptures as a professing believer in Christ. There are many Christians who espouse the theory of evolution, and yet they do not realize that in doing so, they are subverting the truth and integrity of the Scriptures. This statement may sound rather extreme, but it is true. What I am saying is this: to believe in the traditional view of evolution is to deny an essential article of faith. The New Testament emphatically states that the universe was made by a creative act of a personal God, rather than by the natural effects of impersonal forces. The New Testament emphatically states that the universe assumed its present form and order by a divinely spoken word, as opposed to random variables of change and mutation. Reason alone may compel you to accept the theory of evolution; but it is faith that enables you to accept the Biblical doctrine of creationism. Hebrews 11:3 reads, "By faith we understand that the worlds [i.e., the universe, that is, every aspect of created reality, invisible and visible – all that pertains to time and space] were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."

Faith enables one to understand the unobservable

Having given the practical definition of faith in verse 1 – "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen," and having stated God's commendation or favoured assessment of faith in verse 2 – "For by it [faith] the men of old gained approval [by God]," the writer proceeds to give illustrations of faith, emphasizing the power and effect of faith. So, faith is the soul's ability, first, to see the invisible realities, and, second, to know the certainty of future events. It is these two aspects of faith that the writer subsequently demonstrates and highlights by various historical examples.

Now, in giving this catalogue of illustrations he begins at the beginning, with the commencement of time and space, to which only God is the witness – "By faith we understand that the worlds [everything pertaining to time and space] were prepared by the word of God." Generally speaking, faith has the power to enable us to accept intellectually that which is unprovable, and was originally unobservable. More particularly, faith confirms the reality of the agency through which the creation assumed its present form and order. Do you believe that faith has that kind of power? Do you believe that faith has this kind of effect; that it can so constrain and control us that we realize and must confirm in our minds that indeed the universe in all its detail was made by God? Here is the image of faith that I suggest you keep before your minds. Faith is able to travel through the corridors of time, allowing no barriers, either temporal or spatial; and though you were not personally present at some particular point in history, it permits you to know what happened. I would further suggest to you that faith knows no barriers, no boundaries, in traveling through (as it were) the corridors of spiritual realities into the very presence of God, into heaven itself. Faith can take us before the throne of God to gaze upon His splendour and majesty, and to know with all certainty that He is on His throne in glory, and even to wrestle with Him and receive His blessing. That is the power and effect of faith. Do you believe that?

Faith understands how the creation was formed

So, faith assists us to really understand the unverifiable. In other words, understanding concerning the beginning of the universe need not be a matter of speculation or personal opinion. No, faith allows for, and brings about, real understanding because faith accepts the testimony of God's Word. And the Scriptures clearly state that God is the agent of creation. Notice Job 38:1-7, "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, 'Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements, since you know? Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars [the angels] sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?'" (cf. Is. 40:12ff.). For that matter, where was anybody to bear witness to how God actually brought about the creation? How often could this word of indictment and judgement be leveled against those who would speculate out of their own fallen reason and dark understanding. Remember, the uniqueness of Biblical faith is that it responds to, and acquiesces in, the truth of God. The Word of God gives birth to faith, and in that experience of faith, one knows, understands, and is convinced about the truth in view.

So, by faith in the truth of God's Word, we may understand not only that God made the universe, but also how He made it. God's Word tells us that God made the universe by His spoken word (that is the more accurate translation of the original Greek) – "that the worlds were prepared by the word of God." It is by a divinely spoken word that the universe came to be, and faith by its very nature accepts this Scriptural testimony without question and without doubt. For instance, Psalm 33:6,9 reads, "By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host...For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." The Word of God emphatically states that by the spoken word the universe came to be.

How do you view the Word of God? Ask yourself that question. How do you understand the Bible? Is it simply a collection of legends and myths? What is your attitude towards the Scriptures? That will determine the reality and quality of your faith. If you believe that the Bible is fallible, that it consists of errors; if you believe that the Bible simply consists of myths, folklore, and legends, then you will have a weak faith. Maybe that is why many Christians struggle in their faith; they do not have a high view of the Scriptures, but rather have a very low one. Again, it is the Word of God that brings forth faith and gives power to it. Faith stands or falls, depending upon how you view the Word of God and the impact that that Word makes on your heart. The reality of faith is rooted in the Word of God. I think of a young man who was wrestling with his faith, to the point where he began to doubt the teachings of God's Word, and began to question the infallibility and authority of God's Word. It is sad to report that he no longer professes faith in Jesus Christ. I am not surprised. You cannot question the truth of God's Word without also having serious spiritual repercussions, and also a weak faith.

Let me ask you again (and this is a critical question), what is your view of the Scriptures? Do you see the Bible as the very Word of God, and that every word given in the original manuscripts was inspired by God; that when this revelation was originally given, God so moved and worked in the human beings, who were the instruments of recording that revelation, that what they recorded was indeed the inerrant, infallible word of God? If you do not believe this, I suspect that you often have a struggle with your faith; you probably have little spiritual power.

Faith understands something particular about creation

So, through faith in the testimony of God's written Word, we clearly perceive that God made the universe by His spoken word. Now, maybe you have read up to this point, justifying yourself in this way (and there are many well-meaning Christians who talk this way): "I am not denying that God created the world, that God created the universe. Far be it from me to deny that God made the world in which we live. I believe that God is the first cause, that He put everything in motion. But I believe that God allowed the universe to develop, change, and mutate according to certain created laws. That is, I am not denying that God is the Creator, I am simply saying that God used the means of evolution to actually fashion and order the universe, rendering it in its present form. I see no contradiction between the theory of evolution and the Biblical teaching of God as the Creator."

Have you been saying something like that? Have you been reasoning like that? Now, I would agree that there is no necessary contradiction between evolution and God being the Creator; that God, if He was pleased to, could have used evolution in forming the universe. But if you believe that God used the means of evolution, then I want to say emphatically that you have denied the Scriptures and, in effect, reject the teachings of the Bible. Again, it is the Word of God and it's testimony which faith acknowledges, affirms, and accepts, regardless of the claims of science. If God's Word says it, faith accepts it implicitly, and without question. The denial of the Word of God is the absence of faith. Again, we read, "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the spoken word of God." Do you notice that it does not say the worlds were created by the spoken word? The emphasis of this text in not on that God created the universe, but rather on the means by which He made, or arranged, the universe. The text does not say 'created', it says 'prepared', that is, fashioned or put it together – the means by which God established the universe in its present form. The text teaches that God actually put the universe together – furnished it – by the spoken word, not by evolution.

Faith accepts all that the Bible teaches about creation

We find the same term, translated 'prepared' here, used in Hebrews 13:20a,21: "Now the God of peace...equip [furnish, outfit] you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen." So the point is this (consider carefully, you who have wrestled with this matter of evolution and are concerned about having a Biblical view): the actual means by which the universe was fashioned (as well as created), is simply the spoken word of God, and not according to the laws of evolution. Hebrews 1:3b uses similar language, "[Christ] upholds all things by the word of His power." Through the divine word, the universe is regulated and sustained. Hence, we read further in Hebrews 11:3 (and keep in mind that this is a clarifying or explanatory statement, having said that the universe was fashioned or arranged, if you like, by the word of God), "So that what is seen [or that which is seen, that which appears to us now] was not made out of things which are visible." What is being said? The point is this: preexistent physical, natural, or material phenomena (not simply objects) do not explain the fact and nature of the creation. To put it in different language, the present forms and structures of the creation are not dependent upon any impersonal naturalist principles or forces. There is only one explanation – the spoken word of God (NB. the spoken word of God is contrasted with the 'things which are visible' in this verse). There is no impersonal, naturalist principle or force behind the universe, but there is a personal, supernatural principle, God.

More specifically, the identification and distinction of the species, even though there is variation within the species, has only one explanation, according to our text; there are no precedents to the different species, apart from the spoken word of God. The evolutionist will search in vain to find the critical missing links between the species because there are no critical links. So, Genesis 1:20ff. constitutes a clear and vivid commentary on Hebrews 11:3, explaining and describing how the universe was fashioned or arranged, and even how the different species came to be. We read, "Then God said [He spoke], 'Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.' And God created [in a moment of time] the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply on the earth'...Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind [defined and identifiable]: cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind'; and it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, 'Let Us make [God was personally involved] man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'."

Do you realize that if evolution is true, then everything that the Bible teaches is questionable? If evolution is true, then Adam and Eve were not the first humans, which means that the garden of Eden account must be a myth. Now, the teaching of salvation in the New Testament is absolutely and fully dependent upon the historicity of the account in the Garden of Eden; that Adam and Eve were the first humans and that through them the whole of humanity was plunged into sin and death, from which Christ was sent to redeem; and if that account is not true, as written, then everything else recorded, with respect to salvation is, at best, highly suspect, and, at worst, deceivingly false.

Some of you who are reading this article have a question to ask yourselves: Are you going to walk by reason or are you going to walk by faith? Reason may eventually damn you; only faith will save you. Some of you may be fighting inside: "Will I follow the authority of science and the sufficiency of reason or will I follow the authority of the Scriptures and the certainty of faith?" My friend, will you believe God or will you believe man? If you are wrestling right now, and you have God on the stand in the courtroom of human reason, and the verdict of your mind judges Him guilty, then, my friend, realize that that is blasphemy, and you will bear your judgement. To walk by faith is to honour God's Word, and thus to honour God's name. Do you have a rebellious heart that must submit to Him?