The Foundational Role of Creation

Herman Bavinck is a gift to the church. While Reformed theologians rightly focus on sin and redemption, Bavinck reminds us of the pivotal role Creation plays in the great Cosmic Drama known as the Redemptive Story. Here are a couple of interesting quotes from Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics:

Creation is the initial act and foundation of all divine revelation and therefore the foundation of all religious and ethical life as well (407).

For Bavinck, Creation does not focus exclusively on existential meaning; instead, it provides a context in which we can relate to God. It provides the foundation of who we are to relate to (God) and how we are to relate to him (loving obedience and service):

This teaching of creation, which occupies a preeminent and pivotal place in Scripture, is not, however, presented as a philosophical explanation of the problem of existence. Most certainly it also offers an answer to the question of the origin of all things. Yet its significance is first and foremost religious and ethical. No right relation to God is conceivable apart from this basis; it positions us in proper relation to God (Exod. 20:11; Deut. 10:12-14; 2 Kings 19:15; Neh. 9:6) (407).

In the following verse, Bavinck highlights the ethical and religious aspects of Creation:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it (Deut 10:12-14, ESV).

Reflection: Since God owns everything, he can make demands on those in his creation. If we underemphasize the creation, we blur the Creator/creature distinction. This foolish activity leads to a futility in our thinking and a darkening in our hearts (Rom 1:21-22).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. II.