THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 9. What is the work of creation?

ANSWER: The work of creation is, God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.


Q. 1. How do you know that the world had a beginning?

A. The light of nature teaches, that there must be a first cause; besides, "through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God," Heb. 11:3.

Q. 2. Might not this world have existed from eternity?

A. No; it is impossible: this supposition is not only contrary to scripture, but to common sense and reason, which tells us, that what is created; and has a duration by succession of time, must have had a beginning.

Q. 3. From whom did this world receive its being and beginning?

A. From God only, who is being itself, and gives being to all things, Neh. 9:6.

Q. 4. What is it for God to create?

A. It is his making all things of nothing.

Q. 5. When did God create this world?

A. In the beginning of time, Gen. 1:1.

Q. 6. Was there any pre-existent matter out of which God created the world?

A. No; for, by his powerful word, he called "those things which be not, as though they were," Rom. 4:17; "so that things which are seen, were not made of things which do appear," that is, of any pre-existent matter, Heb. 11:3.

Q. 7. In what time did God create all things?

A. In the space of six days, Ex. 20:11.

Q. 8. Could he not have created all things in a moment of time?

A. Yes; but he saw it more for his own glory, and the good of mankind, to set them an example of working six days, and resting the seventh.

Q. 9. On which of the six days, is it reckoned, that the angels were created?

A. It is probable they were created upon the first day, as would seem from Job 38:4, 7 -- "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth, -- when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

Q. 10. Can creating power be imparted to any creature?

A. No; it implies a contradiction for a creature to create, because this would vest a finite creature with infinite power, Isa. 14:12.

Q. 11. Is it not then a clear proof of the supreme Deity of the Son of God, that all things were made by him?

A. No doubt it is: for, none but he, who is truly and properly God, can command things that are not into being, Isa. 44:24.

Q. 12. Is creation a work common to all the persons of the Trinity?

A. Yes; for all the external works of God are common to each person; every one of the three adorable persons being the same in substance, equal in power and glory, 1 John 5:7 -- "These three are one."

Q. 13. For what end did God make all things?

A. He made all things for himself, or for the display of his matchless excellencies, Prov. 16:4.

Q. 14. What are those excellencies or perfections of God which are more especially displayed in the work of creation?

A. His infinite power, extensive goodness, and manifold wisdom, Rom. 1:20.

Q. 15. How does the infinite power of God shine forth in creating the world?

A. In bringing all things, of a sudden, out of nothing, by his bare word, Psalm 33:6.

Q. 16. What was that bare word?

A. Let such a thing be, Gen. 1:3.

Q. 17. How is his manifold wisdom displayed in this work?

A. In the vast variety of creatures, great and small, which he has made; the order and harmony of them all; and their subserviency one to another, Psalm 104:24.

Q. 18. Why is it said that he made all things very good?

A. Because God, upon a survey of his works, declared them to be so, Gen. 1:31 -- "God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good."

Q. 19. In what consists the goodness of the creatures of God?

A. In the perfection of their nature, their being fit to answer the end of their creation; and their usefulness to man, being both profitable and pleasant to him.

Q. 20. Are not many creatures hurtful to man?

A. They were not so at their first creation, and while man continued in his allegiance to God: but through his sinning against God he has brought a curse on himself, and the whole creation, Gen. 3:17 -- "Cursed is the ground for thy sake."

Q. 21. Is not God said to create evil, Isa. 45:7?

A. Not the evil of sin; but of punishment, as a just judge, Rom. 3:5, 6; Amos 3:6.

Q. 22. How then came sin and death into the world?

A. Man is the parent of sin, and sin opened the door to death: "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin," Rom. 5:12.

Q. 23. Upon what day did God rest from creating the world?

A. Upon the seventh day, Gen. 2:2, 3; which was therefore appointed to be the weekly Sabbath, till the resurrection of Christ.

Q. 24. Does this resting, on the seventh day, say that he was weary with working?

A. No; "The everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary," Isa. 40:28.

Q. 25. What then is meant by his resting?

A. It is spoken after the manner of men; and the meaning is, that God ceased to create any other sorts of creatures than he had already made.

Q. 26. Is not the same power that created all things, exerted in sustaining them in their being?

A. Yes; for he, by whom the worlds were made, is said to uphold all things by the word of his power, Heb. 1:2, 3.

Q. 27. Do not the scriptures speak of a new creation, as well as of the old?

A. Yes; the Spirit of God, in scripture, speaks of a new world of grace, under the name of "new heavens" and a "new earth," Isa. 66:22; Rev. 21:1.

Q. 28. What is to be understood by this new creation, or new world of grace?

A. The true church of Christ, particularly under the New Testament, not excluding the church triumphant in heaven.

Q. 29. By whom is this new world created?

A. By the same God that made the old world; "Behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth," Isa. 65:17.

Q. 30. Who are the inhabitants of this new world?

A. They are all new creatures, taken out of the old world, 2 Cor. 5:17.

Q. 31. How came they out of this material, into that spiritual world?

A. By the new birth; for, except a man be born again, he cannot enter into it, John 3:3:flesh and blood, or corrupted nature, continuing such, cannot inherit it, 1 Cor. 15:50.

Q. 32. Is there any difference of nations, sexes, or persons, in this new world?

A. No; for "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision, nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all," Col. 3:11.

Q. 33. By what door do men enter into this new world of grace?

A. Christ says, "I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture," John 10:9, and chap. 14:6 -- "I am the way -- no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Q. 34. In what lies the happiness of the inhabitants of this new world of grace?

A. None so happy as they, because they dwell in God, and God dwells in them as in a temple, 1 Cor. 3:16; and walks in them as in his garden of pleasure, 2 Cor. 6:16; and, at death, they are transported by the ministry of angels, to the world of glory above, Luke 16:22.

Q. 35. What may we learn from the doctrine of the creation?

A. That we ought to contemplate God in all his creatures, Psalm 104; acknowledge him as the rightful proprietor and sovereign disposer of them all, 1 Chron. 29:11; and believe that the same almighty power of God, which was put forth in creating of all things, shall be exerted in defence and support of his church and people, in the time of their need, Psalm 121:2.


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