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Worldviews in Conflict: Christian Cosmology and the Recent Doctrine of Spiritual Mapping (Part 1)

 

This factor represents an astounding truth, one that begs for further clarification. The fundamental doctrine of creation ex nihilo could only be credited to divine revelation; it is not the kind of concept either the ancients or modern man would invent. How could God have created something from nothing? Philosophers and logicians naturally disparage the doctrine, claiming that it begs the question—and indeed it does. Nevertheless, the Scripture is unequivocal: God “spoke” and the universe was birthed into existence. On this point, the author of Hebrews concurs: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Heb. 11:3).22 Acknowledging the magnitude of this crucial Christian doctrine, Lewis and Demarest comment:

To achieve certain special decretive purposes God’s strategy is to act miraculously, either by superseding nature’s laws and human agencies or using other means in extraordinary ways. For example, creation ex nihilo must necessarily have been achieved without the secondary causal factors. At the point of initial creation no other beings or things existed to play an intermediate role in that creative act. In God’s miraculous strategy he is both the final cause and the efficient cause.23

Genesis 1:1 also teaches that God created both “the heavens” and “the earth.” The author apparently differentiated the spiritual world from the physical world, but God is still understood as the creator of both realms. All spiritual and material substances owe their existence to him. The Apostle Paul clarified this view further when he attributed creation to the work of Christ:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col. 1:16).

Based on this consideration, we are required to conclude that every imaginable spiritual substance—both good and evil—was originally created by God. As Brunner points out, “The idea of Creation expresses the truth that God assumes complete and sole responsibility for the existence of the world…”24 This would include angels, demons, heavenly realms, the existence of hell, and the devil himself. No power exists outside of what God created; that is, no spiritual reality exists by its own power. Nor can the spiritual realities exist simply by their own will. Putting aside the notion that various levels of angelic and demonic beings exist, perhaps even ranked according to nature or seniority, we affirm nevertheless that every spiritual reality owes its origin and sustaining power to God.

Another question naturally arises when we profess that God created all things, even the demonic forces. Did God create evil beings or did the creatures become evil after they were created? The answer appears to be the latter. Sometime, between the conclusion of the initial creation when God called everything “very good” (Gen. 1:31), and the tragic fall of mankind (Gen. 3), a spiritual rebellion may have occurred.25

 

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Category: Fall 2001, Living the Faith, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Larry L. Taylor, M.A., D.Min., is Affiliate Faculty at Regis University in the Denver area and formerly professor of humanities at Portland Bible College. Larry Taylor founded a church in Colorado and has 17 years of pastoral experience.

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