The Universe God Created Was Very Good

This point follows from the previous point. If God created the universe to show his glory, then we would expect that the universe would fulfill the purpose for which he created it. In fact, when God finished his work of creation, he did take delight in it. At the end of each stage of creation God saw that what he had done was "good" (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). Then at the end of the six days of creation, "God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). God delighted in the creation that he had made, just as he had purposed to do.

Even though there is now sin in the world, the material creation is still good in God's sight and should be seen as "good" by us as well. This knowledge will free of us from a false asceticism that sees the use and enjoyment of the material creation as wrong. Paul says that those who "forbid marriage," and "enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth" (1 Tim. 4:1-3) are giving heed to "doctrines of demons." The apostle takes

12 12. See the discussion of God's independence in chapter 11, pp. 160-63.

13 13. See the discussion in chapter 11, pp. 158-60, on the ways in which all of creation reveals various aspects of God's character.

such a firm line because he understands that "everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer" (1 Tim. 4:4-5). Paul's mention of "the word of God" that consecrates or "sanctifies" the foods and other things we enjoy in the material creation is probably a reference to the blessing of God spoken in Genesis 1:31, "It was very good."

Though the created order can be used in sinful or selfish ways and can turn our affections away from God, nonetheless we must not let the danger of the abuse of God's creation keep us from a positive, thankful, joyful use of it for our own enjoyment and for the good of his kingdom. Shortly after Paul has warned against the desire to be rich and the "love of money" (1 Tim. 6:9-10), he affirms that it is God himself "who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy" (1 Tim. 6:17). This fact gives warrant for Christians to encourage proper industrial and technological development (together with care for the environment), and joyful and thankful use of all the products of the abundant earth that God has created—both by ourselves and by those with whom we are to share generously of our possessions (note 1 Tim. 6:18). Yet in all of this we are to remember that material possessions are only temporary, not eternal. We are to set our hopes on God (see Ps. 62:10; 1 Tim. 6:17) and on receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Col. 3:1-4; Heb. 12:28; 1 Peter 1:4). E. The Relationship Between Scripture and the Findings of Modern

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The Might of Character Building

The Might of Character Building

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