St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church

Diocese of the Midwest

Catechist. Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief. 

Answer. I believe in God the… maker of heaven and earth….

We have examined the scriptural & creedal affirmation that God the Father is Almighty. Closely connected is the teaching that God is the Creator of heaven & earth. As the Prophet Jeremiah proclaimed: Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. (Jeremiah 32:17) When we affirm that God is the Creator of heaven & earth we are saying that everything, both visible & invisible as the Nicene Creed has it, was created by God. This is the basic division in terms of reality. There is the Creator, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and there are all of His creatures, that is, everything else.

The Bible begins with the words: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) The Creation is described in The Book of Genesis, chapters 1 & 2. Here we are told That God created heaven & earth and all that is in them in six days; and that He rested on the seventh. The number seven is the number of fullness or completion. As we all know, the Genesis account has been the subject of controversy in the course of the last three centuries in particular. The Genesis account is not in accord with the conclusions of modern science as to how the world and everything in it came to be. But even the church father Augustine of Hippo (4th-5th c) taught that Genesis does not give us a full or literal account of the process of Creation. Thus over the centuries theologians have offered a number of figurative or symbolic interpretations of the biblical account (or accounts) of Creation. In my view, the best approach to take is that Genesis describes Creation by analogy. That is to say, Creation is not described exactly as it unfolded in time & space, but in terms of who the Creator is and of God’s relationship to Creation in general and to mankind in particular. Thus, the language of Genesis is suited to human understanding in every age; and the focus is on only the broad categories of creation that mankind experiences most directly; and so Genesis does not describe the creation of angels, for instance. The basic question Genesis addresses is not how heaven & earth were created, but rather who created them and everything in them. This is seen throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. 

The account also points to the purpose of Creation. God created all things in the course six “days” and rested on the seventh day. God was thus able to fully enjoy all that He had created. This is meant to suggest that it was always God’s intention that all of Creation, particularly mankind made in His image, should share in His rest and enjoy His special presence as Creator-Father. Ultimately this means a state of eternal rest & joy. Though there is much to be found in this account, this is the most basic meaning of the seven days of Genesis. And so, attempts to reconcile Genesis with modern science are of only limited value (though they are not without value). The Bible presents Creation as more of a work of art; and it is not a “scientific” description in the modern sense. 

The biblical teaching about God as the maker of heaven & earth has a number of important implications. God is not the great clockmaker of the Deist, who makes the clock, winds it up, and goes about his other business. Rather God’s Creation relies upon Him and His power to sustain it at every moment, from beginning to end. Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. (Nehemiah 9:6) As Jesus asked those who question God’s providence: Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (St Matthew 10:29-31) Though mankind has tried to create gods or a God in his own image, it is God who created man & woman in His image. (Genesis 1:26) Thus our Creator-God asks us: Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? (Job 38:4-5) There are those who are critical of the world they see around them, with so much suffering & death. But when God finished His Creation he declared that it was all very good. (Genesis 1:31) Any disruption we may perceive in Creation is the effect of the distortion man brings to it through his sin and rebellion against God. 
As St Paul tells us: the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they [all of us] are without excuse. (Romans 1:20) Creation should move us on earth to join with the host of heaven in the great song of praise to God our maker: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)