The Basics of Creation Theology

Marcus Warner
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Creation theology refers to lessons directly related to the worldview on which the Bible is based. The three building blocks of this theology can be remembered with the letters WWW. They represent three foundational elements of a biblical worldview: worship, warfare, and wisdom. One of the reasons these elements are paired together is that they are all anchored in lessons from creation. Thus, scholars sometimes refer to these elements as creation theology.

1. Worship

The purpose of life is worship. We were created to walk with God. When the Bible describes a relationship with God, it doesn’t use the word relationship. Instead, it uses the image of walking. Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:8). Enoch walked with God and is a model of the sort of life God desires (Gen. 5:22). Noah walked with God and was found righteous in His sight (Gen. 6:9).

“The purpose of life is worship. We were created to walk with God.”

The type of worship God seeks is that of walking humbly with Him and treating our neighbors with justice and mercy (Mic. 6:8). To say we were created for worship is another way of saying we were made for walking with God in trust and obedience.

Years ago, a holocaust survivor named Corrie ten Boom modeled what it looks like to walk closely with God even through great tragedy. She is attributed with saying these words about the value of an intimate walk with God: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”

2. Warfare

The Bible is clear that we live in “the present evil age” (Gal. 1:4). This evil age began because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion and will continue until the rebellion ends and the kingdom of God is established on earth. This evil age is a time of war. We are all born into a world at war. Indeed, you cannot understand life apart from this reality.

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). One of the reasons He taught us to ask for God’s will to be done on earth is that it is often not done. Injustice is never God’s desire, and yet it happens routinely. We pray that God’s kingdom will come because—when that happens—all injustice will cease. God’s purposes for creation will be completely fulfilled. In the meantime, we live in a world at war.

One of Satan’s favorite strategies is to cause evil and suffering, then convince us that God is to blame. However, the Bible is clear on three points:

1. God allows evil.

2. God uses evil.

3. God overcomes evil.

We see these illustrated clearly in the life of the patriarch Joseph:

God allows evil.

God allowed Joseph to be treated with great injustice. He was unjustly sold into slavery by his brothers. As a slave, he was unjustly thrown into prison because a powerful person lied about him. As a prisoner, he was unjustly abandoned because people he helped forgot about him. Joseph had every reason to be angry with God. But he apparently had “an unexplained box,” just like the teen I told you about earlier did. He was able to put the evil that had happened to him in that box and continue to trust God.

God uses evil.

God used the evil Joseph endured to put him into position to accomplish enormous good. Joseph was able to establish a system of food distribution that saved Egypt and kept his family alive during a seven-year famine. Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children” (Gen. 50:20–21 NIV).

God overcomes evil.

In the end, God overcame the evil that was done to Joseph. He gave him a position of authority second only to Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. God also blessed Joseph with a family of his own and reconciliation with the family of his birth. In the end, Joseph became a great person whose final years were filled with blessings.

Unless we understand that we live in a world at war, we will not be able to see God’s hand in allowing, using, and overcoming evil in our lives.

A biblical worldview informs us that there is an unseen realm filled with supernatural beings. Paul wrote, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers . . .” (Eph. 6:12 NKJV). He doesn’t simply say that we wrestle with demons or Satan. The idea of principalities is that there are supernatural forces which can be thought of as rulers over people and regions (such as the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece, as mentioned in Daniel 10:20). The term powers relates to the fact that many of these spirits have power over aspects of nature. Paganism was anchored in the worship of these principalities and powers. From this perspective, evangelism is about invading enemy territory, and discipleship involves reclaiming surrendered ground from the enemy. This is why freedom, as we’ve talked about, plays such a key role in the discipleship process.

3. Wisdom

The third foundational element of a biblical worldview is wisdom. In this fallen world, we need a guide. God has given us two gifts that work together to teach us wisdom. He has given us Scripture and the Spirit. Without the Spirit, Scripture can be easily manipulated and used to harm people. Without the Scripture, people can easily be led astray by emotional or supernatural experiences. I sometimes think of the Scripture and the Spirit as God’s lantern for guiding us through this dark world. The Scripture is the frame of the lantern, and the Spirit is the flame. Together they serve as a light to our path.

In the Bible, there is a cluster of words related to wisdom:

  • Blessing and cursing
  • Good and evil
  • Life and death

The book of Psalms begins with the word “blessed” (Ps. 1:1). It teaches us that if we want a blessed life (one that ends in what is good and in life rather than one that ends under God’s curse so that we experience evil and death), we need to meditate on God’s law and put it into practice. The Sermon on the Mount follows a similar pattern. It opens with eight statements of the kind of life God blesses (we call these the Beatitudes). The sermon ends with a parable about wisdom and how fools hear Christ’s words but do not put them into practice, while the wise listen and obey, thus building their house on a rock that can withstand the storms of life (Matt. 7:24–27).

Throughout the Bible, wisdom has two main elements: discernment and discipline. Discernment is the ability to distinguish between what is good for me and what will end in evil. It recognizes which path God will bless and which path He will curse. Discipline refers to doing what wisdom has taught us will end in blessing, goodness, and life.

From a biblical perspective, a fool is one who does not trust God’s wisdom but relies on his own understanding instead. The classic example of this in Scripture is the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32). This young man was a textbook fool. His discernment was off, and so was his discipline. He thought he knew where to find “the good life.” All he needed was his freedom and some money. However, the path he thought would lead to life (good) ended in disaster (evil). In the end, he repented of his folly and became wise by returning to the source of true blessing.

God gave us the Scriptures and the Spirit so that we would have a source of wisdom to guide us through this fallen world. Wisdom is embodied in the same formula we saw in Joshua. Trust plus obedience equals blessing. God says that the good life—a life blessed by Him—is found on the path of trusting what He says and obeying it.

For Further Reading:

A Deeper Walk

by Marcus Warner

Too many Christians are stuck and unable to go deeper in their walk with God because traditional discipleship models are overly left-brained...

book cover for A Deeper Walk