Summary: Creation tells us that we are valuable to God, accountable to God, and that there is a purpose to our existence.
The story goes that one day a group of scientists had a meeting and decided that humans had come so far that they no longer needed God. After reaching their decision they appointed one of their number to go and explain to God that his services were no longer required. He said, “God, we’ve concluded that we no longer need you, because we are to the point that we can conceive life in a test tube and even clone people. We are so technologically advanced that we can do many things that at one time would have been thought of as miraculous. So we are now inviting you to leave the world in our hands.” God listened very patiently and quietly until the man was finished. With great kindness in his voice, he said, “Very well then, but first, why don’t we have a man-making contest.” This sounded like a marvelous idea to the deluded scientist, and he agreed to the challenge. But God said, “Now, you understand that we are going to have to do this just like I did back in the garden with Adam.” The self-assured man said, “That will be no problem,” and he bent down and grabbed a handful of dirt, realizing that he held in his hand all the building blocks of life. But God looked at him and said, “You don’t understand. You have to get your own dirt.”
That little story explains the fallacy of modern thinking. The scientists of today go to great lengths to tell us that life started in a primordial pond somewhere on earth, but they fail to say where the primordial pond came from. They write volumes of how the universe started with an enormous mass of matter and energy. All of the planets and stars, they explain, came from an explosion of this material, which scattered the mass throughout the cosmos. What they do not explain is where this original mass and energy came from — and Who caused the explosion.
I am presently taking a course on the early church fathers at Ashland Seminary, and one of the things I discovered about the earliest Christian thinkers is how much emphasis they put on the importance of creation. In their minds, if you get it wrong here you get it all wrong. Irenaeus wrote: “We hold, however, the rule of truth, according to which there is one almighty God, who formed all things through His Word, and fashioned and made all things which exist out of that which did not exist.” The Christian faith holds that God created all that exists ex nihilo, that is, “out of nothing.” He did not start with something, he started with nothing — nothing except himself. He spoke the universes into existence, for the Bible says, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:6-9).
The doctrine of creation is so important because it is the foundation to understanding who God is, who we are and how the world got here. It is therefore the key to understanding the meaning of life. If you accept the fact of creation then you understand that life has a purpose and that we were created by a loving God who has a plan for our lives. We were made in God’s image, and because of that he has great interest in us and places great value on human life. Our lives give God pleasure. He cares about us and is on our side. Therefore, life has an eternal dimension.
If you do not accept the fact of creation then you have to say we are here through some cosmic accident. Life has no purpose or meaning. We are here as the result of the accidental meeting of molecules which evolved, and we are the result of countless years of evolutionary process. We merely developed from lower forms of life. There was no cause or purpose to it, it just happened. If this is true then, even though we may possess higher intelligence than other forms of life, we are still mere animals. We have no more rights or privileges than a kangaroo. Life is simply biology and we are merely protoplasm. There is no God and there is no plan. There is therefore no one to whom we are accountable and no universal, transcendent moral code. We are alone in the cosmos. If we need to worship something let us worship Gaia [Mother Earth], or the physical universe from which we came. This was the suggestion of Carl Sagan. Some are even worshiping themselves as God — getting in touch with their divinity. Morality becomes whatever the society at large decides it will be, and what you do in private is no one else’s business.