Creation in Isaiah
The truth of creation is a theme running through the whole of the Holy Scriptures. In Genesis we have the basic statements of God creating the heavens and the earth in the beginning, and some details of His work in the six days. The Psalms draw attention to the wonder, beauty and care shown in the creation, which show the power, glory and wisdom of the Lord. It was John Ray, the seventeenth century Puritan biologist, who put the text of Psalm 104:24 on the title page of the great book, The Ornithology of Francis Willoughby, that he edited for his patron and friend in 1678: “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.”
While three particular Hebrew words are used frequently elsewhere in the Old Testament, they occur together in Isaiah 45:18 and are translated “created”, “formed” and “made”. It is interesting that these words, bara (to prepare, form, fashion, create), yatsar (to form, fashion, frame, constitute), and asah (to do, make), are much more frequently used with reference to the creation in one particular book than in any of the others in the Old Testament: Isaiah.
The Old Testament prophets, with reference to Israel and the nations, portray God as the supreme ruler, king of the whole world. He is shown to be able and active. Like earthly monarchs, but of course superior to them, He is described as being capable of building or destroying, producing ruin or prosperity.
Emphasising this authority and power, references are made to God as the Eternal and the Creator. This makes Him not only vastly superior to any conceivable world ruler, whatever his powers and resources, but in a different category and unique. This approach is particularly apparent in Isaiah. It is a truth implied in the earlier chapters of the prophecy, but the statements are clearer and more frequent in the later passages of the book.
God’s power is indicated in that He will in judgment “shake terribly the earth”, in contrast with “man whose breath is in his nostrils” (Isaiah 2:19-22). This theme is continued when it is stated that He will assemble the outcasts of Israel, using geographical changes, for He “shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea: and with his mighty wind shall shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod” (Isaiah 11:12,15-16).
Further in the judgment of Babylon, described in chapter 13, God states He will stop the light of the moon and stars, and “I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place.” Again in chapter 24, we have the statement that “the Lord maketh the earth empty [baqaq—to make void], and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down.” That “the moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem” is recorded in the same chapter. This is similar to the state described in Revelation 21:23. Control of the Creation in Judgment is further illustrated in the prophecy against Ariel in chapter 29: “thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.” The greatness, power and wisdom of the Lord is described in the well-known gems of Isaiah 40: “who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” To Him “the nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” Also “He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers: that stretcheth out [natah—to stretch out] the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” His people are encouraged by the questions and statements: “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator [bara] of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.”
In chapter 41:18-20, God’s promised creation of fertility for Israel is mentioned; and in chapter 42:5, God is described as “He that created the heavens, and stretched [natah] them out; he that giveth breath [nishma] unto the people upon it, and spirit [ruach] to them that walk therein.” Jacob as a nation is also not to fear as the Lord has created (bara), formed (yatsar), made (asah) and redeemed him and will protect him (chapter 43:1,2,7,15]. This is repeated in chapter 44:21 and 24.
King Cyrus is told (chapter 45:7,12). “I form the light and create [bara] darkness”; “I have made [asah] the earth, and created [bara] man upon it; I, even my hands, have stretched out [natah] the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” Also that Israel shall be saved with an everlasting salvation: “For thus saith the Lord that created [bara] the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made [asah] it not in vain [tohu]—without form, as in Genesis 1:2], he formed [yatsar] it to be inhabited” (chapter 45:17-18). Thus an eternal, purposeful and benevolent Creator is revealed to this heathen Persian king.
Israel is reminded of her God being the Eternal and the Creator in chapter 48:12-13: “I am the first and I am also the last. Mine hand hath also laid [yasad] the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens; when I call unto them they stand together.” In chapter 51:12-13, the nation is comforted and reminded not to forget “The Lord thy Maker [asah], that hath stretched forth [natah] the heavens, and laid [yasad] the foundations of the earth.” There is more comfort in chapter 54:5, where her Maker is described as her husband.
Numerous other references are made by the prophet, to God acting as Creator and Controller of the natural world to fulfil His purposes. The climax in both prophecy and powerful activity is reached on a happy note in the last chapters, as the Lord states, “For behold I create [bara] new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create [bara] for behold I create [bara] Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy” (chapter 65:17-18). He also promises: “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make [asah] shall remain before me … so shall your seed and your name remain” (chapter 66:22).
Throughout this book of Isaiah there is no suggestion of the use of an evolutionary process, but God’s action in Creation being mighty and immediate. Thus in picturesque, but accurate and not extravagant language, the inspired prophet records for his day and ours the importance of the doctrine of Creation. God, who is more than a superior ruler or earth mover, brings prophecy to pass, just as He brought forth the heavens and the earth, and He controls them. This is comfort for His people and a warning to man who is possessed of a rebellious nature and is proud of his material achievements.
Man is God’s vice-regent in the earth since the day Adam was given dominion over every living thing (Genesis 1:28 and Psalm 8:6). He was put in ‘the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it’ (Genesis 2:15). A number of other scriptures point to his being responsible to treat the Creation properly. The avoidance of disturbing the mother bird (Deuteronomy 22:6-7) is one example. The care of the domestic beast is commended (Proverbs 12:10). The need for the observation of the sabbath for man, beast and the land is frequently enjoined. This last provides for the refreshment and renewal of these principal parts of the Creation. Such considerations should be of value to modern ecologists.
Of course, the New Testament references to Creation are also numerous. Here we have the further revelation of the Personality who created all things, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was in the beginning (John 1:3) and who is the Source, Sustainer and Saviour of the physical world (Colossians 1:16-17) as well as of the spiritual. The created universe is for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). Man, His creature, is expected to recognise the Creator through the observation of his created world (Romans 1:20-1). Here surely is justification for scientific study and research!
It was Sir Francis Bacon in the seventeenth century who stated that such activity was “for the glory of God and the relief of man’s estate.” However, failure to accept this doctrine of Creation through pride and unbelief shows man’s foolishness which leads to moral ruin and judgment. This is the ultimate result of evolutionary teaching. But the acceptance of the Divine teaching brings present blessing and the promise of participation in the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).
NOTE: Article reproduced courtesy of the Creation Science Movement, UK.