God the law-giver and his creation

Chapter 2 of Creation Regained covers the first theme of the creation-fall-redemption triad: creation. It's quite a lengthy chapter, so I'll cover it in two parts.

We might talk about "the story of creation" (in the beginning) and "the beauty of creation" (now), but in either case, Christians believe that God is intimately involved. Searching for a word to describe "the totality of God's ordaining acts toward the cosmos" (p.15), Wolters chooses to go with the word law. (I suppose we could also think of God's decrees.) God institutes laws of nature, but also gives laws for culture and society: norms.

Just as a human sovereign does certain things himself, but gives orders to his subordinates for other things, so with God himself. He put the planets in their orbits, makes the seasons come and go at the proper time, makes seeds grow and animals reproduce, but entrusts to mankind the tasks of making tools, doing justice, producing art, and pursuing scholarship. In other words, God's rule of law is immediate in the nonhuman realm but mediate in culture and society. In the human realm men and women become coworkers with God; as creatures made in God's image they too have a kind of lordship over the earth, are God's viceroys in creation (p.16).

In addition to that distinction between laws of nature and norms, we can distinguish between these general laws, and God's particular laws, for specific events to take place, or for specific people to do specific things.

In speaking of "creation" as "the correlation of the sovereign activity of the Creator and the created order" (p.14), the term becomes much broader in scope that what we usually take it to mean.

Usually when we speak of creation we have in mind the realities investigated by the natural sciences—the structure of the atom, the movements of the solar system, the life cycle of a plant, the building instinct of a beaver (p.24).

But, with the broader definition,

We will not make such a distinction if we understand creation in terms of a law-subject correlation. God's ordinances also extend to the structures of society, to the world of art, to business and commerce. Human civilization is normed throughout. Everywhere we discover limits and proprieties, standards and criteria: in every field of human affairs there are right and wrong ways of doing things. There is nothing in human life that does not belong to the created order (p.25).

So when (using God's general revelation and our wisdom) we figure out how best to run a business, we are uncovering something about God's creation, just as much as when we figure out how stars make their light.

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