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THB WORK OF CREATION.
Genesis, 11. 1, 2.-Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made ; and he rested the seventh day from all his work, which he had made.
Men have always been disposed to be wise above what is written and to lean to their own understanding, rather than divine revelation. The astronomers, who hold the highest rank among philosophers, have made such great discoveries respecting the sun, moon and stars, that they have called in question the account which God has given, by Moses, of the creation of the world. They suppose, that the heavens and earth, which Moses mentions, compose but a small part of the works of creation ; and that angels and men compose but a small part of intelligent creatures. ,They imagine, that all the fixed stars are centres of so many distinct systems, just as the sun is the centre of our system ; and that all those material worlds are as full of rational inhabitants as this world is. This opinion is generally adopted by commentators and divines, as well as by Mr. Stackhouse in particular, in his History of the Bible. But it is a serious question whether this opinion is not more philosophical than scriptural ; and whether it does bear hard against the account which the great Creator himself has given of his great work in our text. « Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work, which ke had made ; and he rested the seventh day from all
his work, wbich he had made."
These words plainly suggest this general idea.
That God created all things in the space of six days. I shall,
I. Consider what things God did create in the period of six days; And,
II. Show that those things, which he created in that period, comprise all his works of creation.
1. We are to consider what things God did create in the period of six days.
This we may easily colleet from the account which, Moses and other inspired writers have given us of the works of creation. Moses tells us what God created the first day, what he created the second day, what he created the third day, what he created the fourth day, what he created the fifth day, what he created the sixth day and sums up the whole in the words of the text. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made ; and he rested the seventh day from all his work, which he had made.” It appears by this account, that the heavens and the earth with their hosts, that is, with their inhabitants, comprise all things, that were created in the space of six days. By the heavens we are to understand the upper and lower heaven, or the visible and invisible heaven, The upper heaven is the invisible world, where God and all perfectly holy beings reside ; and where all perfectly sinful beings are confined. The lower or visible heaven contains the sun, moon and stars ; and the earth, with every thing that lives and moves and exists, either upon it, or below its surface. All these things contained in the heavens and the earth were created at one and the same time, or in the space of six days. This we may fairly collect, not orly from the account, which Moses has given us of creation, but from the account, which other inspired writers have given us of that great work. In the twentieth of Exodus we read, “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is ;' that is, all the creatures, whether rational or irrational, which are in heaven and earth. In the first of John we read, “ In the beginning was the Word ; and the Word was with God ; & the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him ; and without him was nothing made.” Here God is said to create all things by Jesus Christ ; and to create nothing without him. As this refers to Moses' account of the creation in six days, so it confines the creation of all things to that particular period of time. But it may be said, that none of the texts, which have been cited, prove that angels were created at the same period, when the heavens and the earth were created.
This however, is asserted by another sacred writer. The apostle Paul declares, that Christ is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. “ For," he adds, “ by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities ; all things were created by him and for him.” This passage puts it beyond doubt, that not only the heavens and the earth, but all their hosts of men and of angels were created by Christ and that in the space of six days. I now proceed to
II. That those things, which were created at that one period of time, comprised, or included all things, that ever were created. This will appear from various considerations.
1. There is reason to think, that when God began to create, he would not rest, until he had completely finished his whole work of creation. This Moses
represents him to have done in the text. He says he did not rest, until he had created the heavens and the earth and all that he intended to create at that time. We are not to suppose, that God rested from creating the heavens and the earth at the end of six days, because his creating power was exhausted; but merely because he had finished what he proposed to create.
When he began to create, he might have continued to create
from that time to this and may still continue to create forever. But supposing he has been creating and will be creating from eternity unto eternity, his works of creation must nevertheless be limited. He cannot, to speak with reverence, continue to create, till his power is exhausted and all space is filled ; so that there is no room left to make another world. His works of creation, therefore, must be bounded, both by time
And if they must be bounded by time, why not by six days, as well as by six years, or six thousand years, or any longer space of time ? He was undoubtedly able to create all, that he ever designed to create, in six days, as well as in any longer period of duration. And if his works must be bounded by space, which never can be filled, why should they not be bounded by that proportion of space, which the heavens and the earth now occupy, as well, as any other? God was governed by his wisdom and not by his power, in respect to creation. His wisdom dictated how many things he should create and how long he should be in creating them. And since he has told us, that he finished the work of creation in six days, we have reason to think, that he did create all that he intended to create in that space of time. If any imagine, that it would have been wiser and better, if he had continued to create much longer and made many more worlds and then rested ; let them consider where this mode of reasoning would carry them. Had he created world after world for thousands, or millions of years, it still might be asked, whether it would not have been wiser and better to create as many more ? It is, therefore, just as reasonable to believe, that God created all, that he ever did create, or ever intended to create, in six days, as in any other space of time, that could be mentioned, or conceived.
2. All the works of God must compose but one whole, or perfect system. This we may safely conclude froin the perfect wisdom of God. He could not consistently begin, or continue to operate, before he had formed a wise and benevolent design to be an
swered by creation. This design must have been one and comprised the nature and number of all things, that he ever should create ; because it would not have been wise to create any one thing, but what would some way, or other, tend to promote his one great and good design. Every house is built by some man; and every wise builder forms, as nearly as he can, the dimensions of the house he is going to build and fixes in his own mind all the materials necessary to complete his building. He means to provide as many and no more articles, than he supposes are necessary to finish his house. Now, the apostle tells us, that "he, who built all things, is God.” If the only wise God made all things, then he had a wise and good design in making all things; and if he had a wise and good design in making all things, then he made nothing more, nor less, than he foresaw would have a tendency, some way or other, to promote his one, connected and pefect design in creation. Suppose God had created a million of worlds and no more, the reason would have been, that so many worlds and no more and no fewer would completely answer bis design in creating And all these could not answer his one great design in creating them, without composing one whole, or connected system. For if they were not connected, there would be no reason for creating just so many and no more. Hence it appears, that all the works of creation, be they more or less in number, must compose one whole, made up of all its parts connected together. And it this be true, it is reasonable to suppose, that God created all things at once ; or that when he began to create, he continued to create, till he had created
every thing, which he foresaw would be necessary to carry into effect his one, original and perfectly wise and good design in creation. And he could create all these things in six days, as well as in any other period of time
3. Those things, which we know God did create in six days, compose a whole, or form a complete system. The lower heaven is intimately connected with the