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New City Catechism 5.2

Question 5: What else did God create?

Answer: God created all things by his powerful Word, and all his creation was very good; everything flourished under his loving rule.

What do we mean when we say something is “good”? “That was a good movie.” “That was a good burger.” “My son is a good baseball player.” “She is a good friend.” In all of these examples (and many more we could add), the word “good” means “well-suited to purpose.” A good movie fulfills the purpose of a movie: to entertain us with artistic beauty and enrich our lives with some kind of meaning that comes from the story. A good burger fulfills the purpose of food: to satisfy taste buds and fill the belly. A good baseball player fulfills the purpose of playing baseball: to perform according to the rules of the game with excellence for the sake of winning games. A good friend fulfills the purpose of friendship: to share joys and sorrows with another, to offer caring support when needed, etc.

When God finished his work of creation, he saw that it was very good (Gen. 1:31). What does it mean to say that creation was very good? It means it was well-suited to its purpose, namely, to be a theater in which God’s glory would be displayed as humanity, the priest-kings of creation, took dominion over it. The creation was teeming with life, abounding in wonders, and packed with potential for humanity to perfect it under God’s direction. This is the meaning of the doctrine of creation.

Sadly, we know how the story went from there. Instead of obeying God’s command, humanity rebelled against him, resulting in our exile from the holy place and a resulting curse upon the earth (Genesis 3). Instead of fulfilling its created purpose, the earth has instead become a graveyard for human beings destined to die under God’s wrath. This is why the earth groans: it wants the human bodies buried under its soil to be brought forth again, so that humanity may rule over it as originally designed by God. And through Jesus Christ, the last Adam who has conquered death, the earth will one day be set free.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Romans 8:18-25. What does this passage teach about God’s purpose for us and for creation? How does this passage show us that God never abandoned his original plan?

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