C.H. Spurgeon said of the Puritan Thomas Watson that he ‘was one of the most concise, racy, illustrative, and suggestive of those eminent divines who made the Puritan age the Augustan period of evangelical literature. There is a happy union of sound doctrine, heart-searching experience and practical wisdom throughout all his works, and his Body of Divinity is, beyond all the rest, useful to the student and the minister.’
The following summarises some of the things Watson has to say about God the Creator:-
1. God made the world out of nothing. We can only work with the materials which are to hand. God created the world out of nothing, without aid, Gen 1:1; Psa 33:6,9; Heb 11:3; we cannot understand or explain this: it is a mystery to be confessed. Matter, then is not eternal: God alone is eternal, and therefore he is absolutely unrivalled in his independence, Rom 9:5; sovereignty, and right to be worshipped. Since all things were created by God, they will all ultimately fulfil his purposes.
2. God made the world with his word. We require great effort, and much help, to make anything worthwhile. God created the world with a word, Psa 33:6.
3. God made the world ‘very good’. All our works are imperfect, tainted with evil. Creation was at first very good, Gen 1:31. Even now that there is sin in the world, the material creation is still good in God’s sight and should be seen as good by us. It is a false asceticism which sees the use and enjoyment of the material creation as wrong, 1 Tim 4:1-5. Though the created order can be used in selfish or even idolatrous ways, we must not let the danger of abuse keep us from a positive, thankful, joyful use of it, 1 Tim 6:17. Yet we must remember that all the things of this world are temporary. We are to set our hopes on God, Psa 62:10; 1 Tim 6:17; and on his kingdom, Col 3:1-4; Heb 12:28; 1 Pet 1:4.
4. God made man as the masterpiece of his creation. God adorned his creation with many wonderful things: flowers, fruit, rocks and jewels. But the man is the pinnacle and masterpiece, made by God’s deliberate counsel and with especial care, Gen 1:26. Certainly, our bodies are fashioned with exquisite craftmanship, Psa 139:14f. But the body is but the cabinet: the soul is the jewel.
5. God made the world for his own glory. Not as a home for himself, for he did not need it. He was content to contemplate his own excellencies and perfections before the creation of the world. Not as a mansion for us, for heaven is our abiding home, Jn 14:2. The world is a stopping-place on the road to eternity. It is not for us to rest in, but to travel through. God made the world as a totally free act to demonstrate his own glory and excellence, Psa 19:1; Prov 16:4; Isa 43:7; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11. Creation demonstrates God’s infinite power and wisdom, Jer 10:16, and his eternal power and divinity, Rom 1:20. God delights in his creation as it shows forth various aspects of the divine character, just as, in a far lower but still real sense, we delight in our creative acts, such as cooking, inventing, music-making, problem-solving, building, and so on.
1. Since God created the world, we have ample demonstration of God’s divinity, Jer 10:11; Acts 17:24. None but God can create. Two books God has written which are sufficient to leave all without excuse: creation, Rom 1:20, and conscience, Rom 2:15. Every star in the sky, every bird that flies, is a witness against unbelief.2. Since God created the world, we have a mighty assurance for our faith. What cannot our Creator-God do? Psa 124:8. He can do things which to us are impossible: he can soften a hard heart; he can purify the unclean heart. The same God who called forth light out of darkness shines in our hearts the light of redemption.
3. Since God created the world ‘very good’, then we learn to hate sin, which has wreaked so much ruin. ‘Sin has much eclipsed the beauty, soured the sweetness, and marred the harmony of the world.’ (Watson) Sin has brought sorrow, toil, thorns, banishment, and death, Gen 3:17ff.
4. Since God created the world, then we will find even more beauty and sweetness in the Creator than in the creation. If we find much excellence in the things of this world, how much more in him who made them all?
5. Since God created the world, then study creation and observe God’s works in it. Science is both necessary and possible, because there is a creator, whose works can be observed and have been invested with design and purpose, Psa 104:24.
6. Since God created the world, let us give him our obedience, for we have been made by God, and we belong to him, Acts 17:28.
7. Since God created the world, and made us ut of dust, then let us be humble, Gen 3:19.
8. Since God created the world, and our souls in his own image, let us not rest until God’s image has been restored, Col 3:10; Eph 4:24.
Based on Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, 114-119.