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OF THE CREATION.
He second species of external efficiency is commonly called Creation. As to the actions of God before the foundation of the world, it would be the height of folly to inquire into them, and almost equally so to attempt a solution of the question. * With regard to the account which is generally given from 1 Cor. ii. 7. he ordained his wisdom in a mystery, even the hidden mystery which God ordained before the world,'—or, as it is explained, that he was occupied with election and reprobation, and with decreeing other things relative to these subjects,—it is not imaginable that God should have been wholly occupied from eternity in decreeing that which was to be created in a period of six days, and which, after having been governed in divers manners for a few thousand years, was finally to be received into an immutable state with himself, or to be rejected from his
* Milton elsewhere alludes to the less serious employments of the Deity before the creation of the world, referring to Prov. viii. 24, 25, 30. • God himself conceals us not his own recreations before the world was built; “I was,” saith the eternal Wisdom, “ daily his delight, playing always before bim.”' Tetrachordon. Prose Works, II. 128. And again,
Before the hills appear'd, or fountain flow'd,
presence for all eternity.
That the world was created, is an article of faith ; Heb. xi. 3. “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.'
Creation is that act whereby God the Father produced every thing that exists by his Word and Spirit, that is, by his will, for the manifestation of the glory of his power and goodness.
Whereby God the Father. Job. ix. 8. "which alone spreadeth out the heavens, Isai. xliv. 24. "I am Jehovah that maketh all things : that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself. xlv. 6, 7. that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else: I form the light, and create darkness. If there be any thing like a common meaning, or universally received usage of words, this language not only precludes the possibility of there being any other God, but also of there being any co-equal person, of any kind whatever. Neh. ix. 6. 6thou art Jehovah alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens.' Mal. ii. 10. have we not all one Father ? hath not one God created us?' Hence Christ himself
Matt. xi. 25. I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth.' So too all the apostles, Acts iv. 24. compared with v. 27. •Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is....the kings of the earth stood up....against the holy child Jesus.' Rom. xi. 36. .for of him, and through him, and to him are all things.' 1 Cor. viii. 6. to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things.' 2 Cor. iv. 6. for God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Heb. ii. 10. him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things.' iii. 4. he that built all things is God.'
By his Word. Gen. i, throughout the whole chapter— God said.' Psal. xxxiii. 6..by the word of Jehovah were the heavens maue.' v. 9. •for he spake, and it was done.' cxlviii. 5. "he commanded, and they were created.' 2 Pet. iii. 5. by the word of God the heavens were of old,'—that is, as is evident from other passages, by the Son, who appears hence to derive his title of Word. John i. 3, 10. all things were made by him : by him the world was made.' 1 Cor. viii. 6. to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things.' Eph. iii. 9. who created all things by Jesus Christ. Col. i. 16. .by him were all things created.' Heb. i. 2. "by whom also he made the worlds ;' whence it is said, v. 10. thou hast laid the foundation of the earth.' The proposition per sometimes signifies the primary cause, as Matt. xii. 28. "I cast out devils (per Spiritum) by the Spirit of God.' 1 Cor. i. 9. “God is faithful, (per quem) by whom ye are called,'—sometimes the instrumental, or less principal cause, as in the passages quoted above, where it cannot be taken as the primary cause, for if so, the Father himself, of whom are all things, would not be the primary cause ; nor is it the joint cause, for in such case it would have been said that the Father created all things, not by, but with the Word and Spirit; or collectively, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit created; which phrases are nowhere to be found in Scripture. Besides, the expressions to be of the Father, and to be by the Son, do not denote the same kind of efficient cause. If it be not the same cause, neither is it a joint cause ; and if not a joint cause, certainly the Father, of whom are all things, must be the principal cause, rather than the Son by whom are all things; for the Father is not only he of whom, but also from whom, and for whom, and through whom, and on account of whom are all things, as has been proved above, inasmuch as he comprehends within himself all lesser causes ; whereas the Son is only he by whoin are all things ;* wherefore he is the less principal cause.
Hence it is often said that the Father created the world by the Son,tbut never, in the same sense, that the Son created the world by the Father. It is however sometimes attempted to be proved from Rev. ii. 14. that the Son was the joint, or even the principal cause of the creation with the Father ; 'the beginning of the creation of God;' where the word beginning is interpreted in an active sense, on the authority of Aristotle.* But in the first place, the Hebrew language, whence the expression is taken, nowhere admits of this sense, but rather requires a contrary usage, as Gen. xlix. 3. • Reuben, thou art....the beginning of my strength.' Secondly, there are two passages in St. Paul referring to Christ himself, which clearly prove that the word beginning is here used in a passive signification. Col. i. 15, 18. “the first born of every creature,.... the beginning, the first born from the dead,'—where the position of the Greek accent, † and the passive verbal apotótoxos, show that the Son of God was the first born of every creature precisely in the same sense as the Son of Man was the first born of Mary, nipotótoxos, Matt. i. 25. The other passage is Rom. viii. 29. • first born among many brethren ;' that is, in a passive signification. Lastly, it should be remarked, that he is not called simply the beginning of the creation,' but of the creation of God;' which can mean nothing else than the first of those things which God created; how therefore can he be himself God? Nor can we admit the reason devised by some of the Fathers for his being called, Col. i. 15. the first born of every creature,'-namely, because it is said v. 16. "by him all things were created. For had St.
* For an answer to this assertion, and indeed with reference to the whole of this chapter, see Waterland's Second Sermon in defence of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, where he proves that Christ is properly Creator.
+ He Heaven of Heavens and all the Powers therein
* See Aristotle's Metaphys. iv. 1. Milton alludes to the same interpretation in his logical work. • Hinc causa proprie dicta, principium quoque nominatur a Cic. I. de Nat. Deorum, sed frequentius apud Græcos.' Artis Logicæ plenior Institutio, &c. Prose Works, VI. 205.
+ In allusion to the opinion of Isidore Pelusiota, Erasmus, and others (with whom Michaelis agrees, Annotat. ad Paraphr. ad Col. i. 15.) that it should not be read πρωτότοκος, primogenitus, but πρωτοτόκος, primus genitor.
| Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Tertullian (contra Marcionem, lib. v.) Novatian. See also Athanasius, Orat. ii. contra Arianos.