08: Jesus, Provider and Sustainer – Thought Starters

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

[Thought questions for Jesus, Provider and Sustainer February 20, 2013]

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

1. Constantly sustaining. Which is the greater miracle—creating the earth and the cosmos and all its substance or keeping it going? What about the crucifixion of Christ? In what ways was that an even greater miracle? Is it more work to accept the creative power of God or the theory of evolution? When John says, “Without him nothing was made that was made,” does that include vicious or poisonous creatures?

2. Depending on Him for our survival. Have you ever studied complex mathematical formulas that describe nature in terms of its power and structure? Is mathematics strong enough and flexible enough to measure everything in the cosmos? A meteor lands in Russia and 1200 people are injured. Did God create that meteor and hurl it into space in our direction? What would nature be like if God withheld His sustaining power just for a short time? Will that ever happen?

3. Generosity. Why didn’t God just allow the wind to scatter seeds here and there and let the first ones there survive on what would grow from those seeds? We see pictures of starving people. Do we have enough food on earth to feed everybody? Then why are so many undernourished? What sort of responsibility does God place on His children in the midst of those who can’t obtain what food, clothing, or shelter they need for a healthy life?

4. When Mother Nature gets mad. Doesn’t it seem like a vile force has been turned loose when tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes tear some of our earth to pieces? Why do we call this force “Mother” nature? How did Job fare when destructive forces of nature took aim at him? Did God explain to Job exactly what was going on? If not, why not? Why does God allow sincere Christians to suffer the rampages of nature?

5. In charge. Do you look for and find the presence of God in the nature that surrounds us? Do you rather enjoy the succession of the seasons throughout the year and marvel at the way the rain, sun, clouds, and wind make it possible to grow and harvest crops in season? Or if you live closer to the equator, can you appreciate the coming and going of the sunshine and the rain? What if you live near the north (or south) pole? Is God present in nature even there? Will God ever forget to keep the sun lit in the sky even at night? Will He ever take a vacation from his responsibility as the caretaker and chief engineer (as well as Creator) of the universe?

6. A damaged creation. What did God provide for Adam and Eve as soon as they sinned? Were they aware of their need? Did they pay for or otherwise deserve the warm protective clothing God provided for them? How can the birds keep from freezing during near-zero winter weather? Does God provide for their survival, too? Can we cope with life’s extremities as well as the birds that flutter in the snow? How does the great controversy theme help us cope with hard times in this world below?

7. God and Mother Nature. Is it wrong to study scientific findings about the way our earth functions? Should our schools ban the study of science because modern science accepts evolution as an explanation of life? What about medical science? Would you like to be seeing a doctor who wasn’t concerned about the way our bodies work but simply placed his trust in the Scriptures? Should there be room in the Christian scholar’s thinking for unanswered questions? Examples, anyone?



08: Jesus, Provider and Sustainer – Thought Starters — 5 Comments

  1. Creatio Continua (Continual Creation)

    This has a long history since the time of Augustine. Creatio Continua is variously interpreted and sometimes considered as upholding creation (Hebrew 1:3) causing confusion of understanding. Upholding is not the same thing as creation. C. C. in modern deism holds that God initiated creation leaving natural laws to bring about the process of evolution considered as creation. C. C. in pantheism believes God to be an immanent, energetic power in nature: a driving force of evolution as continual creation. In both cases finished creation (Genesis 2:1) is denied. C. C. is seen as an ongoing evolutionary process of creation along the line of time and as long as time lasts. As God has not rested yet, the Sabbath is transposed into future time to be awaited as an eschatological gift. Any protological significance of the Sabbath is abolished, i. e. related to the origin of mankind at the beginning.

    How do we get out of this terminological confusion mixing up creation and upholding creation? The verb ktizein (to create) in the New Testament is a completed action in all instances, as far as context and grammar (aorist) is concerned. See Revelation 4:11; 10:6; 14:7; Matthew 19:4; Mark 13:19; Romans 1:25; 1 Corinthians 11: 9; Ephesians 2:10; 3:9; 4:24; Colossians 1:16; 3:10.
    As to the term upholding in Hebrews 1:3, the verb ferein (to uphold, to carry) in present tense denotes continued action.

    Conclusion: Creation is finished at the beginning (Genesis 2:1)followed by the continuous action of God upholding finished creation (John 5:17; Matthew 5:45; 7:26-30; Hebrews 1:3). There is no such thing as continual creation after finshed creation (Genesis 2:1). Creation and upholding creation are two different terms with two different meanings not to be mixed up to cause confusion.

    Winfried Stolpmann

    • Thank you for this explanation, Winfriede.

      I confess I`ve not run into this theory in just this form. It seems internally consistent and opposed to the gift of the Sabbath, but is quite different from `progressive creation` which I`ve seen espoused by some `progressive` Adventists.

      Are you seeing CC promoted anywhere in modern society? Among what people?

  2. When John says, “Without him nothing was made that was made,” Following that, I doubt if God made poisonous creatures the way they are now. when man sinned, knowing that everything was to be under him (man) those creations fell short of the glory of God. They certainly weren't part of God's original plan of Creation because God saw everything that HE had created as "GOOD".

    • Well, Norah..... that's a good query, and it has bothered me for a while! However, try and visualise this..... There is this company that makes beautiful glass, which you put in your house windows and people admire a lot.... you are proud of this company for putting you up to this image....... Then as your little ones play ball, .... smash! that beautiful glass goes into pieces...not beautiful anymore... and somebody asks you...' Who made such broken glass..... it is so ugly and so dangerous!!!' Would you, conscientiously, frankly and truthfully respond to this query by pointing them to the company? No, no, no.... you will point to the little ones who have broken the once beautiful image... and these little ones have not CREATED, but DEFORMED the ORIGINAL, CREATED NATURE!.... Get the picture?.... Stay blessed, Norah!


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