“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
The doctrine of ex nihilo teaches that God created the heavens and the earth, and all things in them out of nothing. It was by his will and through his word that the world came into being. What are some practical lessons we can learn from this doctrine?
1. Nothing created is eternal
All things, with the exception of God, have been created. And besides humanity all things that have been made will one day cease to exist. From the most beautiful places in nature to the most ordinary belongings found in our homes, everything will one day disappear. Therefore we should never put our hope in created things, however precious they may be, but only in God who has made it all.
“Because God created the entire universe out of nothing there is no matter in the universe that is eternal. All that we see—the mountains, the oceans, the stars, the earth itself—all came into existence when God created them….
Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology
2. God Rules Over All
If God is the creator of all things and beings then he also has the right to rule over them and use all things for his glory--however he sees fit. Thankfully he is a good and benevolent God who cares more than we do about the word he has made. But this also means that we have no right to complain and shake our fists against God when he choses to do things that we don’t understand or like. His decisions and actions are good, and he has the right to do as he pleases with what belongs to him.
3. God needs nothing
Before anything existed, before the heavens were formed and filled with stars, before air was created and birds took flight, God existed and was fully satisfied. God needs nothing to bring him glory or joy or satisfaction. He is completely self sufficient and his glory is forever.
4. Nothing in creation is to be worshipped
There is only one God, and he alone is worthy of worship. And yet humanity has a long history of worshipping false gods. How foolish are our attempts to worship little gods. For when we do it we are worshipping things that have been made, rather than the One who has made all things.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.
It seems so obvious--we must not worship created things, and yet we exalt things and try to fill our lives with them instead of exalting the Lord in our hearts who alone can fill our lives.
Only God can satisfy us in all areas, therefore we must not set our hearts on the world or the things in the world. Only the God who existed before the cosmos is worthy of our worship. Only the God who saves can fill us with true Joy. And only the giver of all good gifts can teach us how to enjoy his good gifts.