God is not merely a creator; he is the Creator. This is a major theme in the Scriptures. Over sixty times, God is either said to have created or is referred to as the Creator. The biblical writers clearly thought that God’s role as creator should be kept in mind. He is sculptor, painter and composer, and the universe is his block of marble, his canvas, and his staff paper.
His “Creation Symphony” is the archetype for every form of musical expression, from Bach to Dylan to Justin Bieber. Every composer since has merely drawn from his material. Every composition since has been a “Variation on a Theme.” He made birds and streams sing, waves and waterfalls crash. The wind croons; the oceans roar; the leaves on a billion trees dance, and all his creatures keep time to the music.
God is the most daring, most imaginative artist in the universe. He has filled the seas with creatures of every shape and size and brilliant color. He paints his birds and fish and sunsets with hues so vivid and lines so bold that our most avant garde painters seem tame by comparison.
On my shelf is a book titled, “Galaxies,” by the science writer, Timothy Ferris. It includes photos taken from observatories around the world, and they are stunning. There is the Horsehead Nebula, draped like a king’s charger in royal reddish-purple, raring up at the stars forever. The Orion nebula looks as if it exploded a moment ago, when our heads were turned. Then there is the reddish orange Eagle Nebula, blazing like an astronomical forest fire, and measuring 70 light years in diameter. Since one light year is approximately 6 trillion miles, the Eagle Nebula measures about 420 trillion miles from side to side. God paints on a big canvas. Our own average-sized galaxy is bigger yet, and it is only one of an estimated 350 billion such galaxies in the universe. That is a big, big canvas.
The first verse of the Bible tells us that in the beginning, God created (that word is always and only used of God) the heavens and the earth, and he created it, the author of Hebrews tells us, simply by commanding it to be. We see this again and again in the first chapter of Genesis. Like a leitmotif in a symphony, the words “And God said” repeat, with the subsequent refrain, “and it was so.”
Verse 3: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Verse 6: “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.’” Verse 7: “And it was so.” Verse 9: “And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’ And it was so.” God did not paint Orion’s fireworks with a brush, but with a word. He creates by speaking.
That is a theme we see repeated in the Scriptures: God’s word is powerful. He creates photons and fish and birds and rivers and mountains and suns and nebulae and galaxies just by speaking them into being. When he speaks, things happen. His word – the expression of his thought – brings worlds into being. He “calls things that are not as though they were.”1
The whole of creation is his realm, and his entire realm responds to his voice, and it does not matter whether we are talking about our home (this solar system) or our neighborhood (the spiral arm of our galaxy) or our town (the Milky Way) or the furthest reaches of the universe. God speaks, and it is so.