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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


IX. Que. What is the work of creation?
Ans. The work of creation is God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

Q. 1. What is meant by creation?
A. I. Negatively, by creation is not meant any ordinary production of creatures, wherein second causes are made use of.
2. Positively, creation is— (l.) A making things of nothing, or giving a being to things which had no being before. Thus the heavens were made of nothing, the earth and waters, and all the matter of inferior bodies were made of nothing; and thus still the Souls of men are made of nothing, being immediately infused by God. (2.) Creation is a making things of matter naturally unfit, which could not by any power (put into any second causes) be brought into such a form; thus all beasts and cattle, and creeping things, and the body of man, were at first made of the earth, and the dust of the ground; and the first woman was made of a rib taken out of the man.

Q. 2. Are all things that are made God's creatures?
A. Yes. I. All things that were made the first six days were most properly and immediately created by God.
2. All the things that are still produced, are God's creatures. (1.) Because the matter of them was at first created by God. (2.) Because the power which the creature hath of producing another is from God. (3.) Because in all productions God doth concur as the first cause, and most principal agent. And lastly, Because the preservation of things by God in their being, is, as it were, a continued creation.

Q. 3. Whereby did God create all things at first?
A. God created all things by the word of his power. It was the infinite power of God which did put forth itself in erecting the glorious frame of the heavens aud earth, and that by a word speaking. "God said, Let there be light, and there was light; Let there be a firmament, and the firmament was made," &c.— Gen. 1:8, 6. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast."— Ps. 33:8-9.

4. In what time did God create all things?
A. God created all things in the space of six days. He could have created all things together in a moment; but he took six days' time to work in, and rested on the seventh day, that we might the better apprehend the order of the creation, and that we might imitate him in working but six days of the week, and in resting on the seventh.

Q. 5. What was God's work on the first day?
A. On the first day— 1. God created heaven; that is, the highest heaven, called the third heaven, which is removed above all visible heavens, where the throne of God is, and the seat of the blessed; in which the angels were created, who are called the hosts of heaven, and the sons of God, who rejoiced in the view of the other works.— Job 38:7. 2. God created the earth and the water mingled together, without such distinct, beautiful forms, either of themselves or of the creatures, which afterwards were produced out of them. 3. God created light, which was afterwards placed in the sun and moon, and other stars, when they were made.

Q. 6. What was God's work on the second day?
A. On the second day—1. God created the firmament, which seemeth to include both the heaven, in which afterwards the sun, moon, and stars, were placed, and likewise the air (called often heaven in Scripture), where after the birds did fly. 2. God divided the waters which were above part of the firmament of air, from the waters beneath the firmament of air; that is, he placed distinct the waters which were above the clouds from the waters which were mingled with the earth.

Q. 7. What was God's, work on the third day?
A. On the third day—1. God gathered the waters which were mingled with the earth into one place, and called them Seas; and the dry land which then appeared, he called Earth. 2. He caused the earth to bring forth all kinds of trees, plants, and herbs, before there was any sun or rain upon the ground.

Q. 8. What was God's work on the fourth day?
A. On the fourth day—1. God made the great lights, the sun and moon; and the lesser lights, namely, the stars; and placed them in the heavens. 2. He appointed these lights their motions, office, and use, to compass the earth, to rule the day and the night, and to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years.

Q. 9. What was God', work on the fifth day?
A. On the fifth day—1. God made of the waters, whales, and all kind of great and small fishes, with every living creature which moveth in the sea. 2. God made of the waters, all kind of winged fowls, which fly in the open heaven.

Q. 10. What was God's work on the sixth day?
A. On the sixth day—1. God made of the earth, all beasts, and cattle, and creeping things. 2. God made the first man, his body of the dust of the ground, and immediately created his soul in him, breathing in him the breath of life; and the woman he made of a rib taken out of his side.

Q. 11. Wherefore did God create all things?
A. God created all things for his own glory, that he might make manifest—1. The glory of his power, in effecting so great a work, making every thing of nothing by a word. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things."— Rev. 4:11. 2. The glory of his wisdom, in the order and variety of his creatures. "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all."— Ps. 104:24. The glory of his goodness, especially towards man, for whom he provided first a habitation, and every useful creature, before he gave him his being.

Q. 12. In what condition did God create all things at first?
A. God made all things at first very good. "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."— Gen. 1:31. All the evil which since hath come into the world, is either sin itself, which is the work of the devil and man, or the fruit and consequence of sin. God made man good and happy; man made himself sinful and miserable.

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