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by Thomas Boston
This will be evident from the following considerations:
1. The world could not make itself; for that would imply a horrible contradiction, namely, that the world was before it was; for the cause must always be before its effect. That which is not in being, can have no production; for nothing can act before it exists. As nothing has no existence, so it have no operation. There must therefore be something which has existence in itself, to give a being to those things that are; and every second cause must be an effect of some other before it be a cause. To be and not to be at the same time, is a manifest contradiction, which would infallibly take place if any thing made itself. That which makes is always before that which is made, as is obvious to the most illiterate peasant. If the world were a creator, it must be before itself as a created thing.
2. The production of the world could not be by chance. It was indeed the extravagant fancy of some ancient philosophers, that the original of the world was from a fortuitous concourse of atoms, which were in perpetual motion in an immense space, till at last a sufficient number of them met in such a happy conjunction as formed the universe in the beautiful order in which we now behold it. But it is amazingly strange how such a wild opinion, which can never be reconciled with reason, could ever find any entertainment in a human mind. Can any man rationally conceive, that a confused jumble of atoms, of diverse natures and forms, and some so far distant from others, should ever meet in such a fortunate manner, as to form an entire world, so vast in extent, so distinct in the order, so united in the diversities of natures, so regular in the variety of changes, and so beautiful in the whole composure? Such an extravagant fancy as this can only possess the thoughts of a disordered brain.
3. God created all things, the world, and all the creatures that belong to it. He attributes this work to himself, as one of the particular glories of his Deity, exclusive of all the creatures. So we read, Isa 44:24, "I am the LORD, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by myself." Chapter 45:12, "I have made the earth, And created man on it. I; My hands; stretched out the heavens, And all their host I have commanded." Chapter 40:12,13, "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, Measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as his counselor has taught him?" Job 9:8, "He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea." These are magnificent descriptions of the creating power of God, and exceed every thing of the kind that has been attempted by the pens of the greatest sages of antiquity. By this operation God is distinguished from all the false gods and fictitious deities which the blinded nations adored, and shows himself to be the true God. Jer 10:11 "Thus you shall say to them: "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens. He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion." Psalm 96:5, " All the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens." Isa 37:16, "You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth." None could make the world but God, because creation is a work of infinite power, and could not be produced by any finite cause: For the distance between being and not being is truly infinite, which could not be removed by any finite agent, or the activity of all finite agents united.
This work of creation is common to all the three persons in the adorable Trinity. The Father is described in Scripture as the Creator, 1 Cor. 7:6, "The Father, of whom are all things." The same claim belongs to the Son, John 1:3, "All things were made by him," [that is to say-] the Word, the Son; John 1:3 "All things were made through Him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." The same honour belongs to the Holy Spirit, as Job 26:13, "By His Spirit He adorned the heavens." Job 33:4 "The Spirit of God has made me," says Elihu, "and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." All the three persons are one God; God is the Creator; and therefore all the external works and acts of the one God must be common to the three persons. Hence, when the work of creation is ascribed to the Father, neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit are excluded; but because as the Father is the fountain of the Deity, so he is the fountain of divine works. The Father created from himself by the Son and the Spirit; the Son from the Father by the Spirit; and the Spirit from the Father and the Son; the manner or order of their working being according to the order of their subsisting. The matter may be considered in this way: All the three persons being one God, possessed of the same infinite perfections; the Father, the first in subsistence, willed the work of creation to be done by his authority: "He spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast."-In respect of immediate operation, it peculiarly belonged to the Son. For, "the Father created all things by Jesus Christ," Eph. 3:9. And we are told, that "all things were made through him," John 1:3. This work in regard of settlement and ornament, particularly belongs to the Holy Ghost. So it is said, Gen 1:2, "and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters," to embellish and adorn the world, after the matter of it was formed. This is why it is also said, Job 26:13 "By His Spirit He adorned the heavens."
The Beauties of Boston a list of other extracts from Thomas Boston here at Fire and Ice.
About "The Beauties of Boston" A note about Thomas Boston and how his "Beauties" came to be collected.
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