WCF 1.1

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence show the goodness, wisdom, and power of God so much as to leave people inexcusable, yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary for salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at various times and in diverse ways, to reveal himself and to declare his will to his Church. Afterwards, in order to better preserve and propagate the truth, and to more surely establish and protect the Church against the corruption of the flesh, the malice of Satan, and the malice of the world, it pleased the Lord to commit this wholly into writing, which makes the Holy Scripture most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will to his people now being ceased. (WCF 1.1)

I once had the great privilege of going to the Louvre in Paris. An amazing experience to say the least because as I walked through the vintage halls and beautiful rooms, I was inspired by the absolute brilliant talent of the many artists whose work was on display. And though I am not an art critic in any sense of the word, I think I had something right; I was never tempted to utter the words “wow, look what nature gave us”. Why? Well because the obvious stares you right in the face - the featured art is the creation of a creator.

This is exactly what 1.1 of the WCF begins with; nature reveals God - creation reveals that there is a creator - and thus all people are without excuse. That means that God has left enough of His fingerprints in and on His work to render any person “inexcusable” when it comes to knowing who they are in the scheme of things. In other words one should be able to look at the stars, at the animals, at the plants, even into what makes us human and declare with the Psalmist “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps 139:14). However and most unfortunately that actually isn’t “the created’s” anthem most of the time, no, many sing the chorus of the skeptics and parrot those like Richard Dawkin’s and Brian Cox’s antagonistic agnosticism declaring - we don’t know how we got here and neither do you. Why are we like that? Well because sin has rendered all creation not just blind, but dead to our creator’s good nature and thus instead of worshipping Him, humanity has turned in on itself and worshipped that which He created (Rom 1:19-20). It’s almost like we are walking around an old museum saying “wow, look what nature gave us”

Now that’s not to say that one can’t come to a real conviction that we are created (through general revelation) or see that there is a created order (through common grace) - we can - however that’s not to say one can come to a saving knowledge of our creator through creation (1 Cor 1:21,2:13-14). It’s like saying your now related to Van Gough and have a deep friendship with him because you’ve seen his paintings. No, though you might have seen and even studied his work, you still don’t really know one another or have friendship (or know what was going through his mind as he created his art). That’s why God had to (and wanted to) give us more than His creation for us to know Him - He had to give us His word, which is the revelation of His will or what we call “special revelation”. That “special revelation” was given in many different ways: dreams, visions, angelic visitations etc…yet was most clearly and finally expressed in the “Word with us” Jesus Christ which has all been “committed wholly into writing” (Jn 1:1-3, c.f. Heb 1:1-2).

Science might explain what, how, when, where - yet revelation gave us why as well - which revealed that our creator created this world for us to know, worship and imitate Him in it (Gen 1-2), yet because we rejected God, we spiritually died, and have become blind (Gen 3 c.f. Rom 5:12-14) thus instead of serving and loving Him, we serve and love ourselves in all manner of ways (doesn’t nature even teach us that!). Well the good news is that we don’t have to wonder around in the dark! Our creator has reached into His world yet again, becoming man, becoming a sacrifice, becoming our saviour (Phil 2:6-11).

Published: March 15, 2024

Updated: March 15, 2024