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Biblical worldview: Order and Communication |
In the last section, we introduced a biblical sanction for human works and business. We discussed also a few points taken from the first verses of the creation narrative (Gen. 1:1–2). The first primal creation scene gives us lessons on initiative, confidence, and attitude, among other things. The narrative of the six days of creation provides us even more insight into God’s works.
As we said before, Christianity today seems to have no shortage of reference to the seventh-day rest; but we have precious little preaching or teaching on “six days shalt thou labor.” When we look at these, we can see all kinds of aspects of work. Here are some of them from the first day.
Communication and Law-Order
Among the first acts of God in creation is to speak. He does this in two ways. The first is simple speech, “said.” By this Word, God created light. The second is more like public proclamation and rule: God “called” the darkness and light, “night” and “day.”
This latter aspect of naming is one we see God have Adam perform after him explicitly. In Genesis 2:19–20, God brings all the animals to Adam and has the man name each one. When God finally creates Eve, Adam names her, too: “woman,” for she was divided out and taken from man.
God exemplified all of this for us initially in another fundamental act of creation: division. He divided the light from the darkness. He classified them and named them. This is the science of “taxonomy,” and God himself was the first taxonomist.
These actions all work together as parts of God’s work of creation, and they are all properly parts of the works and business of man. In fact, they are vital to good and productive work.
Speaking, communicating, dividing, classifying, and naming are all aspects of the dominion God gave Adam (Gen. 1:26–28). In doing such works, man not only produces value, income, and can build wealth, he also grows experienced and wiser. The process of naming the animals had at least a two-fold purpose for Adam. One was for him to exercise, and thus realize and acknowledge, the dominion God had given him. This was a learning experience about his strengths and exclusive position in creation. The second, however, was for him to realize his need for a companion, and that the animals would not suffice for this. Thus, he also learned his weakness and need for a companion specifically meet for him.
Another key feature of God’s speaking is that it was the Word of God Himself at work. Paul tells us this was Christ (Col. 1:15–16), and John calls him logos, meaning “Word” or “Reason.” Specifically, the works of the first day reveal to us also the three fundamental aspects of the logic or reason of man as well—the logic God built into creation.
First is called the law of identity. “Identity” finds its ultimate source in the self-identity of God (Ex. 3:14). He imputes (or “names” via His Word) identity to His creation (see Heb. 1:3). The law of identity says, “A is A,” or “A thing is the same as itself.” This law undergirds all objective truth: If something is true, then it must be true unequivocally—not true sometimes, or true if, but plainly, simply true.
What we commonly call the law of non-contradiction builds upon identity: it says, “Something cannot be A and not-A at the same time and in the same relationship.” In other words, “A cannot be both true and false simultaneously.” In creation, we experience a diversity of things. We cannot rightfully claim that that which has an “identity of not-A” is the same as that which has an “identity of A.”
Finally, the law of excluded middle traditionally claims that something must be either true or false. Just as something cannot be both, it also cannot be neither. Something must be either “A” or “not-A.” This law reminds us again that reality is objective, but it also reinforces the fact that there is no ultimate neutrality. Either something is, or it is not; it is either true or false. No “middle” option exists.
In God’s naming-speech of the first day, we see the law of identity at work. In his division and giving separate names, we see the laws of excluded middle and non-contradiction. Day is day, and night is night. Day is not night, and night is not day.
God’s speaking and naming is not only orderly, it has direction and purpose. It is not empty nor a mere boast. It has meaning. Meaning adds to meaning to give direction, and direction leads toward the goal.
Likewise, God’s speech is not into an absolute void, but has an audience: himself, the Triune God. God creates; the Word is spoken; the Spirit hovers, the job is done. God’s speech here is not a soliloquy. It is divine communication.
Light, direction, rule, and logic are all fundamental aspects of planning and communication which work together to make God’s creation a law-order. God demonstrates this for us. The creation functions accordingly. Mankind is to image God’s law-order after him.
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