Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God…
I. IT IS A NECESSARY EXERCISE FOR THE CHILDREN OF GOD TO TURN THEIR MINDS TO THE CREATION.
1. It discovereth much of God.
(1) His essence.
(2) His attributes, goodness, power, wisdom.
2. It is a wonderful advantage to faith to give us hope and consolation in the greatest distresses.
3. It puts us in mind of our duty.
II. WE UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH AND WONDERS OF THE CREATION BY FAITH, AND NOT BY REASON.
1. There are three sorts of lights which God hath bestowed upon men: the light of nature, the light of grace, and the light of glory. There is the daylight of glory, which is the sun when it arises in its strength and brightness; and there is the light of faith, which is like the moon, a light which shines in a dark place; then there is the weak and feeble ray of reason, which is like the light of the lesser stars. By the first light, we see God as He is in Himself; by the second, God as He hath discovered Himself in the Word: by the third, God as He is seen in the creature.
2. In this world reason had been enough, if man had continued in his innocency. His mind then was his only bible, and his heart his only law; but he tasted of the tree of knowledge and hereby he and we got nothing but ignorance. It is true, there are some relics of reason left for human uses, and to leave us without excuse (John 1:9). But now in matters of religion, we had need of external and foreign helps. Man left to himself would only grope after God.
3. The only remedy and cure for this is faith, and external revelation from God. The blindness of reason is cured by the Word; the pride of reason is cured by the grace of faith. Revelation supplies the defect of it; and faith takes down the pride of it, and captivates the thoughts into the obedience of the truths represented in the Word; so that reason now cannot be a judge; at best it is but a handmaid to faith.
4. The doctrine of the creation is a ,nixed principle; much of it is liable to reason, but most of it can only be discovered by faith. If by faith only we can understand the truth and wonders of the creation, then —
(1) It informs us, that reason is not the judge of controversies in religion, and the doubts that do arise about the matters of God are not to be determined by the dictates of nature. If then we leave the written Word and follow the guidance of our own reason, we shall but puzzle ourselves with impertinent scruples, and leave ourselves under a dissatisfaction.
(2) It informs us that the heathens had never light enough for salvation. Certainly they are blind in the work of redemption, since they are so blind in the work of creation.
(3) It shows us the great advantage that we have by faith, and by the written Word.
(4) It informs us that religion is not illiterate. Grace doth not make men simple, but rather perfects human learning. None discern truths with more comfort and satisfaction than a believer; it solves all doubts and riddles of reason.
(5) We learn hence the properties of faith to have knowledge, assent, and obedience in it; therefore it is not a blind reliance, but a clear, distinct persuasion of such truths, concerning which human discourse can give us no satisfaction.
(6) It is the nature of faith to subscribe to a revelation in the Word, though reason give little assistance and aid. It serves to stir you up to act faith. What is the use of faith upon the creation? To answer all the objections of reason, and settle the truth in the soul, and to improve it for spiritual uses and advantages, and to facilitate the belief of other truths upon this ground; did He make the world out of nothing? Many truths are less wonderful than this.
(T. Manton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.