CO-CREATORS WITH GOD: HOW CONTINUAL CREATION CHANGES WHAT WE DO, AND WHY WE DO IT

CO-CREATORS WITH GOD: HOW CONTINUAL CREATION CHANGES WHAT WE DO, AND WHY WE DO IT by Nick Davis for Core Christianity

“What do you do for a living?” This is a common question, usually meant to grease the skids in conversation. We use it at church or at parties—often when we’ve run out of other questions to ask. We’re hoping the answer will provide a point of contact to keep the exchange going, responding with answers like, “My sister is a teacher! What subject?” If there’s no point of contact, the dialogue is likely doomed, and it’s time to get more chips, or refill the drink.

But questions about our work can often be stressful, because with it we feel the need to explain the significance of what we do. I remember telling another guy at church that I work in construction sales only to receive a look as if I told him I sell electric bikes to fish!

We may not feel like we can justify the significance of our daily work, but there’s something called “the doctrine of continual creation” that provides meaning for what we do—not just in our jobs, but in each of our everyday tasks.

What is Continual Creation?

Continual creation doesn’t get the hype that initial creation—when God created all things out of nothing—often does. What it means, though, is that while God did initially create out of nothing by his word (see Gen. 1:1–3John 1:1–3), he has also charged this creation to build upon that initial word through ongoing creation. This doesn’t mean God’s initial creation was faulty, but that he created it with such a dynamism that it was empowered to produce an increase in creation itself!

As Michael Horton puts it, in Genesis there is “God’s command to creation to put forth its own powers with which he has endowed it and within which the Spirit is operative.”[1] We see this pattern in Genesis 1:11–12:

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, and each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Horton points out that with the command to “be fruitful and multiply” in verses 22 and 28, humans as well as all of creation are enlisted in this task of continuing creation.[2] This ongoing creation isn’t just a theory but also a calling for us.

Why Continual Creation Matters for You

We need to be carried by a sense of significance when we punch in every day. We need to feel like what we’re doing matters, be it in states of singleness or marriage, child rearing or infertility, great wealth or modest means, high-ranking office or as a minimum wage day-laborer, artist or accountant. In every vocation (calling), we need to know that what we do makes a difference, especially in the mundane and the muck of what most of our callings entail—needy newborns, unrealistic customers, or empty bank accounts. Continual creation ensures that as mundane as it may feel, what we’re doing builds upon God’s initial creation. As Horton goes on to say, the Holy Spirit is actually at work in beautifying and preserving the world through our activity.[3]

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