What do Christians believe? Why is the cross the symbol of their faith? In this series Pastor Tim Schouten of the Prince George Canadian Reformed Church explains some of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s good to start at the beginning.
Today, in this first part of Understanding Christianity, we’ll examine the first foundation of Christian belief, the teaching of the Bible about the origins of the universe.
Let’s first look at two famous statements: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Moses), and “man is the measure of all things” (Protagoras).
Which statement is true? We cannot honestly accept both at the same time. It’s clear that they put us on two very different foundations.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (the first verse of the Bible) is a massive claim about history and reality. It tells us that the universe had a beginning. At the same time, there is a God who was before the beginning. This God is the one who created, and therefore defined, our entire reality.
“Man is the measure of all things” is an equally massive claim. It tells us that there is no standard above the standards of humanity. Truth, meaning, and morality are all in our hands. In the words of John Lennon, there is no hell below us and above us only sky. There is no God. Therefore, we define our own reality.
So we see that these two statements present us with a fundamental choice of belief. Confronted with this choice, Christians emphatically accept the words of Moses and reject the words of Protagoras.
Christians believe that what is described in the first verse of the Bible really happened. They believe that everything we see and experience did not happen by accident (“time and chance acting on matter”), but was created and defined by an all-powerful God.
As it says in the New Testament: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Or as Christians confess in the first line of the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.”
God is the measure of all things, not humanity. This is the first foundation of the Christian faith, and it has profound implications for every other area of belief and life.
Author Rev. Tim Schouten