Theological Reflections

The Creator-Creature Distinction

The Westminster Assembly wrote: The distance between God and the creature is so great that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant (WCF 7.1).

The fact that there is a distinction between the Creator and man is obvious from the simple statement of Genesis 1:26,27 that God made man. Man cannot create; man is derivative, contingent, dependent. But God is none of these things. Paul expresses this truth in Romans 11:33-36. After having expounded the greatness of God’s plan of salvation, and His amazing method of procedure, Paul is constrained to worship and so he says:

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

It is obvious here that there is a distinction between creature and Creator. We have not searched out God’s judgments; we have not given to Him first. And this is true because all things are of Him. All things are derived from Him, contingent upon Him, dependent upon Him; but He needs none of them. God is absolute and independent.

This truth is expressed in poetic terms in Psalm 50:12, If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

We find Paul making the same point again in Acts 17:24,25, God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with menís hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.

David expresses this truth in connection with our service to God in the confession: for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee (1 Chronicles 29:14b).

Now at first glance this doctrine of the absolute independence of God may be somewhat disquieting. If God does not need us, if He is so vastly different from us, how can we even be sure that He cares for us? But there is great comfort in this doctrine. One thing is unchangeable; the most basic fact in the universe is unalterable, because neither derived, contingent or dependent. So that no matter what I do, no matter what may happen, God will still be God.

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