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World is a word that can mean different things in the Bible, depending on the context. It can mean the entire visible created universe (Gen. 1:1). It can mean the physical earth on which we live without necessarily making reference to its inhabitants (1 Sam. 2:8). It can mean the inhabited world (Prov. 8:31). It can mean all God’s people from every tribe and tongue in the world (1 John 2:2) or all those opposed to God’s plan in the world (1 John 2:16). This article considers the world as the entire created universe.


Genesis 1–2 explains how God made the world in six days, bringing it into existence simply by speaking the word. God made the world out of no preexisting materials, ex nihilo (Heb. 11:3). Creation was a Trinitarian work of God, since the word God speaks (Gen. 1:3) is related to the Word or Logos of John 1, the Son of God Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit was present at the beginning in Genesis 1:2.

Human beings are still learning about the world in which we live. There always seem to be smaller particles of matter to discover and more galaxies to see. Astronomers debate whether the universe will ever stop expanding. Most astronomers today believe that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, and they posit the existence of dark energy to explain this acceleration. It is quite possible that human beings will never reach the end of subatomic particle exploration or discover the edges of the universe. The created universe could reflect in a creaturely way the infinity of God, which means that only He can fully understand creation, since only God is truly infinite.

The created order shows forth many of God’s invisible attributes (Ps. 19, Rom. 1:20). According to Paul, God’s eternal power and divine nature are clearly revealed in the things that have been made. Thus, the world and everything in it—broadly speaking—glorify God. However, Paul also says in Romans 1 that human beings have suppressed the truth about God revealed in the world, and we fail to glorify Him and give Him thanks. Yet deep down, all human beings know there is a God and that He deserves their worship. The created order, therefore, renders every single person in the world without an excuse for giving God glory. So, the unregenerate are condemned for failing to glorify the Lord. The only way to escape this condemnation is through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit leading to faith in Christ to the glory of God the Father.


During a period of time when Reformed believers are attempting to work through and evaluate all the evidence, a measure of grace, humility, and patience would seem to be advisable. The Ligonier teaching fellows are an outstanding example of this attitude. More than one view of the age of the universe and the days of Genesis 1 is held among them without strife and enmity and without charges of compromise on the one hand or obscurantism on the other.

Western believers have a tendency to become practical deists. We confess that God created the world, but our cultural worship at the altar of naturalism leads many of us to go about our daily lives as if God no longer worked in His creation. As you go about your daily business, remember that God continues to work in your life.

R.C. Sproul

The Universe Created

Tabletalk magazine

The creation account in Genesis affirms that a person has place, value, and meaning because the Creator has assigned each of these to everything in His creation — not least humankind. That which is good is not intrinsically so; rather, we reckon as good only those things that the Lord reckons as good according to His Word (Gen. 1:4a). Similarly, we are not free to engage in behaviors that violate the natural order as God originally made it. He assigns a proper place to everything from light and darkness to the vegetation of the field to human beings, so we cannot deny the order He has established (vv. 4b–31). Finally, this world has meaning and purpose, which is impossible if everything just arose by chance. Our Creator gave us meaning when He stamped His image upon us and called us to take dominion of the earth for His glory (vv. 26–28), and thus any attempt to find purpose apart from Him is futile.

R.C. Sproul

God Creates the Universe

Tabletalk magazine

Natural revelation is limited in its scope, but that does not mean it fails to achieve its purposes. God reveals Himself in nature so that no one will be able to plead ignorance of His existence on the last day. His message gets through, and we can appeal to creation as proof of His existence when we are talking with unbelievers. Let us not be afraid to use God’s natural revelation to point others to Him.

R.C. Sproul

Natural Revelation

Tabletalk magazine