It’s so much easier to criticize than to contribute. But not everything is polemical, so having critiqued what I believe to be the (functional) evangelical stance on creation, I should offer some thoughts of my own.
We exist, you and I. But how do we exist? Only as creatures. To say that we are creatures is not the same as saying that we are beings, or humans, or people. We exist as creatures, beings which have been created. In this we are in good company, of course; but God is not a creature, a fact well attested to in Genesis 1. He is, rather, the divine Creator. Creator, creature. See the difference?
One of the features of creaturely existence is that of reception. Everything we have, we have received. Everything we have, we are receiving now. “These all look to you, to give them their food in due season” (Psalm 104:27). If God stopped providing us with all things, life and breath and everything else, we would not have these things— “When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust” (Psalm 104:29).
So much depends on our embracing of this creaturely virtue of reception. Because we are creatures, we can only receive from God; we cannot give anything to him. This teaches us humility, and prayer, and gratitude. Because we are creatures, we have no immediate (unmediated) knowledge of the future. What we know of our future we receive from God. This teaches us assurance and hope. Because we are creatures, we depend upon God for everything, mediated or unmediated. Rightly understood, this teaches us to work hard and to rest well.
I don’t think I’m trying to be clever here. I know the wording of creaturely virtues and reception is a little strange. Put the unfamiliar language aside. To say that we are creatures is to say that we are created, and that by a Creator. We have a nature, and we have ends. By embracing our creatureliness, we thrive, grow, flourish. By rejecting it, we betray our nature, and we will wither and die. To exist well is to exist as a creature.
Think for a minute about the last time you became angry. Would a bone-deep consciousness, understanding, and appreciation of your existence as a creature who has received everything from his Creator help you to be patient? Calm? Gracious? I think it must. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, as the Preacher says. This concept of being made, and therefore receiving everything we have and are, must affect our lives at the most fundamental level.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” To be a thing made, and to know my Maker—Isn’t that what the doctrine of creation should bring to light?