For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full (II Cor. 10:3-6).

Captive Thoughts” is dedicated to bringing every thought captive to Christ through the study of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, with primary focus on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This effort is a compilation of several years of catechetical study conducted at Westminster Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Westminster, California, by its Christian Education Committee and the author of this site.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q10


The Doctrinal Heading for this section of questions (Q9-11) is Creation and Providence. (see Harmony Index)

In the previous catechism question, we looked at the work of creation—God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, all very good. We continue now with the creation of man. Though not listed as one of the proof texts, Psalm 139:14 is a good place to begin our meditations: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well.”
Once again, we pray that the Lord would increase our understanding of these things, that he would bless our studies to his glory and our maturity as we appreciate his design and wonderful purpose.
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WSC Q10. How did God create man?
A.  God created man male and female, after his own image[a], in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness[b], with dominion over the creatures[c].
   [a] Gen. 1:27
   [b] Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24
   [c] Gen. 1:28; see Ps. 8
Question #10 asks the question “how did God create man,” and answers that God created man, male and female, in his own image and in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, to rule over the other creatures.
Comments and considerations:
Note that the previous question taught us that God created all things “out of nothing;” but although this question doesn’t tell how God created man male and female, we know it was out of existing material. Instead, the focus is on the creation of man in God’s image, that is, the nature and character of God defined in this context from Scripture (Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24) in terms of “knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.” 
The word “image” is not foreign to us, particularly today, when there are so many ways to capture images in various forms and mediums. But the catechism gives us a Biblical definition; we were made in the image of God specific to knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. In his excellent Shorter Catechism study guide (Vol. I), G. I. Williamson explains these three terms:
Knowledge: man’s ability “to understand God’s revelation of himself in the world.”
Righteousness: the ability to do “what God will have him to do”; the ability to live in obedience.
Holiness: the condition of being “without sin, ...wholly consecrated to God.”
Man was created differently than the animals; he was able to think and respond with an aim to giving God glory.  G.I. Williamson rightly points out how Adam filled the role of prophet in knowledge (Ps. 36.9b), that of a king in righteousness (Is. 30:21), and that of a priest in holiness (I Kings 8:61a); and “because he knew the Lord’s will (as a prophet) and desired to serve Him only (as a priest), he was also able to do the works of righteousness as king of creation.”  Thus, that “thinking as a prophet, [motivation] as a priest, and acting as a king—was the very image of God.”
G.I. Williamson goes on to say that “we would do well to keep this in mind as we study the remainder of the Catechism.”  We will see Adam’s and all of mankind’s subsequent fall from the estate wherein he was created, the effects of sin, the marvelous work of redemption, and all that follows in God’s redeeming grace unto the end. As Paul, the apostle of our faith, rightly proclaims, “Eye hasnot seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him” (I Cor. 2:9). To this we might add Ps. 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well.”
Training Hearts and Teaching Minds Questions:
1.    The mere, yet profound, fact that God created man, and for his own glory, ought to foster what kind of response and attitude in us? Read Ps. 100:1-3.
2.    During the creative acts of Genesis, God repeated, “It is good”; but what announcement did he make in Gen. 2:18? What does that teach us?
3.    How did God create man differently? See Gen. 1:27. What does the difference mean? (1)
4.    How is man to make use of his unique nature and image?  Read Jer. 9:23-24.
5.    When God created man, he gave him two commands. The first was to increase and fill the earth.  What was the second? Read Gen. 1:28. Compare this with Ps. 8.
Answer:
(1) See catechism question #4: Man is like God in that he also has a spirit, is a being possessing wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth (although not perfectly like our infinite, eternal, and unchangeable God). Man is like God in that man can think, communicate, plan, and act. 
Harmony of the Standards: WSC Q# 10; WLC Q#’s 17, and WCF IV.II
Q.  10. How did God create man?
A.  God created man male and female, after his own image[a], in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness[b], with dominion over the creatures[c].
[a] Gen. 1:27
[b] Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24
[c] Gen. 1:28; see Ps. 8

Q.  17. How did God create man?
A.  After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female[a]; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground[b], and the woman of the rib of the man[c], endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls[d]; made them after his own image[e], in knowledge[f], righteousness, and holiness[g]; having the law of God written in their hearts[h], and power to fulfill it, with dominion over the creatures[i]; yet subject to fall[j].
[a] Gen. 1:27
[b] Gen. 2:7
[c] Gen. 2:22
[d] Gen. 2:7; Job 35:11; Ecc. 12:7; Mat. 10:28; Luke 23:43
[e] Gen. 1:27
[f] Col. 3:10; Gen. 2:19, 20
[g] Eph. 4:24
[h] Rom. 2:14-15
[i] Gen. 1:28
[j] Gen. 2:16,17; Gen. 3:6; Ecc. 7:29
THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH
CHAPTER. IV.
Of Creation.
II.  After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female[a], with reasonable and immortal souls[b], endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image[c], having the law of God written in their hearts[d], and power to fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change[e]. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil[f]; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God[g], and had dominion over the creatures[h].
[a] Gen. 1:27
[b] Psalm 8:5, 6; Gen. 2:19, 20; Luke 23:43; Matt. 10:28
[c] Gen. 1:26; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24
[d] Rom. 2:14, 15
[e] Gen. 2:16, 17;  Gen. 3:6, 17
[f] Gen. 2:16, 17
[g] Gen. 2:17; Gen. 3:8-11, 23
[h] Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8:6-8
Questions for further study:

See how the instruction moves forward through the Shorter Catechism, progressing to the law written upon on the heart in the Larger, yet further to the necessity of specific instruction in the matters of obedience.  What might we learn regarding the Creator / Creature distinction if we would be happy and rule rather then be ruled by our sinful self?

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