2008-02-02 - Heidelberg 6.1
Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 12
Question 6.1: Did God create people so wicked and perverse?
Answer: No. God created them good and in his own image, that is in true righteousness and holiness, so that they might truly know God their creator, love him with all their heart, and live with him in eternal happiness for his praise and glory.
Here we have the catechism digging deeper in the theme of our misery. We have been told of the Law of God, and that our natural tendency is to not live up to God's right standards. Now we progress a step further and ask, "Is this God's fault?" In other words, were we just born this way? Is some of the responsibility, for our wickedness and perversity, mitigated by the fact that God created us messed up? The catechism tells us that, in fact, God did not create us this way. God created us good. Even more, we are told in Genesis 1:31, as God surveyed His entire work of creation, that His creation was "very good."
We were created in God's image. What does this mean? It tells us that man, in his creation, resembled God in the spiritual and immortal nature of his soul. Now, when we are born, we bear the image of Adam (see Genesis 5:3), and this includes being like him in our natural form, and in our rebellion against God. In regeneration, we take on the image of Christ. Our image is changed and renewed. "And just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly," 1 Corinthians 15:49. God created us good, but in Adam's sin, all his posterity became wicked and perverse. We cannot revert to our failings in goodness and holiness to God. Mankind was created in righteousness and holiness, but in the Fall, all that was lost. It is only in Christ that the restoration of what was lost is brought back.
It is, however, more than restoration that we experience in Christ. We are given in Christ, not only the restoration of all that we lost in Adam's sin, but we are also given all that Adam was to fulfill had he remained without sin. It is a weighty thought. Not only does Christ make up all the lack that sin has brought into our lives, but He also furnishes all that Adam would have obtained, had he not sinned. Many have used the term "overplus" to describe what Christ brings to the sinner. In the application of His redemption to our lives, we not only have restoration, but the consummation of all that should have been, in the absence of sin. The image is restored. Holiness is renewed, and we possess the very righteousness of Christ - who has become our righteousness. It is an overplus. "So then as through one transgression there resulted in condemnation to all men, even so, through one act of righteousness, there resulted justification of life to all men," Romans 5:18.
Soli Deo Gloria,