Lutheran Quotes on Creation

Lutheran Quotes on Creation:

Below are a number of great quotes from Lutheran Theologians on the six days of Creation.

Dr. Martin Luther:

“Hilary and Augustine, two great lights in the Church, believed that the world was made of a sudden and all at once (subito et simul), not successively during the space of six days. Augustine plays with these six days in a marvelous manner. He considers them to be mystical days of knowledge in the angels (mysticos dies cognateonis in angelis) and not six natural days. . . . As Moses is not instructing us concerning allegorical creatures or an allegorical world, but concerning natural creatures and a world visible and capable of being apprehended by the senses, he calls, as we say in the proverb, ‘a post a post,’ he calls the thing by the right name, day and evening; his meaning is the same as ours when we use those terms, without any allegory whatever” (St. L. I:6).

Johann Gerhard:

“From God’s revelation, Moses describes the order of creation in this way: in six distinct days God created all things—heaven, earth, the sea, and all that is in them. For this reason Basil and Ambrose call the work of creation ‘a work of six days’. Philo (Alleg., bk. 1, p. 27) thinks it is ‘rural simplemindedness’ to think this. Augustine (De Gen. ad lit., bk. 4, ch. 26) seems to assert that ‘all things were made in a moment, but Scripture separates those things by times of speaking which God did not separate by times of working. But one must not depart from the letter. God could have produced all things at the same time in one moment, but out of His limitless goodness He wanted to divide the work of creation into six days. The will of God should be enough for us despite the fact that we cannot explain fully the reasons for this plan. Something from the fathers could be cited, but we prefer simply to rest in God’s will. Augustine himself is not consistent with this idea about the instantaneous creation of all things and believes that it is weak (De Gen. ad lit., bk. 4, ch. 28)” (Johann Gerhard, On Creation and Predestination, 17).

Abraham Calov:

The world, if we mean by this term its entire construction and arrangement as existing at the end of the six days of creation, came into being, according to the narrative in Genesis, not at once, but gradually (“during a period of six days God made all things which He created and made, observing an admirable order”) (Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 160).

Francis Pieper:

“Since no human being observed the creation of the world, we have no other authentic account of the creation than the one given by God Himself in the Scriptures. The statements: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16) and “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) include, of course, also the report of the creation in Genesis 1 and 2. We human beings can indeed know a posteriori (reasoning from effect to cause) that all things were created by God. All creatures bear the divine stamp; God’s invisible nature, that is, His eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen from the creation of the world, from the creatures (Rom. 1:20). But our knowledge of the particular circumstances of the creation (e.g., of the time in which creation was completed and of the order of creation) is derived solely from God’s revelation in Scripture. Men who presume to correct God’s record of the creation through conclusions drawn from the present condition of the world are playin the role of scientific wiseacres, a procedure unworthy of Christians, as well as of men in general. The discord among professional geologists, for example, as to the age of the earth and of man is so great that only he will speak of “assured results” of geology who has completely renounced the use of what reason is left to man after the Fall. . . . The time in which creation was completed was six days, as Gen. 1:31 and Gen. 2:2 expressly state (hexaemeron). These six days are neither to be shortened, for pious reasons (to set forth God’s omnipotence), to a moment (Athanasius, Augustine, Hilary), nor are they to be extended, for impious reasons (to bring Scripture into agreement with the “assured results” of science), to six periods of indefinite length (thus almost all modern theologians). Scripture forbids us to interpret the days as periods, for it divides these days into evening and morning. That forces us to accept the days as days of twenty-four hours” (Dr. Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, I: 467-468).

“…it is utterly impossible to parallel Ps. 90:4 and 2 Pet. 3:8 with the record of creation. These passages state that in God and with God there is no time. But the record of the creation announces by its very first words: “In the beginning,” that it deals with time, that is, it is a historical report. Both Luther and the dogmaticians stress this point” (Dr. Francis Pieper, Christians Dogmatics, I:469).

Heinrich Schmid:

“The action is not properly successive, but instantaneous; for the individuals, which God created, He created in an instant, without movement or succession, although, if these be regarded collectively, the creation was completed in six days; not that He devoted those entire days to creation, but that he created something in the moments of each day” (Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 162).

Paul Kretzmann:

“‘And the evening and the morning were the first day.’ And there was evening, when the darkness had ruled alone, and there was morning, when God’s almighty power created light and separated it from the darkness. Ever since the first day of the world the regular recurrence of darkness and light marks the period of one day, as we now divide it into twenty-four hours. This is the fundamental meaning of the Hebrew word here used, which must be assumed even Ps. 90, 4 (cp. 2 Pet. 3, 8), where the Lord accommodates Himself to human speech and limitations, for the sake of comparison” (Paul E. Kretzmann, Popular Commentary of the Bible: Old Testament, Vol. 1: 2).

About Pastor Rojas+

Rev. Roberto E. Rojas, Jr. is the sole pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church (also known as "Zion New Life") in Winter Garden, FL, established in 1891. He attended the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN (M.Div., 2008-2013; STM., 2013-2014). During his studies at the seminary, he participated in a year-long exchange program in the Westfield House in Cambridge, England, and also in the Seminário Concórdia in São Leopoldo, Río Grande do Sul, Brazil. He and his beautiful wife, Erica, are happily married and live in Gotha, FL.


Lutheran Quotes on Creation — 3 Comments

  1. Dear Pastor Rojas,

    Thanks for the great collection of quotes on this topic. Our orthodox Lutheran fathers are very consistent on this point–how could they be otherwise?

    I think that the testimony that you recount here is important to show to people who think that the LC-MS position came about through the influence of fundamentalism. People who think or say that don’t know their church history.

    Our LC-MS position preceded fundamentalism. The fundamentalists were—originally—non-Lutheran Protestants who were kicked out of their church bodies (or left) because their denomination adopted “historical criticism,” which questioned or rejected many historical propositions in the Scriptures, including the creation account.

    In the recent history of the Christian church, rejection of the six-day creation and adoption of “historical criticism” have always gone together, for obvious reasons. It began in the late 18th century with the “Lutheran” pastor of Weimar, Johann Herder, and came to full bloom in the 19th century.

    Thanks again for a great selection of quotes!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  2. “The overarching concern was to let the text speak for itself, even though it leaves hosts of questions unanswered and seems to conflict at times with our observation of nature.” (Dr. Robert Preus, The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism II) – re: Lutheran teachers on the hexaemeron.

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