The Creator you know – what is He like? - Part 1
The Godhead and light

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Some years ago my wife was in our local greengrocers which was run by an Asian family. A young man walked in, picked up a pot-plant and started to point out to the customers its beauty and wonderful design. His eulogy climaxed with his observation that even this little plant was proof that Allah had created it - and all things. The Qur’an does contain several references to a creation completed in six periods which it calls “days”, though these may be periods of 1,000 or even 50,000 years (Sura 32:4-5 & 70:4). It also identifies the first man as Adam, but his wife is not named.

There are therefore some parallels between the Genesis account of creation and snippets found in different parts of the Qur’an, but how might we be able to reason with a Muslim, or a follower of any religion which holds to creation for that matter, that the Creator was Yahweh, the God of the Bible, rather than their deity? The situation is further complicated with reference to Islam, given that Muslims believe that Allah is the God of Abraham and Moses and that he has been misrepresented in the Old and New Testaments.

Creator God or Godhead?

I cannot discuss here all the differences between the god whose words the Qur’an claims to be and the Godhead of the Bible, but my choice of terms to distinguish between these deities points to the most important distinction as far as Christians are concerned. The New Testament uses the phrase “the Son of God” around forty-five times with reference to Jesus Christ. By contrast, the Qur’an asserts that Allah is not a father and has no son (Sura 6:101, 18:4-5 & 23:91). As it happens, Sura 6 brings together Allah’s claims to be the creator and not to be a father:

To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: How can He have a son when He has no consort?” (v101)

Genesis and John’s gospel together contrast sharply with this latter claim. Whilst Gen. 1 does not seem to mention Jesus being present at Creation, John makes clear that He was actively involved in it:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.(John 1:1-3)

Then to make things very plain, John later added:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (v14)

John leaves us in no doubt that Jesus was actively involved in the whole of Creation. By inspiring John to use the Greek word ‘logos’ as the title of Jesus, the Holy Spirit testified that we should know that it was Jesus who spoke the words when we read “God said...” in Gen. 1. This partnership was also testified to by Paul when he wrote:

For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him. (1 Cor. 8:6)

During His ministry Jesus affirmed that He always did the will of His Father (John 4:34, 6:38 & 40). Paul makes clear however that their relationship also worked this way before the Son’s incarnation. It was from the Father’s will that all things have been created, and it was through the Son speaking out of His Father’s will that everything, including human beings, came into existence. This was the Word of God in action. (See also Eph. 3:9, Col. 1:15-17 & Heb. 1:2.)

Genesis contributes further to our understanding of the whole Godhead being involved in Creation:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Gen 1:1-3)

Have you ever wondered why the Holy Spirit was positioned above the waters which covered the formless earth? Can I suggest that He was waiting for the Father’s will to be declared, so that He might do it? When God the Son made His Father’s will known by speaking it out, it was God the Holy Spirit who brought that will into action as He does today. (Zech. 4:6)

Together the Old and New Testaments testify to a Godhead of three persons working in unity to bring the universe into existence. The Qur’an, as we have seen, states that it is the work of a single creator working alone. Is there any way we can tell from creation itself which testimony is true?

A tri-unity?

To answer this question I turn to a passage which provides my central theme for this series of articles. In it the Holy Spirit tells us that we can understand the nature and character of the Creator through the work He has done.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead. (Rom. 1:20a)

The context of this assertion is Paul’s description of the wrath of God as it is poured out on a society which has embraced ungodliness and unrighteousness, and suppresses the truth as a result. Paul insists that those who do this are without excuse because what can be easily observed in the creative work of God reveals the truth about His invisible qualities, His eternal power and His divine nature. (Paul goes on to describe how the wrath of God works itself out when He pours it out on a society, but that is outside the remit of these articles. See here for a fuller discussion of this.)

According to Paul, the Creator’s invisible attributes, their eternal power and their Godhead can be understood by what they have made. Therefore it should be possible through looking at creation to discern if it is the work of a lone creator or of a divine tri-unity. Surely it must be significant that so many aspects of the world we know are found in threes or have three facets. Here is a selection of some important “threes” in creation:

3 stable states of matter

Solid, liquid & gas

3 dimensions of space

Length, width & depth

3 aspects of time

Past, present & future

3 sided shape – triangle

Strongest structural form

3 ‘letters’ in a DNA ‘word’


3 constituent parts of an atom

Protons, neutrons & electrons

3 quarks in every proton & neutron

6 types: 3 have +⅔ charge & 3 have -⅓ charge

6 known flavours of lepton in 3 groups

Electron, muon, & tau

We do not have space to explore all these, but I want to consider another “threesome” in creation which illuminates one of the most difficult truths about The LORD for us to understand as natural humans. Returning to Genesis, we are not told how the shapeless and empty earth was created. Scripture does record however the very first thing which the Word of God spoke into existence:

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. (v3 & 4)

Have you ever wondered what colour that light was? I suspect most people assume it was white light, or have not given it any serious thought. Could the first thing Jesus spoke into existence tell us anything about the nature of our Creator?

Let there be Light!

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was the first to demonstrate that white light can be separated into different colours with a prism and then recombined (via another prism) into white light. Later Thomas Young (1773-1829) proposed two important theories about light. The first was the wave theory of light, which is still a working model for light, though today scientists also consider it to behave like a particle. (This is known as wave-particle duality.) Young also put forward the hypothesis that colour perception depends on the presence in the retina of three kinds of nerve fibres. In 1857 Scotsman James Clerk Maxwell proved Young’s sight theory, publishing his research in a paper for the Royal Society of Edinburgh called “Experiments on Colour, as perceived by the Eye, with Remarks on Colour-Blindness”.

Based on his research Maxwell went on to take the first ever colour photograph. Today his work is behind every colour screen in the world. We now know that light has three primary colours, red, green and blue, and from these every colour of light can be generated. Today’s TVs, smart-phones, computer monitors and many other devices with colour displays use dots of these three colours to create the images on them. Furthermore we now know that the human eye does indeed possess three types of cone cells which respond to coloured light, and work together to enable us to see the full spectrum of colours. (In case you are wondering rod cells are photoreceptor cells which function in less intense light than cones.)

It is amazing that one of the most difficult truths about our Creator God, His collective divine nature, has always been demonstrated for us through the very first thing He specifically spoke into being. Because Jesus, the Word of God, declared His Father’s will, the Holy Spirit has been able to bring the light of His life into our darkened hearts ever since. What is more, with the exponential increase of technology in the last fifty years or so, most people now look frequently at a working example of a triune reality. If you are reading this article on a colour screen, remember that you can only do so because men have discovered the triune nature of God in what He has made. This universe is not the work of a son-less creator, but of a Godhead which is indeed three in one!

Inspired by Truth

It would be remiss of me not to mention here the inspiration behind James Clerk Maxwell’s work. Maxwell’s writings reveal that he was a committed Christian who took the Scriptures seriously. His convictions caused him not only to oppose evolutionary theories, but they also inspired his research. In the late nineteenth century molecules were the smallest particles known to science and were thought to be unchangeable and indestructible. Today we know that they consist of atoms and do change. In a scientific paper on molecules Maxwell expressed his confidence that even the tiniest particles in the universe would reflect the character of their Maker:

They continue this day as they were created – perfect in number and measure and weight; and from the ineffaceable characters impressed on them we may learn that those aspirations after accuracy in measurement, and justice in action, which we reckon among our noblest attributes as men, are ours because they are essential constituents of the image of Him who in the beginning created, not only the heaven and the earth, but the materials of which heaven and earth consist. (“Discourse on Molecules”, The British Association for the Advancement of Science, Bradford, September 1873)

After his death the following prayer was found amongst Maxwell’s personal papers:

Almighty God, who hast created man in Thine own image, and made him a living soul that he might seek after Thee and have dominion over Thy creatures, teach us to study the works of Thy hands that we may subdue the earth to our use, and strengthen our reason for Thy service; and so to receive Thy blessed Word, that we may believe on Him whom Thou hast sent to give us the knowledge of salvation and the remission of our sins. All which we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.” (James Clerk Maxwell, undated)

Randall Hardy – March 2016

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