The Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth

Marc Minter
The Apostles' Creed  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Main Point: God is the Maker of all created things, the absolute sovereign over all, and the gracious Father of those He loves.

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Do you believe in God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth?
Do you believe that all creation had a beginning, exists in total dependence upon God, and operates under His complete sovereign rule every moment?
Do you confess your obligation to honor and obey, to worship and serve, to give thanks and glory to the God of all creation?
And do you also confess your comprehensive, repetitive, and horrendous failure to live up to those obligations?
Well, today we are going to explore the meaning and the implications of the very first stanza of the Apostles’ Creed.
Christians may confess together, “We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth...” But what do we mean when we say that?
In what sense is God the “Father” of all humanity?
And is God’s relationship with Christians some other kind of fatherhood?
How does creation (including you and me) interact with and depend upon its Creator?
And what are we to do with the idea that God is “almighty” or sovereign over whatsoever comes to pass?
Lord willing, we will gain a clearer understanding of all this and more as we consider the Bible’s teaching on the subject of God. Today, we’re going to study theology… but we think and speak in theological terms all day, everyday.
R.C. Sproul was fond of saying, “Everyone’s a theologian. Some are just better than others.”
The word theology is the combination of two Greek words: θεος (God) and λογος (word). So, theology is the word about God, the discipline of learning what God has revealed about Himself… in His word, Scripture.
Technically, theology is the discipline of learning and knowing what God has revealed generally - about creation, man, sin, the Messiah, salvation - and theology proper is the particular focus on what God has revealed about Himself.
As any good theologian will know, theology proper is where all theology begins and ends. God Himself is the starting point, the regulating rule as we travel, and He is the final destination. As the Apostle Paul says at the end of Romans 11, “from him [that is God] and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” (Rom. 11:36).
Let’s begin by reading Isaiah 40, a passage intended to be a comfort and to provide hope for the people of God who were presently headed for suffering under His judgment because of their sin and rebellion.
Amid all of Isaiah’s warnings of judgment, God also made promises of blessing. But why should the people of God believe God’s promises? How could they know He would be trustworthy? What is the basis for reasoning, “God has said it, and no matter what obstacles we see to His promise, we know God will do it!”
Ah, it is because God is the Maker of heaven and earth… it is because He is the almighty God… and it is because He is the gracious and loving Father of His people.
Let’s read together…

Scripture Reading

Isaiah 40:1–31 (ESV)
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
9 Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel?
14 Whom did he consult, and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
18 To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? 19 An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. 20 He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move.
21 Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
25 To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Main Point

God is the Maker of all created things, the absolute sovereign over all, and the gracious Father of those He loves.
I’m simply going to explain and argue positively for the claim of the opening stanza of the Apostles’ Creed… “We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”
But I’m going to walk through it in reverse order… God is Maker; God is Sovereign (i.e., Almighty); and God is Father of all those He loves and draws to Himself through the person and work of Christ.


1) God is Maker

A. Sea and sky and land

In the lengthy passage we just read (Isaiah 40) there are several places and ways wherein God’s nature and role of “Maker” or “Creator” are on display. God is the origin or source of all “justice” and “knowledge” and “understanding” (v14), because no one “taught” Him or “showed” Him such things.
God “sits above the circle of the earth” (v22), He “stretches out the heavens… and spreads them like a tent” (v22), and He “brings out” all the stars (the implication is that He does this night after night, as it were), even “calling them by name” (v26).
All of this is to say that God is the one above, beyond, and outside of creation.
v12 in particular points to three elements - sea, sky, and land - to claim that God is the source of all things. Isaiah says, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure…?
This passage echoes the same themes of God’s long-awaited response to Job in Job 38.
After all of Job’s sorrow, and after he’d been questioning God’s purposes in all of the pain he was experiencing, God finally spoke:
1 the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: ‘2 Who is this that darkens my counsel by words without knowledge? …4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? …5 Who determined its measurements - surely you know!
8 who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, 9 when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 and prescribed limits for it… 11 and said… ‘here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
To the ancient Hebrew, the sea represented total chaos and irresistible power. The man who ventured out into the sea exposed himself to overwhelming dangers. And even still today, mankind has hardly explored the heavens at all… much less conquered or tamed them.
The point God was making to Job is (I believe) the same point Isaiah is making to God’s people in Isaiah 40: God is the Creator, the Maker of all things… He is something altogether different - in power, in capacity, and in kind - than everything and everyone else you know!
Now, the implications of that truth are also similar in Job and in Isaiah… God is to be revered, because He is wiser, grander, and stronger than our wildest imagination; and God is to be trusted, because He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things - He is utterly sovereign… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
We’ve read in Isaiah and in Job that God has revealed Himself as the Creator of sea and sky and land (i.e., all things), but these are not the first place in the Bible where we encounter the doctrine of creation and God’s origination of it. The first place we see it is in the very first verse of the Bible… Genesis 1:1.

B. The heavens and the earth

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” And this statement sets the foundation for all that comes after it in the Bible. Indeed, Al Mohler says (in his book The Apostles’ Creed) that “The entire Christian worldview [i.e., the biblical worldview] hangs on the Creator/creature distinction” (Mohler, 15), which is established in Genesis 1:1.
God is the creator, and all else is creaturely. God depends on nothing, and everything else depends entirely upon Him. God precedes everything, and everything else has a beginning. God transcends time and space itself, and everything else cannot but be limited and finite.
This is the “Creator/creature distinction” that forms the very heart of the Christian or biblical way of thinking.
Mohler says, “If we truly grasp this opening phrase of Scripture, the rest of our theological conviction will fall rightly into place. If we fail [however] to truly understand these opening words, we may find ourselves on the quick road to idolatry” (Mohler, 14).
But what does it mean that God is the Creator or Maker of all things?
How does this short-but-profound affirmation impact our everyday lives? How does it shape our view of God, our view of the world, and our view of ourselves?

C. What does it mean that God is the Maker of all things?

J. I. Packer helpfully points to all three of these in his little book Affirming the Apostles’ Creed. Packer (like Mohler) says, “The Creator-creature distinction is basic to the Bible’s view…” But Packer adds specifically that it is “basic to the Bible’s view of God’s lordship in providence and grace, and indeed to all true thought about God and man” (Packer, 55).
In fact, Packer lists three particular misunderstandings which the “Creator/creature distinction” addresses and corrects when we really think it through.
First,” he says, “[the Creator-creature distinction] stops misunderstanding of God.” Packer says, “God made us in his image, but we tend to think of him in ours!” (Packer, 55).
That’s exactly right! From as far back as we can trace religious practices and doctrines, mankind has imagined a god or gods that are merely an amped-up version of himself. Think of the pantheon of Greek gods, with all their weaknesses and whims. They are powerful and even immortal, but (just like wicked humans) they lie, they lust, they overindulge, and they steal what they want but do not have.
That‘s not the God of the Bible! He is not merely a more powerful or longer-living or farther-seeing man! And we must not imagine that He is like us… Rather, we must come to Him, and listen to what He says about Himself. We must learn who He is, not by looking at ourselves, but by reading and pondering His word.
The second misunderstanding the “Creator/creature distinction” stops, Packer says, is a “misunderstanding of the world.” He says, “The world exists in its present stable state by the will and power of its Maker” (Packer, 56). In other words, the world is not its own maker, nor does it continue now by its own power.
Some Christians today (especially in America) speak and think more like deists than biblical Christians! They seem to think that God created the world and then stepped aside to let the world sustain and run itself. But this is not the way the Bible speaks! The God of the Bible created the heavens and the earth, and every molecule is forever dependent upon the will and the power of the God who made it.
The universe can no more sustain and run itself than it could have brought itself into being! If God forgot about or neglected to uphold and maintain the universe for one moment, then there would be no sky or stars, no oceans or fish, no trees or birds, no fields or cows… and no you or me to notice that any of it was missing.
Third,” Packer says, “this [Creator/creature] distinction stops misunderstanding of ourselves.” And then he says, “A man is not his own maker, so he may not think of himself as his own master… God’s claim upon us is the first fact of life that we must face, and we need a healthy sense of our creaturehood to keep us facing it” (Packer, 57).
Ah, friends… This misunderstanding is nearest and dearest to us all, but God takes it from us by announcing that He (not us) is our Maker and our Master. Every one of us naturally resists God’s claim of absolute mastery over us. “We are the masters of our own houses!,” we think. “We are the kings and queens of our own castles!
But, friends, we must not… commit the most basic of all sins and creaturely errors… thinking and talking and acting like we are our own masters.
We cannot decide for ourselves who our parents are, how tall we will be, or how intellectually capable we are.
We cannot decide for ourselves when life begins, when it should end, or what afflictions or sorrows we will experience in between.
We cannot decide for ourselves what gender we are, the color of our skin, or any of the historical realities that impact how such things may affect our experiences in this world.
We cannot decide what logic is, how math works, or what molecules combine to make water… All of this, and a million other things, are that which we receive… we learn them… these are given to us… and we have absolutely no say in the matter… because God is our Maker, and we are His created things.
We may ask, “God, why have you made me like this?” or “God, why did you make a world like this?” But, friends, we cannot deny that He has made both us and the world without asking for our input or help at any point… and, by the way, He doesn’t owe us an explanation to our “why” questions.
It is no small affirmation, when we say, “We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” But let’s turn our attention now to that one word right in the middle… “Almighty.”

2) God is Sovereign

Let me say right up front (on point #2) that God’s total and complete sovereignty flows out of the Creator/creature distinction we’ve just been talking about. It seems to me that the one who affirms God as Creator must also affirm God’s absolute sovereignty over all creation (including you and me) as well.
However, many professing Christians believe God is Creator and yet simultaneously deny or at least resist the idea that God is sovereign… so it is worth giving some special time to this idea today.
It’s also worth noting that the aversion many Christians have today to God’s complete sovereignty was not common among the earliest Christians. The New Testament frequently affirms God’s rule over and governing of all things, both the good and the bad; and so too, right there in the first phrase of the earliest Christian confession is the affirmation that God is “Almighty” [i.e., sovereign].
In fact, you might say, as Mohler does, that “this affirmation of God’s absolute sovereignty [i.e., ‘I believe in God, the Father Almighty’] drives all that follows in the [Apostles’ Creed]” (Mohler, 10)… and, therefore, drives the substance of the core Christian message.
What else is the rest of the Creed but a summary of what the sovereign God has done and is doing in the world… according to the purposes of His sovereign will and power?
Let’s turn again to Isaiah 40 to see how God’s “almighty-ness” (i.e., His sovereignty) is repeatedly affirmed and described there.
In verses 1 and 2, the prophet Isaiah speaks a word of “comfort” (v1) to the people of God, saying that “Jerusalem’s… warfare“ will come to an end after “she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins” (v2). This is referring to the affliction that Israel and Judah suffered from the kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon, respectively, over the course of about 250 years. But Isaiah says in v2 that the “warfare” is ultimately “from the LORD’s hand.”
The next few verses make another claim to God’s total sovereignty, this time a specific prophecy later applied to John the Baptist’s ministry in the New Testament… John was indeed the “voice” who cried “in the wilderness” (v3). But notice how sure Isaiah is that this will happen, and notice why he is sure… Look at v5. “the glory of the LORD shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for [because] the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (v5).
God said it; therefore, it is certain!
Why? Because God is completely sovereign over everything!
And the whole chapter continues like this! All the nations of the earth “are like a drop from a bucket” (v15). All the “inhabitants” of the earth “are like grasshoppers” (v22). The same God who rules the heavens “brings princes to nothing and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness” (v23). God “blows“ upon the rulers of the earth, and “they wither” like a flower in a hot summer wind (v24). Even the number of stars in the sky and the position of every constellation is maintained “by the greatness of his might” (v26).
I don’t know about you, but talking like this provokes worship in me! God is not merely the Maker who created the world in the beginning, He is the Master who rules every inch of it even now! No king rules, no nation conquers, no bird falls from the sky, and no human breath is taken apart from the sovereign and overruling power of God.
This God… the Almighty God… He deserves all honor and praise and glory!
Too often, J. I. Packer says, “Men treat God’s sovereignty as a theme for controversy…” (Packer, 45). “If God is sovereign like that, Marc, then what about human freedom?” Or, “Do our choices even matter, if God ultimately decides whatever happens?” Or, “Doesn’t that view of sovereignty make God the author or evil?!
Whoah, whoah… I say to such questions. Why do we feel the need to run away from the plain reading of Scripture so quickly? And why must we demand that God’s sovereignty be fully understood before we will honor and glorify the sovereign God who made us?
Furthermore, why do we insist on defining human freedom apart from God anyway? Does the Bible ever teach us that humans have autonomy or libertarian freedom or free will (whatever that means)? Give me chapter and verse so I can study these passages too! In my reading of the Bible, I’ve not seen them yet.
Today, I agree with J. I. Packer. He says, “As a fact of creation, an aspect of our humanness, [human agency or freedom] exists, as all created things do, in God. How God sustains it and overrules it without overriding it is his secret; but that he does so is certain” (Packer, 48; emphasis added).
Brothers and sisters, let us collectively confess that God is not only the Maker of all created things, but also that He is the absolute sovereign. May we confess His sovereignty with a mouth of humility and a heart full of praise.

3) God is Father

There are so many features of this characteristic I’d like to touch on today… We might consider together how God’s fatherhood should inform our understanding of human masculinity and fatherhood… We might take time to differentiate between the fatherhood of God and our experience of creaturely gender… We might revisit the simultaneously high and basic doctrine of the Trinity - God as Father, Son, and Spirit.
But, I am coming to the end of my sermon, and I want to address the most crucial aspect of God’s fatherhood with our time remaining this morning.
There is a sense in which God is truly the Father of all creation (Malachi 2:10; Acts 17:28). Like our earthly parents are the source from which we’ve come, so too God is the origin and cause of what He has created (though God is infinitely higher and more glorious than His creation).
In this sense, all humans are children of God. God is most certainly due all praise and thanks for creating every human in His image and to reflect His glory. And all humans are due reverence and dignity because of their God-given status as image-bearers of the Creator (regardless of how badly that image is distorted in them).
However, when the Bible speaks of God’s fatherhood over all people everywhere, it does so in a voice of judgment.
J. I. Packer points out that the “offspring relationship [which all humans have with God] implies an obligation to seek, worship, and obey God and makes one answerable to him at the end of the day [see especially Acts 17:24-28].”
Packer goes on, “it does not imply [God’s] favor and acceptance where repentance… and faith in Christ are lacking” (Packer, 40).
Mohler says much the same thing when he writes, “In one sense we must indeed affirm that God is ‘fatherly’ toward all his creation and exercises a providential care over all humanity. The fact that any human being anywhere exists and lives and breathes is a testimony to a paternal and benevolent relationship between the Creator and his creation” (Mohler, 7).
But,” Mohler says, “this does not mean that God is ‘Father’ in a personal and saving way to everybody” (Mohler, 7).
Friends, the Bible teaches us that after Genesis 3, humans are not “children of God” in the sense of love, favor, and blessing. Actually, the Bible teaches us that humans are naturally “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:1-3) or children of “the devil” (Jn. 8:44).
A go-to passage for seeing this is Ephesians 2. Turn with me there so that you can see it for yourself.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians in Ephesus, is urging them to understand that their salvation (i.e., God’s favor and love and blessing toward them) is a gift of sheer grace. So, Paul begins by throwing back the curtain on their true and natural identity. If God loves them at all, then it cannot be because they are lovely or desirable.
The Scripture says, “1 you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:1-3).
Friends, your natural-default-setting is not “child of God;” it is “child of wrath.”
And God’s natural posture toward you is one of hostility and condemnation… unless He decides otherwise.
And that’s exactly how this passage continues!
Look at v4: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - [and this is what it means to say] by grace you have been saved…” (Eph. 2:4-5).
The gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT that God created humanity and felt so obligated to love all humans everywhere that He showed His love in the person and work of Christ.
No, the gospel of Jesus Christ is that God created humanity, and despite the total rebellion of all sinners everywhere, God had already decided to show the richness of His mercy and grace by sending His own Son to suffer under His wrath in order to purchase those He loves (though they are completely unworthy of it), satisfying the demands of His own justice by pouring out condemnation upon Jesus as their substitute.
This is the gospel of grace… This is the gospel of God’s love… that He has loved the unlovable… He has given favor and blessing to those who curse and hate Him.
And the only response - the only right response - we can have to this gospel is joyful trust or faith or belief. We should turn away from sin and unbelief and cling to the heavenly Father who loves like that.
And what is the result of this supremely-gracious and magnificently-effective work of salvation?
Look at v18: “through him [that is Jesus Christ] we [who believe or trust in Him] have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are not longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God [i.e., God’s children!]” (Eph. 2:18-19).
John said it like this, at the beginning of his Gospel, “to all who did receive him [again, Jesus Christ], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:12-13).
The Scripture says elsewhere, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” (1 Jn. 5:1), and “in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Gal. 3:26).
Brothers and sisters, it is simply good theology for anyone to confess, “I believe in God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” But it is uniquely Christian to know and to love and to be loved by God the Father through Jesus Christ, His Son.
May God help us all to confess this profound and wonderful truth, “We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” And may God stir our hearts to joy and to gratitude and to praise, as we set our minds to know God as He has made Himself known.


Holcomb, Justin. Know The Creeds And Councils. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014. Print.
Mohler, Albert. The Apostles' Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books, 2019. Print.
Packer, J. I. Affirming the Apostles’ Creed. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008. Print
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