The Doctrine of Creation: A Constructive Kuyperian Approach, By Bruce Riley Ashford and Craig G. Bartholomew
The Doctrine of Creation
  • Length: 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: November 10, 2020
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5490
  • ISBN: 9780830854905

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Christianity Today Book Award
ECPA Top Shelf Book Cover Award

Apart from the doctrine of God, no doctrine is as comprehensive as that of creation. It is woven throughout the entire fabric of Christian theology. It goes to the deepest roots of reality and leaves no area of life untouched. Across the centuries, however, the doctrine of creation has often been eclipsed or threatened by various forms of gnosticism. Yet if Christians are to rise to current challenges related to public theology and ethics, we must regain a robust, biblical doctrine of creation.

According to Bruce Ashford and Craig Bartholomew, one of the best sources for outfitting this recovery is Dutch neo-Calvinism. Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, and their successors set forth a substantial doctrine of creation's goodness, but recent theological advances in this tradition have been limited. Now in The Doctrine of Creation Ashford and Bartholomew develop the Kuyperian tradition's rich resources on creation for systematic theology and the life of the church today.

In addition to tracing historical treatments of the doctrine, the authors explore intertwined theological themes such as the omnipotence of God, human vocation, and providence. They draw from diverse streams of Christian thought while remaining rooted in the Kuyperian tradition, with a sustained focus on doing theology in deep engagement with Scripture.

Approaching the world as God's creation changes everything. Thus The Doctrine of Creation concludes with implications for current issues, including those related to philosophy, science, the self, and human dignity. This exegetically grounded constructive theology contributes to renewed appreciation for and application of the doctrine of creation—which is ultimately a doctrine of profound hope.

"If theology is the study of God and all other things in relation to God, then the focus of a doctrine of creation is 'all other things.' This is a tall order and one reason why it is difficult to come up with a list of masterpieces on the subject. This book ranges widely, covering topics from food to philosophy, but always in relation to the goodness of God, the created order, and its implications for humanity. The authors show convincingly that there is nothing in the world to which God the Creator cannot rightly declare, 'Mine, and for my glory!'"

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"This book is dazzling in its sources and range, and it is rigorous and provocative in its judgments. Grounded in a solidly Reformed outlook derived primarily from Barth and Kuyper, the authors evaluate the doctrine of creation and related realities such as sin, providence, and eschatology with attention to biblical texts and scholarship, to the whole of the theological tradition, and to philosophy from Plato to the French phenomenologists. They defend Christian faith in creation with power and panache."

Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology at Mundelein Seminary

"Here is a faithfully Reformed yet distinctly contemporary work on the doctrine of creation. It is a welcome addition to the badly needed, and now happily emerging, literature applying the giants of the neo-Calvinist tradition to issues of doctrine for the English-speaking world. But it is no sleepy doctrinal tome. This is a book of theology that answers questions the church is actually asking. Widely read, richly cited, and ecumenically minded, Ashford and Bartholomew mine the Reformed tradition at its best and place its treasures before the church and the academy to correct, challenge, and continue our work in the theater of God's glory."

Jessica Joustra, Redeemer University

"Learned, erudite, and comprehensive, this monumental dogmatic exploration follows the contours of the Christian creeds to formulate a neo-Kuyperian dogmatic account of creation. This work has the capacity to be a theological classic. Through close engagement with ancient and modern Christian thought, Ashford and Bartholomew retrieve the past, assess the present, and offer a fresh, constructive, and thoroughly biblical presentation of God and the totality of the created order. Some may disagree with their presentation of the doctrine, but no one will be able to ignore it. I pray this work establishes a renaissance of the doctrine of creation for our day."

Heath A. Thomas, president and professor of Old Testament at Oklahoma Baptist University

"A fresh, in-depth presentation of the biblical doctrine of creation. Ashford and Bartholomew write from the perspective of Kuyperian thought, with a commitment to exegetical warrant and catholic sympathy. This is the kind of theology we need more of!"

Timothy George, distinguished professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture


1. I/We Believe: The Doctrine of Creation as an Article of Faith
2. The Travails and Glories of the Doctrine of Creation: Early Church to Post-Reformation
3. The Travails and Glories of the Doctrine of Creation: The Modern Period
4. God the Father Almighty
5. Laying the Foundations: The Furnishing of the Creation
6. Place, Plants, Animals, Humans, and Creation
7. The Heavenly Realm
8. Sabbath, Fall, and Misdirection
9. Creation and Culture
10. Creatio Continua: Providence and History
11. Creation, Christ, the Spirit, and the New Creation
12. Creation and . . . : Caveats on the Implications of the Doctrine of Creation
Appendix: Contours of Missional Neo-Calvinism
Name Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Craig G. Bartholomew

Craig G. Bartholomew is director of the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology in Cambridge, UK. He has written and edited numerous books, including Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition, Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics, Beyond the Modern Age (with Bob Goudzwaard), The Drama of Scripture (with Michael Goheen), The Doctrine of Creation (with Bruce Ashford), and The Old Testament and God.