The first line of the Apostle’s Creed reads, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” It asserts something fundamental about God and ourselves. We are created. God is Creator. This is an important starting point for thinking about our identity and the character of our God. Martin Luther’s discussion on this line of the creed is helpful.
“What does this mean? Answer: I believe that God has created me and all that exists; that he has given me and still sustains my body and soul, all my limbs and senses, my reason and all the faculties of my mind, together with food and clothing, house and home, family and property; that he providés me daily and abundantly with all the necessities of life, protects me from all danger, and preserves me from all evil. All this he does out of his pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness on my part. For all of this I am bound to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true.”
When we affirm this sentence of the creed we affirm all these many things, says Luther. We are given existence and sustenance from his hand. Every breath and all our bread comes from him. Every thought in our mind and word from our mouth is a gift from our Sustainer. The clothes on our back, the shoes on our feet, the roof over our head, and all else is a gift from the Creator. This is a profound affirmation—I believe in God the Almighty maker of heaven and earth.
Notice too Luther’s assertion that all this is a strong statement of God’s grace. “All this he does out of his pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness on my part.” Utilizing the language of justification he speaks about creation. Our existence and all the gifts we receive as God’s creatures have nothing to do with our merit. It is not something earned, deserved, or contingent upon anything we do. Goodness, mercy, and love are the basis of our existence. Creation is by grace. Robert Ingram says it well, “Nothing merits existence. Nothing deserves to be. God owes it to nothing to bring it into being, even when he pronounces it good.” To be is grace. To be saved is grace. All is of grace.