While many Christians still consider the Creation doctrine a fringe issue, a proper understanding of the Christian message finds creation at its core-a necessary, foundational component of the Christian worldview-without which Christianity flounders around in illogic.

It's helpful to think of creation as the "big picture," which answers the vital questions. Who made us? Who is God? What does He expect of me? What is sin? What is the penalty for sin?

The "big picture" of Christianity looks like this. The Almighty, transcendent Godhead created all things. As a reflection of His character, creation was initially "very good," free from death, pain, violence, and suffering. But mankind, created in God's very "image," rejected the Creator's authority, and all of creation incurred sin's penalty. Now all things-mankind, animals, plants, natural systems, even the basic elements-all suffer helplessly under the "bondage of corruption" (Romans 8:21). The "wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

In grace, however, the Creator Himself entered creation as the Man, Christ Jesus, who lived a sinless life for which no sin penalty was owed, they died a sacrificial death, fully atoning for man's sin and satisfying God's holy justice. On the cross, as all was finished, He dismissed His Spirit. Only the Creator could accomplish such a thing!

After three days in the grave, the Creator of life chose to reenter His lifeless body, in victory over sin and death, offering us eternal life if we merely trust Him, believing that His death and resurrection paid the penalty for our sin.

This present, sin-dominated world will one day be replaced by "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Peter 3:13). The Creator's full intent for His creation will be delayed no longer. The truth of creation is thus woven all through the Christian message.

But what of evolution's message, or that of evolution's bedfellows, theistic evolution, progressive creation, the framework hypothesis and the gap theory. In each one, death dominated long before Adam sinned, thus death cannot truly be the penalty for sin. This obviously invalidates the death of Christ on the cross for our sin. The New Earth (Revelation 21, 22) will certainly not reinstate the principle of struggle for existence, death of the weak, and survival of the fittest, which supposedly reigned for millions of years before Adam. Any view of Christianity which incorporates long ages of death and suffering before Adam makes a shambles of the cross.

This Easter season, as we remember our salvation made possible by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and His triumphant resurrection from the grave, let us understand it within the "big picture" of a "very good" Creation, ruined by our rebellion, but restored by the willing sacrifice of our great Creator/Savior.

Dr. Morris is the president of the Institute for Creation Research.