“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Idea of Creation

The incredible idea of creation is not often appreciated for what it is, even by those who believe it. By creation I mean the idea that God, who is transcendent, eternal, infinite, and self-existent, brought into being something other than himself.

If we take God for granted, this obvious but easily overlooked corollary to belief in God seems almost trivial. If God exists, then of course this world is something other than God - of course God was first (in an ontological if not temporal sense) and then this world was created. That is simply the way things are.

But do you see how unique that way of looking at the world is, how nontrivial it is that this is the nature of reality? Such a sharp divide is made between God and all that is not God. On the one hand, God is the foundation of existence itself: instead of nothing, the Trinity exists.* On the other hand, the universe (and all things that are part of it, including humans) does not sustain its own existence, but is ontologically dependent on God. Take God out of the picture, and everything else loses its very source of being. Take creation out of the picture, and God remains God. What this implies is that God and creation are in two radically different categories of being: God alone upholds His own existence, God alone exists in the active voice of the verb. All else is merely caused or made to exist.

To appreciate this worldview, we must see it in contrast with other philosophies in which reality is not sharply divided into these two different groups. Atheists, pantheists, and many others without a traditional Western view of God, deny that the universe is dependent on something beyond it. It is the universe, not God, that is self-existent and eternal.

The Christian doctrine of creation stands in stark contrast to this view, and just as we must appreciate the idea of God in contrast to atheism, so also we must not take for granted the idea that the universe is a created and thus dependent on something beyond itself. That everything we know is constantly and totally dependent on God in order to exist at all is quite a remarkable idea. Theism and the doctrine of creation are inseparably linked together, and we must take neither idea for granted.

*Where did God come from, you ask? This is a difficult question that I will write more about in the future. Suffice it to say, no light can be shed on the mystery of existence unless there is something at the foundation of reality that explains and upholds its own existence, simply by being what it is. In my view, God alone fits this category of first and greatest thing.

2 comments:

  1. It's not actually a comment because you have cited clearly your insight or your view on the idea of creaton. You scrutinize very well on how things are made to exist. On this thought i was able to extend my views on what creation is for in the first place.

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  2. I like your way of thinking, it isn't a way of talking circles a clear concise argument. One of my favorite phrases to cite when talking about creation is "intelligent creator", because it really is a definition of how the universe came into being. You pretty much took away everything else I had to say. :) I really like your writing.

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