A Few Thoughts on Creation

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
~ Genesis 1:1 ~

This simple statement is staggering in its implications. It provides us with a wealth of information. A series of affirmations and denials can be derived from it that has a bearing not only on theology, but also anthropology, philosophy, history, science, and ethics. In fact, there is no area of human thought that ought not presuppose the truths contained in it.

(1) The statement denies atheism, not so much by affirming as by assuming the existence of God.[1]

(2) It denies polytheism in all its forms and affirms by implication the existence of one eternal God, the Creator and Lord of all.

(3) It denies pantheism and affirms the existence of God before and apart from the heavens and the earth.

(4) It denies emanationism[2] and affirms that all things were made by a purposeful act of divine will.

(5) It denies eternality to the cosmos and affirms its beginning.

(6) It denies that the universe exists necessarily and affirms that it exists contingently.

(7) It denies monism and affirms a distinction between Creator and creature.

(8) It denies materialism and affirms the creation of matter by an all-powerful nonmaterial being.

(9) It denies the gnostic notion that matter is evil and only exists as the result of the creative act of an insubordinate demiurge, and affirms instead the inherent goodness of the heavens and the earth as the product of divine will.

(10) It denies that the universe came into being by a fatalistic impulse and affirms that it exists by the creative act of a free and rational being.

(11) It denies that the world is ultimately impersonal and affirms that it was created and is governed by a personal God.

(12) It denies the autonomy of man and by implication affirms that he is accountable to God.

These are just a few quick observations. No doubt many more could be added.




[1] It is noteworthy that the Torah nowhere advances a philosophical argument for the existence of God. His existence is assumed. This is not difficult to explain. The Torah was given in the midst of a remarkable divine intervention in the course of human history:  a self-revelation of God in the exodus of Israel from Egypt and the promulgation of his law from Sinai with all the attending miracles. A philosophical argument for his existence would hardly be necessary. Can you imagine Moses, after the series of plagues, the crossing of the sea, the daily supply of manna, the sights and sounds at Sinai, etc. standing up and addressing Israel and saying, “The existence of God can be proved in five ways. The first and most manifest way is…”? Someone would’ve shouted, “Moshe, you meshugana! What are you talking about? God’s already proved his existence.”
[2] I.e., the notion that the cosmos neither forms a part of God’s being (as per pantheism) nor is created by him, but naturally flows out of him something like light from the sun.

Comments

Marlena said…
Well spoken!
So elegant! Simple, yet profound.
Doug Enick said…
Thanks to you both!

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