Sunday, December 30, 2012

3c God the Creator

Biblical Theology continues...

Chapter 1
Introduction to Biblical Theology

Chapter 2: Revelation
2a From Text to Scripture
2b NT Understanding of Scripture
2c God's Speakings before Scripture
2d God's Speakings in the Old Testament
2e The New Testament Church

Chapter 3: Theology of God
3a God, the Basics
3b God Almighty

...Christians and Jews would eventually come to believe that God created the universe out of nothing. A majority would say this belief solidified in the second century after Christ, perhaps as Jews and Christians fought off Gnosticism. [1] Ever since, it has been common Christian belief that God created the world with no prior materials, and Christians have subsequently read the relevant biblical texts in that way.

You could argue that the idea of God creating everything out of nothing is the appropriate end point of the biblical trajectory on God as all powerful. If God created everything out of nothing, then God is responsible for everything that exists and certainly must have had as much power as what he created.  It would make perfect sense to think that nothing he created could truly present any real opposition or problem for him.

It is worth reflecting on this notion of God as creator in an age where we know that space, time, and matter are interrelated.  Space is not a static emptiness but it expands and contracts in correlation with speed and mass.  When we say that God created the universe out of nothing, we are thus implying something no one would have likely thought until the twentieth century.  We are implying that God not only created all the matter in the universe but the very emptiness in which that matter is situated as well.

God as creator is thus something fundamentally different from any human as a creator.  Indeed, it is to say something fundamentally different than someone who says the world evolved into its current state by chance.  In these instances, there are already existing ingredients and existing laws of nature to steer what we or nature might create.

But to say that God created the world from nothing is to say that he not only created the ingredients but the laws by which they interact and combine.  This has direct implications for God's power and knowledge, possibly even for his presence.  The most natural inference from creation out of nothing is that God has more power than what he created. After all, he generated all the power that exists.

God thus created the possibility of evil and the power it has.  Since he created it from nothing, there is no part of it he does not have power over.  There is no strength in the creation that can match his strength because all its strength was a product of his strength.  He is all powerful, omnipotent, in relation to the creation.

Similarly, God must know everything there is to know about the creation, from emotions to evil.  There is no part of the creation that he did not design from scratch. He made the ingredients from emptiness and formulated the laws for how those ingredients mix.

He created the very possibility of evil and suffering.  Therefore, God does not learn anything on the cross.  God knows how we feel.  God knows how Hitler felt to kill Jews. God knows everything and is "omniscient"...

[1] We will discuss a biblical theology of creation later in this series.


Angie Van De Merwe said...

Physical laws are the discovery of science and explained in the language of mathematics. But some physical reality in "quantum theory" is counter-intuitive. Does this mean that everyday experience should be lived counter-intuitively? Some think this is what "faith" is about; making a choice or leaping in the is the irrationality of "faith".

Such thinking is antithetical to rationalism or reason, because it is based on "choice" and experience; experimental theology. Such is fine if that is a value of "choice" and not a "shove or push" over the cliff for someone's "good"....which some "true believers" might do with "good intentions", not understanding the "reality/meaning" of such expectations or presumption on the other person"...It is like the believer feels it their "duty" to convert another to belief/faith in a "Creator"...

Anthropomorphizing is the only means to "paint the picture of God" in the theology. Jesus, being the "ultimate picture" in real terms.

Since your dissertation is in Hebrews, I would imagine it would align with the "Jesus, as the high priest of God" being "touched with the feelings of our infirmities"....

"Evil" (being sold into slavery, as Joseph was) being understood as "God's discipline" ,is cruel, even though "biblicists" will use it as a "training in righteousness" and justification of their actions!

Fundamentalism prescribes THE biblical "way" to "make disciples"! Fundamentalism doesn't have a heart, though it thinks it does, neither do those that prescribe any "one size fits all" value...because universalizing a value does not leave room for diverse interests among a "buffet of values".

Just as humans do not know when or how the end of the world will come, neither do we know how it began, though there are theories.

What is important is not theology, or conversion, but how to choose one's values and why they are of importance. This leaves room for many differences among believers and unbelievers, as to their lives.

john c.gardner said...

Creation by God is generally a settled Christian doctrine. I myself hold to a God guided evolutionary process that is based partially on the writings of John Polkinghorne, John Walton, and John Collins.Adam and Eve were God selected humans or evev a king and queen of an ancient tribe.

Martin LaBar said...

God, the creator, thought of many things, then made them, or created the conditions so that they could come to be, including, but not limited to: information; beauty of form, sound, color, smell and taste; physical laws and constants; elementary particles and the material structures that are made of them; life, diversity and natural selection; communication; humor; truth; generosity; innocence.