Creation as Trust

I. Why Call God Creator?
Nicene Creed: God is "maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible."
Creation names a set of relationships that show the universe to be the work of our trustworthy God.
Affirming creation is a trusting response ("all things ... invisible", Heb 11:3).
The traditional proofs of God's existence articulate rather than logically validate these relationships.
These relationships are Trinitarian:
the Father creates through and for the Son, by and in the Holy Spirit (Gen 1, Ps 33:6, John 1, 1 Cor 8, Col 1, Irenaeus, Nicene Creed).
They are also complex, ordered, and coherent,
yielding what rivals and alternatives cannot: what Christians mean by faith or trust.
II. "formless and void" (Gen 1:2): Unmediated Creation (creatio prima/immediata)
God caused the universe from nothing (creatio ex nihilo: Gen 1:1-2, Gen 2:4, Col 1:16, Heb 1:2, Heb 11:3, Rev 4:11).
Israel's being, deliverance, and life all owe to one God (Deut 5-6).
Alternatives to unmediated creation:
1. Polytheism and dualism: The universe has many causes and powers (generally violent: Enuma Elish).
2. Pantheism and atheism: All is 'God' (or there is none); the universe is absolute and self-realizing.
3. Platonism and process theology and Mormonism: 'God' forms a pre-existing universe (and must respect its limits).
III. "finished, and all their array" (Gen 2:1): Mediated Creation (creatio segunda or creatio mediata)
God has ordered, formed, and detailed the universe in specific ways (Gen 1:3ff, Gen 2:7ff):
 
"tohu" (formless)
"bohu" (void)
 
1
light / darkness: day / night
day-light / night-light, stars;
to rule
4
2
water / sky
water-creatures / sky-birds;
to increase
5
3
earth / seas, vegetation
earth-creatures / adam;
to increase, be ruled or rule, eat
6
 
finished
arrayed
 
 
7 (shabbat): rest and blessing
 
God delights in creation's manyness, otherness, ordered relationship (Wisdom), and responsivity (Word).
Israel's complex life and structure all reflect its location in God's created order.
 
Alternatives to mediated creation:
4. Gnosticism: As "first cause," God only causes inferior, mediating creators; the world is essentially evil.
5. Renaissance/Ciceronian natural law(?): Specificities are arbitrary, owing entirely to governing scientific or moral rules and principles.

(Does evolution imply this? Moral, not scientific, reasons drive most arguments against it.)
This climaxes in the creation of humanity "in God's image" (Gen 1:25-26).
IV. "I will make a helper" (Gen 2:18): Continued Creation and Providence (creatio continuata)
Providence
is God's continuing (and necessarily sacrificial) renewal, maintenance, and care for the creation.
Providence identifies God as creator with God as redeemer and perfecter (John 1:2-3, 6:35, Col 1:16, Irenaeus).
Providence relates Israel to God actively, as God's beloved, free, and ever newly grateful beneficiaries — "sons" (Hosea 11:1, Matt 2:15).
Alternatives to providence:
6. Fatalism: Beings are manipulated and unfree (rather than God being "with" them).
7. Deism (distinct from Ciceronian natural law): Like a watchmaker, God maintains no continuing active relationship with his creation.
(Does evolution demand this? Can rejecting Deism defuse moral objections against it?)
V. "It was very good" (Gen 1:31): The Point of Creation
Against all these (mistrusting?) alternatives, Israel affirms all three of the above relationships.

The universe is thus creation:
the sign-ificant work of a loving, involved God (Gen 1:14-19, Ps 104:19; Gen 1:21, Ps 104:26-27).
All three relationships imply a purpose behind creation.
Goodness names the purposefulness of the work of God's willed and shared love (Gen 1:31, Mark 10:18).
VI. "The way to the tree of life": (Gen 3:24): New Creation (creatio nova)
The purposeful creation points forward to its end (telos), not merely back to its beginning.
Christians alone affirm that the new creation has arrived, in t
he risen Jesus (2 Cor 5:17, Col 1:18, Rev 1:5).
The Son's incarnation, atonement, and exaltation bring creation and God profoundly together (Col 1:15-20):
The Son is the means and form of the Father's creation, enacted by the Spirit.
Only in this light do Christians accurately explain God as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and other such attributes.

Self-Test