Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Logic of the Bible: Creation

After twenty years, I think I'm finally beginning to get the silvery outline of the supra-rational logic of the Bible in my mind.

On the one hand, it's very exciting to know that twenty years (nine of which, I've lived consciously Christian; meaning, I know I'm under grace :) ) still isn't enough to comprehend the Word of God. Which is exactly as it should be; there's a reason why people don't worship something they totally understand. 

On the other hand, it's awe-inspiring. I love the order God has set up in the world.

I started to see it several months ago, during a philosophy class. I don't remember who we were studying, but the general gist of what we were discussing was (I think) whether it was possible for God to do something wrong. If not, we couldn't say that He could do anything; if He could do something wrong then He wouldn't be a perfect and holy God then. Of course, theodicy quite rightly was brought up.

The revelation I got was that God created the world.

Some revelation, hunh? Something I've had driven into me only since before I can remember.

But...I don't think it was ex nihilo. Or at least, out of nothing has a more limited meaning than I ascribed to it. I think creation is more properly thought of as out of God. 

Creation stemmed from the nature of God. 

An issue I suppose I have to face is how to define nothing. No thing. The absence of anything -- material and immaterial, I suppose. Physically, that makes sense. God needed no physical thing to create the world. Hence ex nihilo

But God couldn't have created the world without creativity, which implies an ability TO create, which implies an active mind and nature. In order to be created, the world NEEDS God (and of course, this is assuming Genesis). Even if before Creation, the world could somehow have existed as a nebulous floating idea (which is Platonic, perhaps, but rather unfeasible), there would have been no way to pull it into reality without the mediation of Christ.

As I believe God is sovereign, I think He did much more than just pulling it into reality. I believe HE CREATED IT. 

I have no idea how to explain what I mean, so I'm going to revert to Tolkien. In "Tree and Leaf" he wrote this:
"Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light 
through whom is splintered from a single White 
to many hues, and endlessly combined 
in living shapes that move from mind to mind. 
Though all the crannies of the world we filled 
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build 
Gods and their houses out of dark and light, 
and sowed the seed of dragons, 'twas our right 
(used or misused). The right has not decayed. 
We make still by the law in which we're made." 

He calls man a Sub-creator, through whom the characteristics of God are separated through the prism of mankind and combined again in different threads, shapes, forms, colors to create "new" things, but within the framework/structure of "the law in which we're made." That law is God's nature, out of which we and the whole world were created.

So when David in Psalm 68 asks the many-peaked mountain of Bashan why it fumes with envy, or when God asks Job in Job 38 if the rain has a father and who has put wisdom in the mind, when Jesus didn't quiet His followers from glorifying Him because the stones would cry out---it makes sense. 

I'm not suggesting some nebulous pantheistic idea here, note. All the world is NOT God (heavens to Betsy, if it was! Why put God in a box, even a very pretty one!). But how much more wonderful is the world when one looks outside and sees why the sun must rest on the trees as a benediction, and why the wind in the leaves sounds the happiness to the peace of the waves on the lake! They can't help it - they were made by a perfect God - "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God." (I had to get to Romans at some point :D)

As breathtaking as that is, though, it still doesn't approach human limitations of logic. God created the world and, yeah, creating it out of Himself is jaw-dropping...But, it's not a perfect world.

Achingly true, that.

to be continued.

No comments: