Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Aspects of Creation: Part 2

In the previous article we saw a motive for creation: God created so His goodness could be shared. The next question that arises is how that developed into the universe we see around us. Given that all actions of God are good then there is no one action which is more good. As such if the universe is good then so will be the universe plus organic life thus giving rise to organic and inorganic creation. That being said, if it is good for God for to create simple organic creation (i.e. bacteria) then extending that to more complex organisms (i.e. mammals) is no big leap. Everything He does is good and hence it will be good for Him to produce variety within organic creation.

It is worth a pause to consider the physical laws. Whatever your view of the physical laws (including the anthropic view) the fact is they exist and are consistent and ordered. This comes as no surprise to those who believe in a single Creator who is good and wishes to diffuse goodness to creation. There is no point in fluctuant physical laws; if the rules of play are always changing then the game will never be good. If there are multiple gods then one would expect to see conflict within creation and the laws governing it. Scientific endeavour has shown this not to be the case: we live in an ordered universe with consistent physical laws that works to establish and support life. I guess this is my appeal to the fine tuning argument.

Once a stable physical universe has been created then we have need to establish the beings through which God’s goodness can be shared. How and why humans? Given the impossibility of the creation of new “Gods”, then the only choice is to create limited conscious beings with whom He can interact with in love. God would wish to create beings with which He could share the (good) nature of His being. This being so it is ultimately better if God were to create sentient beings capable of morality and thought.

Why though is morality important to Creation? Given the impossibility of creating further divine agents God created limited beings who could reflect that goodness back to God. Central to this is free will. Love is such a precious gift because we choose to give it others by our own free will. If we were incapable of nothing but love, would “I love you” carry as much impact? Love and goodness are such powerful attributes because of their opposites: hate and evil or worse still apathy. We value these things because they could so easily be the opposite. God cannot bring about a situation where humans can only “freely” do good, for this would be no choice at all. Now God is wholly good, yet He could perform great evil. But He does not. It is outwith His character. We, however, are not wholly good; we may have been created to share in God’s goodness but we stray from that. Hence, God limited our power but endowed us with the understanding of His will and so that we can make decisions of great significance.

What does this mean though: to make significant decisions? This gift of free will was so precious to God that he allows us to choose between good and evil to make deeply significant differences to ourselves and others. We also need to be able to cause in ourselves and others good and bad sensations, to inquire and learn of the world and to share it with others. This is how God’s intended goodness be played out within His Creation. In order to perform these actions we need to interact with the world and others. The only way to interact with the world is with a physical body. If we were to be ethereal beings then, to be honest, there would be no chance of good being performed; we would be only talk. We can perform good with a spoken word, but in a more general way greater good comes from action. Therefore for good to be shared within Creation those desires must be conveyed by some public body. A mind to conceive, a body to act. So it necessarily follows that we inhabit physical bodies.

And this is where I’ll stop. This clearly is not the whole story, but it shows that by beginning with God and His attributes we can logically come to a greater understanding of Creation. We can understand why God would choose to create a structured and ordered physical universe inhabited by sentient beings capable of great good and evil. That is the challenge to us - those created in His image – to respect Creation. If goodness brought about Creation then what a privilege it is for us to reflect that back to the Creator and the Created.

1 comment:

kola said...

Your logic becomes flawed when you retain yourself to mere terrestrial existence in an infinite universe of limitless possibilities. This is not about the singularity of God’s existence before all things, nor the creation act of itself, or our precious existence on a special world designed for humanity. It is in a thought, why. The perplexity of this is countless as there are galaxies in the known (visible) universe.
One thing that is worth pondering on a cosmic scale, is this, we know God is not a God of chaos, but a God of order which can be ascertained through our observation, which brings up this point. Is there life in death? An example of and again a cosmic understanding; Black holes are theoretical engines that consume all matter (visible) and nothing escapes even life itself. Is this controlled chaos in an ordered creation?
It is these sorts of questions that are left with mere speculation and awe and wonder. I could not imagine the Psalter when he quoted the Psalm 19, had logic of the deeper things we now understand in astrophysics, astronomy and so forth. And yet the proverbial song remains the same. How much we really do not know