ST ANDREW'S UNITING CHURCH
Chapter 2: God the Creator
Christians believe there is only one God, the Ultimate Reality, who created all things and keeps them going. God is not part of the Creation since God did the creating. God is Goodness, so all things were created as “Good”. However God is eternal and present everywhere, ie not constrained by time and space like we humans. All events and dates throughout the history of the universe are present to God. For God there is no past, present and future. This explains how God can seem to Christians to be so vast on the one hand, yet so near to them on the other.
God created the universe as an expression of God’s own self or being, and that God has a purpose in doing so . The Bible says that God is Love, which means that God loves the Creation and wishes for Creation to return love to God so far as its capabilities allow. This is God’s purpose. Clearly the expression of love to God by a rock or tree or even an animal is of a different order than that of a human being, but it is part of it nonetheless. The relationship between God and humans, and between humans, is of paramount importance to God’s Creation. The purpose and ultimate well-being of the individual human life is achieved by fitting in with the overall purpose of God, which is Love.
Note that Love is a word with a number of meanings. Here it refers to an overarching attitude or disposition towards achieving the well-being of all parts of the Creation, even at the expense of God. Hence Christians try to take on this same attitude towards others and Nature in order to help fulfil God’s purpose. It is an exercise of the will. Such Love need not necessarily be accompanied by any emotion or passion, but in the human experience of life and relationships such feelings in fact occur very often. It can be both hard and soft. A common human idiom is “tough love”, which may be a quite dispassionate attitude. We usually think of love as a passion or compassion – love of sports, of books, of family, of learning, of the outdoors, of children, of other people especially those in need or who are ill, of justice etc. Christians believe all these other uses and meanings of the word Love are quite valid and good, and are encompassed in the universal Love of God, which forms the basis of all Christian morality.
Christians believe that God is revealed in the universe, rather as an artist can be inferred from characteristics and features of his/her works. God is especially focused in the person of Jesus, who is described in a later chapter. It is in Jesus that Christians view God as personal rather than an abstract concept.
A word about this Creation in which God has placed us. By making our universe God subjected it to the physical limitations of space and time, such as the balance of forces of nature which scientists have found are necessary for sustaining the universe. We commonly think of these as expressing the universal Laws of Nature. This limitation means that those Laws may not be changed, even by God, if they happened to become inconvenient to us humans on a regular basis (unless the universe were to be remade into a different universe). Hence some adverse natural events and behaviours in Nature are practically unavoidable, like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes etc. As well as having an unfavourable aspect at times, the Laws also have a favourable aspect, which Science tries to harness for human benefit. The favourable aspect is also evidenced in phenomena like sunsets and sunrises, warmth, food and water, the dynamic drive in living organisms toward growth, healing and regeneration. We often take such good things provided by the Creator for granted.
Next... Chapter 3: Human Beings