My Alternative Theory of Creation

April 3rd, 2017 / 6 Comments

In three previous blogs, I explored 9 reasons many Christians affirm the theory that God initially created our universe from absolutely nothing. Although some of the reasons have validity, I found none of them to be ultimately convincing.

In this blog, I want to offer my alternative to creation from nothing.

The Basic Idea: creatio ex creatione sempiternaliter en amore 

My new theory of creation says God, in love, always creates out of what God previously created. As the ever Creator, God has everlastingly been creating.

That’s it in a nutshell. But there’s a lot packed into those phrases. So let me explain a bit more…

My theory says God never creates out of absolute nothingness. Each moment of creation history begins with God creating something in relation to what God previously created. God always creates something new from something old and never ex nihilo.

This theory says God has always been creating. God’s work to create in relation to what God previously created has always been going on. To put it another way, God’s creating is everlasting. That’s why I call God the “ever Creator.” God’s creating activity had no absolute beginning and is new every moment of a history without beginning or end.

This implies that God has never existed absolutely alone. God has always related to creatures, whether those creatures be complex or simple, whether creation be ordered or disordered. In fact, I believe God essentially relates to creation. God does not just relate within Trinity but also with the creaturely entities God creates. God’s relationality derives necessarily from God’s essence.

My theory says God must create. Creating is a necessary activity for God, because creating is an essential attribute of God’s nature. God has always existed and always creates, because creating is indispensable to the necessarily creative God.

Perhaps most importantly, my theory says love is God’s motive for and means of creating. And love is God’s creative goal. God’s nature is first and foremost love, which means God always loves, and this love is creative, self-giving, and others-empowering. To the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” my theory says, “because God always loves, and this love always motivates God’s creating.” From my perspective, love is the key to understanding reality.

One could describe my alternative theory with the Latin phrase creatio ex creatione sempiternaliter en amore. This phrase means “creating out of creation everlastingly in love.” To put it differently: God always and lovingly creates out of that which God previously created, and this creating has always been occurring.

What My Theory Does Not Mean

My creation theory that God always and lovingly creates out of what God previously created needs further explanation. Like all theories – especially new ones – it is prone to misunderstanding.

In my next blog, I’ll address four misunderstandings. As a teaser for that blog, I’ll conclude by mentioning the four misunderstandings I suspect many will have when first encountering my alternative theory of initial creation:

     My theory does not say or imply that our universe is eternal.

     My theory does not mean God is without freedom.

     My theory does not mean creation pre-exists God.

     My theory says that for God to exist, God does not need creation. 

I’ll explain each statement in my next blog essay…

 

 

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Comments

Thomas Gaskill

This perspective is long overdue! Thanks for bringing it to us.


thomasjayoord

You’re welcome!


Jay Sorenson

Is this a form of infinite regress?


Reuben L. Lillie

Thanks, Tom! This is gonna be fun to work through with your newest contributions.
I’ve tried to be conscious of how and when I assign volition to God. I don’t have a problem with saying God is motivated through love. But I do have a problem with a lot of other ways some people presume God I is involved in the world.
You’re helping me wonder if God could be motivated—even to create—by that which is not essentially kenotic love (which I understand from you to be largely what makes God who God is). I’m not saying I want to believe God could do so. But I do want to be careful myself about what I say God does do and how God goes about doing it (which seems to be part of your motivation for this theory too).


thomasjayoord

Jay,

For various reasons, I don’t think the phrase “infinite regress” expresses my claim. I don’t like either of the two words. I prefer “an everlasting succession of moments.” Thanks for asking.


thomasjayoord

Thanks, Reuben. I share your concern for taking care with language.


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