A New View of Creation
I’m writing a book that offers a new theory of initial creation. It’s a project I’ve wanted to do for some time.
To help my thinking, I’m asking friends and readers to comment on the issues. So far, the comments I’ve been sent have been very helpful, and I’m incorporating them in my writing.
I plan to post small segments of the book as blog essays. Below is the first chapter of the book, as it currently stands. I’m sure I’ll make adjustments to it. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on it or on creation issues in general.
We Need a New Theory of Creation
Most well-informed Christians believe the universe has existed for billions of years. They believe this, because scientific data and measurements strongly suggest it to be true. Scientists differ among themselves on the precise age of the universe and how it began. But a Christian cannot be in step with contemporary physics, cosmology, and many other sciences and also think the universe is only thousands of years old.
Most well-informed Christians also believe God creates through evolution. To reflect this belief, some call themselves “theistic evolutionists,” “evolutionary creationists,” or a similar name. They believe God creates through evolution because the general theory of evolution has vast scientific support. Scientists differ among themselves on the details and mechanisms of evolution. But a Christian cannot be in step with contemporary biology, anthropology, and many other sciences and also reject evolution.
Few Christians realize they should also reject the idea that God created the universe from nothing. Scholars often refer to the creation from nothing theory by its Latin name, creatio ex nihilo. In this book, I give biblical, scientific, theological, and philosophical reasons why believers should deny this traditional view.
I also offer an alternative to the creation from nothing theory. Rather than simply pointing out its problems, I propose a replacement. I’m both deconstructive and reconstructive. I doubt people will relinquish their view of initial creation – even after learning of its problems – unless they have a viable alternative.
I offer a view of creation I believe is better than the alternatives. That’s a bold statement, I know. It may even sound arrogant to some people. But I don’t mean it as arrogant, and I’m not offering a new idea just for the sake of novelty. I wouldn’t waste our time giving reasons to reject creatio ex nihilo only to offer an alternative theory I thought inferior.
Above all, I want to love in everything I say, think, and do. As I see it, loving well includes thinking well about creation. Consequently, I see this book as an act of love.
When offering my alternative theory, I draw from scripture, especially recent biblical scholarship. I address and incorporate recent work in the sciences, especially cosmology and physics. I include philosophical analysis and speculation, which always plays a role in creation discussions, even when unacknowledged. And I draw from other disciplines. A viable theory of creation draws from many sources, because no one source can suffice.
To some, my alternative theory will seem radical. New ideas usually jar us. But the proposed theory retains what I think are essential elements of a Christian view of creation. For instance, I think God is and should be called our “Creator.” My new theory affirms this. In fact, I believe my alternative describes God as Creator more powerfully than the traditional one!
I also think creatures act in creative ways, because they are created co-creators. But God is the only one whom we should call “Creator” with a capital C, because God alone is the uncreated Creator. No one created God. And God plays a necessary role in creation of all things.
In this book, I specifically address the initial creation of our universe. Although a few Christians believe God creates today from nothing, creatio ex nihilo was originally proposed and continues to be considered as addressing initial creation.
I also believe God continually and currently creates. I affirm creatio continua, to use the Latin words. But my primary focus in this book is the original creation of our universe and secondarily God’s continual creating.
Although I expect my fellow scholars to evaluate my proposal, I also want a wider audience to evaluate it. So to the best of my ability, I will write in understandable language. I will also make my ideas widely available, not limiting them to the academy. We all have a stake in thinking well about our Creator.
I believe this alternative theory of initial creation can help the academy, church, and wider public. I suspect both specialists and generalists will find it interesting. While I am writing with fellow Christians in mind, I suspect nonChristians will be intrigued by my proposal. Just about everybody wonders why there is something rather than nothing.