God as Creator

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KEY WORDS- GLOSSARY

OMNIPOTENCE- God is all powerful. His power is seen through his creation. 

OMNISCIENCE- God is all knowing. He knows exactly what is happening in his creation. 

OMNIBENEVOLENCE- God is all loving. He is the giver of free-will, illustrating his benevolence.

OMNIPRESENCE- God is present throughout creation and sustains it in being. 

TRANSCENDENT- God is beyond time and space, beyond all physical laws.

IMMANENT- God is within all the created world including humans, involved and active.

ANTHROPOMORPHISM- Giving human qualities to something that is not human.

'CREATIO EX NIHILO'- Latin phrase for 'creation out of nothing.' God created the Universe from nothing. 

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KEY SCHOLARS/TEXTS

·         GENESIS 1

·         GENESIS 2

·         GENESIS 3 (THE FALL)

·         JOB 38

·         ISAIAH 40

·         ARISTOTLE'S PRIME MOVER (COMPARISON)

·         BIG BANG

·         NEWTON'S LAW OF GRAVITY  

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GOD THE COMMANDER- GENESIS 1/ISAIAH

  • God created the world in six days.
  • Earth 'without form and void' and the 'spirit of God' moving over the face of the Earth. 
  • God seems remote and TRANSCENDENT- links to Aristotle's Prime Mover. 
  • The creation action is by word- 'God said'. 
  • He is able to create a world purely by COMMAND- Shows his OMNIPOTENCE.
  • Story seems to have Greek influence- Spirit of God= LOGOS- the wisdom or word of God. This is the OMNISCIENT aspect of God. 
  • The Logos is sometimes compared to Plato's Forms.
  • God PRE-EXISTS the creation of the World. 
  • Power over creation- OMNIPOTENCE. 
  • Creation is described as GOOD, 'God saw that it was good'- OMNIBENEVOLENCE 
  • On the sixth day, God created man 'in his own image'. The world exists for mankind who is given DOMINION over creation but is also required to act as a STEWARD of creation. 
  • ISAIAH40- 'It is he who sits above the circle of the Earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers...who brings princes to naught.'- OMNIPOTENCE and TRANSCENDENCE
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GOD AS CRAFTSMAN- GENESIS 2/3/JOB 38

  • Involves Creation of ADAM&EVE and THE FALL
  • God is the skilled builder of the world.
  • God has a RELATIONSHIP WITH HUMANITY.
  • God's creating activity= CRAFTING.
  • Adam is created 'of dust from the earth and is breathed into the breath of life'. 
  • The purpose of mankind= 'The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.'- SUBDUE THE EARTH.
  •  God is IMMANENT- unlike Gen 1 he is physically involved within the world. He walks and talks with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. 
  • JOB 38- 'Lays the foundations of the earth'- GOD= DESIGNER.
  • God making Adam from the dust is likened to a potter shaping the clay. 
  • God is ANTHROPOMORPHISED- Human-like image of God.
  • Relationship that allows God to reward or punish humans.
  • OMNIPOTENCE- Governing the night and day- JOB
  •  OMNIPRESENCE- God is physically present in Eden. 
  •  OMNISCIENCE- God knew when Eve ate the fruit of the tree.
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THE CONCEPT OF 'CREATIO EX NIHILO'

Meaning of creatio ex nihilo and to consider whether it is Biblical:

·         Meaning= CREATED OUT OF NOTHING.

·         God created the whole Universe, along with everything existing, out of nothing. 

·         The belief comes from both GENESIS (God created the world by command) and JOB (God laid the foundations of the Earth.)

·         Some hints in the earliest writings of the Bible that God was originally a craftsman, shaping pre-existent unformed matter. 

·         To many people today the idea of creatio ex nihilo is appealing because it fits in with the idea of the universe and time all beginning at the Big Bang. 

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COMPARING BIBLICAL GOD OF CREATION WITH THE PRIME

·         Aristotle's God is not interested in the World (uncaring)

·         Aristotle's God is the Final Cause and Prime Mover 

·         He is UNCHANGING, TRANSCENDENT and IMPERSONAL 

·         The Judeo-Christian God LOVES and SUSTAINS the World

·         The God of the Bible is portrayed in ANTHROPOMORPHIC language 

·         Both view God as responsible for the world 

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IS GOD RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE?

 RELIGIOUS BELIEVERS:

  • God is responsible for the existence of the Universe. 
  • Natural and Moral evil are caused by Humans ABUSING FREE-WILL.
  • AUGUSTINE- God created the world perfectly, original sin is the cause of suffering in the world. We are all seminally present in the 'loins of Adam.' 
  • IRENAEUS- God is partly responsible for evil, but for the PURPOSE OF GOOD. It helps humans DEVELOP into the 'likeness of God.' 
  • God OMNIPOTENTLY created a world that follows natural laws. 
  • God's giving of free-will makes him BENEVOLENT. 

SECULAR APPROACHES:

  • SCIENCE explains how the Universe works- EVOLUTION and NEWTON'S LAW OF GRAVITY are examples of this.
  • Science can increasingly explain 'why' the Universe is in 'that' particular way.
  • God is not responsible for what happens in the world because there is no need to believe in God to explain what happens in the world. 
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SUMMARY + TEST YOURSELF QUESTIONS

·         GOD IS THE CREATOR- A CRAFTSMAN AND DESIGNER 

·         GOD IS OMNIPOTENT, OMNISCIENT AND BENEVOLENT 

·         HUMANS HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE IN CREATION 

·         'CREATIO EX NIHILO' SHOWS GOD'S AUTHORITY OVER EARTH 

·         GOD IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATION 

1. What is meant by the term 'creatio ex nihilo'? 

2. Give 2 differences between the biblical view of God as Creator and the God of Aristotle.

3. What are the qualities of God that are expressed in the idea of him as creator?

4. What are the problems with seeing God as a craftsman? 

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