In the bible, the belief that the world was created by God is assumed. Biblical writers record how they understand the creation to have come about and the relationship between God and humanity, which has developed as a result of his creation.
QUALITIES OF GOD
According to traditional theism, God stands apart from the universe and is transcendental – beyond the realms of time and space.
The divine attributes include the following concepts:
1. Omnipotence – God is all-powerful, capable of anything
2. Omniscience – God is all-knowing, he is knowledgeable of everything
3. Omnipresence – God is everywhere, he is present in all situations at all times
4. Omni benevolence – God is all-loving, he shares his infinite love with creation
CREATIO EX NIHILNO
It is not made clear whether God was the shaper of a chaos of pre-existing matter, a formless void, or whether God created everything out of nothing, ex nihilno.
The Jewish and Christian doctrine of thought usually takes the view that God was both creator and shaper.
SCIENCE AND RELIGION
Some scientists say that matter could not have been brought into existence when there was no matter before.
Aristotle – “nothing can come from nothing”
St. Augustine of Hippo suggested that time is an intrinsic part of the created world and the descriptions “in the beginning” and “creation out of nothing” do not refer to a particular moment.
BABYLONIAN CREATION MYTHS
Genesis is similar to Babylonian creation myths in which there were dark swirling waters before the beginning of the world.
The writers of Genesis must have believed that their story was either an historic accurate account of creation, or imagery borrowed from myths to express the fundamentally inexpressible
A WORLD CREATED FOR HUMANITY
In the first creation story, God set everything in place before creating people.
In the second creation story humanity came first followed by animals as possible companions.
However both stories strongly suggest the world was created for humanity, not that people happened by accident or chance once the evolutionary process had been set in motion.
THE WILL OF GOD
The will of God is required to make physical matter exist, he creates the components of the universe on his word, according to his whim: ‘Let there be…’ and there is.
GOD AS AN EXPERT BUILDER
Poetic descriptions of God’s skill as craftsman of the universe can be compared with the work of an expert builder in the book of Job.
This contrasts with Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover. According to the bible, God is not unmoved at all and knows his creation intimately - he takes an interest and pride in the things he has made and cares about the actions of his creations.
UNMOVED OR MOVED
For Aristotle God creates movement by attracting everything towards himself and it is the objects that have the desire to move. In Judaeo-Christianity the will to move comes from God.
RELATIONSHIP WITH HUMANITY
God does not just think about himself but purposefully calls the world into existence desiring a loving relationship with creation, a relationship that works both ways.
This is very unlike the Aristotelian concept of a Prime Mover who does not know that the universe exists because the only subject that is worthy of thought is himself.
GOODNESS OF CREATION
Everything made by God is good and purposeful – nothing exists by chance or is inferior of quality or bad – God is solely responsible for creation and described it as ‘very good.’
THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
However, to say that God made the creation perfectly and it was ‘very good’ does not explain the existence of evil, ugliness and less perfect forms such as disease and disabilities that we have direct and certain experience of in world.
Moreover, if God created the universe and everything in it then he is solely responsible for everything that happens within the universe including evil and suffering.
For example, he purposefully gave the serpent in the narrative of ‘The Fall’ its craftiness, and still established it as ‘very good.’
THE SECOND CREATION STORY
The second creation story begins to address these questions.
It tells the story of Adam and Eve falling away from God and destroying the perfection given to them by disobeying God and giving in to temptation by the serpent.
However, this still raises problems. F.D.E. Schleiermacher argued that evil could not have created itself out of ex nihilno from a perfect world.
Either the world was created perfect and God let it go wrong, or the world was created imperfect and evil and suffering already existed.
In both cases, God can be held responsible for evil and suffering.