When Does Creation Begin?

How free is God? I would say God is free to do anything which does not violate His own character. Therefore, if God wants to create a certain kind of universe, there is nothing to stop Him from doing so as long as it aligns with His own character, or nature. This, of course, creates problems when looking at the fall of man and the will of man.

True or False: If God did not want the fall of man to happen, and it was possible to give humans their own free will which would not necessarily lead to a fall, then there would never have been a fall since God could have, and would have, created that universe.

Does human free will necessarily lead to a fall? If you say no, then I have to ask: Then why did the fall happen? And if you answer: Because of free will, then I have to ask: Does human free will necessarily lead to a fall?

You can only say that human free will does not necessarily lead to a fall if you believe God does not know the future. However, if God knows the future, He knows if a fall will happen or not. If God does not want a fall, and He wants humans to have their own will, and He sees He can indeed create a universe where humans have free will and there is no fall, then He will create that universe. It’s the one He wants. But, we obviously do not live in that universe. Therefore, either (A) God positively wanted the fall to happen, or (B) He was forced negatively to allow the fall to happen as there was no other option since He wanted humans to have free will, and human free will would always lead to a fall.

Option A seriously calls God’s goodness into question. Why would a good God want a fall and all the evil which accompanies it? Option B calls into question God’s power and freedom. Who decided that God couldn’t create a universe in which humans had free will and never fall?

But wait, Christianity teaches that after the resurrection, after sin and death and the effects of the fall have been completely removed from existence, there will never be another fall, and humans will have free will. So, it turns out that God can indeed create a universe in which humans have free will and yet not fall.

When, exactly, does this creation begin?

The Fallacy of Theodicy

Theodicy: a defence of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil

We ought to reject all attempts at theodicy. God did not need sin, death, and evil to bring about His plan for creation. Sin, death, and evil did happen, but not at God’s command or decree. And, we take comfort in the fact that God hates sin, death, and evil, and He will redeem His creation from it all.

Excerpt from an article written by David B. Hart titled Tsunami and Theodicy….

“Christians often find it hard to adopt the spiritual idiom of the New Testament—to think in terms, that is, of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, of Christ’s triumph over the principalities of this world, of the overthrow of hell. All Christians know, of course, that it is through God’s self-outpouring upon the cross that we are saved, and that we are made able by grace to participate in Christ’s suffering; but this should not obscure that other truth revealed at Easter: that the incarnate God enters ‘this cosmos’ not simply to disclose its immanent rationality, but to break the boundaries of fallen nature asunder, and to refashion creation after its ancient beauty—wherein neither sin nor death had any place. Christian thought has traditionally, of necessity, defined evil as a privation of the good, possessing no essence or nature of its own, a purely parasitic corruption of reality; hence it can have no positive role to play in God’s determination of Himself or purpose for His creatures (even if by economy God can bring good from evil); it can in no way supply any imagined deficiency in God’s or creation’s goodness. Being infinitely sufficient in Himself, God had no need of a passage through sin and death to manifest His glory in His creatures or to join them perfectly to Himself. This is why it is misleading (however soothing it may be) to say that the drama of fall and redemption will make the final state of things more glorious than it might otherwise have been. No less metaphysically incoherent—though immeasurably more vile—is the suggestion that God requires suffering and death to reveal certain of his attributes (capricious cruelty, perhaps? morbid indifference? a twisted sense of humor?). It is precisely sin, suffering, and death that blind us to God’s true nature.”

Read DBH’s full article by clicking here.

Calvinism is Pantheism

499198-John-Calvin-Quote-By-predestination-we-mean-the-eternal-decree-ofJesus was not created; He was begotten. He proceeds forth from the Father, and He does so eternally. There was never a time when Jesus did not exist. (The terms “time” and “exist” I use lightly when talking about God.)

The universe, however, was created by God, not begotten. The universe is wholly separate from God — the universe is not God, and God is not the universe. Nor is God the “prime-mover” of the universe, for to be the prime-mover of a system is to be a part of that system. God is not a part of the universe even if it’s the first part. He is the creator of the universe, not the begetter.

Deism teaches that God created the universe wholly separate from Himself and afterward had, and has, no interaction with the universe. Pantheism teaches that God is inseparable from the universe as He is the universe and the universe is Him. The proper teaching, in my opinion, is that God did create the universe wholly separate from Himself, but does indeed interact intimately with the universe, even to the point of entering His creation as the man Jesus and continuing with the Holy Spirit.

Calvinism teaches that God’s will is so intertwined with the universe, predestining every detail of what happens from before creation, being the first cause of every event, that God becomes inseparable from creation. How can creation be separate from God when God has already decided exactly what will happen before any event took place and then ensures from moment to moment that all plays out as He predestined?

Some Calvinists would argue with this assertion, “You’re taking things too far!” But these Calvinists aren’t thinking their theology through to its logical conclusions. If God predestines a few things, He predestines all things. If God is sovereign, as the Calvinist defines that term, nothing occurs which is opposite to His will.

What we end up with is a kind of Christian Pantheism where it becomes impossible to imagine any event happening without being directly caused by God. We end up with a universe where only God is real and everything else is illusion. A universe in which there is only God playing out a story of unreal characters in His mind.

The Alpha and the Omega and the Foundation of all Correct Theology

a and oThe Meaning of Alpha and Omega

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending,” saith the Lord (Revelation 1:8).

When God calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, A and ω), it does not mean that He was the first to show up and He’ll be the last to go away. Rather, it means that God alone existed into eternity past and God alone has the ability within Himself to exist into the eternal future. But, Α and ω does not just refer to time, but reality itself. God is not some being coming into some pre-existing reality — He is the first reality (eternal and infinite), and all other things come into being from Him, through Him, and to Him.

In order for God to be the A and the ω, He must be complete and perfect within Himself. He cannot be lacking in any way. Never has God needed to fill an empty hole in His existence. If that were so, it would mean there was some other pre-existing reality which God was trying to make His way through and understand — some other set of pre-existing “rules” that God had no authorship of and no control over. You and I were born into a pre-existing reality, and we have to figure out how to live in that reality. God is His own reality, perfect and complete, and thus He has perfect knowledge of everything, all the time. To believe that God needs to complete Himself over time is to reduce Him to a small “g” god — powerful but finite. I’m not saying God never has any desires, but His desires are for the fulfillment of finite creation/creatures (like us) rather than for the fulfillment of Himself. God wants us to be what He created us to be (and gets angry when that doesn’t happen), but He didn’t create us so that He could become what He wants to be — He already is and has always been what He wants to be. He is the A and the ω, eternally perfect and unchanging.

So, all good theology has to start from this point. If your theology suggests that God created the universe in order to meet some unfulfilled desire, it’s bad theology.

God is Love

God is a Trinity — the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit. He has always been this way, eternally. The perfect joy and love the Father sees in Himself causes perfect joy and love for Himself thus begetting a second Person, the Son. The perfect joy and love between Father and Son is a perfect third Person, the Holy Spirit. God has eternally existed in perfect love. Love is who He is — God is love. His love has eternally been manifest.

When one asks why God created, it is a faulty question. There is no “because” to God’s act of creation. God is perfect and complete, and creation is an outpouring of His completeness. It is an outpouring of who He is. It is an outpouring of His love.

The Small “g” God of Open Theism

The Open Theist simply believes that God does not know the future, or at least the future as determined by the actions of created beings with free will. This type of theology can be paired up with Process Theism, which teaches that God changes over time as he Himself is learning and changing. It’s easy to see why God is a small “g” god, and not the A and ω, in these types of theism because if God is not the all knowing uncaused cause of all being He is only secondary to something that’s come before, and we as worshippers ought to seek out what came before Him in order to find the truth of reality.

The Small “g” God of Calvinism

Calvinists believe that God intentionally predestined and created a large percentage of humanity to be vessels of His wrath and suffer in hell eternally. Why? The Calvinist believes that in order for God to be truly and fully known by the elect (the lucky few predestined to be saved) they must see His wrath manifested. In order for God’s wrath to be manifested, there must be subjects of His wrath. Aside from the fact that God becomes the author of evil in order for this to happen (although through some A=B ∴ A≠B logic, Calvinists deny this), Calvinism reduces God down to a small “g” god.

As noted above, God’s love has always been manifested (within the Trinity). He did not have to create in order to manifest His love. But has God’s wrath always been manifested? No. God is not wrath as He is love. Wrath is not integral to His being as love is. God’s wrath happens when His created beings refuse to be what He created them to be — it is a reaction to something that has gone wrong (and God’s character does not change in this reaction). God’s wrath is not a positive thing essential to His being. Does one have to see God’s wrath in order to know Him? Only if wrath is integral to His being, which it is not. If it were, it would have been manifest in Him from all eternity. The Calvinist says that God had to create in order to display His wrath, as though He were incomplete without being able to do so beforehand. For reasons listed above, this belief reduces God to a small “g” god.

Calvinists, using an overcooked definition of sovereignty (a ruler being in absolute control over absolutely everything), rather than using the proper definition of sovereignty (a ruler’s ability to rule however he wants unimpeded), forcibly reduce God down to a small “g” god as He becomes a god transcending good and evil, love and hate, robotically and arbitrarily choosing to love some and hate others for no other reason than to fill a seemingly irresistible and previously unmet need to display His wrath. The A and the ω, who is truly sovereign, does not need to conform to such limitations as though He were some divine computer following a logic program.

“I think the display of God’s perfections is the ultimate goal of the universe. God created the universe so that the full range of his perfections, including wrath and power and judgment and justice would be displayed.” ~John Piper (Calvinist Pastor)

I suppose there are more Christian based theisms which relate to the two above in reducing God to god, but these two seem to be the most prevalent in western Christianity today.

So what is the perfectly correct theology? Well, I don’t know that yet, but I do know where to start: God is good, loving, all knowing, all powerful, and the Alpha and the Omega. His sovereignty is not violated if He allows events to happen against His will. But, we can be confident that in the end His will for His creation will be done and it will be good as He is good, perfectly good.