How God created

(Paul Lucas) #1

Continuing the discussion from Evolution designed; not random:

[quote=“Relates, post:7, topic:4732”]
When God created the universe ions ago, God created the elements, which also means God created chemistry. Also it is clear to me that God knew that chemistry and physics and the elements would result in life as we know it. I do not presume to think like God, or speculate how God created everything,[/quote]

Roger, the language you use is confusing. On the one hand, you state that you do not “speculate how God created everything.” OTOH, the language you use is a “how God created everything”. For instance, you say “God created the elements”. It sounds like you are saying God poofed the present amount of each element into existence “When God created the universe”.

Later in the post you said:
“God alone Who can and did create the universe and everything in it from nothing. In particular it is God Who created the earth, and made its environment change from a ball of molten iron and rock to the lovely planet that it is now.”

That also sounds like a “how”. You are not having God work through secondary causes like gravity, chemistry, geology, etc \change the earth… Instead you have God directly change earth’s environment from molten to what it is today. No physical processes, no geological processes, just God “made”.

The evidence we have from God’s Creation says that God did not create the elements “from nothing”. Instead, right after the Big Bang there was energy. No elements. Only later was there a phase transition where the universe expanded enough, which cooled the universe, for matter to “condense” from the energy.

Even then, there were only 2 elements: hydrogen and helium. All the other elements were the result of fusion reactions in stars. This nuclear synthesis made the elements up to iron. Elements heavier than iron were made in novae and supernovae. So elements were created from something.

Christian belief holds that God sustains all those material processes that resulted in the elements. But if you are looking for the proximate cause, then the phrase “God made” is inaccurate. God did not directly make the elements.

Nor did God directly “change its [the earth’s] environment”. Instead, the evidence (again from God’s Creation) says there were physical and chemical processes that transformed the earth from molten to what we see today.

Again, Christian belief is that God sustained those processes, but that means God worked through secondary causes. The earth today is the result of those secondary causes. To say “God made …” is an imprecise and confusing term that skips those secondary causes and goes to God directly doing things.

We need to ask you, and you need to ask yourself: are you claiming direct actions of God? Or do you accept that what we see in Creation – the elements, DNA, the genetic code, designs in plants and animals, and Earth’s current biosphere and geosphere, – are due to secondary causes?

Which is it?

(Jon Garvey) #2


Roger’s usage may indeed be confusing, and clarity on when and how secondary causation is involved is important, but your final dichotomy is false because secondary causation is still secondary, and the best-developed theologies of divine sustaining avoid deism by involving God at every step. In other words, the First Cause is not simply the cause that kicks off all others, but is the ontological First Cause whenever a secondary cause is seen. Aquinas saw that long ago.

If I make a guitar, say, the fact that I use a chisel, or even program an automised router, doesn’t in any way lessen my role as maker. If I make music on that guitar, the fact that it is guitar music doesn’t entitle me to create a dichotomy between primary cause (player) and secondary cause (guitar).

I think the adoption of New Atheist terms like “poofing into existence” tends to blind us to the theology of creation. Whatever is created is created ex nihilo, and that does not, and cannot, mean only one act “at the begiining of time” because God creates the whole of existence (from beginning to end) in eternity. That’s why in some traditions, “divine conservation” is termed “creatio continua”.

Therefore, the Big Bang, whilst unique and presumably initiatory in terms of space-time, is no different as an act of creation from the appearance of the elements in association with the various secondary cause, or with the individual species (and even individual creatures) in association with theirs. Hence we can say, though being thoroughly familiar with embryology and developmental biology, that Paul Lucas or Roger Sawtelle were made or created by God, as individuals.

Maybe it’s because science has for so long restricted itself to secondary efficient causation that it has led to a lack of understanding of the way in which primary causation relates to it.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #5


Thank you for the response and @Jon_Garvey thank you for your defense. I was on vacation last week.

Why do you think that the only way God can create is by “ooofing.” It seems that the Big Bang should show us that that God works in more subtle ways than by “ooofing.” I have read Hawking’s The Universe in a Nutshell and understand better the way God created and coordinates laws, elements, processes to make the universe into what it is.

We have in the past broke this down into primary and secondary causes, the natural and the supernatural, but I find this unsatisfactory. Western dualism has reached its limit in helping us understand the real world.