I’d like to try and summarise the replies so far (not to draw a conclusion, but to point out themes), before proceeding to ask your participation in a second stage.
Unsurprisingly, the idea of making things predominated in your comments. This is not trivial, since it suggests some final result to be the thing actually created, an “artifact”, or its analogical equivalent.
Also prominent was a discussion of the separation of a “conception” in the creator’s mind, and its execution. So Mark_D spoke of a “form or image” preceding its physical crafting; Christy similarly takes the process through from imagining to preparation to execution; GJDS unites the whole thing in divine terms, but conceptually still separates its origin in God and its execution through the Word. Common to all these, I think, is some idea that the physical result is the same as was originally planned - ie there is an inevitable teleology in the idea of “idea -> execution”. Does the faithfulness of the “artifact” to the “mental conception” say anything about the ability of the creator?
The novelty inherent in the creative act was another theme for Christy and JPM, and was also hinted at by Randy’s allusion to Shakespeare. JPM raised an interesting link to evolution - “it does not create”, presumably because “modification” is not the same as “innovation.”
So JPM nudges us towards my secondary question, because he sees the necessity of a creator providing innovations that, if I read him right, evolution per se (as he describes it) cannot - I’d just want to point out that incremental modification, if it is not itself “creative”, will not become so even in the long term, raising the question of how the implied creator innovates through a “non-innovative” mechanism. Is the evolutionary mechanism a tool like a paintbrush or a computer program, or a delegated assistant following instructions or working autonomously, or what? But let’s move on.
A couple of people pointed out how the creator is to be seen through his work, whilst I think all of these stressed that the creator himself is not revealed, but only his “mark” (Randy), his “individual expression” (Christy), “not his essence” (GJDS). What does a creator (eg Shakespeare) reveal of himself/herself in their work… or alternatively, is creation ever so un-linked to the mind of the creator as to reveal nothing?
Lastly, a couple of people balked at the idea that creation could occur ex nihilo. MarkD rightly questioned whether an original idea in the mind actually comes from nothing, and with John Dalton seemed to suggest that any creator must use existing materials. It’s worth pointing out that to suggest that to suggest that God, as creator, used pre-existing materials is dualistic - reality would then consist of God and an independently eternal “material”. That seems not to be the historic Christian teaching on God as the One Eternal Being, the source of all things “visible and invisible”, but that doesn’t actually affect my maybe all-too-predictable follow up question.
And that question isthis. Based on the concept of “create” simpliciter you have formed (or your conclusions from what others have written on the thread), what do you take “Evolutionary Creation” actually to be? To base this on the usual formulation of EC, “God creates through evolution,” what would this entail, and what would it exclude, to be consistent with your definition of “create”?