The meaning of "create"

(Christy Hemphill) #22

It may be possible, maybe not. Some of us feel such an account is not necessary to live an intellectually and spiritually satisfying life. Yours truly for example. More power to those who want a more rigorous theological theory though.

The foundation for belief that God is the Creator (whether via evolution or divine fiat) is revelation in Scripture. That’s a perfectly decent foundation for most Christians, I’d think. That isn’t where the point of contention between Christian ID proponents and Christian EC proponents lies.

(Richard Wright) #23

Hello John,

It has no need for a creator if one’s idea of a creator necessitates that it be “actively” working in evolution to achieve its purposes.

The belief is in God. Evolution is a theory supported by the data and Evolutionary Creation is the consequential logical position, with foundation, of theists that since there is a God and evolution is real, that God chose to use evolution to produce species, including man. The fact that it remains a mystery as to whether God is or isn’t actively working in evolution to achieve his intents makes it no less foundational.

(GJDS) #24

Hi Jon,

As you are undoubtedly aware, the theology that addresses God as creator is detailed and rigorous, albeit details are discussed to this day. The subject matter includes how God “knows” without being restricted by time (which we know as sequential, … before, now and after…), causality as Thomas discusses as formal and secondary causality, and naturally the transcendence of God as beyond being, and then we have sustaining and the energies (dynamis if my Greek to English is correct), not to mention ex nihilo - this covers a great area, without discussing neo-Platonic views.

So for those of us who take our theology seriously, discussing concept that seems to equate God as creator with one (controversial) area of the natural sciences, evolution, appears to me more as a humorous exercise and not a serious matter…

(Jon Garvey) #25

Just to put the record straight, @beaglelady. I have been an evolutionist for 60 years, and a Christian evolutionist for 50 years - when many of today’s leading TEs were wallowing around in Young Earth Creationism or diapers. Most of that time I’ve been examining and questioning my beliefs in the face of criticism.

To initiate a socratic discussion is not an “agenda”, but an invitation to others to explore, and maybe grow in faith and understanding, through looking at the same questions I’ve asked myself.

Having been a member in good standing here since 2010, I can do without your impugning my motives, thank you.

(Randy) #26

Dr Garvey, your history can be helpful for us. Sorry if you’ve described it somewhere else, but would you consider explaining it for us sometime? It might be a helpful new thread, if you wish. I am very interested in hearing what others have struggled with over time, especially as I continue to struggle with my own concerns in learning about faith and science. Thanks.

Also, maybe you can recommend books that have helped you on the way for us to learn from, as you mentioned Alfred Russel Wallace’s to me. Thank you.

(Christy Hemphill) #27

A post was merged into an existing topic: Please Share Your Experience in Finding Peace Between Science and Faith

(Randy) #28

Dr Garvey, thank you! Some thoughts that occurred to me:

  1. I wish that we had a similar background of no culture war; though I suppose we also learn things from others in questioning the intersection of faith and science (eg Ken Ham).

  2. I am sure that your working with others at Cambridge helped, especially those of that caliber. Besides Dr Kidner, have you met Alister McGrath?

  3. Your list of books is helpful. I see several that I have wanted to read, and others that will be useful (Warfield, Scruton and McGrath for example). It is intriguing to go back to the old writers. Noll would be helpful to interpret and introduce him.

I will try a thread to invite others to comment. I think there are lots of people who could contribute. I am going to re visit your list of books too. Thanks.


I still love that segment of the movie (still surprised I was allowed to watch it as a kid, being YEC) – I can’t listen to “Rite of Spring” without getting this feeling of desolation at the part where the dinosaurs are all dying.

(Jon Garvey) #30

It does skew ones musical appreciation - my generation couldn’t listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger!

(Brad Kramer) #31

@Jon_Garvey I really like how Pope Francis puts it:

[God] created beings and allowed them to develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one, so that they were able to develop and to arrive at their fullness of being. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality. And so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became what we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things. […] The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.

From the post published today:

(Jon Garvey) #32

I liked that quote too, Brad, when I reviewed Pope Francis’ statement back in 2014 (it was hard to find a complete English translation at the time). It needs to be interpreted in the light of Catholic Thomist categories of course - again showing the importance of both theological and philosophical understandings.


‘Create’: To take what exists in whatever form/pattern and rearrange to a differrent form/pattern, that, can be more orderly, or less orderly form/pattern, from the original.

Ex. you have created a chaotic mess out of the blankets on the bed ergo :smirk: Or, you have created pretty, organized presentation of blankets on the bed.

Universe/God does not create. Universe/God exists and forms/patterns are in constant change. It is said that the only guarantee is change.

Ergo, the word ‘create’ best applies to human activities.

To create appears to be correlated to intention, however, we may create this or that, unintentionally i.e. resultants of our thoughts or actions may create unintended consequences.

It may be that nothing is created or invented, in the sense, that, there is exist a finite set of what is possible to occur within our finite, occupied space Universe/God, and humans discover the various possible form/pattern arrangements.

Locally it may be novel or unique creation, however, the same creation may occur in other places and other times, given and eternally existent and finite, occupied space Universe/God


That would seem to apply to every interaction of matter and energy in the universe. The combination of water on the surface of the Earth and heat coming from the Sun creates ocean currents, wind patterns, and weather patterns on the Earth. Large masses of dust and gas in space create solar systems through gravitational collapse. A white dwarf stealing away mass from its partner star creates a type Ia supernova.


No because I also mentioned specfically human quality/characteristic and that Universe/God just IS, ergo IS in constant change that is inherent.

Humans are in constant change, but they are not constantly creating order or disorder, intentionally.

Again, use of word create I believe tends more toward humans actions of intention to create, rather than unintended resultant consequences.

…“Ergo, the word ‘create’ best applies to human activities.”…

To clarify, there were two distinctions;

1} human creations and Universe/God ISness of constant change,

2} intended creation by human and unintended creation by human.

Hope that helps to clarify my concepts.


Ultimately, it comes down to semantics. The same word can have different meanings in different situations. That’s just how language works. When I use the word “create” it spans the entire gamut from human intentional design to natural unintentional design. It works equally well in all of those situations.


Yeah, I suppose it does, however, at some point humans do attempt to make distinctions, categories, i.e. to differentiate this thing , thought form/pattern from another.

Universe/God creates volcanoes is what your approach infers.

Universe/God also creates humans with your approach.

Universe/God creates words via humans. Humans create the word ‘create’ for specific cummunication of concept purposes.

If we are to make a distinction/differrentiation of concepts, then the two seem correct or an appropriate assessment/choice.

I suppose written language is a little bit like number language. It is a way to put in order or to make sense of all we experience. #1 follows 2 and 2 precedes 3.

A triangle is not a square ergo we use words and numbers to make distinction/distinguish one from the other and language to communicate those specific differences, to self and others.


Those distinctions are usually made through context and further explanation. At it’s most basic, when you use the word “create” you are making the basic claim that A caused B. A and B can be any combination of things.


In that case the word ‘create’ is a synonym for the word ‘cause’ or ‘causal’.

Again, if we want to create new words in order to make specific distinctions/differrentiations, humans will do that and sometimes those created words will be adopted formally into one or more dictionaries, or unofficially via proliferation of humans using the word.

Ex selfie when people take picture of themselves. Some of these types words are in found in modern urban dictionarys found online.

Fuller created the hybrid word tensegrity and it was formally adopted by some dictionaries before internet phenomena occurred.

I suppose when you state “at its is most basic” your kinda of referencing the etymology of a word.

If we want to go there with the word ‘create’ then that may open a whole other can of worms{?} :yum:.

Something from nothing would be best considered in its own thread.


Not at all. The origin of the word really doesn’t matter. What does matter is how we use the word. What I mean by “at its most basic” is the definition that covers all uses of the word withing one meaning. For example, if we say that God created the Earth this can mean a lot of things to many different people. It can include everything from a supernatural event to a natural event that God ordained in some way.


Then “covers all uses of thew word” is the most generalized set.

So maybe sometimes “most basic” can mean most generalized set and other times mean and the most basic or primary or root or core.

Sorry if I’m confused about which way the meaning of your “most basic” is being used.

Most generalized is macro set.

Least generalized is very specific or special-case set of circumstances ergo most micro.

Basic to me is associated the most fundamental set. And here I think of fundamental as minimal set. Ex the most basic polygon can be interpreted in two various ways;

1} edges/chords/lines etc that enclose a 2D area,

2} the minimal ergo most basic polygon is a triangle.

Maybe were delving into semantics again ergo the the need for more words to better clarify what we each are perciving.

Basic > root > core > minimal set

Basic > most comprehensive sets are included

Basic training in Army prepares us for what exactly vs those many specific-special case aspects of Army that basics does not prepare or educate us in.

The basic soldier or polygon is not prepared for all contingencies that may be related.