Where did God Start?
We believe that everything in the Universe, all the things we know about (and the things we don’t!) were made by God.
The Scriptures have some stories about God creating everything. These stories aren’t exactly the same, but they do have some similarity between them. These stories aren’t scientific, and they’re not supposed to be. They tell us more about theology than science. In other words they’re more about who God the Creator is and what he’s like, than how he actually created things in a scientific sense.
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4-25
Note the two different accounts of creation. Popular culture mish-mashes them together, but the older, more mysterious story is the second one, and features the anthropomorphisation of mankind as Adam and Eve. The word used for God here is Eloim, an older Hebrew word. In the former story, the period described is “a period of time” – not necessarily a day, so becomes a pretty good account of evolution seen through 3,000 year old eyes! The name of God in this story is the sacred name YHWH (said aloud as LORD in capital letters), a later construct.
Themes of Creation Stories:
- God created everything
- What God creates is good
- We don’t know how God created everything (we weren’t there!)
- God creates things by separating them: light from dark, night from day, etc.
- Humanity is the most important thing that God creates
- God is the source of all life
- God continues to look after the things he’s created
Some wise arguments about the existence of God
- The Cosmological Argument – everything has a cause; God is the initial “First Cause”
- Aquinas called these “the unmoved mover” and “the first cause”
- The Moral Argument – our sense of moral values points to the existence of a moral Creator
- The Teleological Argument – evidence of design ex fine and purpose in the world point to intelligent creation, as a watch indicates a watchmaker
Note that neither the Scriptures nor Jesus try to prove the existence of God – they assume it
Question: Does the existence of God need to be proved? Does faith depend on it?
If creation is good, why do bad things happen?
Technical term: theodicy
We can’t really answer this for certain, but the Scriptures have several different stories that try to understand it. One of these stories is in Genesis, and is about Adam and Eve. It is quite a complicated story, but part of it suggests that humans wanted to be like God. As they tried to be like God they disobeyed what God had asked them to do, and then tried to hide from him. But nothing can have true life without God, so by trying to avoid God, people reject what gives them true life.
Rejecting God, in any way, no matter how small, is what we call ‘sin’. All of us reject God sometimes, and think that we know better.
Why did God send Jesus?
God loves us all, and wants us all to love him. But because God loves us, he doesn’t force us to love him, or to do what he says. In Jesus we see that God loves us, and wants to share his life with us. Even though we reject God, and sin – doing things that are bad for us and bad for other people – God still loves us, and wants to forgive us.
In the New Testament people talk about Jesus being a ‘New Creation’. In Jesus God saves us from the consequences of rejecting him, and makes it possible for us to share the life he wants to give us. In Jesus we have a new beginning…what happens next?
Write down one thing you like about the world…
Write down one thing you don’t like about the world…
If you could ask God anything about the world he made what would it be?
Why do bad things happen in the world?
*Credit for the inspiration and style of this course must be given to Fr Nic Cheeseman, to whom I am most indebted.