Monday, July 31, 2006

The Cause of Creation and the Reason for Hope

Every once in awhile I meet a Christian who seems to have given in to despair, or who spends a lot of time entertaining worries. I've seen that around the blogosphere a little bit lately. It's happened to me at odd times in life too. I think it happens when we lose our focus on why we are here in the first place, where we have come from and where we are going. And that's easy enough to do these days. If you ask some Christians why God created all things, the main answer you'll get is that it wasn't because he lacked anything and it wasn't that he needed to create. Is that really all we have to say on the subject, that it wasn't neediness? After all that we have studied, do we understand God no better than that, that we can manage to look at all of creation and have nothing positive to say about God?

God's love is the starting point of all things. To be sure, without God's power, nothing would have happened -- but those with power often do not use it, and having power is not the same as having a reason to act. Power has no direction by itself; if we conceive of God almost solely in terms of power, we tend to miss that. But love moves to action, and God's love towards what he had conceived in his mind is the impetus for creation and the foundation of its goodness. This relationship of God to the world, then, is naturally one of grace (that is, goodwill and favor), and this was established and evidenced by the same act of love by which God brought all things into being. The implications of this are not just for the time of the foundation of the world, but for all who live on the world founded on God's love and grace. This new, created goodness was worthy of recognition and love, calling to mind the goodness of its creator in various ways, being a result of God's own overflowing goodness. Everything that was made was blessed by the act of creation with goodness and favor from God, and sealed with his recognition that it was good.

The act of creation -- and the fact of God's love, which was the first cause of this creation -- is also the cause of our redemption. It is the reason why the world is not now abandoned, forsaken by God, as it might deserve. It is the reason Christ came. It is the reason why the world will be made new. It is the reason why the home of God will be with us at the end of all things. God's love for mankind and fellowship with mankind was part of the design of all things at the foundation of the world. That God might someday become man was hinted at when he made mankind in his image; that door was open from the beginning. Fellowship with mankind was part of God's intent from the foundation of the world. That was why the crown of creation was a creature capable of fellowship with God, capable of knowing and loving God, a creature bearing the image of God. It was because God's love is the starting point of all things, and the spiritual consummation of God's love for mankind was one of the aims of creation, part of God's plan for the crown of creation.

In this world there are plenty of occasions for sadness; there is definitely a time to mourn. But any loss or wrong cannot eclipse this: God's love towards us is our reason for hope.

1 comment:

codepoke said...

Hear! Hear!

Amen, and great post. This is one of my favorite subjects.