Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God's "Creative" Genius

"I am the LORD, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe; I, the LORD, do all these things. Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the LORD, have created this." (Isaiah, 45: 6-8).

Yesterday's blog reflection focused on how, if we hope to have an active and lively faith, it is vitally important to be open to the "new" ways in which God is acting in our world and revealing himself. This means having a "supple" or pliable mind, heart, and imagination that is open to the "language of love" that God chooses to use in order to communicate his presence among us. This language of God's can change quite dynamically, and even radically, in order to adapt itself to the way human beings understand existence from one generation to the next. Take, for example, the above passages from the prophet Isaiah (part of today's first reading from Mass). The "language" that God uses through the prophet communicates the faith conviction that God alone is the absolute, and even direct creator of everything (light and darkness) and the author of every circumstance (well-being and woe). This "language" was fitted to the Israelite's understanding of the world, and everything in it, as directly fashioned by the hand of God, much like a potter molds a piece of clay.

Much has changed in the contemporary understanding of the world and dynamics of the universe since Isaiah's day. Modern science has made discoveries that have introduced a totally "new language" for explaining the make up of the universe. Now, instead of pointing to God as the direct creator or cause of all that is, we speak of "atoms", "DNA", "evolution", "gravity", "the law of thermodynamics", etc., as the principles that have resulted in the tremendous diversity of life that we take for granted. Any responsible, believable, and mature Christian faith more and more has to take into account the above scientific theories (at least to some degree) and than allow such theories to inform how we understand God's "creative genius" as it continues to exercise a profound influence (though undetectable by even the most powerful microscope :)

For over the past thirty to forty years, a dialogue has been unfolding and deepening between science and the Christian Faith that has helped to produce a "new language of love" in which God is communicating his "ever ancient" presence in "ever new" and profound ways. Theologian-Scientists such as Arthur Peacocke are on the "cutting edge" of articulating the faith in a way that integrates the best of what science has to offer in understanding and appreciating the dynamics of the physical world. Through the dialogue between science and faith, we are coming to appreciate a God who's creative genius lies partly in "letting be" and partly in "alluring." What this means is that God creates in such a way that God allows what is created enough space to unfold and make determinations of it's own. However, God also "allures" (namely, the human creature) to richer and fuller modes of being and becoming through invitation, inspiration, and God's own participation in the unfolding of creation (in Jesus and the Holy Spirit). God's creative genius consists in the fact that God can simultaneously call life into being (think of the "Big Bang" or the opening chapter of Genesis where God says, "Let there be light") and allow it to unfold according to it's own potential, determination, and willfulness. What hasn't changed since Isaiah's time is the conviction that God is the "absolute" creator: meaning, that all things are destined to be summed up in Christ, that Christ will turn everything over to the Father, and that God will be "all in all." (1 Corinthians, 15:27-28). Pat, TOR


Anonymous said...

I find this very helpful... What could it mean if/when God expects His people to unfold His creative genius? Be blessed!