Thursday, April 28, 2016

God's Joy in Creating

Our previous post spoke of human creativity as it reflects the Image of God. Humans experience joy in their creative activities of work or play. Multiple expressions of imagination, innovation, and originality produce joy in the men, women, and children possessing these creative traits. 

We now shift our focus to the realm of the Creator. Creative acts of God have been apparent from the original creation of time, space, matter, and energy established “In the Beginning” (Genesis 1:1). The initial creation act at the beginning of time—(“In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth,”)—was observed by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some time later the heavenly host of angelic beings joined the joyful celebration. God inquired of Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation…and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4,7 NIV). This majestic passage impels us to contemplate God’s joy in creating. The angels shouted for joy. We may ask, “What was God doing?” We imagine God’s joy was even greater.

In the second example, we propose God’s joy at the initial creation act extended to his establishment of several dozen known physical constants. These are the “rules of the game” for our universe—precise, fundamental, invariant quantities observed in nature. We cite light speed, the mass of an electron, and the gravitational constant as examples. A football game, a trip to the store, or more generally, coherent functioning of the physical universe, would be impossible without these constants. How effective would sports coaches be if required to introduce games to students without establishing game rules? Even worse, what if there were no rules? The possibility of a game is not in prospect. In a broader sense, universal chaos would result. As the Creator, God is author of physical constants.

After the physical universe was in place, God occasionally intervened in creative episodes. This intervention is not a subject for scientists practicing the popular methodological naturalism (MN) guideline even to consider offering within their explanatory proposals. For instance, even though scientists consider the origin of life on this planet unexplainable, they continue to search for naturalistic explanations in the spirit of their adherence to MN. Life origin hypotheses abound but coherent, satisfactory explanations do not exist. This subject is bathed in scientific mystery. Scripture, however, in its brief creation account in the first chapters of Genesis, points to significant interventional creative episodes. No creation event is more significant than the origin of life.

In his recent (2014) volume Navigating Genesis, Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe posits that “…Genesis 1:2 hints that God’s work of creating life on Earth began very early, even before the first day’s dramatic events. This verse tells us (in English) that ‘the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters’…..the Spirit’s ‘hovering’ over the waters, as stated in Genesis 1:2, refers to God bringing about life in Earth’s ocean—even before light shone through.” In the past our blog has described early Earth as “a water world” in the very early days of our planet’s existence as a solid body. In those eons even before light shone through to the Earth surface, bacterial, multicellular marine organisms became abundant on the water shrouded planet. The one-celled bacteria were morphologically simple, but biochemically complex. Bacterial fossils were precursors of today’s mineral resources and producers of the life-sustaining atmosphere we enjoy today. The very first life on Earth, therefore, was not really “simple” in the most noteworthy sense. Life is explained by a startling supernatural intervention in Earth’s oceans about nine billion years after the initial creation and about four billion years ago from the present day.

Did God express joy at this creation event initiating life on our Planet Earth? In keeping with the brevity of details in the scripture account of creation, we offer our sanctified opinion. Hugh Ross states the Hebrew word describing the Spirit of God hovering over the waters is suggestive of “…a female eagle stirring up her nest and “hovering” over her young.” The image of a caring parent protecting its young may be a prequel to observing and expressing joy at the supernaturally produced newly created life. The creation of life in a universe where life is not known to exist elsewhere is a cause for joy.

Is there a natural explanation for the sudden appearance of our universe from a tiny singularity? Does the presence of several dozen precisely-tuned physical constants point to a natural cause? May we explain the origin of life on this planet naturalistically? Many other questions arise concerning the natural vs the supernatural in planetary events both past and present.