The term Creation possesses many definitions and meanings. The first book of the Bible (Genesis 1:1) refers to the most significant theological meaning of creation. The famous first verse of scripture refers to an absolute beginning of time—before which there was no space, energy, or matter. Prior to that, human time did not exist. From our human experience with the dimensions of time, space, matter, and energy governing our present lives, it is difficult to conceive or even imagine these conditions. The Creator of the Bible is able to exist within our dimensions, but also outside the dimensions in which we exist. Humans cannot conceive or even imagine that God could exist in other dimensions as well as in dimensions with which we are familiar.
The absolute beginning of time according to our human experience occurred at the Big Bang—about 13.8 billion years ago. God brought matter into existence from an infinitely small “singularity.” Physical descriptions for “singularity” characteristics are unlike anything with which humanity is now familiar. But Hebrew for Genesis 1:1, according to Hugh Ross in his volume “The Genesis Question” (Navpress, 2001), states the terms used in Gen. 1:1—heavens and earth,—“consistently refer to the totality of the physical universe: all of the matter and energy and whatever else it contains.”
Since the Big Bang creation event, our universe has expanded and has experienced many physical transformations. Credible scientists have described the primeval sea of quarks, early particles from which protons and neutrons formed and later combined to form atomic nuclei in the first several thousand years. These early particles were too hot to capture electrons. When they cooled enough, they captured electrons and formed elements which later formed galaxies of clouds and later, stars. The stars formed new elements and took on a life of their own. Astrophysicists refer to “cosmic evolution,” an ongoing sequence of events to explain our past and present physical existence.
Our view is that the subject of creation, especially the creation event described in Genesis 1:1, usually signals a one-time event. The richness of our language and theology, however, permits discussion of many other aspects of God’s creative power. Our Creator is not limited to a singular creative episode with respect to our physical universe or physical life. The power of God’s creative work has been ongoing since the beginning. The study of our physical universe, its origin, its development over time, and its development in the present, reveals much of God’s ongoing creative work. Many useful discoveries have been made concerning the events of 13.8 billion years ago, but much reported knowledge about the origin of our universe is speculative, at best.
Of even more importance is the manifestation of God’s ongoing creative ability with respect to living things. A riveting discussion topic is the origin of life on our planet. Is there a natural explanation for how life originated? In terms of our Christian belief system, God created life itself. Many scientists continue to search for a natural explanation for life’s origin. They are having little, if any success. The topic of divine action is off limits and even unwelcome in our science laboratories.
In contrast to our limited knowledge of events at the origin of the universe, we are far more confident that medical science has explained the sequence of events in the origin of planetary life. For instance—gestation—the events involving production of a human life from conception to birth. Knowledge of the process of gestation has increased exponentially. More knowledge of gestation is constantly being discovered.
How do we relate our post title—Ongoing Creation—to the development of human life? As we study the wonderful events involving reproduction, we believe the terms divine creativity and divine creation are entirely appropriate to describe events occurring in our present day. God is the Creator/Author of the wonders involving the production of new life. Life begins at conception, the joining of two gametes, sperm and ovum, into a zygote. This new diploid cell possesses all the potential to become a fully human being. It is fully human, although not fully mature.
The creation process of the next nine months involves building and structuring many functional layers of cells from the early zygote. It becomes an embryo, soon becomes a fetus, and finally a newborn. This process is not random or incoherent. Rather, it is suffused with precision and wonder. In our post of 2-21-2018 we quoted a well-known developmental biologist, Lewis Wolpert: “It is not birth, marriage, or death, but gastrulation which is truly the most important time of your life. The term signifies “the embryonic process during which a living organism’s body plan is established.”
There are many dimensions of God’s creativity. Many theologians deal with the concept of divine creation in relation to preserving, upholding, sustaining, conserving, governing, or intervening. Randy Alcorn of Eternal Perspective Ministries, states, “Each individual since Adam and Eve has been personally created by God.”