"...Creator of Heaven and Earth..."
- The Apostles' Creed
"...although we are made of nothing, we are made into something; and since what we are made of does not account for us, we are forced to a more intense concentration upon the God we are made by."
- Frank Sheed
So if God is perfect Happiness in and of himself, why would he bother creating the heavens and the earth (aka the universe both invisible and invisible)? That’s a good question.
God did not need to create in the sense that you or I might need to create. You or I might feel a burning desire to bring some idea to life, an incompleteness that can only be realized through the act of creating. God is not like that. He is perfectly happy in and of Himselves (see what I did there?). He has no need to create in order to gain a greater perfection or completeness. So if that is the case, then why did he even bother with all of this useless beauty?
It seems to me that it overflows from the very nature of the love that God is. Think about it...when you love something, when you truly love it freely, whether it be a spouse, a friend, a child, a pet, a song, a book, an author...whatever it is, one of the qualities of this true love is that it seems to radiate out into the nothingness. It cannot be satisfied or placated. It must adore, it must say "My Beloved!" It must, in its own way, sing. To borrow a phrase from Mick Jagger, true love can't get no satisfaction.
My God! What if we could say that, even to our enemies: "I love you with a burning love. I want you to know this feeling for all of eternity!" Indeed, when we look into the lives of so many of the saints, this is what we see: an unquenchable and burning love, a sort of ecstasy of being. Doesn't such love seem like it is capable of healing all wounds and of righting all wrongs? You may say I'm a dreamer...what can I say?
Now let’s think about nothingness for a minute. Whenever you or I create something, we have materials that we work with. You build a chair: you use wood and metal. You write a song: you use sound waves and the linguistic heritage that has come down to you. When God creates, He uses nothing. That’s right. You, me, the stars and the trees: we are made of nothing. The nihilists are in some part right.
If you dig down deep into any created thing, what are you going to find? A whole lotta nothing. Not things you can grasp, but at its root, nothingness. Call it existential vapor. That leads to a very lonely outlook for us humans…our minds want to find and explore the endless mystery of a thing, but at the bottom, what do we find? Nothing.
However, what if this nothingness leads instead to an ungraspable richness that goes beyond the bottom of everything? What if, as we stare into the void, we go with the innate, child-like sense that there is in fact someone watching out for us? What if the void leads not ultimately to nothingness but to the mystery of existence itself? What if the physical-material cosmos is only the womb of the greater existence? This is where we find creation reflecting God’s glory (through a glass darkly), and God being the one to which our minds and our hearts are drawn for endless satisfaction.
OK, yeah, so basically I've posited two paths here, one where nothing is at the bottom of everything and one where God is beyond the bottom of everything. I think a case could be made that the first choice is logically untenable, but I'm not out to start an argument about that right now. Instead, we need to talk about mankind's reason for the more optimistic choice. And that's where Jesus Christ comes in. More on that next time.
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