New Creation

Even before Darwin, scientists were studying the origin of species; and though some might think there is a perpetual and permanent war between science and religion, it is simply not the case. St. John Paul II asked in a letter to George V. Coyne, S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory, “If the cosmologies of the ancient Near Eastern world could be purified and assimilated into the first chapters of Genesis, might not contemporary cosmology have something to offer to our reflections upon creation?” While some Christians maintain that the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis describe the literal process of creation, most Catholics understand that there is nothing at odds between proclaiming God’s sovereignty over creation and studying the means by which creation took place, including the evolution of species.

Yet there is one thing Catholic thought insists on: God is the beginning of all things, the one from whom and through whom all existence emerges. In Job’s encounter with God in todays’ reading, God challenges Job. He asks: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone.... Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?” The Book of Job describes God’s creative activity using the language of human building and tools. It is not the scientific reality of these cosmic images that Christians maintain but the insight that we are finite creatures and God is the infinite being, the master builder, who created all out of nothing.

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Human beings function as co-creators with God, attempting to understand nature, work with nature and harness nature. Yet even as human knowledge and technology increase, the tools of human ingenuity are often overwhelmed by the depth of creation, as was Job, not just by how it surprises us with its majesty but because of the limits of our understanding.

For creation is an ongoing work sustained by God. God the creator is not a reminiscence of past events but an affirmation of God as the sustainer of all creation, the one who cares for creation and the one who continues to do new things, even now. God’s work in creation is often pronounced in the beauty and power of nature, the vistas of ocean waves, rolling prairies or soaring mountains. This is the natural world and God is revealed here.

But God’s supernatural presence also reveals the God beyond comprehension. The apostles experienced one aspect of God’s presence when Jesus, in the midst of a storm, woke to his disciples’ anguished cries, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus then “woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.” The apostles were shocked—an appropriate response, for the might of God rests beyond all human calculation.

And while we might not experience God’s supernatural power in a public display that awes us, we might see it worked out at a personal level. Those who have never experienced a natural miracle might experience God working in individual lives, creating something new in people who were lost, forgotten, who were thought beyond redemption. This is why no person is a “loser,” no person worthy of being “written off.” Cannot the God who creates and sustains all creation, who acts in nature, act in the most precious of creations, human beings? Whenever we cast humanity as masters of the universe, we have lost our way; but whenever we think we are nothing to God, we have misunderstood God’s creative power.

God is smaller than that: God dwells in people, working graces unseen. He came to earth out of love and “the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all.” Each of us is a miracle not only in the womb but at every stage of our lives. This is why Paul says, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” We are new creations, for God is working in each of our lives even now. The creator beyond all human imagining loved us into being and makes each of us new.

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Bruce Snowden
2 years 10 months ago
I find the term “new creation” unifying yet expansive, narrowing in the way God creates, yet ever offering opportunity for something other, something new, always room for more. Mr. Martens, calls Creator God “the One who cares for creation and the One who continues to do new things even now …” . “Even now…” In John’s Gospel we find those words, “My Father works even now” applying first of all to the “working out” of the salvation of souls. But because God deal only with the whole truth and nothing but the truth, perhaps his Son was telling us something cosmological as well, something about an ongoing material creation, something evolutionary working itself out as Jesus spoke. I do believe that evolutionary process was Creator God’s principle creation-tool and that from that decision something is learned about the mysterious, or not so mysterious “make-up “of the Godhead, the Trinity being an Evolutionary Spirit, in an through Whom, everything “evolves” or as traditionally stated, “proceeds” One From the Other, everlastingly without beginning, or end. From the nature of God we discover an ongoing creation, an unfinished creation, linking as suggested before to Jesus’ words, that His Father “works even now.” This is what I think. Am I off track? Well, as Mr. Martens says, “Catholic thought insists on one thing, that from God all things emerge.” Of course! When God created He called everything “good” so how can anything be a loser? God is so lovingly intent on “sharing”( that’s what evolution attempts to do , share,) that we learn from St. Paul we actually become “partakers of the Divine Nature.” To buttress my point I respectfully borrow from Gregory Popcak’s Interview by Sean Salai, S.J., discovering that Thomas Aquinas said, “The only Begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in His Divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make man gods.” A profound Divine Evolution, a kind of god from God evolution, properly understood. Mr. Marten's asks, "In what way has God been making a new creation in you?" Well, attitudinally because of Faith in Jesus I have become more loving, more forgiving, achievements I am ever conscious not to stop cultivating. Also to always keep in mind that "Everything is Grace." For me, through this conviction God is made visible in people and things around me, which I find exciting and comforting. everything offering opportunities to newly create.
Gary Hess
2 years 10 months ago
People argue over whether the creation account in Genesis is accurate. Human science is always pitted against the Bible. Some seek to make accommodation so both may be accepted. However, I would like to point out why if you believe the Bible is the word of God, evolution can never be an option. The two are diametrically opposed to each other. The theory of evolution hypothesizes that the species of this planet came about by continuous generations of inherent death to arrive at the order of classifications living today. If this is true, then death did not begin with Adam’s transgression of God’s word. Therefore Romans 5:12 cannot be true: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” The Bible teaches that it was Adam’s sin which introduced death into the world. Either the Bible is wrong or evolution is wrong. There is no bridge, other than human reasoning, to support both options. Accepting evolution also means Jesus, who Paul declared to be “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), was wrong in His understanding of the natural order. In Mark 10:6 Jesus said, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” This statement leaves no room for evolutionary theory. While praying to the Father in John 17:17, Jesus called the Scriptures truth: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Was Jesus just flat wrong, uneducated, delusional or lying? If you believe in evolution you have to accept one of these conclusions. The Bible teaches that when Adam sinned he surrendered dominion of the earth given to him by God (in Genesis 1:26) to Satan. Adam’s sin also caused a shift in man’s nature from a disposition of submission to the will of God to one of rebellion against God. Man’s nature was now in alignment with the nature of Satan, the adversary, and man lost dominion of the planet to the arch-deceiver (see Job 1, Matthew 4:8-10). To regain control of this world, Jesus Christ, who is the Creator (see John 1, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1), condescended to take the form of humanity (see Philippians 2:5-8, Hebrews 2:14-18) “to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus’ mission was to return man to his rightful state by dying on the cross. He accepted our place that we may be elevated to His place. He revealed that this is also the will of His Father. In John 6:39 He said: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). If you are a Christian the acceptance of evolution turns all of this into a fairy tale. If evolution is true, death did not enter the world through Adam’s sin, and man never fell from his original state. Since man never fell, he does not need the Savior. Therefore, there was really no point in Jesus dying on the cross and the gospel becomes nothing more than a feel good story. This is why Christians cannot reconcile creation with evolution. One of the two choices is a lie. Adam and Eve were presented with the same challenge. Which will you choose? “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15)
Bruce Snowden
2 years 10 months ago
Hi Garry, I believe one cannot use the Bible to disprove evolution, nor can one use evolution to disprove the Bible, the two are complementary one to the other not diametrically opposed, About the Bible versus physical creation St. Augustine said,"The Bible doesn't tell how the heavens go, but about how to go to heaven." Clearly he means that the Bible is not a scientific textbook explaining how God created. It is instead a moral guide leading humanity to God. Albert Einstein once said, "Progress is impossible without change ...". I see evolution as progressive. I respect your decision to reject even the possibility that God used evolutionary progress to bring about the changes he had in mind. May I ask you to respect the decision of those like me, who believe that materiality did evolve according to a Divine Plan. We must all remember that "Truth is truth not because we believe it. Truth is truth whether we believe it or not." So said St. Pope John Paul II.

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