Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The relationship of God to creation

What is the relationship between God and creation, between the infinite and the finite? Sometimes a picture can be very helpful. The illustration below visualizes finite existence - which includes the universe - 'coming up out of' infinite reality. It also helps to show how infinity could be thought of as 'existence without distinctions' (rather than e.g. an infinite collection of things). Click to see full size:

You could say that infinity and finite existence are like a bookshelf that a book is resting on. Just like the book is completely supported by the bookshelf, so finite existence is supported by infinity. Existence with distinctions is completely dependent on existence without distinctions (see here for a look at this perspective and God).

This view also helps to explain how the universe is NOT God although 'In Him we live and move and have our being' (Acts 17:28) and 'In Him all things consist' (Col 1:17). Finite existence lives 'within' infinite reality (as the picture shows) but is not infinite reality. So panentheism (the idea that the universe is part of God) is wrong even though Acts 17:28 and Col 1:17 sort of make it sound like panentheism is right.

So the relationship between God and creation is the most dependent relationship that you could ever imagine. God not only sustains the universe (Matt 10:29), but also finite existence itself.

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