Catholicism 101: God the Creator

Catholicism 101: God the Creator

by A.L.

God who is love, did not want to keep all the Goodness to Himself. He didn't have to create anything, but wanted to out of love. Therefore He created the heavens and the earth.

When we speak of creation, the book of Genesis usually comes up in our minds. We are reminded of the six days when He created everything, including man. Then, we are also reminded of what we learned from Mrs. Delaney's science class of how everything came into being from the "big bang" 15-20 billion years ago. It seems that we have a contradiction between the Bible and science.

The Bible speaks of creation in days, but we know scientifically that it took billions of years for everything to be formed. Is there a contradiction?

Spiral Galaxy NGC 4603 photographed by the Hubble telescope

The Hubble telescope has been used to observe 19 galaxies out to 108 million light-years. Here is a picture of spiral galaxy NGC 4603, the most distant galaxy in which Cepheid variable stars have been found. It is associated with the Centaurus cluster, one of the most massive assemblages of galaxies in the nearby universe.

If there is a contradiction, then they cannot be both right at the same time. However, we know from faith that the Bible cannot err, even in history or science, that is, if it is actually speaking historically or scientifically. To say that the Bible erred on anything is to say that God erred since He is the Author of Scripture. But we know God is Truth and He cannot err. Therefore the Bible cannot err.

How do we reconcile the 6 days and the big bang? As we have noted, the Bible cannot err in history or science IF it is speaking of history or science. The "days" of Genesis do not have to literally mean 24 hours. We have to remember "that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day." (2 Peter 3:8)

And so God created the universe. Whatever He created was good. Everything is good, that is, every thing is good (evil is not a thing, but a lack of). Then, after creating the universe, God said,

"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground." (Gen 1:26)

So we know that God made man different from other animals. He made him in His own image and He gave him dominion over everything. The universe was made for man and man was made for God. In this way, we can see that man is above nature, worth more than nature. This is implied in Scripture where it says, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" It tells us that the soul is worth more than the universe. This is also why we hear many people say, "There is no price for human life." Man is priceless. As the Catechism says:

"God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him: What is it that is about to be created, that enjoys such honor? It is man that great and wonderful living creature, more precious in the eyes of God than all other creatures! For him the heavens and the earth, the sea and all the rest of creation exist." (#358)

Michelangelo Creation of AdamHow is man different from other animals? Man is different from other animals because he has an intellect and a will. Man is a rational animal. God did not make man a robot, but a being with free-will. Other animals act on their instincts, but man can choose what he wants to do. He alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life (CCC #356).

This is why man is "great." He exists for God and God alone in a special way, which is in union with Him. He is the only creature which end is seeing God face to face. Animals don't have this end, but man does. That is because he has a soul. And the soul is where the image of God is found as it "possess a nature that enable it to God." (ST I, 93, 8)

Man is also not a thing, but a someone, a somebody. He is not an object, but a subject. Not an it, but an I. More specifically, he is a person. A person ought to love and be loved. What is love? Love is willing the good for others; to put others before you. It is to give yourself for others. It is a dying of one's self for another. A person is a self-giving being. Therefore we can say that to not love is to go against his nature.

And it is specifically not living which made him lose God, who is Love. It would take another Man to put this love, this unity with God, in man.



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