God the Author of Nature and the Supernatural
Part One: Creation as a Divine Act
God Alone Created the World, In Time and with Perfect Freedom
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Just as deity describes the intimate nature of God, so the whole cosmos or
everything which is not God depends entirely on Him as its first and ultimate
cause. The world, therefore, otherwise than God is not self-sufficient but contingent
on God. Its dependence comprehends all things, from the dawn of creation to
the consummation of the present order, and for spiritual beings - along with
such bodily things as God will sustain - continues for eternity.
Although expressed in a single proposition, the present thesis makes three
assertions: that the world is not self-existent but was created by God alone,
that creation has not gone on forever but took place in time, and that God was
not constrained to create but made the world out of nothing by His own sovereignly
Creation may be defined in two ways, where each definition complements
the other. More commonly it is said to be "the production of something
from nothing of itself or its subject (productio rei ex nihilo sui et subjecti)."
Here the term "production" describes the genus, common to all effects,
and "from nothing" tells the specific difference which characterizes
creation, on two levels. There is nothing "of itself," i.e., something
new is produced which did not exist before; and nothing "of its subject,"
i.e., there was no material out of which the product was made. This latter
quality ultimately distinguishes creation from all other kinds of production.
Or creation may be defined, with the Vatican Council., as the "production
of material and spiritual things in their whole substance, done by God out of
nothing" (DB 1805). Here we distinguish three elements: 1) production
means that the action of God is in the order of efficient causality, 2) in
their whole substance indicates that there is nothing in the created effect
which does not depend on the creative divine act; hence the difference between
creation and other productions, where the efficient cause merely induces a new
form into an already existing subject or material, 3) out of nothing
says the same thing negatively, in the sense that no part or element of the
creature existed before its creation. In other words, creation is the absolute
beginning of a thing.
The world is synonymous with "universe," and includes the
whole complexes of reality, material and spiritual, terrestrial and celestial,
which exists outside of God. We prescind here from the special creation of.
human souls when united with bodies in ordinary conception.
God alone should be taken literally, as declaring that He is the unique
cause of creation, with no creature cooperating as principal co-cause or even
as physical instrumental agent operating under God.
In time may be taken either negatively or positively. Taken negatively
it means that the duration of the world is antecedently limited, that is, the
world did not exist from all eternity. Taken positively it means the world began
With perfect freedom describes how utterly contingent the world is with
relation to divine liberty. Consequently the existence of the world depends
only on the will of God, in the sense that 1) there is no internal exigency
arising from the nature of God or one of His attributes which requires Him to
create, 2) there is no need for God to create, as though He would have been
less perfect had He not created, and 3) God was not only free to create or not,
but He was also free to create this or another world had He so chosen.
In general there are two types of adversaries directly against the thesis
that God created the world out of nothing: Monists who confound the world with
God and Dualists who postulate two ultimate principles in the universe.
The Monistic position logically negatives creation, since unless God and the
world are really distinct there can be no question of the latter being produced
by the former out of nothing. Historically we may distinguish three kinds of
Pantheists. Those who profess substantial pantheism claim that all things,
or at least all spiritual reality, are produced by emanation from the divine
substance. Thus Spinoza and Fichte. Essential pantheists say there is
only one essence in the world, which is divine, and whose manifestations we commonly
call creatures, as in Schelling. Evolutionary pantheism holds that God
is universal and indefinite Being, which determines itself by evolution, and
in this way constitutes all things. It is also called the Monism of Absolute
Being, whose outstanding promoter was Hegel. Materialists, whether Marxist or
other, belong to this class since they claim that only matter exists or at least
that matter is the ultimate source of all being.
Dualists are against the thesis by removing something in the world from divine
creative action. They either assert the coexistence of two ultimate principles,
good and evil, as sources of spirit and matter respectively - like the Manicheans;
or claim that God is only "arranger" of pre-existent chaotic matter - as
was taught by the Platonists.
God's liberty in creation has been variously denied by the ancient Gnostics
and modern Semi-rationalists like Gunther; also by Leibniz with his "best
possible world." The old Aristotelians and present day Kantians deny creation
in time; and Pius XII condemned a theory that supernature was not freely created.
The specific adversaries which follow are examples of representative
1. Mikhail Bakunin: Materialist Evolution of the Universe.
"By these words 'matter' and 'material' we understand the totality, the
hierarchy of real entities, beginning with the most simple organic bodies and
ending with the structure and functioning of the train of the greatest genius;
the most sublime feelings, the greatest thoughts, the most heroic acts, acts
of self-sacrifice, duties as well as rights, the voluntary renunciation of ones
own welfare, of ones egoism - as well as the manifestations of organic life,
chemical properties and actions, electricity, light, heat, the natural gravitation
of bodies. All that constitutes, in our view, so many different but at the same
time closely interlinked evolutions of that totality of the real world which
we call matter.
And note well, we do not regard this totality as a sort of absolute and everlastingly
creative substance, as the pantheists do, but as the perpetual result produced
and reproduced anew by the concurrence of an infinite series of actions end
reactions, by the incessant transformations of real beings who are born and
who die in the midst of this infinity." The Political Philosophy of
Bakunin (G.P. Maximoff, editor), 1953, p. 69.
2. Alfred North Whitehead: God Is perfected along with the World He "Creates."
God is not the beginning in a sense of being in the past of all members. He
is the presupposed actuality of conceptual operation, in unison of becoming
with every other creative act. Thus, by reason of the relativity of all things,
there is a reaction of the world upon God. The completion of God's nature into
a fulness of physical feeling is derived from the objectification of the world
in God. He shares with every new creation its actual world; and the concrescent
creature is objectified in God as a novel element in God's objectification of
that actual world.
It is as true to say that God is pernanent and the World fluent, as that the
World is permanent and God is fluent. It is as true to say that God is one and
the World many, as that the World is one and God many. It is as true to say
that the World is immanent in God, as that God is immanent in the World. It
is as true to say that God transcends the World, as that the World transcends
God. It is as true to say that God creates the World, as that the World creates
God." Process and Reality, 1929, pp. 188, 192 .
3. W.T. Stace: Problem of Evil versus a Perfect Deity as Creator.
"If God is the ultimate source of everything, then he is the ultimate
source of evil; and how is this consistent with his perfect goodness? Hume wrote:
'Epicurus' old questions are still unanswered. Is Deity willing to prevent evil,
but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?'
The point to notice is that the whole force of Hume's argument depends on
taking all the terms used in it literally. It is necessary perhaps to remind
the reader of the fact that what we are attempting to show is only that the
doctrine of the existence of God, if taken literally, is a myth.
All attempts to solve this problem on the level of literal interpretation are
obvious absurdities. Some have said that evil is not a positive, but only a
negative fact. It is only the absence of goodness, and God cannot be held responsible
for creating a nothingness. But this is to assert that pain and evil do not
really exist at all, which is absurd.
Others take refuge in the concept of mystery. The ways of God are a mystery
to the human mind, and we must accept evil as one of these mysteries. But this
is both illogical and inconsistent. For the same people will insist that the
good and beautiful things in the world are evidence of Gods goodness. But if
so, by exactly the same logic, the evil things must be admitted to be evidence
of either his badness or his impotence." Readings in the Philosophy
of Religion (John A. Mourrant, editor), 1954, p. 3.
4. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Necessity to Create the Best Possible World.
"I am unable to approve the opinion of some moderns who boldly maintain
that what God does is not of the highest degree of perfection, and that he could
have acted much better. For it seems to me that the consequences of this sentiment
are altogether contrary to the glory of God. 'As the less evil contains an element
of good, so the less good contains an element of evil.' And to act with less
perfection than one could have acted, is to act imperfectly. To point out that
an architect could have done butter is to find fault with his work.
This also goes against Holy Scripture, when it assures us of the goodness of
the works of God. For since imperfections descend to infinity, in whatever way
God had made His works they would still have been good in comparison with less
perfect works, if that were enough, but a thing is barely praiseworthy if it
is only to be praised in this way. I believe also that an infinity of passages
will be found in Divine Scripture and the Holy Fathers in favor of my sentiment,
but that hardly any will be found for that of these moderns, which in my opinion
is unknown to all antiquity, and is only based on our having too little knowledge
of the general harmony of the universe and of the hidden reasons for the conduct
of God which makes us judge rashly that many things could have been improved.
Besides which these moderns take their stand on some unsolid subtleties, for
they imagine that nothing is so perfect that there is not something more perfect,
which is an error. For example, there is an infinity of regular figures, but
one is the most perfect, namely the circle; if a triangle had to be made and
there was no determination of the sort of triangle, God would assuredly make
an equilateral triangle, because absolutely speaking, this is the most perfect.
They also believe that they are providing thus for the liberty of God, as if
it were not the highest liberty to act perfectly, according to sovereign reason.
For to believe that God acts in anything without having any reason for His will,
besides that it seems that this cannot be, is a sentiment which conforms little
with His glory." Discourse on Metaphysics, 1953, pp. 5-6.
Thesis, uti stat, est De Fide Definita, sed diversae: partes debent
- Sine ulteriori distinctione de libertate Dei in creatione, omnes tres partes
theseos sunt definitae a Concilio Vaticano: "Hic solus verus Deus...liberrimo
consilio 'simul ab initio temporis utramque de nihilo condidit creaturam,
spiritualem et corporalem, angelicam videlicet et mundanam, ac deinde humanam
man, who in a way belongs to both orders, as he is composed of spirit and body,'"
DB 1783. The quotation is cited from the Fourth Lateran Council, which condemned
the Albigenses (DB 128). Moreover the Vatican Council has five canons on the
subject, DB 1801-1805.
The element of divine liberty in creation has various dogmatic values, according
to what aspect of liberty was questioned or denied, and condemned by ecclesiastical
- It is De Fide Definita against the Semi-rationalists who claimed
that creation arose from absolute internal necessity, while denying that God
was free with the liberty of active indifference (DB 1805).
- Liberty of specification is at least Theologice Certa, arguing from
the superlative "liberrimo consilio" in DB 1783. The same may be said
of Rosmini's so-called moral necessity condemned by Leo XIII in DB 1908.
- God's liberty in creating the supernatural order is at least Auctoritative
Certa, from the teaching of Pius XII in Humani Generis, against those who,
"misinterpret the gratuity of the supernatural order when they pretend
that God cannot create intellectual beings without ordering and calling them
to the Beatific vision", (Num. 26).
Part One: "God Alone Created the World"
- Ecclesiastical Documents
- The Apostles Creed, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator
of heaven and Earth, " DB 6. The Greek text has, "Pisteuomen eis
hena Theon patera pantokratora, poieten ouranou kai ges," DB 9.
- Fourth Lateran Council, "We firmly believe
and profess without qualification that there is only one true God, eternal,
immense, unchangeable, incomprehensible, omnipotent, and indescribable, the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
they are the one and only principle of
all things - Creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporeal,"
- Vatican Council, as above, besides the following, that "If anyone denies
that there is one true God, Creator and Lord of things visible and invisible:
let him be anathema," DB 1801.
- Sacred Scripture
- Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, describes the production of the world as the
work of God. There are two creation narratives, 1:1 to 2:3, and 2:4-25. What
follows comprehends both accounts, the first of which is more generic and covers
six days, the second more anthropological and covering only one day. We argue
that Genesis describes true creation ex nihilo, although implicitly and
in non-technical language because:
- In pagan cosmogonies (Babylonian, Egyptian, Phoenician) we find dualism
clearly professed, distinguishing between the deity and chaotic matter as two-fold
ultimate principles. No such dualism here.
- God is said to deal with matter with perfect and absolute freedom as something
over which He is master. This would be incompatible with conceiving matter as
existing independently of God.
- In contrast with this mastery of matter in Genesis, the cosmogonies of other
ancient peoples involve a conflict between the deity or Demiurge and the chaos
out of which the world is made. Thus in the Babylonian creation epic Enuma
elish, chaos is a force opposed to the deity.
- It is commonly agreed that the author of Genesis wished to teach monotheism,
that only one God is to be worshiped, on whom all other things depend and from
whom they are all distinct. Unless, therefore, he meant to include matter among
the creatures made by God, the Jews would at least have been confused and tempted
to attribute divinity to matter - since all around them were cosmogonies which
were not monotheistic.
- To say that the work of creation in Genesis means only "second creation,"
i.e., ordering of pre-existing matter, would contradict the whole tenor of the
Old Testament. Its recurrent theme is the complete dependence of the
world in every way upon God, as, for example, in the Psalms (8, 32, 73, 103,
- The attribution of creation out of nothing to God is confirmed from the
name Yahweh (Exodus 3:11-14), which means either I am because I am, i.e.,
in me is the sole reason of my existence; or more likely, "I am who am,"
namely, I am the existing one. I am therefore to be called Yahweh 'He is',
since in that name my nature is best expressed as essential existence."
In both cases, yahweh is alone a se ipso, and the rest of the universe:
is ab alio, that is, from yahweh.
- Second Maccabees 7:28 quotes the mother of the seven martyred sons as saying
to her youngest, "I beseech you, my son, look upon heaven and earth, and
all that is in them: and consider that God made them out of nothing (most Greek
MSS have ouk ex ontōn epoiēsen, 'did not make them out of existing
matter'), and mankind also." While the mother is here being quoted and
therefore her words as such are not directly inspired, yet they are given with
approval by the inspired author. And for our purpose they clearly show that
the doctrine of creation was commonly accepted by the Jews of that time.
- In the New Testament, God is frequently and without
qualification said to have created the world. Thus the early Christians prayed
in thanksgiving to God, "Lord, it is you who have made heaven and earth
and the sea and all that is in them" (Acts 4:24). And the simple statement
of St. Paul to the Hebrews, that "every house is built by someone; but
he who created all things is God" (Hebrews 3:4). Or in greater detail,
in the Pauline epistles, speaking of Jesus Christ - "He is the image of
the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For in Him were all things
created in the heavens and on the earth" (Colossians 1:16).
- However the classic text in the New Testament is the prologue of St. John,
where he says, speaking of the Logos, "All things were made through
Him, and without Him was made nothing that was made" (John 1:3). The absolute
universality of the creative action of the Word is emphasized by negative repetition
in Semitic fashion, "without Him nothing came to be."
- Patristic Evidence
- St. Ireneus, writing against Gnostic dualism, argues that a so-called
Demiurge would be powerless to do anything with uncreated and therefore immutable
matter: "If uncreated matter is unchangeable, the world could not be created
from it, for uncreated matter implies absolute immutability" (Patr. Gr.
7, 1248). The whole of Adversus Haereses has quotable references on the
- St. John Chrysostom saw in Genesis the anticipated refutation of all
error on the origin of the word. "This man Moses," he said, "eradicated
all heresies which were later to grow up in the Church, when he laid down the
proposition: 'In the beginning God created heaven and earth.' If, therefore,
some Manichean approach you saying that matter pre-existed, or some other heretic
like Marcion or Valentinus or any pagan - reply to him, 'In the beginning God
created heaven and earth'" (patr. Gr. 53, 29).
Part Two: 'God Created the world with Perfect Freedom."
- Ecclesiastical Documents
- The Council of Florence, in the reunion decree for the Jacobites, included
the following profession of faith: "When God willed, in His goodness
He created all creatures both spiritual and corporeal. These creatures are
good because they were made by the Supreme Good, but they are changeable because
they were made from nothing" (DB 706).
- From the Vatican Council, we have already seen the statement that God created
"by a completely free decision (liberrimo consilio)." But
more directly against the Semirationalists we have the canon, "If anyone
says that God did not create with a will free from all necessity, but that
He created necessarily, just as He necessarily loves himself; let him be anathema"
- Sacred Scripture
The basic Scriptural argument for divine freedom in
creation rests on the sovereignty with which God is said to rule the world.
This implies corresponding liberty in having brought the world into existence.
Thus in the Psalms, "Whatsoever the Lord pleased He has done, in heaven,
on earth, in the sea, and in all the depths" (Psalm 134:6).
Arguing from theological reason, we must say that God was free in creating
or not, creating this world or another. Otherwise He would not be omnipotent,
and we know that omnipotence stops only at contradiction. He would not be all
wise, since even we can conceive of a world different than the present one.
He would not be all perfect, if His divine essence could be the exemplar of
only one creatable universe.
- Patristic Evidence
- St. Augustine, speaking of liberty in general, says that "God was
not compelled to make all the things which He made, but He made all the things
that He willed. The cause of all things is His will" (Rouet 1490).
- More specifically, Augustine teaches that God freely created not only irrational
beings or only persons who would practice virtue but also sinners. "God
created all beings, not only those which were to persevere in virtue and justice,
but those also which were to sin. He created them not in order that they should
sin, but that they should be an adornment to the universe, regardless of whether
they would will to sin or not (De Libero Arbitrio 3, 11).
- Again commenting on Genesis, "God saw that
it was good," St. Augustine remarks "this is proof enough that what
God made is made not from necessity or any need of personal profit but only
because of His goodness, that is, because it was good (to create)" (Rouet
Part Three: "God Created the World in Time."
- Ecclesiastical Documents
- The Fourth Lateran declares that God created "from the very beginning
of time (simul ab initio temporis)" (DB 128).
- John XXII condemned three propositions of Master Eckhart as heretical (March
"When he (Eckhart) was asked why God did not produce the world sooner,
he replied that God was not able to produce the world sooner because a being
cannot act before it exists; therefore, as soon as God existed, He created the
It may likewise be conceded that the world existed from all eternity.
"Likewise, at the same time and once for all, when God existed and when
He generated His Son, God, coeternal and coequal to Himself in all things, He
also created the world (DB 501-503).
- The Vatican Council re-incorporated the teaching of Fourth Lateran, as quoted
above (DB 1783).
- Sacred Scripture
- Genesis 1:1 uses the phrase, "In the beginning (bereshith),"
which may be understood of the absolute beginning of time or of create things
(both began together). Taken in that sense, we have an argument for creation
- Two other passages in the Old Testament are more explicit. Thus Divine Wisdom
is described as existing before the world was made. "I am that word, she says,
that was uttered by the mouth of the Most High, the primal birth before ever
creation began" (Ecclesiastic us 24:5). And in the Psalms, "Before
the mountains were born, or ever Thou hadst brought forth the earth and the
world, even from everlasting to everlasting Thou art, 0 God" (Psalm 89:2).
- In the Gospel of St. John, we have the prayer of Christ to His Father, declaring
His existence before the world was made. "Father, glorify me with Thyself,
with the glory that I had with Thee before the world existed
Thou hast loved
me before the creation of the world" (John 17:5,24).
- Patristic Evidence
With the possible exception of Origen, the Fathers uniformly teach that the
world is not eternal. Says Tatian, "Matter is not without a beginning,
as God is," (Contra Grace. 5). St. Basil gives a reason for the In principio
of Genesis: "Because many believed that the world was eternal, like God,
Moses purposely chose these words, 'In the beginning God created heaven and
earth' " (Hom.in Hexaemeron, 1). According to Ambrose, "In the beginning
of time God made heaven and earth; for time began simultaneously with, not prior
to, the world" (Praef. in Hexaemeron). St. Augustine adds the clarification
that "the world was doubtless not made in time, but with time" (De
Civitate Dei, V, 6).
The doctrine of creation is not only theologically fundamental as expressive
of Gods relation to the world, but practically it becomes the source of deep
inspiration for prayer and of motivation in the spiritual life. What follows
is intended to stimulate reflection and further study on the implications of
this dogma, for immediate personal profit and for use in the apostolate.
- Fatherhood of God: In the Apostles Creed we say, I believe in God,
the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. How do we understand the
title Father in this context, and what reasons are there for attributing creation
to the First Person of the Trinity? How does this apply to the invocation, Our
Father, in the Lords Prayer?
- Divine Omnipotence: It is said that the sublimity of an effect is
determined by the disproportion between material used and the thing produced.
Why should this be true, and how does it bear on the greatness of creation,
where God brings the fullness of being into existence out of nothing?
- Nothingness of Creatures: More than once the saints and sacred writers
speak of the world and themselves as nothing, in comparison with God. Given
the dogma of creation, why is this true? What are the consequences for cultivating
humility, not so much in our relation to others as in our relationship to God?
- Creation and Providence: Since the world was made by God out of nothing,
it would lapse into nothingness except for His sustaining hand. Why is this
so, or in other words, what connection is there between the need of God to bring
the world into being, and the need of Him for remaining in existence?
- Problem of Evil: St. Augustine tells us that were it not good for
evil things to exist,the omnipotent God would certainly not allow evil to be.
What are some of these good results that God must have foreseen in creating
things which He knew would do evil?
- Eternal World: We know on faith that the world did not exist from
all eternity. Is there anything intrinsically impossible about the opposite having
been true, that is, could the world have existed forever without a beginning?
If not, why not; and if it could have, why (as far as we can tell) did God create
the world in time?
- Changeableness of Creatures: The Council of Florence says that "creatures
are good because they were made by the Supreme Good, but they are changeable
because they were made from nothing." How are these two doublets related,
namely goodness in creatures because made by an infinitely good God, and changeableness
because made out of nothing?
- Best Possible World: optimists like Leibniz claim this world is the
best possible, because otherwise we creatures rashly criticize the handiwork
of the Creator. In what sense is this the best possible world; and in what sense
is it emphatically not? Moreover, what consequences would logically follow if
we held with Leibniz that the world has optimum perfection?
- Foundation of justice: Justice is defined as the virtue which gives
to each one his due. What then do we mean when we speak of God as infinitely
just, since as our Creator He owed and owes us nothing? On the other hand, what
do we mean by our obligation to practice the virtue of religion, which is justice
in our relationship to God?
- Origin of Life: Natural scientists say that every living being has
the faculty of procreating its kind. Where there is no life, no life can be born.
According to them this is a general law of nature; in biology the fundamental law. Any exceptions therefore would be a miracle. Prescinding from the origin
of the human species, may we hold, dogmatically, that life might have evolved
from non-living matter? If so, how defend this position on philosophical grounds;
and if not, why is it untenable on the basis of pure reason?
- Creation and Evolution: As a matter of record, the idea of evolution
is not modern. St. Augustine wrote, "It is one thing to form and direct
the creature from the most profound and ultimate pole of causation, and He who
does this is alone the Creator, God. But it is quite another thing to apply
some operation from without in proportion to the power and faculties assigned
by Him, so that at this time or that, and in this or that way, the thing created
may emerge" (De Trinitate, 3, 9, 16). Augustine goes on to compare the
world to a mother who is with child, and like her was (or may still be) productive
of new things that develop from the embryonic stage. What significance does
the theory of evolution have in clarifying and deepening our knowledge of the
Creator? Yet what are its limitations, apart from the question of mans possible
origin from a lower species?
- Sources of Pantheism: Since the Vatican Council condemned Pantheism,
this error has become more widespread than ever before. It directly contradicts
our dogma of creation, and must be answered in the premises on which it is based.
Friedrich Paulsen defended Pantheism on two grounds: "If God.," he
said, "creates all things out of nothing, as monotheistic theology claims,
then He is in truth the sole being, and all objects are in Him and through
Him. On the other hand if things are universally and uniformly correlated, then
all processes are joined together into a single and comprehensive process -
the unitary structure of the world. This gives the notion of unity in all change,
and the notion of the unity of substance (Introduction to philosophy, p.48).
How do we answer these two arguments: one from a vain origin of all creatures
and the other from the universal correlation of things in the world?
- Creation Myths: Ancient cosmogonies among the Babylonians, Egyptians
and others seem to parallel the account of creation in Genesis to a degree that
comparative religionists often dismiss the latter as only a redaction of the
former. How do they differ, and to what extent may we admit a dependence of
the author of Genesis on creation narratives then current outside the Jewish
- Modern Dualism: Manicheans and Albigenses are not only historical
relics. Their basic postulate of dualism is a familiar refuge of many philosophers
of religion today, especially when they try to solve the problem of evil on
purely rational grounds, and independently of faith. Why is dualism only an
escape from the problem and not its solution? Yet how does the Catholic doctrine
of demonology help to explain at least some aspects of evil, and the irreconcilable
conflict between the spirit of good and the spirit of evil?
- Grades and Variety in Creation: The differences and varieties of
being in creation are common experience. What do they show us about the wisdom
of God, His goodness, perfection and justice? And how do they prove His very
- Why do we call the present treatise De Deo Creante et Elevante?
- How does it differ from the courses on the Unity and Trinity of God, and
from the treatise De Gratia?
- What is the difference between creation as a divine act and divine fact?
- What are some of the values to be derived from the treatise - in terms
of certain principles of faith on which rests the whole of Christian morality?
- Give two familiar definitions of creation.
- Briefly explain each definition; in the first what is the meaning of "ex
nihilo sui et subjecti," and in the second the meaning of "secundum
totam suam substantiam"?
- What is the classical meaning of kosmos, used in the New Testament?
- How does "first creation" differ from "second creation's"?
- What independence do we predicate of God in saying that He created alone?
- We say that God was free in creating with a liberty of active indifference,
of exercise and of specification. Explain.
- What is time? And what exactly do we mean by saying that God created in
- What are the three common types of pantheism? Describe each.
- What are the two forms of Dualism, and how are they against the thesis?
- Briefly state how the Semirationalists, Leibniz
and Kantians are opposed to liberty or temporal creation, i.e., to divine freedom
in creating or to creation in time?
- Give the full statement of the Vatican doctrine on creation in DB 1783.
- Briefly indicate how each part of the thesis is defined doctrine on the
basis of DB 1783.
- Distinguish the three levels of dogmatic value
as regards divine liberty in creation.
- Give the text of the Fourth Lateran Council doctrine on creation, DB 128.
- Why is the entire Trinity said, in Lateran, to be the Creator?
- What verses in Genesis give the two accounts of creation? How do these two creation narratives differ?
- What is the essence of our proof for creation from Genesis?
- How do pagan cosmogonies differ from the Genesis account?
- Show how the name Yahweh confirms the Scripture proof for creation.
- How do we use the quoted text in II Maccabees to support the thesis?
- How does the Scripture theme of the world's absolute dependence on God
serve to prove the thesis?
- Briefly explain a "creation" text from St. John or one of the Pauline
- How did Ireneus argue against the Gnostic theory of creation?
- What was the Demiurge about which the Fathers wrote in their refutation
- Explain the statement of the Council of Florence that "creatures are good because they were made by the Supreme Good, but they are changeable because they were made from nothing."
- Comment on the significance of "liberrimo consilio" in the Vatican
- How do we reason to God's liberty in creation from the Scripture theme
of God's absolute sovereignty in ruling the world?
- Explain the statement of St. Augustine, that God created creatures which
He foresaw would sin, "not in order that they should sin, but that they
should be an adornment to the universe."
- What is the exact meaning of the phrase in Fourth Lateran that God created
"simul ab initio temporis"?
- May we legitimately argue from the Church's teaching that not only the
visible but also the angelic creation did not exist from eternity?
- Who was master Eckhart, whom John XXII condemned on the subject of creation
- Under what condition may we reason from bereshith in Genesis to
the creation of the world in time?
- Work out the proof for creation in time from a
text in the 0ld Testament and one in the New.
- Why does St. Ambrose say that "time began simultaneously with, not
prior to, the world"? And Augustine say that "the world was doubtless
not made in time, but with time"?
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