Christianity represents a great diversity of belief. With more than 30,000 denominations worldwide, Christian beliefs diverge on literal versus allegorical biblical interpretations of creation, the virgin birth, and physical resurrection. Even within denominations beliefs diverge vehemently on what kind of love is considered sinful and who is fit to serve the body of believers. One point of divergence hotly debated on the political stage (as it impacts public education) and targeted by atheist commentators is belief about God’s role in the creation of the universe. If I assent to God’s existence and his presence at creation, I might naturally wonder about his role in creation and what that says about the nature of God. Here are three possible beliefs and their implications for relating to God.
If I believe biblical creation stories are historical accounts rather than allegories and I believe God created a fossil record that appears to be millions of years older than it actually is, then I believe God is tricky. He gave me the gift of reason, but I can’t always use it to perceive truth. Sometimes I am supposed to use reason and evidence, and sometimes I am supposed to reject reason and evidence. That’s particularly problematic when it comes to discerning God’s will for me individually. How will I sniff out a cozening charismatic who asserts something is God’s will despite what my intellectual, emotional or physical sense tells me if I cannot rely on the evidence? Hearing God requires a special kind of listening. It will be much harder to perceive God’s movement in my life if I believe evidence can’t be trusted.
If I believe God created space, time, energy and the laws of physics and then let the dice roll without any involvement or interaction subsequent to the initial point of creation, I might understand the nature of God to be remote. I might consider humanity one great big experiment. Any special talents unique to me are not so much God-given gifts entrusted to me out of love as they are a lucky roll of the dice. It detracts from gratitude. There’s no one to thank for a lucky break and there’s no one to ask for help. It discourages philanthropy, suggesting no obligation to fellow man or stewardship for blessings. If I feel anonymous to God, I won’t relate to him in an individual and intimate way.
If I believe God’s purpose in creation was to be in relationship, then I believe God gets involved in my life in a personal and intimate way. Do I believe God is fully present, standing with me and in me at all times? Or do I believe God drops in on an intervention basis only?
What do creation beliefs have to do with healing or spiritual growth? They inform my understanding of the nature of God and how I relate to him. Will I give God all I have and ask him to do the miracle of making it enough? Or will I go it alone with self-help?
Join the conversation. Toss in your ideas about the origin of the universe.
Copyright 2011 Stephanie Walker All rights reserved. Visit www.acrosstraditions.com.