Science in Christian Perspective
Creation: Pattern, God and Man
DANIEL A. TAPPEINER
Melodyland School of Theology
Anaheim, California 92806
From: JASA 29 (June 1977): 58-64.
"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the
breath of his mouth." Ps. 33:6
"For from him and through him end to him are all things, to him be glory for ever. Amen." Rom. 11:36
The task of theology is "to think God's thoughts after Him." To do this requires humble submission to the leading of the Spirit of Truth and careful study of God's authoritative revelation in Holy Scripture. Without the Spirit the Word becomes mere words to us. Without the Word the Spirit becomes human fantasy and imagination. This combination of Word and Spirit, so necessary to the theological task is, as we shall see, no accident. It is based upon the fundamental biblical pattern in creation itself-the pattern of Ruach-Dahar, of Pneuma-Logos, of Spirit and Word.
There are many ways in which a theologian might look at creation. Typically there is an analytic approach in which logic, reasoning and implication are used. This is the method of the scientist and the scholastic theologian. There is, however, another method-that of poet and seer, mystic and dreamer. Here the first task is to "see", in an holistic way, in a state of passive perception, the reality to be described and discussed. It is an effort, in and through careful analysis of Logos structure, however it may present itself, to penetrate to the reality symbolically represented to us in words and categories. It is usually the purpose of the poet and mystic to speak in ways which will evoke an awareness of the "reality" itself. It is the purpose of scientists and theologians to construct an adequate representation of that reality in terms which can be weighed and tested in the community of committed, concerned and capable persons who occupy themselves with such matters.
Both approaches seem necessary. High vision and careful exposition are needed if the living word of God is to exercise its proper authority over our lives and thought. Prior to the writing of this paper there has been some attempt to "see" the majestic mystery of creation originally perceived by Scripture writers. The paper itself will reflect this by its method. Under three basic rubrics, "Creation and Pattern", "Creation and God", "Creation and Man", a series of propositions will he given which are crystallizations of perceptions of the reality of creation. The purpose is not to prove but to expound a vision of creation which, it is hoped, is both biblically adequate and theologically illuminating.
Before proceeding, the following definition of creation is provided as containing the basic elements which must he treated in a discussion of creation which is biblically, theologically and philosophically complete:
-an act of God alone by which he
-of his own free will
-in a progressive sequence of actions fanned all things, visible and invisible
-from the depths of his being as pneuma
-by the Word of God
-through the agency of the Spirit
-for the manifestation of his glory (doxophany),
-the benefit of man,
-and all very good.
CREATION AND PATTERN
THESIS I. The basic biblical pattern in creation is the majestic and mysterious co-ordination of Ruach and Dabar, Pneuma and Logos, Spirit and Ward. In the biblical materials the emphasis falls on Dabar-Hochma, Logos-Suphia (Word and Wisdom) as providing order, coherence, structure and teleology in creation.
Anyone acquainted with the biblical materials becomes aware that such a co-ordination of Ruach and Dabar exists. The opening chapter of Genesis clearly indicates this. Creation, which proceeds through a series of majestic and almighty "fiats" is preceded by a mysterious and deeply significant reference to the Ruach-Elohini which "broods" over the face of the unformed void. No exposition of this fact is given in the inspired record, but reference to the Spirit here must be taken into account. A two-fold significance suggests itself. First it points to the depths of God's own being as the source of his creative activity. The infinite inwardness of God as roach is the source of this creative activity. Second, it points to the agency of the Spirit of God in the execution of the divine fiat. It is evident in Gen. 1.2 that Ruach-Elohisn is clearly distinguishable from the fiat. It is also evident that the "uttering" of the fiat is not possible without roach both as preceding and fulfilling the word "uttered". In this way a basic pattern of mach-dabar-ruach emerges as the pattern of creative activity.
It is very clear however, that in the biblical materials prominence is given to dabar, rather than to roach. Speaking theologically it is evident that emphasis is placed upon the eternal Logos as the agent of creation rather than on Pncuma as source or agency in creation. (John 1:1-3; Heb, 1:2,3; Col. 1:16,17, I Cor. 8:6). Dabar is the outward manifestation of the inwardness of God. It accurately portrays that inwardness and expresses in the categories of finite, created space-time, the order and coherence, structure and purposefulness of that inwardness. Dean Inge has expressed this point very perceptively in the following words: "the world is the poem of the Word to the glory of the Father: in it and by means of it, He displays in time all the riches which God has eternally put within him."1
THESIS II. In the order Ruach-Dahar emphasis must be placed upon the mystery of creative activity as proceeding from the depths of God Who is not only the "thinking God" but is also the living God, the
God Who, in personal self-determination, acts spon-taneously for the fulfilment of personal purposes.
Here it is necessary to see with the eye of the seer. Here it is necessary to join the unending chorus of worship and praise to God-"worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for
This combination of Word and Spirit, so necessary to the theological task, is based upon the fundamental biblical pattern in creation itself.
thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were
(Rev. 4:11) Perhaps the deepest puzzlement of man as philosopher, is over the
fact that anything is. That there should be anything is a great mystery-matched
only by the greater mystery of the selfexistent, personal reality of God. It is
very necessary to recognize the utterly free and totally self-determined nature
of God's creative activity. Creation, in relation to the divine
freedom, as proceeding
from God as ruach, means that it is an act of volition on the part of God, not
a necessary (non-volitional) outworking of the divine essence
independent of the
divine personae of the Godhead. The ascity of God and the divine simplicity do
not allow the separation of essence and existence in God. Creation is
the overflow of the infinite richness of the divine inwardness but is
unique, free and profound activity.
Yet it is an expression of this infinite richness. When, with seer's eye, we perceive this incredible richness in God as expressed in creation, we can but cry out with St. Paul, "0, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God" (Rum. 11:33), A marvelous modern expression of this perception is found in C. S. Lewis' "The Great Dance" described so eloquently and skillfully in Perelandra:2
Never did He make two things the same; never did He utter one word twice. After earths, not hatter earths hot beasts; after beasts, not hatter beasts but spirits. After falling, not a recovery hot a new creation. Out of the new creation, not a third but the mode of change itself is changed for ever. Blessed be He!
THESIS III. The fact that Ruach is part of the divine pattern of creation along with Dabar means that there is an inexhaustible richness and elusive mystery underlying Logos-structure which snakes creation forever beyond the total ordering of man's finite application of Logos to the Logos-structure.
This is simply a call to humility to the busy reasonings of man, a call which itself proceeds from a proper application of Logos to the Logos-structure. Pascal aptly and epigrammatically enunciated this insight in his famous words "the heart has its reasons which reason does not know."3
It is only in the deceitful grasp of "tinker toy reason", that man struts proudly about proclaiming a kind of omniscience and capability for his own ability to know. The deeper call of reason points beyond itself to a reality fully coherent yet ever beyond the limits of man's knowing.
Unfortunately such a midget attitude quite often prevails among us as Evangelicals who profess to be in true submission to the authority of the word and yet presume to confuse our own understanding with the word itself!
THESIS IV. The fact that Ruach is pan of the divine pattern of creation along with Dabar also means that all genuine activity of divine Ruach fulfills Logos structure, rather than destroys it.
This is the other side of the previous thesis. Just as it is necessary to avoid the danger of squeezing the "juice" out of the inexhaustible richness and mystery of creation, so it is needful to avoid any separation of Ruach and Dabar which would destroy our capability for the recognition of reality as it is in itself. It is only demonic ruach which destroys Logos-structure. Ruach divorced from Dabar is at best man's subjective fantasy and at worst the delusion of demonic power. This means that though we recognize our limits and the depth of mystery and power implied in Ruach, yet we always assert a fundamental orderliness and coherence in created reality itself. There must be neither metaphysical nor epistemological dualism here.
All of this points to the necessity of keeping clearly and definitely before us the distinction of Ruach and
Dahar and therefore the diversity of purpose between ruach-perception and dabar-perception 4, as well as the indivisible coordination of the two elements in the basic pattern of creation which allows the fruitful interplay of Ruach and Dabar in man's own limited, yet correct, perception of created reality.5
THESIS V. Man, who creates relatively, knows the experience of the emergence of powerful insights into the structure of created reality through the holistic mode of perception (Ruachperception) which is associated with the depths of man's being (the unconscious dimension in psychology and "spirit" in religious experience). This experience of the dimension of depth, mystery, meaning and power, in short the experience of Ruach, provides a model for our understanding of the divine creative activity as it relates to the order of Ruach-Dabar in the pattern of creative activity.
In this thesis the distinction, dialectic and unity of Ruach and Dabar in man's experience is used to shed some light on the basic pattern in creation. Man experiences a two-foldness in his perception and in his creative efforts in science and art. There is a dialectic which takes place between Ruach-perception and Debar-perception. Man as Imago Dci seeks dominion over created reality in accord both with his nature and with the Divine mandate (Gen. 1:26,27). As he seeks, he uses Dabar-perception to classify, analyze, organize and manipulate creaturely reality. This is the raw material which must then be contemplated deeply and passively-with Ruach-perception. Then there emerges from the depths of man's being a new insight into the nature of created reality, insight which cannot be derived from the mode of Dabar-perception, but which must be subjected to that mode for clarification, testing, purifying, and conceptualizing. The history of art and science is replete with such dynamic and often dramatic interplay of Ruach and Dabar in man. It is the Ruach which provides the incredible richness, depth and perpetual value of creative art or science. But it is Dabar which supplies articulation and adequate expression for the insight of Ruach. Ruach insight without Dabar is only a fleeting thing unavailable to the whole family of man for its continued benefit. Dabar without Ruach is simply a lifeless game of empty symbols-much like the formalisms of symbolic logic. The distinction and unity of Ruach and Dabar in man's experience is but a reflection of the pattern of Divine creation.
We must not suppose, however, that such a separation of Ruach and Dabar as we experience in our relative creation, is to be found in God. There is no unconscious in God! God is, as the older theologians were wont to say, actus purrisimus, "absolute actuality". As such there can be no distinction within the Godhead between God as Ruach, (personal, self-determined infinitely rich life) and God as Dabar (coherent, structured, ordered). The inner divine "activities" which are forever beyond our capacity to grasp as they are in themselves, are opera essentiaiia et personalia experienced and executed in the marvelous unity of God which is higher and more intensely one by virtue of the richness of oneness of essence and threeness of person.
THESIS VI. The order Dabar-Ruach points to the fact that in the execution of creation Ruach is in the service of Dabar as agency to agent.
We are now on more familiar territory. Most of the biblical evidence emphasizes the role of Dabar in the creation, with Ruach perceived as the instrumentality of Debar. In the Genesis account, which is so profoundly explicated in the Fourth Gospel in terms of Logos-Christology, it is God's activity as "speaking" which is the dramatic focus. The repetition of "God said-and there was" portrays a "majestic instaney" of divine purpose and power culminating in the creation of man and the Divine sabbath. B. B. Warfield expresses this significance of the order Dabar-Ruach with his usual insight when he comments on the role of the Spirit in Genesis 1 through 6:
To the voice of God in heaven saying, Let there he light! the energy of the Spirit of God brooding upon the face of the waters responded, and lo! there was light . . . God's thought and will and word take effect in the world, because God is not only over the world, thinking and willing and commanding, but also in the world as the principle of all activity, executing...
It is important to note here that in the order Dabar-Ruach, Ruach is conceived in terms of the dyanmic
power of God immanent, in terms of the opera personalia of the Holy Spirit, rather than as the depths of richness and mystery in divine freedom as it appears in the order Ruach-Dabar.
Creation is through Debar, by Ruach. The classical passage on Hochma (Prov. 8), which has come to be identified with the person of Jesus Christ in Christological discussion, indicates the agency of Hochma in God's creative activity.7
The Fourth Gospel makes the identification between Debar-Logos and Jesus Christ explicit. St. Paul and the writer to the Hebrews also make this quite clear. (I Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16, 17; Heb. 1:2, 3).
The significance of this is that strong emphasis is placed on creation as a personal effect, coherent, ordered and knowable. This has profound implications for man as worshiper and scientist which will be touched upon more fully in another thesis. In this order of Dabar-Ruach the unity and fundamental harmony of Debar and Ruach is highlighted. This provides a sense of boundary and norm for all authentic insights into the created order of Logos-structure.
CREATION AND GOD
Much has already been stated concerning the relation of creation and God in treating the basic biblical/theological speculative pattern of creation as Ruach-Dahar-Ruach. A few further points are important.
THESIS VII. Creation is a personal activity of God.
It has already been asserted that creation is personal rather than unconscious or necessary (coerced). This is evident by the meanings of the words Ruach and Dabar themselves: Ruach, as indicating self-conscious inwardness, and Dahar as indicating knowledge, purpose and order. Only that which is personal speaks. Creation is not the overflow of the divine richness in an unconscious or unintentional way. There can be no conflict in God between opera essentialia and opera personalia. All that God does is done according to his own self-determined essence and through the personal will of God.
At this point the Trinitarian formulae should be brought forth. Creation is always said (and this is agreeable to Scripture) to be from the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. Thus the theological axiom: Opera ad extra sunt indivisa sea omnibus personis communia.8 Yet creation is specially the work of the Father as fons Trinitatis even as redemption is uniquely of the Son and sanctification is of the Holy Spirit. Yet nothing is done without the whole Godhead.
THESIS VIII. Creation is a powerful activity of God.
Two points of significance are noted here. First, creation was not deficiency motivated. Having declared creation as a personal and free activity of God it will not do to speak of it as an expression of God's need for a love-object. To put it thus would be to make creation an action of weakness rather than of power. The inner Trinitarian relations within the Godhead preclude such a dependent view of God in creation. God is eternal agape as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The eternal moving of self-giving love is found above all in the self-communication of the Father to the Son and the relation of the eternal Son to the Father by the Holy Spirit.
The second point concerns the absolute independence of God in relation to any antecedent reality outside or independent of God who alone is self-existent. Here the expression creatio ex nihilo must be used. Negatively this means a denial of emanation theories (Gnostic or pantheistic) or dualistic theories as in the Greek doctrine of primordial hale which conditioned the divine execution of perfection in the creative activity of God. Positively it expresses the absolute independence of God in relation to the created order and the absolute dependence of creation upon the will of God. The phrase does not mean that no cause is posited for creation or that "nothing" is the material out of which all else was made. Rather, it asserts the almightiness of God's power and that the setting of the divine will in Logos-structure was in no way antecedently conditioned by anything external to God Himself.9 This fact has very great significance practically to man as religious and scientific. A point which will be taken up later.
"In the beginning", long before all worlds
Or flaming stars or whirling galaxies,
Before that first "big bang", if such it was,
Or earlier contraction; back and back
Beyond all time or co-related space
And all that is and all that ever was
And all that yet will be; Source of the whole,
"In the beginning was the Word" of God.
The Word of God; Reason, Design and Form,
Intelligence, Whose workshop spans the stars
Expressed within the Cosmos and alike
In what seems chaos; He Who works as much
In randomness as order, Who to make
Man in His image scorns not to create
By patient evolution on a scale
Of craft divine which dwarfs a million years.
Who is this God, that bows Himself to see
The puny wanders of this little speck
Of cosmic dust that we have named our Earth,
The toy volcanoes and the restless sea
That splashes from His bucket like a drop
And still a captive to the circling Moan
Flaws and recedes, purging polluted shares
Or sending tidal torrents up the Severn?
Who is this God, that circles either pole
With fluorescent light-an arctic dawn,
Whose rain makes little sparks and tiny cracks
That we call thunder storms, this Gad Whose plan
So shapes the atoms that they must combine
To give dust life and then to teed that dust
With inorganic substance to create
By DNA a pattern like its own?
Who is this God and can this God be known
Within the confines of a human skull,
A litre and a half of mortal brain
Whose interlinking neurones must depend
On chemistry and physics in the end
For all that Man can know or comprehend?
Can Man know God eternally enthroned
Throughout all space and in the great beyond?
The mystery of being, still unsolved
By all our science and philosophy,
Fills me with breathless wander, and the God
From Whom it all continually proceeds
Calls forth my worship and shall worship have.
But love in incarnation draws my soul
To humble adoration of a Babe;
"In this was manifest the love of God".
Still Jesus comes to those who seek for God
And still He answers as He did of old,
"I've been with you so long, how can you say
'I don't know Cad, oh show me God today'?
When you've met Me you've seen the eternal God
Met Him as Father too, as He Who cares
And loves and longs far men as 1 myself.
I am the Christian message. God has come."
ROBERT L. F. BOYD, C.B.E., F.I.E.E., F.R,S.
Reprinted from Faith and Thought, publication of the Victoria Institute of Philosophical Society of Great Britain, Vol. 102, 182 (1975).
THESIS IX. Creation is a purposeful activity of God.
Teleology is implied in the previous theses. Creation as personal activity and as executed through almighty fiat ex nihilo clearly point to a purpose in creation. Scripture in many places indicates not only that creation is purposeful but also what the purpose is.10 That purpose is clearly the revelation of the glory of God-doxophany. There are, of course, many less ultimate purposes which might be noted from Scripture but doxophany sums up the final purpose of God in creation. It is only as we come to understand the doctrine of creation in terms of the fundamental biblical framework of eschatology that the meaning of creation attains its widest scope and richest significance. The "final cause" of anything is the ultimate category of interpretation, the point of reference for all else. Doxophany, the full manifestation of divine glory is the final cause for the unfolding drama of creation, salvation history and consummation. St. Paul's doxological outburst in Rom. 11:36 puts this point in short form: "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." The song of the twenty-four elders worshiping before God's throne expresses it eloquently: "Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor, and power, for thou didst creative all things, and by thy will they existed and were created." (Rev. 4:11). The final vision of the New Jerusalem presents it this way: "the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light and the lamp is the Lamb." (Rev. 21:23)
All of this is in fulfilment of the ancient promises of God "all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord" (No. 14:21), or more fully "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Hah. 2:14. See also Isa. 11:9). Isaiah, the prophet of glory, speaks of the final purpose of God's gracious redeeming activity in these words "that he might be glorified" (Isa. 61:3; 60:19).
Creation and Man
The significance of the doctrine of creation to man can hardly be overstated.
In particular it strikes fundamental chords in man as scientist and
man as worshiper.
THESIS X. The fact of divine creation implies that the created order hears the marks of divine character (Logos-structure) and is therefore knowable to man (Imago Dci); and forms an adequate ontological basis for genuine but conditioned knowledge both of created reality and of the transcendent reality of God who, in Himself, is incomprehensible to man.
This is the epistemological significance of the doctrine of creation. A kind of "critical realism" follows from the fact of creation, which establishes the reality of the created order in relation to God, the ultimate Reality. This is philosophical realism. As an "artifact" of God, creation is in the pattern of Dabar-Ruach and thus has a structure independent of man's consciousness. Order is not imposed upon sense data (as the positivists would have it) but is rather to be discerned by man the observer. Man as Imago Dei participates in Logos-structure as personal, knowing substance and therefore is equipped to discuss, according to the limits of his finite structure, the corresponding Logos-structure in created reality. In this way skepticism is avoided in view of the ontological basis for genuine knowledge, and healthy humility is inculcated in view of the distinction between subject and object and the clear recognition of the dependence of perception upon the created categories of Logos-structure in man as imago Dei.
THESIS XI. Logos-structure in created reality is the foundation for man's mandate to have dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26, 27) and for the scientific and technological activity of man (even as fallen) in fulfilling that mandate.
The fact of creation provides the basis not only for the possibility of scientific activity but also the Magna
Charta for men's duty and right to scientific activity, especially in view of man as Imago Dei. Man has the capacity, and is in relation to God as vicegerent on earth, to exercise Dabar-perception with its attendant technological results. Religious man must not limit the natural quest for scientific understanding of, and thus dominion over, creation. Religious authority must not be applied to man's scientific activity in a way which will stop it from fulfilling its proper method and function. Mao, however, is fallen and therefore does require, as scientist, light from divine revelation to protect him from misuse of his God-like ability for such dominion. The "Book of Creation" must be linked to the "Book of Special Revelation" in a fundamental complementary harmony.
THESIS XII. The biblical view of creation, belonging as it does to the sphere of the transcendent and revelation, logically supercedes the legitimate sphere of scientific methodology which can never penetrate the mystery of the origin of the causal sequences which constitute the sub/eat matter of its investigations and theorizing. All statements about first or final causes cease to be scientific thereby and are immediately in the realm of metaphysics and philosophical presupposition.
Theology was once recognized as the "Queen of the Sciences". Some of us still recognize it to be so. It is necessary to keep before us the limits and nature of the diverse methodologies of science and theology. The proper sphere of theology encompasses all of reality and therefore all science is to he regarded as a "subset" of theology. This does not mean, however, that theology dictates method and result to science. It simply means that science, in its proper form, is not large enough to interpret the ultimate meaning of its results. This task requires that the scientific endeavor be implicated in a larger, non-scientific (philosophical), pattern.
It is necessary to recognize that scientific description and analysis is within the system of the causal nexus itself and therefore by its very nature cannot speak directly to the meaning of creation or to its metaphysical nature. Any attempt to do so by a scientist immediately removes him from his role as scientist into the role of philosopher-at which exchange the scientist loses the positive results of science as uniquely his own and joins in the competitive task of interpreting science in a larger framework along with all other philosophers and theologians.
On the other hand, the scientist, as scientist, must not be censured for his inability to discern the ultimate causality of God in the causal nexus! There is quite properly a hiddenness of God in relation to creaturely causality. God is not simply another cause in the chain of natural causes, but, as the doctrine of creation ex nihilo implies, is a "cause" of a wholly transcendent order. Therefore it is not obvious that God created the universe unless the observer steps back from the limited perspective offered by scientific methodology to the larger perspectives of philosophy and theology. This is further complicated by man's fallenness so that there are inner spiritual and moral conditions upon the interpreter of creation before he can, with the Psalmist, affirm "The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork." (Ps. 19.1).
THESIS XIII. The mystery of creation, as proceeding from the depths of God as Ruach, is in the transcendence of God as not part of the created order; therefore his activity in creation is forever beyond man and can be spoken about only in metaphor, myth and analogy.
Here we touch upon an epistemological issue more general than the previous points concerned with scientific method. The issue now concerns human limitation to space-time categories in describing any perception of transcendent reality (the Kantian noumenal). Ruachperception, which penetrates to the noumenal realm, is dependent upon dabar-expression in articulating its perceptions. At this point we agree with Bultmann and Tillich in noting the essentially symbolic or "mythical" nature of all description of transcendent, spiritual realities. This does not, however, imply that the Genesis revelation, for example, is simply a human description in space-time categories of transcendent realities. "Symbolic" and "historic" are not necessarily antithetical. The "facticity" of the Genesis narrative can (I think must) he maintained even though its symbolic quality can at the same time (I think must) be acknowledged.
It is correct, with theologians who discuss religious assertions from the point of view of linguistic analysis, to examine the nature, form and functions of religious and theological language and to point to the oddity (as Ian T. Ramsey does) of such language in relation to ordinary discourse. But it must also be recognized that all who have been committed to genuine biblical views, speak as "critical realists" when speaking religiously or theologically. No biblicist merely intends to speak of his own existential situation or his own values. There is always the intention to assert something which has objective significance, to describe "the way it really is" even if, in principle, such assertions are beyond the methods of science to verify or to falsify.
THESIS XIV. The significance of creation to man as worshiper is that it establishes the total propriety of man's creaturely sense of absolute dependence upon God.
The doctrine of creation ex nihilo clearly establishes the reality of our sense of absolute dependence upon God. As St. Paul put it in quoting the Greek poets "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). It is certain that apart from God's continued willing of our existence we would fall instantly into "non-being". An awareness of this
God is not simply another cause in the chain of natural causes, but, as the doctrine of creation ex nihilo implies, is a "cause" of a wholly transcendent order.
dependence Schleiermaeher correctly identified as the universal which is uniquely
characteristic of man as creature and so as worshiper. To this general positive
essence of religious experience the biblical record of salvation history adds
the specific essence of all genuine Christian faith and experience which is an
absolute dependence upon God as revealed in Jesus Christ - a
dependence not simply
of nature, of creaturehood, but of grace.
THESIS XV. The final significance of creation to man as worshiper is that it provides the ultimate meaning to his existence as creature: to answer with doxology to the doxophany of God's self-revelation in creation.
This is the other side of the fact that God is purposeful in creation. St. Paul gave us the maxim which sums it up: "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31). The Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that man's chief end is "to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." The deepest heart cry of all creation and especially redeemed creation is Soli Deo gloria! To God alone be the glory! "Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give glory!" (Ps. 115:1). The meaning of creaturehood for man is both doxophany and doxology. First doxophany as manifesting the infinite richness of the glory of the Godhead. Then doxology as calling forth the response of prostration and praise to God's glory revealed in creation and supremely in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The eschaton most clearly points to this dual theme of doxophany and doxology. All of reality will be filled with the Spirit of glory. The end of all things is a Spirit-filled creation transposed from the present categories of history and space-time into a mode of existence flooded by the glory of God. (Hab. 2:14; Nu. 14:21). And the only proper response of man here and now as well as in the esehaton is the response of doxology-prostration before Him "who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light" (I Tim. 6:16), praise, worship, adoration, a joyous acknowledgment of God as the source of all that is good and beautiful and true; as the ground for purpose and plan in life, as the good of all things. Stauffer so eloquently summarized this point in these glowing and insightful words;13 "The antiphony of universal history leads into a symphonic doxology. At last God has attained the telos of his ways: the revelation of the gloria Dei achieves its end in the hallowing of his name."
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is foil of his glory. (isa. 6:3), Who shall'not fear and glorify thy name, 0 Lord, for thon alone art holy. (Rev. 15:4) Amen!
1W, R. Inge, "Christian Mysticism", in Classics of Protestantism, ed. by Vergihos Ferm, Philosophical Library, New York, 1959., p. 466. Given the meaning of the Creek word poiema, Dean Inge'a use of the word poem is
especially apt. In the interests of greater precision from a Trinitarian point of view the last phrase might better he written "in it and by means of it, He displays all the riches which God the Father has eternally communicated to Him in the mysterious eternal generation of the son."
2C. S. Lewis, Perelondra, The MacMillan Co., New York, 1972, p. 214. This exquisite expression of the mystic vision of the nature, meaning and movement of creation is worthy of careful study and exposition in its own right. It is theological poetry.
3Blaise Pascal, Pensees, No. 277
4"Ruoch-perception" and "Dobor-perception" simply refer to the distinction of method and approach already referred to in the Introduction to this paper.
5This is analogically related to the mystery of our Lord's person as expressed in Chalcedonian Christology "without confusion, without change, without division, without separation."
6B. B. Warfield, "The Spirit of God in the Old Testament" in Biblical and Theological Studies, p. 134. It is important to note here that in the order Dabar-Ruach, Ruach is conceived in terms of the dynamic power of God immanent, in terms of the opera personalia of the Holy Spirit, rather than as the depths of richness and mystery in divine freedom as it appears in the order Ruacch-Dober.
7It is curious that Irenaeus identifies Hochmo in Proverbs 8 with the Holy Spirit rather than with Christ. ". . . the Son was always with the Father. And God tells us, through the mouth of Solomon, that wisdom, that is the Spirit, was with him before the whole creation (Prov. 3:19; 8:22ft)" Ad Haer, iv. xx. 3. quoted in The Early Christian Fathers, pp. 116, 117.
8"All the works external (to God) are indivisible (among the three persons of the Godhead) because they are common to the three persons". See Heppe, p. 134.
9Ian T. Ramsey has a very useful and illuminating discussion of the linguistic oddity and the real theological significance of this phrase in his excellent book, Religious Language: An Empirical Placing of Theological Phrases,
pp. 80-85. The biblical basis for such a phrase is found in the "fiats" of Gen. 1; in Ps. 33:9, "He spoke and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth"; and in Rom, 4:17 "God .,, who calls into existence the things that do not exist."
10Two classic works dealing with this matter of the final telos of creation are Dissertation on the End for Which God Created the World by Jonathan Edwards and B. F. Westcott's essay "The Gospel of Creation" in The Epistles of St. John, MacMillan and Co., London, 1886, pp. 285-330. , pp. 285-330. Ethelbert Stauffer provides a stirring review of this theme in his New Testament Theology, chapter 19, "The Final Glory of God", though it is marred by an unbiblical conclusion of apokatostasis.