God the Creator.
In the first line, the biblical revelation states the central idea of creation, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). The Holy Scriptures begin with these solemn words (cf. CCC, 279). In those first words of Scripture, it is asserted that God gave origin to everything that exists outside of him. He alone is the creator. Everything that exists (expressed by the formula “heaven and earth”) depends on Him who gives it being. The theme above of creation appears often and again in prophetic and sapiential literature (Prov, Sir, Ecc, Mud), in Paul’s letters, and the Gospels. Finally, in the last book of the Bible, we find a hymn to the glory of the Creator: “Worthy art thou, O Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou hast created things: by thy will they were created, and are created.” (Rev 4:11).
From the beginning, the Church has confessed that God created all things. The belief in the God who created all things, celebrated in this hymn, is already expressed in the first article of the Nicene Creed (DS, 125). At the same time, as the tradition of the Church developed, revelation became clearer. The first lines of this Creed: “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of the world visible and invisible…” are at once a prayer, praise, and a confession of one of the central beliefs of the Church. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed represents a heritage cherished by Christians of both East and West. Although not all Christian churches explicitly affirm this creed, belief in God as Creator is the starting point of faith for many Christians.
This truth of creation was formulated at the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and the First Vatican Council (1869-1870). The revealed truth is that God created the whole world and that it was created “out of nothing.” According to the expression of the Teaching Office of the Church, based on the sayings of Sacred Scripture and Tradition, the words “heaven and earth” signify the sum and totality of all things existing apart from God, that is, all created things. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this expression means, “All that exists, the whole creation. It also points to the continuity which within creation both unites and distinguishes heaven and earth…” (CCC, 326).
The article of faith, then, is that out of nothing, God created all things universally: small and great, spiritual and material, earthly and super-earthly. The article above is one of the most important truths, for it depends on the proper relation between the world and God, and thus the appropriate conception of both the world and God. Sacred Scripture and Tradition continually teach and magnify this fundamental truth: The world was created for the glory of God (cf. CCC, 293). God did not make the world out of anything because he needed our praise to increase his credit, but he gave us the splendor of his eternal happiness out of pure goodness. This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines it: “The glory of God consists in the fact that God manifests and bestows his goodness. For this reason, the world was created…” (CCC, 294).
The world is not the product of simple chance but the expression of freely giving wisdom and love. “How manifold are your works, O Lord! Thou hast wisely made all things. The earth is full of your creation” (Ps. 104:24). We assume the content of the psalmist’s confession all the time. We believe that the world is governed by laws that we can examine. Our overall naturalistic picture of the world is built on this assumption. The order we can explore, but no chance. This is a manifestation of ordering reason. Creation testifies to the wisdom of the Creator (cf. CCC, 295).
If someone were to come from Sirius or some other star and see our earth, so green, blooming, inhabited by billions of living beings, he would say, “Thank you, Lord, for letting me see all this!” Even without having come from a distant starlet, we get used to one thing: to continually say to God, “Thank you” (A. Luciani: I believe). On the dome of the Vatican Observatory, which rises on the terrace of the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, one can read with emotion the inscription: Deum Crematorium, Venite Adoremus – Let us bow down to God the Creator. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Germany’s greatest poet, said: “That something vast, personified, comes to meet us as God, the Creator and Sustainer, to whom we are to bow and whom we are to glorify.” “Seek God in all things,” advised St. Ignatius of Loyola as early as the 16th century. And whoever obeys his advice finds it easy to love the Creator.
It is no coincidence that the saints had an extraordinary relationship with creation. The most famous is St. Francis of Assisi. Only he who frees himself from himself begins to truly perceive design (cf. CCC, 299). The Creator begins to speak to him in the language of his plan, and the praise of the Creator rises in the heart. Constrained by pain, almost blind, he prays the Song of Brother Sun at San Damiano (cf. CCC, 344). Suffering and the cross so refined him that he saw the speech of God’s love in all creation. We, too, can rejoice with him and throughout our lives – as long as we live – praise him (cf. Ps.104:33).
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