One evening, I was writing a list of things that I was thankful for and I didn't get very far:
1-God made the universe.
And that is where I was stuck for the next 10 minutes. At the core of Christian theology is the belief that God can be neither created nor destroyed. We ask the obvious question, "Who made God?" Our belief, founded on scripture, replies back, "No One made God."
That realization, for the first time ever, made me nervous. I almost had a panic attack. I kid you not. Because I immediately linked those thoughts together with the Apostle Paul's quote of Epimenides and Aratus, greek intellectuals, in Acts 17:28 where he says "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as also certain of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’" (KJ21).
And this is where the panic struck, if God is created by no one and we are His offspring and draw our existence from Him, God did not create us out of nothing. No, He fashioned us and the whole universe from Himself. Indeed, the universe is infused with His very essence and power.
Let's pause. This is not pantheism. God is not in the trees, the trees are in God and are fashioned from power and order which have to come from God. Science says the universe is naturally disordered, Christianity believes God provides the source of order. So, we all live and move, in a sense, within God.
Which leads me to my point: God as Author. The Bible describes God as Creator, referring to how He made the world. However, I wonder if it's useful to think of God as Author, He does not create from nothing--instead He pulls from Himself to make and sustain life and everything that that entails. Indeed, in Him we live and breathe and have our being.
I looked up that phrase in the Greek, can you guess what it means? More or less what it means in English. The only thing that is somewhat complex is the phrase "have our being" which is from the Greek word "esmen." Esmen is best translated as "we are." Remind you of anything? Perhaps Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy? This question of existence and who we rely on for existence permeates scripture.
Consider Moses and God conversation where Moses asks God, in a polite way, who are you/where can I claim my power as a prophet is coming? God's answer is complex in it's simplicity: "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Exodus 3:14 (NIV).
God has no reference point outside of Himself. No one made Him. The universe is sustained by His power and only exists because He uses part of Himself to give it order. So, all of life is infused with the essence of God. Part of God is concerned with allowing that lily of the field to be beautifully robed and part of Him is concerned with the joining of the sperm and egg that will be the next child conceived on earth.
God as Author shapes us and molds us by the power of His Word. His Logos. Through the gift of the Living Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us.
To be continued. . .