The Creed – Part 7

Maker of heaven and earth…..

In this part of the Creed we confess God as creator of all that exists, the angels, the material universe and human beings. And right here we should note the difference between create and make. We, as human beings, make things out of materials which already exist. God creates from nothing. In in some forms of early Greek philosophy it was thought that God created out of something. This something might be without form, shape or dimension, but it still was something, some prime matter. However, we as Christians believe that God created from nothing.
It is interesting that human beings don’t naturally come to the idea of creation out of nothing very easily. In Greek and Indian philosophy it was thought that the material world was eternal, that in some sense it emanates from God and that at the end of time it will ‘retract’ into God. This is the cyclical view of the world. There is no beginning or end in the proper sense of these terms. But the Semitic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, believe in creation as revealed by God. In this way of looking at things the world was created at a certain time and will end at a certain time and is not cyclical.
We see God as creator in the first sentence in Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1) and following. Of course, Jews don’t believe in the doctrine of the Trinity so when they read this first chapter of Genesis, they see this as the story of an solitary God creating all things. However, we as Christians, believe that God is one in essence but tripersonal. And so when we read this chapter we see indirect pointers to the belief in the Trinity. For example, in Genesis 1:2 “…….and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters”. When we read this word spirit, we can see a reference to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity.
The action of the Holy Spirit in creation is in Psalm 104:30, “When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground.” And throughout this chapter we see “… and God said…” being repeated over and over. Here we see a reference to the Word of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, i.e., Jesus Christ before he came into this world. This is found in John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
So, in a Christian reading of this chapter we see the three divine persons participating in the act of creation.
Another reference to the Trinity is in Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” because we see God using the plural pronouns “our” and “us” to express His actions.
It is probably worth mentioning that it is not necessary to take the six days of creation as six 24-hour days, as we reckon time now, although many Christians do take this literally. Even some of the early Fathers of the church saw these days as representing longer periods of time. For that matter, there was not time before God created it, along with the matter of the universe.
Of course, when non-Christians read this first chapter of Genesis they do not see the presence of the Holy Trinity. However we believe that God has guided us in this understanding show us the deepest and true meaning of the chapter and the whole Bible.

Fr. John