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I believe in creation

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

By Br Thomas Thérèse Mannion | Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the purpose of living? What is the point of living? Why would God create the world? All of these questions have the same answer: Love.

Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the purpose of living? What is the point of living? Why would God create the world? All of these questions have the same answer: Love. ‘God infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life’ – Catechism of the Catholic Church 1. 1 John 4:16 tells us ‘God is love’. His own blessed life is the interplay of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Indeed St. Paul says ‘… if I do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’ (Cf. 1 Cor 13). Without love, nothing in life makes sense and life has no purpose. There is no reason for anything to exist apart from love. Not only does love explain the reason for existence but it is necessary for our flourishing as St. John Paul II said ‘there is no other acceptable medium in which the human person can live other than love’. How do I know this? God is Trinity, God is Love, God is Perfect.

The Triune Godhead; Father, Son and Holy Spirit love each other with a perfect love. No one person of the Trinity is ever alone – they have each other. In this way they are a perfect family of perfect love. In this way God is perfectly self-sufficient. God’s perfection then necessitates that he lacks no good. That he is goodness itself. If he has no need then God does not create from utilitarian principles or a concept of reciprocity. He desires us to love for our good – for our sake, not for his. Neither is God Utilitarian, nor does he give to receive - because he has no lack. He gives then because he desires to give, he creates because he desires to create and being God he simply does give, and does create. It is from this abundance of love within the Triune Godhead that creation comes forth. The ‘Stuff’ of the universe is loved into being. Where there is love there is life because true love is always, in some way, of God. 

What is love? St. Thomas Aquinas would say Love is ‘willing the good of the other’. In the case of creation – it is good to BE. This act of being, is given to us as a gift and all good things come to us after this moment of creation. In this way every good we have is from God. Hence why St. Therese of Lisieux says at the end of time she will come before God with empty hands, because she has nothing of her own to give him – except what already belongs to him. Any good which we do whilst is rightly attributed to us, is primarily a gift of God. God’s creative act of loving things into existence is someti mes thought of like a volcanic eruption but this is inadequate because Volcanoes are not the sort of things that have will. They cannot will things to happen however God does will things to be created because he loves them. Creation flows forth from Father, Son and Holy Spirit – from the one God who is Love, as a free unmerited gift. Note: It is not the Father ALONE who creates but the Father with the Son and Holy Spirit! As we have already highlighted – the Father is never alone.

Catholic teaching says God created ‘from nothing’. That is to say from no-thing. It is not the case that there was some pre-existent ‘stuff’ to be moulded. If this were true then God would not be creator but a sculptor or fashioner
When we contemplate ‘what it was like’ at the time of the big bang we use violent imagery and imagine a great violent act. From our perspective, it may seem so. It is a reminder that there are more powerful forces out there than us. To refer back to the volcanic imagery, there is something which is captured in this – passion, the ferocity of God’s love – but volcanoes stop erupting eventually whereas God’s love is relentless. He sustains everything in being by his love. However, God’s work is not laborious, there is no toil on his part because of his perfection.

Creation is a free unmerited, undeserved gift (grace) from God and is good. Where there is God there is Love and there is life. The Father creates with the Son and the Holy Spirit. God’s perfection means he has no lack or need of anything. God rejoices in his creation, which shows forth his glory and he loves when we succeed – he does not seek to dominate. This shows the non-violence nature of God. God’s act of creation and his sustaining of his creation in being is an act of Love which is both powerful and wise. God’s creative act is not toilsome.

Why is there something rather than nothing? Because ‘God is Love’. What is the purpose or meaning of life? Love – because God is love and we were made by Love for Love. By God, For God. Only God will ultimately satisfy and all the finite goods of the world, such as pleasure and delight point to this fundamental reality. In this way, God’s creating love moves us towards unity with himself whilst remaining totally ourselves, in fact, more perfectly ourselves. Creation allows us to become heirs to the Kingdom and true Children of God.

‘By the same love whereby God willed that the creature should come to be, it pleases him that it should remain’ – St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard Book II.

Br Thomas Thérèse Mannion O.P.

Br Thomas Thérèse Mannion O.P.

Br Thomas Thérèse is a student brother in simple vows, born on the Wirral. He felt called to the priesthood at an early age. Before joining the Order, he was employed in the Archdiocese of Westminster as a Catechetical and Youth Coordinator. Whilst studying Theology at Heythrop College, University of London, he stumbled across the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist which lead him to discover the Friars of the English Province on YouTube. He entered the noviciate in 2016. He enjoys Ice Skating, History of the Papacy and the writings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. | thomas.mannion@english.op.org


Barry Tebb commented on 04-Nov-2019 04:00 PM
Perfect M

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