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THEOLOGY > God > Work of Creation > Possibilities regarding Matter


There are three possible views regarding the existence of matter: one, matter is an illusion—all that exists is not really real; two, matter is eternal, without an origination; three, matter had a beginning, for there was a time when it was not.

If the number three position is taken that matter had a beginning, then there are three possibilities:

1. Something came from nothing - it has been observed: ex nihilo nihil fit, from nothing nothing comes; in other words, nothing cannot create something; the very thought of that which is non-existent producing something that exists is absurd.

2. Something came from something - some unknown and unknowable impersonal force or power produced what we know as the world; the inanimate produced the animate; matter produced mind; this also seems inconceivable and illogical.

3. Something came from Someone - before matter was Intelligence; God created matter; the Personal created the personal and the impersonal; Mind before matter.

Each of these three possible views is a faith position; neither view can, in the modern scientific sense, be demonstrated or disallowed. The question then becomes: which is more reasonable, which is more satisfying, which better gives meaning to existence, that is, which view more adequately provides a basis for explaining life? In other words, apart from scientific theories and apart from philosophical arguments, which view satisfies the questions and needs of the soul? The Biblical position is that matter had a beginning and that something came from Someone—Mind is the cause of matter—in the words of Scripture: "God created the heavens and the earth".

If the most important philosophical question is, “Why is there something rather than nothing at all?” (Heidegger), then the answer is: “Because God is and because God created!”

If God’s divine act is not the explanation for matter’s creation and man’s existence then man is alone in the universe. For many modern thinkers, the universe is not the result of a personal God, but is the result of an unexplained and unknowable phenomenon, an impersonal force that is the cause for the world’s existence, even postulating that the universe came from another universe. For these contemporary thinkers the idea of God is merely the projection of man’s subjective thought; thus, there is no Supreme Being, no God. If this is so, then God becomes the creation of man’s mind—God did not create man; rather, man has created God. The creature has created the Creator. In Nietzche’s words God is only a blunder of man; in other words, God is dead. And man is truly alone in the vast cosmos.

If God is man’s creation, then man must look to himself for meaning and value. Upon what basis does man even assume that he has worth and purpose? Why should a thought be entertained concerning the value of man? Perhaps significance and purpose are subjective concepts, created by man as pragmatic tools to facilitate his existence on earth and to postulate meaning where there is no meaning. Chance cannot establish significance; probability cannot establish absolutes. That which is fixed does not arise from that which is mutable. Therefore, the significance of matter becomes that which is attributed to it by man. Man is his own interpreter. And every man’s interpretation is right in his own eyes.

But how can man know that the importance he ascribes to matter is proper, or how can man even consistently maintain that matter has any worth? If man determines matter’s purpose, then that purpose is suspect, for the purpose is as changing as man’s mind. If man is alone in the universe, then there is no ultimate, final, and objective standard by which to evaluate and critique existence. Life, and all that is, ultimately has no meaning. Everything under the sun is vanity.

But if Creation is indeed the act of God then significance for man and the rest of creation is established upon an absolute and infallible foundation. That which is Absolute determines the meaning of existence, the worth of the individual, and the destiny of all things. If there is God, then there is a reference point that is fixed. And there is a purpose to it all, His purpose.

But if there is no God and He did not create and man is the one responsible for the God-concept, an unanswerable question arises: Why would man need a God-concept?  Why would a God-concept develop? Why do people in all cultures worship?  Why are there sacrifices?  Why are there prayers?  Why does man feel the need to look outside of himself?  Why does man feel inadequate? Why does man humble himself before and implore something he believes is greater than he is? If man is alone in the universe, why does he not behave like he is alone? Why does he act accountable when there is no One to be accountable to? Why does man experience the urge to look beyond himself for help and meaning? What is the explanation for these drives and searches?

The origin of the God-concept is God.

Explanation for the God-concept
surely resides in God,
not in man’s thinking! 

Is it incomprehensible that the Maker of man placed within man an awareness of the Maker and a desire for the Maker? Is it not proper to believe that man’s need for God is a need placed within man by God? Does not man’s felt need for God speak to the fact of God?

God is the Revealer. And the God who has revealed Himself attests that Creation is His act and His alone—matter exists because of Him.

Return to Work of Creation; Next Article: Six Days of Creation

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