Monday, September 12, 2011

The Father Created All Things (Oh, and So Did the Son and the Holy Spirit)

In my previous post, I defended the divinity of Christ against a "Christian" who didn't believe that Jesus was God. Well, there is another member who believes that the Nicene Creed is wrong when it says that the Father created all things because, to him, the Son created all things -- NOT the Father.

This too required me to defend something that I had always just taken for granted. I mean, isn't it a no-brainer that the Father created all things? I thought all Christians believed that, but apparently I'm wrong. At any rate, here is what I was able to find from Scripture that attributes the act of creation to the Father.

First of all, I omitted what was in the OT about creation because it speaks of "God" creating, and well, it's not always understood in some people's minds that this "God" was the Father. As a result, I had to find a more round-about way to prove the creation of the Father. The first passage comes from the Book of Acts:
Acts 17:24-31 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, 28 for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.' 29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead."
Note from this that "The God who made the world and everything in it" (vs. 24) is also the one who "has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness BY A MAN whom he has appointed" and whom he has risen from the dead. This "man," of course, is Christ. The one who appointed Jesus and rose Him from the dead is obviously the Father. Thus, the Father is the one who made the world and everything in it.

The next verse is from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians:
2 Cor 4:6 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Note here that "the God" is the one who gave us Christ, meaning that "the God" is a reference to the Father. Thus, it is the Father who said, "Let light shine out of the darkness." Here Paul is quoting Gen 1:3, where "God" created light. This means that it is the Father who created light and, consequently, is responsible for all of the other acts of creation in Gen 1.

See also the Letter to the Ephesians:
Eph 3:9-11 "and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10 that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,"
Note that the "God who created all things" is the one who has realized His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus our Lord. This means that the "God" in question is the Father. Thus, the Father has created all things.

Paul's words to Timothy are also instructive:
1 Tim 6:13 In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession
In this passage, the God who gives life to all things is distinct from Christ Jesus, therefore the "God" in question, who gives life to all things, is the Father.

Consider also the Letter to the Hebrews:
Heb 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
The pioneer of our salvation who was made perfect through suffering is the Son. The Father is the one who perfected the Son through suffering. Therefore the Father is the one for whom and by whom all things exist.

Finally, from the Book of Revelation:
Rev 4:10-11 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, 11 “Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created.”

Rev 5:6-7 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; 7 and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.
At first, one would think that the figure from Rev 4 who sits on the throne and is accredited by the twenty-four elders with creating all things is Jesus. He is, after all, the King of Kings who sits at the right hand of the Father. But, later on in Rev 5, we read that the Lamb takes the scroll from the hand of him who is seated on the throne. The Lamb is most surely Jesus. This means that the figure on the throne who created all things is the Father.

Note that, in affirming the creative work as an act of the Father, I am not implying that the creative work was no longer that of the Son. What I'm really trying to do is affirm the creative work as equally that of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This follows logically from what Catholics believe about the Trinity.

Each Person of the Trinity possesses fully the one divine nature. This means that each Person possesses all of the prerogatives and powers that come with being divine. One of those actions that is proper to the divine nature is the power to create out of nothing. Thus, each Person of the Trinity -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- possesses the power to create out of nothing.

Since the Persons of the Trinity are distinct BUT NOT SEPARATE (otherwise the unity of the One God would be destroyed), what is predicated of one must be predicated of the other two. There is no scenario in which one Person of the Trinity does something, and the other two just sit back and twiddle their thumbs. They, all three, are present together, doing everything and being everything that is God. Thus, if creation is predicated of the Son, it must also be predicated of the Father and the Holy Spirit -- and we see from Scripture that it is.

The Son Creating

We are already in agreement that the creation of all things is also predicated of the Son. But, it is still helpful to list the passages which show this.
Psa 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth.

Jn 1:1-3,10 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. [...] 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.

Col 1:15-17 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; 16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Heb 3:3-4 Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. 4 (For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God.)

Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.

Rev 3:14 "And to the angel of the church in La-odice'a write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
It should be seen from this that the Son is duly accredited with the creation of all things.

The Holy Spirit Creating

The Holy Spirit too is seen creating. This may be less obvious, but is still very much present in Scripture:
Gen 1:2-3 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
Could it be that it was the Spirit moving over the waters that caused everything to spring into being? This is a mysterious passage that seems to attribute at least some causality to the Spirit. There are other passages in which this becomes more explicit.
Job 33:4 The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Clearly the Spirit here is responsible for creating Job. It is this same Spirit that is spoken of in the Psalms:
Psa 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
All the host of heaven were made "by the breadth of his mouth." The Hebrew word for "breath" here is ruwach, the Spirit of God, the same Spirit that moved over the face of the waters and that created Job. Whenever the Spirit is mentioned in the OT, this is the Hebrew word that is used. Finally:
Psa 104:30 When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground.
This too is a clear reference to the creation of the Spirit.

More Than One Person Creating

We have seen thus far that creation is an act that is equally predicated of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. To further confirm this point, there are two very important passages which show that creation is an act of multiple Divine Persons together. The first is from the Book of Genesis:
Gen 1:26-27 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
"Let US make man in OUR own image." Christian tradition has long considered this a reference to the Trinity, in which case all three Persons of the Trinity are working together to create man. We see this same sort of thing in one of Paul's letters:
1 Cor 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
Paul clearly shows us here that all things are equally from both the Father AND the Son.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

3 comments:

Lady.Rosary said...

It's quite overwhelming i think for others to grasp such concepts. Not everybody takes the time to read the scripture to understand it. So thank you for shedding light to this topic.

phatcatholic said...

Thank you, Lady!

Kitchen Benchtops said...

Jesus said that he obeys his father. That means that Jesus is the son of God and has existed before the world. Bible says everything was made thru Jesus. If Jesus weren't there God would have not made anything. A lot of verses let us know that God has revealed himself in 3 persons but one being.

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