THE APOSTLES’ CREED. HOW MUCH DO I STILL BELIEVE? 3

CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH

Yes, yes, I believe in God the creator of elephants, hyenas, viruses, bacteria, supernova, whirlpools, mushrooms, birch trees, Joseph Stalin, Jesus, Mount Everest, cyanide, bread, sex, lesbians, Mars, cancer, Boris Johnson, blue-green algae, hippopotamuses, icebergs, methane……..

I do not believe that God has finished the job, but is rather continuing until, as Paul puts it, “creation itself is set free from its slavery to decay”

I believe, as did Alfred North Whitehead, that in the process of creation God is intensely involved with every event, and is therefore changed by each and every one of them. No creator, no painter, sculptor, or composer is left unchanged by her creation; no more is God. The Creed is wisely agnostic on this matter, although much Greek thought was unable to imagine any change in God. It was for this reason that Aristotle named him the unmoved mover.

The biblical God in both testaments, however, is moved and must therefore be subject to change. I think that for many believers this conclusion, that God changes, will be very disturbing. How can you have faith in someone who is changing? But in fact we put faith all the time in some of our fellow human beings, who are of course, changing. We trust that their affection for us will not change although other aspects of themselves may change. If we can do it with changing people, why not with a changing God? As we change, we invite God to change in relation to us.

In this process of mutual change God persuades us to help in the perfecting of creation. Indeed, all the elements of the universe are involved in this same process by which everything is continually changed. The fact that we could destroy our species and even our planet is a measure of the freedom God has given us and of the commitment of God to persuasion rather than force. We may be the only creatures in the universe who can refuse the creator’s persuasion.

Where is God? Everywhere. The creation is in God, and God in it. In God we live and move and have our being; but God may also lodge in us, if we let him. God asks our permission before entering our lives: we shall attend to this when considering belief in the Spirit. Does that mean that God simply takes up residence in other living creatures? No, God in her courtesy always asks permission, but it may be that in the case of the other creatures she always gets it. And God is also present in every event right down to the smallest particles and their activity. Nothing is untouched or unaffected by God’s love.

In respect of creation, God is the alpha and the omega, the “author and finisher” as the writer to Hebrews says. This means that in addition to God’s abiding presence with the universe, she has blessed it with initial purpose and with the lure of an achieved perfection. It has often been said that the event of Jesus is God’s new creation, but I cannot see that God has ever stopped creating; the story of Jesus is an episode in God’s continuing creation.

To live in this faith is exhilarating.

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