Creation and Nature

Journey April 1st, 2017

This is a third in a series of reflections based upon random pictures friends have posted on Facebook.

I would venture to guess when most people read the word “creation” they might recall the “Genesis Story” found in the Bible. Others might think of creation simply as an event taking place which causes something to exist while others could say “the big bang.”

There are four ancient philosophical theories having to do with creation: Creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing), Creatio ex materia (creation based upon preexisting material), Creatio ex deo (creation by a deity) and Creatio continua (an ongoing act of creation).

No matter how one views these four theories of creation (which have been debated by philosophers prior to the Hebrew Bible), it would be fair to say that creation in any form, under any impetus is an a priori primordial force. In other words, creation is something which precedes all things prior to becoming a recognizable substantive form.

Using the first chapter of Genesis as an example we find the words, “In the beginning when God created,” [the heavens and the earth]. This first statement tells us something very important about what would eventually become the YHWH of the Hebrew Bible: God Creates.

It means that the intrinsic nature of God (and I use nature on purpose) is the force of creation. It no longer matter how, or by what means creation takes place (sorry Greek Philosophy), but the act of creation is a primary force.

In other words, creation is not what eventually happens, but the very force in which creation is generated.

The arts are a fine form for recognizing generated creation. I once watched a film; a 1956 documentary entitled “The Mystery of Picasso”. The film maker captures the artist during the process of creation as he produces various pictures.

Each work of art began with a simple line. Sometimes the artistic idea remained the same, but other times what we thought was a bird was artistically changed, and transformed into something else. Yet the fact remains that the initial subject or artistic motive began as simple line. I suggest that the process of creation was not the finished product, but the creative spark just prior to drawing the line on a canvas.

When I was younger and first studying music composition, I enjoyed improvising at the piano. I had no idea where the muse might take me, but my first and most important choice in creation was just before playing the first notes; where my fingers would be placed on the keyboard, what time of attack on the piano keys; would I play fast or slow, loud of soft, percussive or sustained?

The milliseconds just a moment prior to my choice WAS creation, and this took place in silence within the chaos of my mind as arbitrary choices were presented and the commitments made.

Both artistic examples make a valid argument that creation is ongoing (Creatio continua), and is always with us.  Creation is a force which permeates all things. Creation is around, through and in us with all forms of nature.

And this brings us to the picture I found on Facebook of creation making itself known through a crack of pavement on a city street.

One of the characteristics of Homo sapiens which separate early humans from Neanderthals was the quest to control nature. The first important step to win over nature was the ability to make and control fire. Fire was merely the first step which eventually grew to include the harnessing of water, farming, the building of houses, and the mission to land on the moon.

As cities grew, and people’s needs spread, human beings decided it was no longer valid to allow land to remain bare, so pavement covered meadows, and telephone poles replaced trees. People who created cities were proud of their achievements with roads, and sidewalks, and underground railways transporting people to and fro.

Yet surrounding miles of cement and the proliferation of city streets, through a simple small crack in the pavement, creation sings its ancient tune, reaching up to the sun, raising its arms anew repeating nature’s dance.

Humanity may try and control nature, and sometimes we may think we have won, but then again, the ongoing Creatio Continua reminds us that we are not in control; we do not, in reality, own anything. Our hubris is somewhat delusional as nature pretends to let us believe we are its master; we are not.

 

One response to “Creation and Nature”

  1. Annie Laurie Babson says:

    Thanks for your work.

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