Sunday, 27 February 2011

God as arificer not Creator

There are those who would argue that Genesis (and other creation narratives in the bible) support the view that God is actually something like an artificer, who organizes and forms the world from pre-existing material. How would you respond to this? I repeat: for me creation means the radical causing of existence of whatever exists and as such creation does not refer to how the world was formed but the fact that there is anything at all rather than nothing. Therefore, my question is really about biblical hermeneutics.

However, I should also like to know what Mr Polkinghorne things about the 'artificer' God from a scientific point of view and particularly the notion of pre-existing matter? It seems to me that this notion confuses the types of questions that science and religion address (the how and the why) and so it is making a category mistake. But what grounds do we have to suppose that in some sense matter did not always exist and God merely invented laws that would organize this material into a self-making universe? Hmmm. Again, I cannot agree with this view, but I am not sure how to respond convincingly to my Mormon friends with respect to this notion of God the creator.

NB Response Philosophically God is the Ultimate Creator: a mere “artificer” would not be God. The Bible is pretty clear about this, and scientifically it makes no sense that I can see to talk about pre-existing matter and God.

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