The following is the latest in a series of daily meditations amid the pandemic. For today’s musical pairing, listen to Peter Gregson’s recomposition of the prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. All songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Meditation 18. 2,127,873 confirmed cases, 141,454 deaths globally.
Christian doctrine refers to the creative activity out of which God brought forth the cosmos as creatio ex nihilo. The universe we inhabit has not existed forever, in other words, nor was it refashioned from preexisting matter. It was created “out of nothing” (ex nihilo) through the intention and the will, the intelligence and the love of God.
One cannot be a Christian very long without hearing the classic Latin phrase. A lesser-known phrase from the theological canon is preservatio ex nihilo. God’s will is not only creative but preservative. He both brings and sustains all things in being. The moment God no longer wills for all things to exist, they will not.
The insight is fundamentally the same, and the logic is compelling. God is the only necessary being, the only one who contains the principle of his existence within himself. All other things are contingent upon his will.
The biblical narrative begins with the beginning of the temporal order we inhabit. It does not fold back the curtain of time and show us any deliberation within the community of the Trinity or within the throne room of heaven before God chose to create the universe. ...1
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