Creation as Action of a Personal God
The concept of causation is taken from the experience of the natural world and of ourselves, whereas the notion of creation is not rooted in observation. The various interpretations of the concept of creation result in many dilemmas when dealing with the comprehension of God’s nature as well as with the existing relationship between God and His creation. Historically, the notion of creation is interpreted from an analogy with physical causation, leaving an open door, in some of these theories, to a pantheistic conception. On the other hand, the emphasis of the uniqueness of creation as causation in being, made room for the interpretation according to which creation would be the sole true form of causation.
My proposal is to see creation not as the highest form of causation, and causation not as an imperfect kind of creation. Instead, I suggest that causation adequately describes what happens at the physical level, whereas creation does not interfere with the causative power of anything, but rather explains that something can cause and be caused. The former is the object of the different sciences and the latter falls within the range of metaphysics or theology.
In this sense, approaching the idea of creation from God considered as a personal being, would make possible to understand it free from the bonds of a physical notion. The emphasis would be placed in creation as the action of a free agent. This consideration of the agent would make analogies with physical causation look inappropriate and would bring us closer to a conception of creation in which created being is seen as a gift, given in a free manner. Physics, on the contrary, leans toward an understanding of cause and effect as something determined and carries with it a number of undesired theological consequences when associated with the concept of creation. Presenting creation from a personal God allows thinking of the relation between Creator and creature as something gratuitous and free.
Center for Philosophy of Religion, University of Notre Dame, US
Prof Michael Rea