Just for Catholics

OUR CREATION

First and foremost the Christian faith affirms the existence of God: ‘he who comes to God must believe that He is’ (Heb 11:6). Moreover we believe in his eternal existence. ‘From everlasting to everlasting, You are God’ (Ps 90:2). He created everything ex nihilo (‘from nothing’), that is, not from pre-existing material: ‘The things which are seen were not made of things which are visible’ (Heb 11:3). Though we now experience disorder, sufferings and death, we believe that the creation was originally perfect: ‘Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good’ (Gen 1:31).

For what purpose did God make the universe? God created all things for the manifestation of his own glory. ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created’ (Rev 4:11).

The Bible’s teaching on creation contradicts the false philosophies by which Satan deceives the world. Just consider the very first sentence of Genesis: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ This statement denies atheism (there is no God), because the universe was created by God. It also denies pantheism (nature and God are the same), because God is distinct from his creation. It denies polytheism (there are many gods), because one God created all things. It denies materialism (reality consists only of material things and forces), because God is before creation. Finally it denies humanism (man is sovereign and human destiny depends upon himself), since God, not man, is the first and highest reality.

Evolution

The theory of evolution attempts to give an alternative explanation to all existence. It is grounded upon a materialistic philosophy, presupposing that reality consists only of physical things and forces. The evolutionist cannot even consider the possibility of a supernatural Creator. Because of his philosophical prejudice, he has no alternative but to give an explanation of the universe and life in terms of physical forces, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

The problems evolution faces are colossal. If the universe had a beginning, there was a point when it did not exist. How then can nothing become something? We cannot escape the problem by saying that the universe is eternal. Since its energy is being spent and becoming increasingly disorganized, if the universe had been in existence from eternity past, it cannot exist still in an organized form.

Besides, life shows unmistakable signs of intelligent design far more intricate than anything written or created by human intelligence. How can blind forces create the complicated mechanisms in plants and animals, and especially of the human body and mind? If I consider a painting, a house or a novel, is it not reasonable to infer the existence of a painter, a builder and a writer, even though I may have never met them? By the same token, when I behold the creation around me, is it equally logical to infer the existence of an intelligent and powerful Creator.

Evolution is the philosophical foundation of today’s secular society. Excluding the Creator from his thinking, man has usurped the place of God. Modern man reasons: ‘Since everything happened by natural means, I am accountable to no one but myself.’ If there is no Creator, there is no Lord. Man becomes autonomous, his own master. ‘What feels good to me’ takes the place of what God commands in his Law.

The evolutionary mindset degrades human dignity because man is considered as just another animal – more developed than others perhaps – but essentially an animal. Evolution destroys the significance and hope of human existence. It can offer nothing to the individual, except his return to the dust to be recycled! The Christian worldview is altogether different. It views human life as having dignity and everlasting value: man was created in the image of God in order to know, love and enjoy his Creator forever.

The Image of God

We are God’s special creation. God created the world for us and gave us dominion over it. Moreover God gave us the privilege to look upwards to him, our Creator, in whose image we are formed. ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ... So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them’ (Gen 1:26, 27).

Naturally ‘God’s image’ does not mean a physical resemblance, since God is spirit. Man resembles God because he was created wise, righteous and holy. Though sin has wrought havoc in the beauty of this similarity, every human being still retains something of God’s image in him (James 3:9). The full glory of the likeness of God reappears in the restorative work that God performs in his children. ‘Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness ... put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him’ (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10).

Body And Soul

We are made up of a material aspect and a spiritual aspect. ‘The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, (the body, the material part), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (the spirit, the non-material part); and man became a living being’ (Gen 2:7).

The Lord Jesus makes a distinction between the physical body and the spiritual soul: ‘And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him’ (Luke 12:4, 5). If we consisted only of a material body, nobody could do anything more to us after death. But since after death God is able ‘to cast into hell’, it is evident that death is not the complete destruction of man. The part that cannot be destroyed by physical death is the soul, as Jesus informed us elsewhere: ‘do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell’ (Matt 10:28).

The theory of evolution considers man as a material animal and nothing else. Because of the fundamental error, modern man must always remain frustrated in his attempts to find fulfillment solely in material things. Admittedly, we need bread to live, but it is equally true that ‘man does not live by bread alone’.

Moral Being

God created us moral beings. We have the power of originating action and voluntary moral choice. This differentiates us from inanimate matter that is merely governed by the laws of nature, and from animals that are controlled by their instincts. God created us with innate sense of right and wrong. His moral law is written on our hearts. Our conscience bears witness whether our actions are right or wrong. Therefore we are accountable to God for all our decisions and actions.

Just as God commanded Adam (Gen 2:16) from the beginning of creation, we are all duty-bound to obey his law. We must reject any theory, whether religious or psychological, that views man as a mere puppet. We make our choices in the light of conscience and reason, and though our decisions may be wrong and sinful, we remain accountable for our choices.

Social Being

We were not created to live in solitude. ‘It is not good that man should be alone,’ God said (Gen 2:18). The second greatest commandment -- ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matt 22:39) – highlights our social dimension. Man was given a heart with which to love; a heart that yearns for love. Of all social relations, marriage is the most natural and intimate (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:9); it is a reflection of the relationship between the Lord and his bride, the church (Eph 5).

Spiritual Being

Fellowship with other people is important; of greater significance still is our relationship with our Creator. The first and great commandment reflects the essential purpose of our being: ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ We were created to know, glorify and enjoy God forever. ‘As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God’ (Ps 42:1, 2). Augustine expressed this truth beautifully: ‘You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.’

© Dr Joseph Mizzi. 2008. Permission is given to reproduce and distribute this article in any format provided that the wording is not altered and that no fee is charged. Please include the following statement on distributed copies: Copyright Dr Joseph Mizzi. Website: www.justforcatholics.org. Used by permission.