Creation is a central category of (Judeo-)Christian faith, one articulated in the first sentence of the Bible: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ (Gen 1.1). In its Christian usage, the term ‘creation’ is used to describe not only God’s act of bringing forth the world but also the result of this work – the world as brought forth by God. The world’s description as creation is fundamental to a Christian understanding of the world. First, this declares that the world (or a part thereof) is not eternal or divine (in contrast to the assumption of pagan religions or certain philosophical views). Understood as creation, the world has no cyclical, eternally repeating behaviour over the course of time but rather a linear, historical course, with a temporal beginning and end that also constitute the beginning and end of time. There is nothing in creation that repeats itself; instead, everything is imbued with the quality of uniqueness. The doctrine that God created the world from nothing thus articulates God’s absolute omnipotence over being and non-being. For Christianity, the belief that God’s creation of the world was not necessary but rather the free work of His omnipotence also establishes that creation was something willed by God, and that the world is thus good in all of its dimensions created by God (cf. the repeated statement attributed to God himself in the account of creation in Gen 1: ‘and God saw that it was good.’). In distinction, for instance, to the view of Platonic or Gnostic philosophy, the Christian doctrine of creation holds that the decisive difference between the absolute and the finite lies not between corporeal and spiritual being but between Creator and Creation. It is from this belief that the world was freely willed by God and was created as good that Christianity also derives the hope that, at the end of time, God the Creator will liberate the world from all evil and will bring about its final perfection. As the likeness of God and crown of creation, humankind also shares in God’s creative power and can shape the world (mission of mastery in Gen 1.28: ‘fill the earth, and subdue it’) as long as humanity does not destroy but instead preserves its original and future goodness (custodianship over creation).
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