Friday, June 29, 2012

Creation and Humility

Great article from the Dominicana blog:
If you are like me and grew up attending religious education classes of some sort, you may have come across the line, “If God stopped thinking about you at any instant, you would immediately disappear; you would cease to exist.” What a terrifying thought to offer the inquisitive mind of a child! The suggestion seems to be that, on occasion, either through forgetfulness or malice, God annihilates some unfortunate person or persons. But this is not true; God doesn’t even annihilate demons or the damned, much less unsuspecting third graders.

Of course, the remark is well meant, and, properly understood, it is a vivid reminder of a profound metaphysical truth, namely, that we all depend on God for both our coming to be and our preservation in being. Indeed, meditating on this truth can help us to grow in wisdom and humility, whether we are third graders or thirty-somethings.

For some reason, it seems easy for people to accept the notion that they have their origin in God, but the fact that they are preserved in existence by God at every moment never crosses their minds. The key idea here is that God’s act of creation is not a one-time event, but rather extends through time. Since God is universal cause of all things, anything that exists not only has its origin in God, but also its conservation in being. God alone exists necessarily; God alone cannot not exist. All other beings exist contingently; they might not have existed, and they depend upon God, the Necessary Being, for their continuance in existence.
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