Sunday, June 27, 2010

Covenantal creation

Why is the world the way it is? Could it be different? If it is created what does it reflect about its creator?

In Karl Barth's Doctrine of Creation, he proposes that:
1. Creation is the external basis of the covenant
2. Covenant is the internal basis of the creation.
[For a brief summary by John Webster see this earlier post].

Here is some of what he says about the second point.
creation also has.. its internal basis.... what God has created was not just any reality -however perfect or wonderful- but that which is intrinsically determined as the exponent of His glory and for the corresponding service.
The fact that the covenant is the goal of creation is not something which is added later to the reality of the creature, as though the history of creation might equally have been succeeded by any other history. It already characterises creation itself and as such, and therefore the being and existence of the creature. The covenant whose history had still to commence was the covenant which, as the goal appointed for creation and the creature, made creation necessary and possible, and determined and limited the creature....
If creation was the external basis of the covenant, the latter was the internal basis of the former. If creation was the formal presupposition of the covenant, the latter was the material presupposition of the former. If creation takes precedence historically, the covenant does so in substance.
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 3.1, pages 232-233

Then, perhaps a natural consequence of this is that the orderliness of the creation, and particularly the reliability of physical laws, reflects the faithfulness of the creator.

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