Wednesday, August 13, 2014

God's Nature and Creaturely Freedom

God's Nature
God has the quality of aseity. He is completely self-sufficient and utterly free. Though he is immutable, he is not inactive. He has sufficient power and complete knowledge to do or not do as he pleases.

God's Relation to Creation and Time
God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, has made all that is other than himself, and having created all things, he knows them completely. God is not impassible in regard to creation, but is interactive with it. All creation is before God at every point (i.e. everywhere is in his presence), but he is not in creation nor contained by it. God can step into the limitations of space and experience that space, but always with his omniscience and omnipresence intact, apart from that point of contact.

God is timeless, and is properly outside of time just as he is outside of the rest of creation. All time is equally before him at every point, although God is not in it nor constrained by time. That which is in time (creation) experiences time and is limited by its sequential nature, but God is present with equal facility in the past, present and future, simultaneously (as it were). God can step into the limitations of the moment (time) and experience that moment in real time, but always has his omniscient, omnitemporality intact, apart from that point of contact.

God's Omniscience
God's knows all that can be known. In acting in regard to creation, from the perspective of creation in any time reference, God sees and knows that action and its consequences in all time references. We must plan before we execute our actions or be at the mercy of things ignorantly set in motion, but God is able to see all at once by virtue of his omniscience outside of time. Therefore, he can act, direct and know the end from the beginning, at once, without the necessity of a pre-planned blueprint.

God's Sovereignty
God governs by law and by intervention, of which he sees the effects at once without the limitations of sequence (time). From the viewpoint of creation, there is a quality to God's governance which appears as if the clock was wound at the beginning and is now unwinding. From God's perspective, he knows at once the shape of that unwinding, not because he has minutely determined every second, but because he understands what he has made and how it functions, and sees every second at once.

The laws of nature are the manifestation of God's will for nature. Things act according to law, but without the necessity that each action was specifically willed by God. God's sovereignty is not expressed in the minute detail of every occurrence, but in the laws that produce it. If one were to throw a ball against a wall, the ball would bounce as it does because God wanted a myriad of forces to act the way they do which resulted in such a bounce in time, rather than because God wanted that ball to bounce that way at that time.

Creaturely Freedom
All things in God's creation have a nature by which they are governed and are interacted with by the rest of God's creation by its nature. Some natures are more god-like than others, with human beings (and probably at least some of the angels) being made in the very image of God. The nature of human beings, in their degree of freedom to act, will be most reflective of God's freedom. Apart from an analogous freedom as that possessed by God, human beings would not be in God's image, but only reflect God's attributes as does all creation.