Challenges to faith in God today sometimes come from atheism and secular materialism. What I call “creation spirituality”, stands in opposition to these challenges for several reasons.
Firstly, atheism and secular materialism can create huge doubts in the minds of people about the purpose and meaning of their lives. If human beings are merely the random outworkings of scientific principles, then what is the point of life?
Yet a focus on the idea of creation makes me appreciate that life has a supernatural source, that the universe has a purpose and a meaning, and that every person who has ever lived, and who ever will live, has something unique about them – we are all special “creations” – of our biological parents, of course, but even more importantly, of a supernatural parent whom we know as God.
And then there is the whole issue of nature, the world and the universe. Is it a cold, unfeeling universe that we inhabit that cares nothing whether we continue in existence or are extinguished as a species? What is the point of the birds, the trees, the flowers, the clouds, the hills, the mountains, the skies and the stars? Why do we respond to them the way that we do?
Creation spirituality answers these questions.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.
I respond to nature – to creation – because I, like creation, am created.
“God saw all that he had made and it was very good”.
The world around us can be dangerous and destructive of human life; but it is also a daily blessing, and we depend on our environment for survival, as we could not live without oxygen, water and food.
For me, living today in our 21st century world, a spirituality that has a clear focus on human beings as significant creations, the earth as a unique creation and the universe as an awe-inspiring context for life, is essential for living with purpose, meaning and some daily joy.
“Perhaps one of the greatest traps in life is self-rejection”. Henri Nouwen wrote that, and his lovely little book Life of the Beloved affirms that we are all wonderful creations.
We may not feel this way all the time!
But it can really help us on our spiritual way, to know that we are created, and created good.
Life is sacred
and the fire
that burns within
is the source
of your meaning
Some people might take an opposite view, that we are all created by chance relationships in an unpredictable, uncaring universe. The outcome of beliefs like this can be pessimism.
To challenge this view is not naivety or wishful thinking but it is to access a deeper root of spiritual thinking.
Created good, does not mean created perfect or complete. We all have flaws and failings which make us a bit less wonderful than we could be. But created good means created with a purpose beyond merely surviving – created to know and to understand – created to love – created to worship.