Thursday, October 9, 2014

Is Creation Good or Evil?

Historically, the church fathers vigorously fought against the belief that creation is evil (both the world and humanity). Gnostics believed matter was evil and the spiritual was good. For the Manicheans, they also believed in a dualism where the material creation was debased. Augustine (a former Manichean) wrote against Manichaeans who said that we should spare God the embarassment of being connected to the created world. As Thomas Oden records in Classic Christianity, this Gnostic thought has implications today. For if creation is evil, it can be neglected (141).

Sadly, the church today has seemingly failed to learn the lesson of history in affirming the goodness of the created world and humanity, especially in regards to our sexuality. Eschatological views (specifically premillenialism) have hindered our current stewardship of the earth. 2 Peter 3:10 has been misinterpreted, and the term "dominion" from Genesis has been an excuse for abuse of the earth and its resources.

Furthermore, in a subtle way, believers have failed to fully affirm the goodness of the body. God created us as wonderful beings with intricate systems, senses, and experiences. Although, grace should never be an excuse for bodily sin. This idea has probably been so prevalent due to the exaltation of the spiritual. The incarnation should teach us that God has affirmed both the spirituality and physicality of humans. Thus, we should be active in helping the body of Christ to redeem the world (humanity & nature) through teaching that God's creation is good.

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