The scientific world is awaiting what the Hadron Accelerator can tell us of the physical beginnings of the universe. The opening word of the Book of Genesis gave the Chosen People an imaginative insight of what the loving God prepared in the world for the human race. While the account is not historical, it imparts a true theology.
The Triune God had no need of a creation. The Godhead had no need of fireworks on an astronomical scale for amusement. That God was perfectly happy as Father, Son and Spirit. But that God was Infinite Love!
That love overflowed in a creation. God wanted to share life and love with angels and humankind. Humans are flesh and spirit. They need a material universe to be themselves, to express themselves–even to love and serve the God of the universe.
The authors of the creation story in Genesis knew only a tiny section of the planet earth. They knew nothing of a solar system, a galaxy, or clusters of galaxies. They saw the world around them as God’s loving provision and found descriptive ways to convey this truth of God’s love as they saw it written in earth and sky, in plants, birds and beasts, in rivers and springs, soil and fruits of the earth. God made a home for them.
In that home, they were to love and serve God and reach fulfillment in him. Each sunrise and moon setting could remind God’s People of God’s care for now and hope for hereafter.
We are learning more and more about the infinitely small worlds in the atom and mind-boggling expanses of space and time of our universe. But do we really know more of the purpose of it all? Do we know it as a Divine Gift?
Theologians and philosophers and scientists have gained deeper knowledge of the meaning of creation, but the simple people of God could know that the God who made them, made all things for their benefit.
The most learned probers of quarks and gluons may come to know more of those nano-seconds of the Big Bang. But from the tiniest particle to the furthest limits of space, all is there because God loves us.
Today’s section of Genesis may be fanciful in its details, but totally exact in the truth that God created us and prepared a world for our living.
So we sing: "How wonderful are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you wrought them all! The earth is full of your glory!"
Fr. Fred Sucher, C.P. is retired and lives in the Passionist community in Chicago. For many years he taught philosophy to Passionist seminarians.