Maker of Heaven and Earth

KENNETH BAKER, S.J.

At the conclusion of the first part of the Creed we profess our belief that God the Father is the “maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen”.

These words should draw our attention to the very beginning of the Bible, the book of Genesis, where we read that "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

We have already discussed some of the characteristics of the divine creative power. In those first chapters of Genesis the "work" of God in fashioning the whole universe, including the earth, Adam and Eve, the animals, etc., is implicitly compared to the work of a potter who, with his turning equipment, makes various kinds of pots, jars and bowls. Thus, we read in Genesis (2:7) that "the Lord God fashioned men from the dust of the soil."

The contemporaries of the ancient Hebrews had many views about the beginning of the world that are strange to us. Most of them tended to identify their gods with the world and with the various forces in the world that they could not control, such as the sun, the sky, the ocean, the life-force. Through his illuminating grace and his prophetic spokesmen God revealed to the chosen people of the Old Testament that he is completely transcendent, that is, above and independent of the material universe. He also revealed that he is immanent in it, in the sense that he gives life and being to all things but at the same time is not identified with them.

"Heaven" in the Creed also has the double meaning of the heavenly bodies such as the planets and the stars, and the spiritual dwelling place of the angels and saints. There also are to be found the resurrected Lord in his glorious humanity and the Blessed Virgin Mary who was assumed body and soul into heaven.

After saying that God made heaven and earth, the Church then repeats the same idea and at the same time becomes more precise by saying that he is the maker "of all that is seen and unseen". So not only is God the Creator of the visible universe, he is the unique source of all invisible things, whatever they may be. From Scripture, human philosophy and science we know that there are many existing forces and beings we cannot see. The unseen realities include both physical particles and forces, and the spiritual realms of angels and devils. What the Church is really doing in this profession is saying that all things whatsoever owe their origin and continued existence to God the Father.

Some philosophies and religions have maintained that parts of the universe did not proceed from God. The Manicheans even went so far as to say that there are two gods - a god of good and a god of evil. Biblical faith and the faith of the Church reject such dualism. The statement is all-inclusive. God the Father is the maker of all things - lofty, base, subtle and dense. Thus all things are open to his eyes and in his loving providence, according to the divine plan, he guides all things to their appointed goals.

See the index of chapters from Fundamentals of Catholicism which have been reprinted to CERC here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Kenneth Baker, S.J. "Maker of Heaven and Earth." In Fundamentals of Catholicism Vol. 1 Part 1, Chapter 4 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 34-36.

This article reprinted with permission from Father Kenneth Baker, S.J.

THE AUTHOR

Rev. Kenneth Baker, S.J., has served for the past thirty years as editor of the Homiletic & Pastoral Review. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1947. In 1970 he served as president of Seattle University and in 1971 became editor of the Homiletic & Pastoral Review. In 1973 he published his translation of the Philosophical Dictionary and adapted it to American usage. In 1975 he became president of Catholic Views Broadcasts, Inc., which produces a weekly 15-minute radio program that airs on 50 stations across the United States. He has built and run three community television stations. In 1983 he published a three-volume explation of the faith called Fundamentals of Catholicism Vol. 1, Creed and Commandments; Vol. 2, God, Trinity, Creation, Christ, Mary; and Vol. 3, Grace, the Church, the Sacraments, Eschatology.

Copyright © 1995 Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.


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