Catechesis on creation

Cathal Barry takes a look at the Church’s teaching on creation

Catechesis on creation concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life.

It makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves:”Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What is our origin?” “What is our end?” “Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?” the two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.

The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have enriched our knowledge of the age, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man.


These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers.

The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: Is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good God? And if the world does come from God’s wisdom and goodness, why is there evil? Where does it come from? Who is responsible for it? Is there any liberation from it?

The Church holds that the truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in his tenderness wanted to reveal to his people everything that is salutary to know on the subject. Beyond the natural knowledge that every man can have of the Creator, the Church teaches that God progressively revealed to Israel the mystery of creation.

Thus the revelation of creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging of the covenant of the one God with his people. Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant, the first and universal witness to God’s all-powerful love. And so, the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigour in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings of the chosen people.