The work of the Holy Spirit

God created the world according to his wisdom, writes Cathal Barry

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Church teaches that three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb “create” – Hebrew bara – always has God for its subject); and the totality of what exists (expressed by the formula “the heavens and the earth”) depends on the One who gives it being.

“In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was God… all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him “all things were created, in Heaven and on Earth… all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” The Church’s faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the “giver of life”, “the Creator Spirit”, the “source of every good”.

Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: “The world was made for the glory of God.” St Bonaventure explains that God created all things “not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it”, for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: “Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand.”

The First Vatican Council explains: “This one, true God, of his own goodness and ‘almighty power’, not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel ‘and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal’…”

The glory of God consists in the realisation of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us “to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph 1:5-6).

The Church believes that God created the world according to his wisdom. It is not the product of any necessity, nor of blind fate or chance.

The Church also believes that it proceeds from God’s free will; he wanted to make his creatures share in his being, wisdom and goodness: “For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev 4:11). Therefore, the Psalmist exclaims: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all”; and “The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made” (Pss 104:24). God creates “out of nothing”.