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On creation as gift

Summary

David Bentley Hart explains how our world represents a gesture of love.

Summary

David Bentley Hart explains how our world represents a gesture of love.

Transcript

If we reduce things to pure metaphysical narratives, the difference between saying “the world is created” or “the world emanates from God” is not metaphysically a difference worth noting. In either case, you’re talking just about ontological dependence, the creation depends upon God for its being. 

But the doctrine of creation is just a clear statement that this is a free … in some mysterious sense, it’s not the spontaneous overflow of that which cannot contain itself, you know, but is also a free act of predilective love and creativity.

Any narrative of creation … I mean, that’s what the term “creation from nothingness” means. It doesn’t mean that there was some substance, nothing, which was then fashioned into a world. It just means that there’s nothing other than the divine as its source, and therefore it’s not necessitated by anything either external or internal to the divine nature. It is a gesture of gift and creative superfluity, and therefore love. The way we know anything is a gesture of love is that it’s necessary precisely to the degree that it’s superfluous, that it’s not necessary.