Is God distinct from creation? (2023)

God is distinct from His creation. God is above and beyond all the finite things He has made, and while God may choose to interact with and even fellowship with His creation, the things God brought into existence do not share in His divine essence or Being.

In most forms of Hinduism, the universe is considered to be a manifestation of the divine essence and thus to, in one sense or another, be a part of or an expression of “God.” Similar ideas have become increasingly popular in the west in the last few centuries, such as pantheism (the belief that “God” and the material universe are synonymous) and panentheism (the belief that, while God transcends creation, the created universe exists in God and is a part of God’s being). In each of these ideas, the distinction between God and creation is blurred or outright denied. At best, the “God” of these systems is distinct from the world the way that I am distinct from my own lungs or heart. My heart may not exhaust all that I am, but it shares in my existence and is an essential part of my very being.

The God of the Bible, however, is not like this at all. God exists wholly apart from His creation. He does not need the universe, and the universe is not part of His being or nature. God created all things outside Himself rather than merely emanating them out from His own essence. God is not the universe, and the universe is not part of God.

From Beginning to End

The creation account in Genesis 1:1-2:24 is clearly a description of God creating, forming, and fashioning a universe entirely distinct from Himself. God does not “become,” “emanate,” or otherwise extend His own being into any of the things formed. God creates. He commands, and things come into being. He makes man in His image, but not after His kind or out of His substance. He forms man from the dirt and brings him to life as a separate and distinct living thing. From the opening words of the Bible, we are immediately confronted with the fact that God is separate from and superior to the things He has made. Indeed, our worship of God is rooted, in part, in the fact that He is our distinct creator and sustainer. He is a God utterly outside ourselves to whom we owe our finite existence.

“Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away,” (Psalm 148:5-6).

“For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand,” (Psalm 95:3-7).

The grandeur of God is magnified in the very fact that He cannot be identified with any other existing thing:

“‘To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing,” (Isaiah 40:25-26).

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The last book of the Bible, like the first, confronts us with the fact that God is not His creation, and His creation owes Him worship and sole allegiance:

“And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever,’” (Revelation 5:13).

From beginning to end, the Bible presents us with a God who is distinct from creation and makes that central to our relationship to Him. This is not a tertiary fact, but rather a foundational biblical truth.

Jehovah Among the Gods

That God is entirely distinct from His creation and utterly unlike anything He has made is perhaps the central reason why images of God are forbidden throughout Scripture and why idolatry is such a grave sin. For example, when the apostle Paul traveled to Athens, “his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols,” (Acts 17:16). He confronted the pagan worshipers, proclaiming to them:

“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things,” (Acts 17:24-25).

Temples do not share in God’s essence, and He does not dwell in them. God is not His creation, His existence does not depend on His creation, and He is far above and beyond the things He has made. This is what made idolatry so foolish. Now, some will point out that Paul goes on to quote Epimenides, saying “in Him, we live and move and exist,” (Acts 17:28) and will claim that this points to a shared existence or essence between God and men. That is not Paul’s point at all, however. Not only has Paul just affirmed, as we have seen, that God is a distinct creator that does not depend on or dwell within creation, but when we look at the context, Paul’s argument from the pagan poets is nothing remotely pantheistic:

“For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,” (Acts 17:28-30).

Paul’s point is that even pagan writers acknowledge that God formed us, so why should we think that God could be like something we ourselves can form? These statements, in fact, outright deny that God shares in the essence of material things like gold or stone, and thus point to the distinction between God and creation rather than any unity between the two. The very thing that the Greeks were being called to repent of was worshipping created things as if they were God when they are not.

“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen,” (Romans 1:25).

The earliest Christian writers argued in this same vein, pointing out the foolishness of thinking that any or all created things could be God and emphasizing the necessary distinction. For example, one of the earliest works of Christian apologetics says to the Greek pagan reader:

“Do you accept the vain and silly doctrines of those who are deemed, trustworthy philosophers? Of whom some said that fire was God, calling that God to which they themselves were by and by to come; and some water; and others some other of the elements formed by God. But if any one of these theories is worthy of approbation, every one of the rest of created things might also be declared to be God. But such declarations are simply the startling and erroneous utterances of deceivers,” (Epistle to Diognetus, Chapter 8).

There is no room in Christian thought for a divine universe or a God who shares His own existence or essence with creation.

(Video) God is Distinct from Yet Near to His Creation

Omnipresence Isn’t Pantheism

It is also common to see people argue that passages which claim that God is present everywhere at once or that He isn’t bound by time, space, or location somehow prove God’s oneness with the created universe. He is everywhere, it is presumed He must also be everything. This doesn’t logically follow at all. Just because I am present at my house doesn’t mean that I am at my house. Just because I am in my office doesn’t mean that I am my office. To be at, with, in, or among something is not the same is to be that thing. Further, these verses actually assume God’s distinction from creation. For example:

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,’ Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You,” (Psalm 139:7-12).

This passage certainly claims that the vast presence of God is not bound by location and that one cannot escape His presence. The Psalmist goes on in the very next lines, however, to clearly describe himself as a creation distinct from God:

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them,” (Psalm 139:13-16).

Likewise with other Omnipresence passages. Jeremiah wrote:

“‘Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares the Lord,” (Jeremiah 23:24).

This passage, again, shows that man cannot hide from God. It does not, however, say that a man cannot escape God because that man actually is God or is a part of God. Indeed, the assumption of a man trying to hide from God is that God is a separate thing from which the man seeks to hide, and the passage does not contend with that assumption at all. Instead, the passage simply says that God is so vast that there is nowhere man can go to escape Him. Similarly, we see passages related to the temple:

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?'” (Isaiah 66:1).

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27).

These passages speak of God’s immense grandeur, but they are not the kind of thing someone would write who believed that the Temple was just as much a part of God as anything else. Heaven is God’s throne; it is not God Himself. The earth is God’s footstool, not part of His body. The Temple’s smallness is compared to God’s vastness, but no unity between the two in essence or being is implied. God is magnified above creation here, not merged with it.

Conclusion: God is distinct from creation

The Bible everywhere distinguishes God from His creation and nowhere implies any union or blurring of the two. The view that God and the universe are in any sense the same being is idolatry from which God calls men to repent. This is not a small difference between Christianity and Hinduism or other pantheistic faiths. It is an absolutely foundational matter. It is a Gospel issue.

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FAQs

How is God distinct from creation? ›

4:8; 21:6). Second, it means God is distinct from His creation. He is not constrained by it and does not exist within it. He needs nothing from it, even as He is intimately involved with it.

How does God relate to creation? ›

God is the creator, and creation belongs to God, not to humanity. God wants to be known, and creation is a means of revealing God's character and nature. Creation is a means of providing for humanity and the rest of what God has made, and humanity has been given both dominion and stewardship over creation.

Why did God create us differently and unique from each other? ›

God has created each of us in a way that is unique and special. Each of us is designed to bring Him glory in a way that no one else can. He wants to accomplish His good works in each of us and through each of us.

What is God's greatest creation and why? ›

In the universe there are endless numbers of worlds. God has created them for His own purposes. He created the earth and the wonders in it to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. His children are His greatest creation, and because of this His children are created in His own image.

What is the difference between God and Creator? ›

A creator deity or creator god (often called the Creator) is a deity responsible for the creation of the Earth, world, and universe in human religion and mythology. In monotheism, the single God is often also the creator.

How do we know God is the Creator? ›

God uses no preexisting material to create the universe. God's act of creation causes matter, space, time, and even the very laws which govern the universe to exist. Regardless of the scientific explanations of 'how' it came to be, God, in one divine action from all of eternity, creates and sustains all that exists.

Why does God care about creation? ›

Creation is for God's glory, and humans have been given the special responsibility to care for God's creation. The destruction of creation not only imperils life, including human life on this planet; it is also a sin against God.

Does God speak to us through his creation? ›

Throughout human history, God has initiated communication with humanity by speaking audibly to humans. He also speaks to us through the glory of His creation. Additionally, He speaks to us through His Holy Spirit and through dreams, visions and our thoughts.

What God thinks of creation? ›

When God said what He made was good, He was affirming its original design and intent: to reflect and display His good character, power, and nature. In its original state, creation measured up to God's standards. It was the way He wanted it to be. It was exactly the sort of quality He desired.

What does God say about being distinct? ›

Don't be afraid of being different, be afraid of being the same as everyone else.” We were all created uniquely with different talents, features, and personalities. 1. Romans 12:6-8 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

What is the uniqueness of God? ›

More of God's uniqueness is revealed to us in the Bible and it is important for us to recognise them. God reveals Himself as the only true God. The Egyptians had many gods with many different names. Moses wanted to know God's name, so the Hebrew people would know exactly who had sent him to them.

What are God's unique features? ›

In Western (Christian) thought, God is traditionally described as a being that possesses at least three necessary properties: omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), and omnibenevolence (supremely good). In other words, God knows everything, has the power to do anything, and is perfectly good.

What is the greatest thing that God has given us? ›

So, instead of abandoning us or retaliating against us, he offers us a gift, the best gift that has ever been given: his Son, crucified and raised to life again.

What is the secret of creation? ›

Secrets of Creation documents a residency project bringing together artist Conrad Shawcross and mathematician Matthew Watkins to reflect on the ways in which artists use, misuse, or 'dramatize' scientific and mathematical concepts.

What does the Bible say about God's perfect creation? ›

The Holy Bible says, in Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." And in verse 25b, "And God saw that it was good." It was perfect in every way, for God does not make any mistakes. In Chapter 2 of Genesis is the account of God creating Adam and Eve.

Who is the Creator Jesus or God? ›

[Which is to say that] all things exist as created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). So as God the Father's agent in creation, the preincarnate Christ was the Creator of all that exists.

What is God's creation meaning? ›

Creation. / (kriːˈeɪʃən) / noun theol. the Creation God's act of bringing the universe into being. the universe as thus brought into being by God.

Is God the Father the Creator? ›

God the Father is the title of the supreme creator. The titles of the Son and Holy Spirit are merely titles reflecting the different personal manifestations of the One True God the Father in the universe.

Who is the real creator of the world? ›

God is the creator of heaven and earth, the world. The world was seen by writers through the ages as the magnaliaDei, God's great works. So the phrase begins by telling us about God from the evidence of creation and it opens the door to wonder as we begin to think.

How does God want us to take care of the earth? ›

In Genesis 1, God instructed humans to 'rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground', and to 'fill the earth and subdue it' (Genesis 1:26, 28).

How does God want me to care for his creation? ›

We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations. … We are to prepare for our own divine destiny—glory, immortality, and eternal lives” (“The Creation,” Ensign, May 2000, 86).

Does God love all his creations? ›

Because God loves all of creation – which includes the physical world, the world of sticks and stones, of plants and animals, the whole world of nature – it is incumbent on us human creatures to love and care for the natural world also.

How God is made known to us? ›

o God makes himself known to us through his mighty deeds and his interaction with his people throughout time. He has revealed himself through firstly, creation of the first human beings and their descendants, ▪ He reveals himself through acts of history and interacting with us.

What does God say about the creation of humans? ›

The Idols of God

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image.

How does God speaks to us through nature? ›

He Is Always Speaking

But much of the way God communicates through nature is nonverbal. It goes straight to your heart: a sunset, a budding leaf, a shooting star. God wired us to communicate nonverbally as well as verbally.

Which God is the God of creation? ›

The Bible begins with God creating the heavens and the earth. It is important to understand how the God of the Bible reigns far above the gods of other ancient Near Eastern creation accounts.

Who made God? ›

No one created God. God got created as the universe grew and changes. God is the cumulative energy of the universe.

What did Jesus say about creation? ›

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him." 24 E.g., the plural in Gen I :26 and wisdom in Prov 8. 25 E.g., Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24,26; Rom 1:25; IPet4:19.

Is God three distinct persons? ›

A Trinity doctrine is commonly expressed as the statement that the one God exists as or in three equally divine “Persons”, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Where in the Bible does it say we are uniquely made? ›

fearfully and wonderfully made gyn

In the book of Psalms, David writes in chapter 139 verses 13 and 14: “for it was You who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You because I have been fearfully and wonderfully made”.

Does God reveal himself to everyone? ›

a. Although God reveals Himself to all people through their reason and built-in desires, He revealed Himself in a special and powerful way directly to the Hebrews (Jews). --God chose a small, weak, sinful people to teach them about Himself, and to prepare them for the coming of Christ.

Why is God's love unique? ›

God's love is unique because it is sacrificial. Moffatt translates this verse, “God loved the world so dearly that He gave up His only Son …” The verb tense indicates a day came when God sent His Son to earth, pointing Him ultimately to a cruel, tortuous execution on the cross.

What is the uniqueness of Jesus? ›

His character was pure, selfless, and sinless. Jesus also proved His divine character through His immeasurable love, an unconditional love unique in history. He willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice for all sin and evil, and He gave the free gift of everlasting life to every person who would accept it.

Is there anything impossible for God? ›

For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).

How are God's ways different from ours? ›

God's ways demonstrate his omniscience and omnipresence and will always lead to the expected results in ways that marvel man. The OT Reading is an example of how God's ways differ from ours. We like to use big things to accomplish big tasks. But God uses small things to accomplish big purposes.

What are the deeper things of God? ›

The Deep Things of God shows that the faith which we held so delicately at our baptism is an expression of our personal relationship with Father, Son and Spirit. We live out The Deep Things of God every time we pray to the Father by the Son and through the Spirit.

What is the ultimate gift from God? ›

Jon: So God gave the ultimate gift to humanity, Jesus Christ. And Jesus taught often on giving and generosity, saying things like, "It's more blessed to give than to receive."

What is God's special gift to us? ›

According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people.

What is the first gift from God? ›

God gives people plants and seeds for farming as a gift in the first chapter of Genesis. Genesis tells us God created plants and their seeds, “each according to its kind,” called them good, and gave to humans to eat. For generations, farmers and gardeners have honored this gift, tending and improving their crops.

What are the 7 Stages of creation? ›

This account goes on to describe the seven days of creation:
  • in the beginning - God started creation.
  • the first day - light was created.
  • the second day - the sky was created.
  • the third day - dry land, seas, plants and trees were created.
  • the fourth day - the Sun, Moon and stars were created.

What is the message of creation? ›

Human beings have always faced the question of why anything exists at all. The Bible answers, declaring that God is the creator of all that is--and the re-creator of all that has been bent or broken. Not only is the theme of creation found in the first chapters of Genesis, it runs throughout the Bible.

What is the Spirit in creation? ›

In the creation, the Spirit produces light, the ordering of what has been differentiated, and life. It is the same things which are produced specifically in humanity, when she fills.

What is the value of God's creation? ›

According to the Bible, God's intentions for creation were not only to reveal God's character, but also to: • provide for all that God has made, including natural systems and non-human life needs • provide for human physical needs, including food, water, shelter, clothing and energy • provide for human and non-human ...

What is God's plan for creation? ›

Humans were created with the intent of abundant living. Fruitfulness and growth, multiplication and expansion, as well as structure and organization, are all part of God's plan. These also include stewardship of society and care for the natural world.

How is the nature of God different in Genesis 1 and 2? ›

Genesis 1 reveals God to be omnipotent as he creates the universe from nothing. God is seen as transcendent as he exists in the beginning above and beyond the universe. God is also seen as eternal as he exists before all things. Genesis 2 shows that God is omnibenevolent as he creates the universe out of love.

What is God's original creation? ›

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

What is the only thing that separates us from God? ›

Because of God's holiness and man's sinfulness, there lies a vast separation from one another. However; there is a solution: forgiveness. Just as sin separates us from one another, it also separates us from God.

How are God's ways higher than ours? ›

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

How does God reveal himself to all mankind? ›

Although God reveals Himself to all people through their reason and built-in desires, He revealed Himself in a special and powerful way directly to the Hebrews (Jews). --God chose a small, weak, sinful people to teach them about Himself, and to prepare them for the coming of Christ.

What does the Bible say about being unique and wonderfully made? ›

In the book of Psalms, David writes in chapter 139 verses 13 and 14: “for it was You who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You because I have been fearfully and wonderfully made”.

What does the Bible say about uniqueness? ›

Revelation 2:17 does say that there is a unique attentiveness that Christ gives to every one of his people — a uniquely personal relationship — because he says, “Nobody knows your name except me and you.”

What is the nature of God according to Genesis? ›

The key point of the Genesis story is that God is the creator of all things.

What is the nature of God as the Creator? ›

Eternal – God has always existed and will always exist. Omnipotent - God is all-powerful and able to choose to do all things that are consistent with his nature. Good – God is omnibenevolent , which means he is full of love and wants only the best for his creation.

What is God's nature according to the Bible? ›

God has a Triune nature

According to the Bible, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are all called God. They are also referred to as Creator, Redeemer, and Counselor.

What was God doing before creation? ›

Nothing. Since the world was created out of nothing (ex nihilo), nothingness prevailed. Therefore God was idling, just existing, perhaps contemplating creation.

What was God's final creation? ›

And so I have chosen to say a few words today on the women in our lives." Recounting the creation, President Hinckley said Eve became God's final creation, "the grand summation of all of the marvelous work that had gone before."

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