Divine Ideas

When I hear the words "creation" and even "creationism," I don't usually think of the old debates about "creation vs evolution." Instead I think about what theologians call the doctrine of creation, which is that whatever exists that is not God, exists ultimately because of God. God made everything that is not himself.

For a long time now I've been digging deep into the meaning and ramifications of this doctrine. This book is the result. It takes as its starting point that creation is an action that God does. God is personal, rational, and creative. We'd expect God to have an understanding what he is doing when he creates, something like an idea or model or plan of the world he makes--hence, Divine Ideas.

The wonder of it all for me is that God doesn't get his ideas the way we get ours. He truly originates them, every last one, whereas we derive ours from our experience of the world around us. Some of the more technical work of the book is an attempt to say something more about what it might mean for God to be the ultimate origin of his ideas of the world.

Part of what it means, for us, is that the whole world and everything real about it, is expressive of what God is. This matters for our quest to discover meaning in our lives. It also matters for how we ought to value and treat each other and the world we share together.

Through the end of August it is available as a free e-book. In a couple weeks it will be available for purchase as a paperback. If the topic interests you, I hope you'll give it a read. If you're not interested enough to read a book, maybe two earlier posts of mind will whet your appetite: Why Care about the Theory of Divine Ideas, Part 1 and Part 2. Maybe the best thing I can say in favor of giving the book a read is this: what I've tried to do is make plausible in real life the sort of creation story Tolkien gives us in the first part of his Silmarillion.

Pro tip: there are two reasonable routes through the book's short chapters: the order in which they're published, of course, but also in this order: chs. 1, 2, 8, 3-7. I recommend this recommend route if you are uninterested in some of the more technical and academic material.