John Paul II on God and Creation

Creating undoubtedly does mean making something out of nothing, but in the more specific sense of giving existence–not constructing objects or beings, but transmitting existence, causing a being to begin existing outside myself. That is what the Creator does. -Pope John Paul II The Way to Christ, (Harper; 1984. 10).

I think that often when we think of God as Creator we tend to think of a flourish of power, the way we see performance artists cast something into being. Perhaps we are wrong in terms when we call this ‘creation’ and should recognize that the transmission of existence is not something properly bound to objects at all.

Creation firstly belongs to God as his freedom to create space for existence outside Himself. Father, Son and Holy Spirit make room for our contingency upon their loving union. (So too human sexuality is guided by this and sees that allowing room and space for contingent need to develop out of absolute and free gift is not alien to the body, but at the heart of its meaning.)

Creation belongs to our nuptiality and our communion as beings to be able to transmit being so that there may be an existence outside myself. Not only does this mean that when I am called to marriage I am called to a spouse, it means that this spouse and I, when participating in the Divine Love made possible in the conjugal act have every right and responsibility to allow freedom for life and contingency based on our union to develop.

I know that contextually the Pope is elucidating some points on discovering our true self in terms of its correspondence to its Creator, but I think that to do so rightly will mean a reshaping of the erotic imagination with which we approach our bodies and the doctrine of creation.

What I mean is, if we are to understand ourselves in terms of our absolute and sober minded importance, we will not do so apart from a proper Theology of the Body, or a reconceived sexuality.

Yet, the sexuality I think is offered to us is precisely and most necessarily guided by the quote above. It is because Creation is this and not some other thing that our existence in the image of God reshapes even sexuality.


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