Q: What is your explanation on how God was created?
A: God is eternal. In other words, God is the one who does the creating. The Book of Genesis instructs us that God created time and the universe in which we live. Of course, as people who measure what we do by “keeping time,” it can be difficult to understand the concept that God has always been around.
Perhaps, we may look at it this way: God created time for our benefit. God created the world in order that you and I may worship him and to share in his joy. God did not need us when he created us, but he certainly intended you and me to be here. Just as God’s work is not limited to finite laws of this world, he is not limited by time, for he created it.
God is the creator, and there is no other creator before him. What we should take away from this fact is that God always is, was and will be. The creation of time is not the result of random circumstances, but instead was intentionally created by God himself. The infinite God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit created the universe and the laws that govern it, such as time and space. In his eternal love for us, God created us and has revealed himself to us as our eternal hope and salvation.
Q: Why didn’t God send Jesus earlier, like after Noah?
A: I guess I can be funny and say that God the Father did, in fact, send Jesus after Noah, but I believe you mean “right after” Noah. What that in our salvation history is that God restored our friendship with him in the person of Jesus. Adam and Eve with original sin destroyed our bond with God and, therefore, we lost our grace of original holiness. That holiness needed to be restored.
In God’s divine wisdom, we have the very unfolding of salvation history. Just as in our first question, we know the answer that God created “time,” we also know that through his constant presence he personally saw through the Old Testament times all the way to the conception and birth of Jesus.
Here, we must place all our faith in God, for we must trust that he knows what he is doing, as we learn much about God and ourselves in the life stories of those chronicled in the Old Testament. The Bible, the Revealed Word of God, is a living testimony to how much he loves you and me. We learn much from the prophets of the Old Testament and the Wisdom Literature, not to mention the lives of the Chosen People. This all points in the direction of the eventual arrival of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Q: If God created us to reflect who he is and he knows all and sees all, why does he let bad things happen?
A: We know from the Bible that God created the world to be good. Unfortunately, our first parents, Adam and Eve, freely chose to sin in following their own will and not God’s will. The damages done by original sin are evident in the world in the bad things people do. You rightly say that we are made in God’s image, as the Book of Genesisinstructs. However, we also learn from the Bible that as we are given free will, we can misuse that very gift of free will to do ungodly things.
While we have been saved through the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension (Paschal Mystery) of Jesus, God continues to give us that gift of free will. Bad things happening in this world are a constant reminder that while we are not in heaven, yet, we have a responsibility to bring heaven here to earth. The Sacrament of Baptism destroys original sin and provides us opportunity to make the world a better place, as it was intended “in the beginning.”
Think about it, as our parents helped us to learn to walk or to ride a bike, there were times in that learning process we fell. Each time we were picked back up in order to try again. While we continue to make bad decisions from time to time, we can be confident that God will never leave us. He will remain with us always, to pick us up when we fall, for that is what a loving parent does. Our faith teaches us that sometime in the future Jesus will return to bring salvation history to a close and welcome us into heaven. In the meantime, may we not just recognize that God remains with us, but that through us he reaches out to victims of violence in the world. We are not “innocent bystanders,” when we fail to address injustice.
May God bless all of you as we share in the beautiful pageantry of the fall colors in our beloved Diocese of Steubenville.
To “Ask the Bishop,” address questions to Joseph M. Taylor, catechetical consultant and youth ministry coordinator in the Diocese of Steubenville Office of Christian Formation and Schools, P.O. Box 969, Steubenville, OH 43952; email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or telephone, (740) 282-3631.