[This series is part of Section Three, Creation and the Second Person. An index with links to all parts of the work as they are posted can be found [url=https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/jrps-bite-sized-metaphysics-series-302/1218/1]here.]
[This series continues chapter 30, “The Doctrine of Derivative Spirit”]
(Repeating from the end of the previous part.) I will begin dealing with ethics soon in Section Four, after this chapter. But for now, let me go back and retell my story again; from a different historical perspective but with (I think) the same principles.
God creates Nature, and allows it to go through a quasi-independent historical process; “quasi-independent”, for Nature does not exist on its own resources, but upon God, and is meanwhile guided subtly by God. One purpose of God in making this Nature, has been to create derivative sentiences like (but merely ‘like’) Himself.
Billions of what we call years pass, as God slowly edges things into place, letting Nature be Nature. God is patient, because all time and space are in His hand. He is concerned with the final effect, but also with the methods He uses; for (please allow me to anticipate a position I will develop later) these new creatures are to be sharers in His creation: not only daughters and sons, but heirs and stewards and vice-regents of this Nature. Therefore, they should be intimately connected with this Nature from their beginning, and yet also they should have properties somewhat above and outside the natural flow.
On at least one planet (it might not only be this one, but it also may not ever have been another, even in what we think of as ‘the vastness of space’) conditions are edged to just the right proportions. The atmosphere and ocean are separated from their constituent phases over millions of years: are sifted bit by bit through the sieve of the natural machine, which was created by God for at least this purpose (among whatever others).
(Some sceptics, and even many believers, have a tendency to protest against the idea that God would design and use tools, even though we do this ourselves. But I have no problem believing rather that the tools He chooses to create and actively use, would be entirely more mind-boggling in scope than ours. The sons, after all, are sons of the Father…)