"Creation is the highest act of giving" William Dembski.
It's been a pretty intense month. Amidst extra early morning work shifts, fighting off viruses, and networking through a new local arts group, I've have spent the last fortnight working my way through William Dembski's new work, "The End of Christianity - Finding a Good God in an Evil World", a Theodicy in response to several recent atheist attacks on the relevance of Christianity in the 21st century.
There's plenty here that will trouble Christians - it certainly raised questions for me - as he seeks to reconcile the origins of natural evil through the fall with the "if" of an old creation, seeing the effects of Adam's transgression being applied to the world in the same fashion as Christ's work of redemption - both forward and backward in human history.
Whilst I'm certainly not sold on this approach (though fascinated to study more regarding the distinctions between chronological and kardiological time), it would be entirely wrong to dismiss this work purely on that basis. Mr Dembski entirely embraces the critically central foundation of God as Creator, of a historical fall and of a redemption of the created order through the work and righteousness of Jesus Christ (the first four chapters of the book), and this means that amidst the outworking of his arguments, this work is laden with a rich understanding of the nature of the Godhead and the work of the trinity within our world.
The third section of the work really focuses upon this, looking at how the 'knowledge' of God has invested creation with the Creator's life, hence, our ability to see so much wonder, wisdom and beauty, even in our broken world. Dembski then argues how our own desire to create - to give deeply of ourselves to the benefit of others - stems from that same source. It is because God is at work here and now, that Christ is reconciling the creation to Himself, that Creation "speaks" so deeply to us of Him as His handiwork, granting us that glimpse that beyond the horror of what we now are, there is a sure and certain hope - a world remedied and healed, yet also enhanced by the harvest gleaned through the pain and the sorrow.
As someone seeking to work artistically in this environ, I found much of this aspect of the book deeply true and compelling, allowing insights into the wonder of both God's character and His mercies to us.
"The ultimate expression", writes the author in the final chapter, "of our divine image is to allow ourselves to be moved (by the love of God conveyed in Redemption) to the point of sacrifice, with the motive of moving others to a point of union with... that love".
May our lives indeed share the richness of that 'sweet savor'.