Why is Salvation a Greater Work than Creation?

Based on the work of Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica I-II, 113,9), Peter Kreeft offers an intriguing answer to today’s question.

“To fix a broken product (e.g., a car, a painting, or a book) is not usually a greater work than to make it in the first place.

First of all, the analogy fails because we are not ‘products’ of God but ‘children’ of God.

Second, the effect of creating the universe is something mortal (the universe), but the effect of redemption is immortal. When the stars die we will still be young. That is St. Thomas’ point. In terms of modern physics, the universe, and everything in it, is winding down (‘entropy’) and doomed to death. We, unlike everything in the universe, are being wound up forever into increasing circles of divine life. We are not just parts of the universe. Only our mortal bodies are.

Third, that out of which God created the universe—non-being—offered no resistance to His omnipotent work. Creation was a ‘no-sweat’ operation; all God had to do was to think and will the universe (‘let there be . . .’) and it was. But we put up resistance by our sin, our pride, our rebellion.

The ‘good news’ part of this point is that we can cooperate in salvation, as we cannot cooperate in creation. God created us without our consent but He will not redeem us without our consent.

Fourth, it cost God nothing to create us, but it cost Him everything to redeem us. It cost Him His own life, and Heavenly joy: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mt 27:46).

Fifth, the end result of creation is simply natural goodness, which is great but finite; while the end result of redemption is supernatural goodness on our part, ‘a share in the Godhead’, which is infinite. The value of redemption infinitely exceeds the value of creation. ‘For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?’ (Mk 8:36) (Practical Theology, p. 149 Ignatius Press)

Practical Theology

 

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About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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