Creator or Evoker

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I wanted to elaborate on a comment that I recently made in John Shuck's blog:

I often like to say that God "evoked" the universe into being, rather than to say that God "created" it. The reason for that is that I believe that the universe is also imbued with creativity, and that the Divine process of creation is a collaborative act between God and creation. God gets a special role in that process of course.
I think there are some hidden theological assumptions that lie behind designating God as "the Creator". By designating God as the Creator, we assign all creative responsibility to God alone; this seems to reflect a view that conceives of the universe as merely the passive recipient of God's all-powerful creative activity. But suppose that creativity is not the sole province of God, but rather an ongoing collaborative act between God's visionary call and the activity of the universe. Imagine that God does not act by dint of all-powerful will, but rather by calling the Universe forth--luring it and beckoning it onward its through its ongoing evolution. In that case, I would suggest that "Creator" is a misleading designation for God.

A title like God the Evoker doesn't quite seem to have the same degree of awe and mystery associated with it that God the Creator does. In reality, though, any name or title we choose to use for God is going to be inadequate. That's just the way it is for finite creatures like us. But then, after all, coming up with names and titles for God is itself a creative act.

4 comments:

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

You're right -- no title or name fully defines the reality or the mystery that is God. It's also true that we all tend to "imbue" words with our own meanings.

Still, while "Creator" may sound a bit too exclusive, I have a hard time getting my mind around the idea of God the "Evoker." It could grow on me, but I think it requires too much definition. But then that's me!!

It will be interesting to see what others might think.

Tribal Church said...

I've got to stick with Creator. I've read too much Eckhart to give it up. I think of humanity as the image of God, as emanating from God. Therefore, we are co-creators.

(You know, though, while reading your post, I wonder if this IOG notion's leaving out the creative acts of the rest of creation....)

Katherine E. said...

You wrote: "I think there are some hidden theological assumptions that lie behind designating God as "the Creator". By designating God as the Creator, we assign all creative responsibility to God alone"...

Yes. This reminds me that in my pastoral counseling, I often bump up again people's implicit theology regarding "God's will," and "no matter what happens, well, God is in control, so somehow it must be OK and there's nothing I can do." Many people have simply accepted the idea (not helpful, in my view) that God has ALL the power that there is. This kind of theology is a way to stay passive.

If I'm reading you correctly, I agree that "God the Creator" implies "God the Omnipotent." I prefer to think of power and creativity, along with their attendant responsibility, as shared. I'm with Tribal Church regarding Eckhart and how we are co-creators with God. I find that to be a wonderful helpful notion--especially since I tend to give my power away too often.

Mystical Seeker said...

Katherine and Tribal, thanks for using the terminology "co-creator". I didn't specifically use that term, but I think it does capture the way I think of God's and our role in creation.

Bob, I am not sure I like the word "Evoker" either. I think I was more just trying to inspire some thought about the titles we use have implicit meaning. Maybe there is a better term than "Evoker" that would convey what I was trying to get at.