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Abstract

Christian teaching about creation out of nothing appears to evacuate creatures of intrinsic worth. A theological-spiritual response to this anxiety outlines the elements of the doctrine: (1) understanding creation requires the direction of intelligence by divine instruction; (2) God alone is cause of being to other beings, by his power, will and goodness; (3) the act of creation is ineffable, instantaneous, without movement, supereminent, and without material cause; (4) created things have being by divine gift; (5) the relation of creator and creatures is mixed, the creator not being constituted by creatures. Does this entail a metaphysics of creaturely privation in which creatures are permanently indigent? The creator is benevolent and, with no self-interest, gives life, and so moves creatures to activity that the non-reciprocal character of the creator-creature relation is not malign but the principle of creaturely perfection.