creation is pure generosity

Assumed audience: Theologically-orthodox Christians, or folks interested in things that theologically-orthodox Christians think.

Because God’s infinitely extended relations to created things neither add to nor subtract from his being, his work of bringing into being and maintaining creatures is wholly benevolent and beneficent. God is in himself infinitely happy, in need of nothing from the creature: how could the perfect be perfected? His work of creation is pure generosity: he makes things for their own sake, not for his. This, in turn, is the ground of the integrity of the creature and of its proper efficacy. Because God can be opposed by nothing – because, again, he is not a particular being acting upon others and acted upon by them he is beyond envy of the creature, and there is him no reluctance to bestow upon the creature its own intrinsic substance and powers.

Consideration of Christian teaching about creation requires ascetical as well as intellectual virtues. Most of all, it obliges those who consider it to recover the posture of creatures, the dependence and gratitude of derivation and the repudiation of self-subsistence. This is acutely hard for the children of Adam, for we contend against our creaturely nature and calling, from stupidity or pride or fear that unless we snatch at our being and make ourselves authors of its perpetuation and dignity, it will slip away from us. And so we propose to ourselves, sometimes a little guiltily, sometimes with frank confidence, that we constitute a given reality around which all else is arranged. Even God may be so placed, as God for us’, a protagonist whose identity, not wholly unlike our own, is bound to us, and whose presence confirms the limitless importance of the human drama. All this must be set aside, and, by the loving missions of the Word and the Spirit, it is already being set aside as the mortification and renewal of our spiritual, intellectual and moral nature proceeds. As it is left behind, we may begin to understand how it is that God is indeed for us. Only because the God who is for us is in himself God, entire without us, is his being for us more than a projection of our corrupt longing for a satisfying divine counterpart. The burden of the Christian doctrines of the Trinity, creation and incarnation is that, because God is from and in himself, he is God for us in ways we can scarcely imagine.

 — “Non ex aequo: God’s relation to creatures ”, in God Without Measure: Working Papers in Christian Theology – Volume I: God and the Works of God, John Webster, p. 126