Necessary World Theology and God's act of Creation

One of the grounding principles of Necessary World Theology (NWT) is that the actual world which we observe is the inevitable consequence of God’s nature.

On the face of it, this potentially runs afoul of a classic argument against God’s existence. The argument essentially states that, in order for God to create, he had to desire to create. This desire was an indication that he was not fully self-sufficient. A God who is not fully self-sufficient is less than the greatest possible being, and therefore not God.

In his “Invisible Gardener” parable, John Wisdom ends by asking how an invisible, immaterial and undetectable gardener is different than no gardener at all?

A similar thing may be asked of a God who does not create. The alternative to a creating God would be a God who dwells in a state of solipsism; who is timeless, spaceless, unchanging and static. Once God is all of these things, he is indistinguishable from nothingness.

Firstly, NWT states that creation is an eternal act of God. That is to say, creation may exist external to God, but it does not constitute some kind of change in God’s eternal nature, because God never didn’t create.

The Aristotelian formation of the Prime Mover argument recognizes that if God pushed the universe into existence, that this constitutes some change in God’s nature. Aristotle escapes this dilemma by positing an “unmoved mover.” That is, a force that draws things into being by its very nature. Aristotle uses the example of how a bowl of milk might draw a cat to it by the mere act of existing.

Here the potential dilemma is avoided, because creation doesn’t represent something new that God did – rather an eternal consequence of God’s very nature.

An alternate formation of this argument against God is Justin Schieber’s “God World” argument. In this argument, Schieber states that – if God is already the greatest possible being – the act of creating anything external to himself essentially degrades the perfection of the universe by introducing less than maximally great objects into an already perfect universe consisting of God alone.

Once again, a universe in which God doesn’t create is a universe in which God is static, and this reduces God to a state of nothingness.

NWT states that in the act of creating, God actualizes his nature. God recognizably has a number of attributes which define his nature. But, for God to have an attribute is for God to exercise that attribute. God would not, for instance, possess the attribute of Knowledge without knowing things. Nor would he possess the attribute of Love without ever loving. With God, there is no potentiality – just actuality.