What is Necessary World Theology?
Briefly, it is the concept that the real world that actually exists is a necessary consequence of God’s nature – meaning that, because of his absolute and immutable nature, God could not have not created the world exactly as it is.
Necessary World Theology has some fundamental tenants.
The Inevitability of Creation
A notion entertained by even some of the most profound Christian Scholars is this idea of God sitting around before creation doing or thinking things before he decided to create. Of course, in order for this to be the case, there would have to have been a sequence of events that led to creation. Sequence requires time, and of course time is a mechanic that exists within the material universe.
That is to say that creation is an eternal act of God. There is no time at which God did not create, because there was no time before creation. This is not to say that God came into being at the same time that the physical world did, but rather that God is eternal – that is, outside the dimension of space and time – but that space and time are anchored in his nature.
Creation as Actualization
Why did God create? Simply, because it was his nature to do so. NWT states that God cannot have an attribute without also acting out that attribute. God is a creator, therefore he creates.
Every object and event that occurs within creation is an actualization of God’s nature. God’s interaction with this world which is external but dependent upon his nature. So within the actual world, one sees God judging because it is his nature to judge, forgiving because it is his nature to forgive, loving because it is his nature to love and condemning sin because his nature is perfect and cannot abide corruption. Scripture sometimes uses the word “lawlessness,” which is very appropriate, because law is absolute.
Another crucial part of the “Creation as Actualization” aspect of NWT is the idea that God brought into existence moral agents external to himself as a way of justifying his nature.
So under this concept, God is a necessary being, and also the greatest possible being. But God’s necessity is actualized by his allowance of free-will creatures to explore every avenue of dependence and moral framework that does not rely on God’s nature. God gives humans enough rope to hang themselves, so to speak.
God’s nature is absolute, so that every free action humans take external to him will necessarily fall back on his absolute nature. But humans are free to take any action against God, because if they ever found a way to escape God’s nature, then his nature is shown to be less than absolute.
Thus, God’s nature is tested and found to be perfect.
There is no better way to see this than with God’s interactions with Satan throughout scripture. In both the book of Job and the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, one sees Satan challenging God’s nature: creating tests for God to fail, which tests he eventually passes.
Free Will and Sovereignty = time and eternity
One thing that NWT attempts to resolve is this seeming conflict between man’s free will and God’s sovereignty. In brief, NWT states that humans experience time in the procession of past, present and future, such that they use information from the past to make decisions in the present which leads to future consequences.
God, on the other hand, is eternal, and acts simultaneously in every moment of time, rather than one moment at a time.
Given the difference in how humans experience time versus God, this allows for humans to make free decisions and God to have absolute control of reality and all outcomes.
This is a very simple and brief summary of NWT, which claims to be able to explain every aspect of reality as it relates to God. There will be a series of articles to come in which Necessary World Theology is explored and expounded upon.