Creatio Ex Nihilo!
Was all the "stuff" of the universe here before God? Certainly, matter matters, but how much does it matter when it got here? Did God create something from nothing, or was something here first?
In the beginning there was already a bunch of stuff around. Where did it come from? In the beginning the universe was nothing more than a super-compressed blob of quarks and leptons. Then, some turbulence hit, and everything changed. Where did the turbulence come from? Did something come from outside the universe? How can that be? Was that other universe around before the beginning. How can there be a before the beginning?
While I applaud the scientific efforts to understand the mechanics of the universe and how they may have functioned to create matter and energy, there is a very large part of me that doesn’t really care. I find I am far less concerned with how the universe was created and for more fascinated with why the universe was created. Because if there is no why, there is no meaning.
Oddly enough, the Biblical account of creation is fairly consistent, in broad strokes, with what we know scientifically. Light was the first thing, followed by the formation of planets and eventually life. I have no real problems reconciling the Genesis story of creation with what is known scientifically. But like me, the ancient peoples who heard God’s word and wrote down Genesis were for more interested in the meaning of creation – and therefore the meaning of their own lives. If it all just fell together like a big accident, then what, really is the point?
God didn’t just create stuff: He created reality. Much of reality is physical, and our very existence relies on things that we pay almost no attention to, like the atomic force and gravity. But humanity has this rather bizarre gift: an ability to interpret reality and believe that things that are not so actually are so. We sometimes say, “your reality is not my reality.” Of course, we do not share all experiences in common, but we all share the same reality. So really, the only way to uncover the meaning of God’s creation is to embrace this shared reality. And before you get too impressed by my philosophical prowess, keep in mind that I am just stealing from the best, who said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”