Rev. Matthew Fox's Theology On Creation As Original Blessing

by Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer



A Diversity Dignifies online video interview with the internationally acclaimed theologian and activist Rev. Matthew Fox was published on July 12, 2017. The interviewer was Matthew Francis. The video interview is located here. I have the video shared on my Facebook site.

I generally like the video interview, but I disagree with one of Matthew Fox's statements in it. Fox said that the scriptures say that when God had completed His creation, which occurred when the first humans ("Adam and Eve") were created, He said it was "very good." This is true, the scriptures say this. However, Fox, unfortunately, said that he agrees with this statement by "God."

I believe that Fox's theology, as presented in the video interview, wrongly separates the words "very good" from the context of the scriptures they are found in, and that Fox then (probably unknowingly) deceptively uses these two words as "confirming evidence" that his Creation Centered theology that describes the whole creation as "sacred" and a "blessing" is correct. Fox says that the creation, at the time of its completed origins was, and still is, the "Original Blessing." I believe that he should be saying, it was originally, and still is, partially a blessing and partially a curse (or not "very good"), as scientific discovery has proven.

I believe that a sin, or original sin, caused the light in a pure spiritual universe to become manifested as matter, and that this is how our physical universe was created. For a very long time before the first humans came forth on earth, this world was full of death and corruption as well as life and blessings. The creation was never "very good," or free from death and corruption, as stated in the scriptures. Contrary to what the Bible scriptures say, since the origins of life on earth, living things have suffered and death was inevitable for all of them, including plants, animals and, later, for the first humans also.

I believe in the following statement by Paramahansa_Yogananda (1893–1952), who is considered one of the preeminent spiritual figures of modern times. "The word 'God' means the manifested, transcendental Being beyond creation, but existing in relation to creation. Spirit existed before God. God is the Creator of the universe, but Spirit is the Creator of God."

I also believe that the physical creation is, in a way, fundamentally good...and I believe this, because Spirit made sure that God created the world so that the suffering experienced here on earth would eventually cause every human being, after numerous lives/incarnations, to strive for, and eventually attain a spiritual level of enlightenment that would qualify all of us to not ever have to come back here again. I believe that the physical universe, unlike the original pure spiritual universe - that we lost by collectively committing a sin - is a consolation prize to us that was created for a good purpose. The earth is a place for us humans to spiritually evolve.

Here's the context wherein the scripture words "very good" are presented.

St. Symeon wrote: "Neither Eve nor Paradise were yet created, but the whole world had been brought into being by God as one thing, as a kind of paradise, at once incorruptible yet material and perceptible." If this were true, but it's not, the creation at this stage of its origins, would have been at least good and a blessing.

St. John of Damascus wrote: "The creation of all things is due to God, but corruption came in afterwards due to our wickedness. For God did not make death, neither does He take delight in the destruction of living things" (Wisdom 1:13). But death is the work rather of man, that is, its origin is in Adam's transgression."

St. Basil the Great wrote: "...it is customary for vultures to feed on corpses, but since there were not yet [before Adam's transgression] corpses, nor yet their stench, so there was not yet such food for vultures. But [before Adam's transgression] all [animals] followed the diet of swans and all grazed the meadows." It was very good and a blessing that the Creator created the animals in a world where there was originally no death, and therefore no corpses for vultures, nor any other animals, to eat - actually, scientific discovery has proven that this statement is not true.

We know that the Creator is, and the creation originally was, very good...and we know this, because there was no death for living things (including animals and humans) until after Adam's (or the first human being's) transgression - actually, scientific discovery has proven that this statement is not true.

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov wrote: "Plants were not subjected either to decay or to diseases; both decay and diseases and the weeds themselves, appeared after the alteration of the earth following the fall of man." It was very good and a blessing that the plants were not originally "subjected to decay or to diseases" - actually, scientific discovery has proven that this statement is not true.

Today, everyone in their right mind knows that the above statements by "saints" are not true, and that the creation was not originally "very good," or pure, and then, later, fell into "the bondage to corruption" when the "first human" ("Adam") sinned. In other words, the Bible scripture statement wherein supposedly God says that the creation was originally "very good" is not true.

Before "Adam and Eve," or the first humans, came forth on this earth, five mass extinctions of animals had occurred. These mass extinctions caused a lot of suffering. Hence, at that time (a time before the first humans lived on earth) the creation was in a state of corruption. I do not consider these mass extinctions as being a blessing. It was a violent, brutal and cruel world back then and it still is.

And there were human-ape creatures living on earth for around three million years before modern-day humans came into existence on the earth. They experienced natural catastrophes, diseases, injuries, debilitating effects of aging and death. This proves that, at that time (a time before "Adam and Eve," or the first humans) the creation was in a state of corruption. The creation was not originally a very good blessing, or pure, and then, later, fell into a state of corruption when "Adam" sinned.

Genesis 1:30 reads: "...and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so..." The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church says: "Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins" (CCC, n. 2336). A Bible scripture states that "the creation itself," will be "delivered from its bondage to corruption" (Romans 8:21). Isaiah 65:25 says: The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox,..."

According to the scriptures, "Adam" ("the first human") sinned and the creation consequently "fell into a state of corruption," causing many animals to become carnivorous. However, the truth is, the first human beings from which we are all descendants came into existence around 200,000 years ago and violent complex carnivorous animals came into existence hundreds of millions of years before the first humans came forth on earth. The creation cannot be "restored to the purity of its origins," because it was never pure, or "very good." And neither was the creation ever the very good "original blessing."

Yogananda wrote: "In God's plan and play (lila), the sole function of Satan or maya, ['the delusory power inherent in the structure of creation'] is to attempt to divert man from Spirit to matter, from Reality to unreality. Most people who embrace Creation Spirituality (including Fox) see the whole creation as "original blessing" and sacred. One of the definitions found in the dictionary of the word ‘sacred’ is ‘worthy of, or regarded with reverence and awe.’ A Bible scripture says: "Satan ['the delusory power inherent in the structure of creation'] appears as an angle of light." The real beauty and awesomeness of the creation is sacred. It should be regarded with reverence and awe, but the whole creation is not sacred. There is an inherent element of evil in the structure of creation.

Scientific discovery has proven that the creation was created in a flawed manner and that it was not originally flawless, or "very good." And Yogananda's New Age expression of Hinduism is compatible with this scientific discovery.

I am hoping and praying that Reverend Matthew Fox and the people who believe in his theology on this topic will consider changing their theology, so that they will be giving due respect to scientifically discovered truth.