There are many ways of understanding the reality of the world we live in and experience. Science, philosophy, art all offer us ample descriptions, explanations and intuitions. But Christian believers go beyond all that, for they attempt to understand the origins of the universe in terms of the creation of the world by God. Revelation tells us what God had in mind when he made the world ex nihilo, without presuppositions of any kind. God’s Gift of the Universe attempts to present the principal elements and stages of creation theology. The doctrine is to be found fundamentally, of course, in Scripture, both Old and New Testament, which describes the world in the light of God’s word. Yet since God actually gave existence to the world, down to the last detail, our reflection on God’s word not only explains the reality of creation, how it works, its nature, as science does. It also explains how creation came into being in the mind and heart of the Triune God, and, ultimately, why God created the world.
In God’s Gift of the Universe, a considerable effort has been spent throughout the book on the Christological and Trinitarian aspects of creation, particularly in the theology of Church Fathers. Creation is presented besides in a deeply eschatological key, for God created the world for purpose of making his glory eternally manifest. The book also considers the way God ‘intervenes’ in the life of the created world, through conservation in being and providence. The meaning of time, matter and spirit are considered. The need for ecological awareness is central. One aspect of the mystery of creation that receives special attention is the presence of evil in the world. This is of particular importance once we accept that God made the world, whole and entire, thus assuming responsibility for the world as it is. The origin of evil through the sin of spiritual creatures provides the ultimate though not the only explanation of the mystery of evil. Particular consideration is given to the reality of ‘original sin’.
"Significant and helpful...offers the reader a solid foundation for understanding the theology of creation."~Christopher T. Baglow, University of Notre Dame
" God’s Gift of the Universe is likely to become the ‘gold standard’ for works on the theology of creation. Fr O’Callaghan has woven together the best insights on this topic from the scriptures, the Church Fathers and Doctors, theologians from other Christian traditions, scientists, philosophers and magisterial documents. It is the fruit of several decades of dedicated study of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The central thesis, holding the entire study together, is that the Incarnation is the high point of creation."~Tracey Rowland, University of Notre Dame, Australia
"The fruit of many years’ teaching, Professor O’Callaghan’s study provides an overview of the central elements of the doctrine of creation. Attending to Scripture, tradition and contemporary theology, he proves himself a clear, reliable, and comprehensive guide, while also presenting a series of important constructive proposals. This work will prove invaluable to students and other scholars in a field of growing interest."~David Fergusson, University of Cambridge
"Magisterial in scope and expansive in its range of interlocutors, God’s Gift of the Universe is at once deeply ecumenical in spirit and distinctly Roman in its accents. By drawing on the full breadth of the Christian tradition, Paul O’Callaghan has succeeded in crafting a vision of creation that is profoundly catholic in every sense of the term."~Ian A. McFarland, Emory University
"An excellent and original synthesis of traditional scholarship, contemporary theology, and lucid philosophical reasoning. Amid various theoretical attempts to cancel authentic transcendence or conceive the world as an absolute in itself, this book on the notion of creation finds the right balance between the extremes."~Balázs M. Mezei, Corvinus University, Budapest
"What O’Callaghan has produced in this book is a well-researched defense of traditional Church teaching on the doctrine of creation as ongoing presupposition for further study of the entire God-World relationship."~Catholic Books Review