reply to post by jmdewey60
Since you question how far my stance on the distinction of God and the universe is "mainstream", I am going to quote from a work on my bookshelves;
This is the "Systematic Theology" of Professor Louis Berkhof, who was teaching at the Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids .My copy was published by the
"Banner of Truth Trust" in 1958. That ought to be sufficiently mainstream.
Looking at his chapter entitiled "Creation in general", there is a subsection (p134) which begins;
"The world has a distinct existence
[his italics]. This means that the world is not God nor any part of God; and that it differs from God, not
merely in degree but in its essential properties. The doctrine of creation implies that, while God is self-sufficient, infinite, and eternal, the
world is dependent, finite, and temporal. The one can never change into the other. This doctine is an absolute barrier against the ancient idea of
emanation, as well as against all pantheistic theories."
Another subsection (p129) says "Creation in the strict sense of the word may be defined as that free act of God whereby he, according to his
sovereign will and for his own glory, in the beginning brought forth the whole visible and invisible universe, without the use of pre-existent
material, and thus gave it an existence, distinct from his own and yet always dependent on him
" (his italics again)
In another subsection on the history of the doctine (p127), he remarks "...The Christian church, from the very beginning, taught the doctrine of
creation ex nihilo
and as a free act
[his italics] of God. This doctrine was accepted with singular unanimity from the start. It is
found in Justin Martyr,Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and others".
My use of the "God distinct from the universe" concept to answer the query about the afterlife was speculative.
However, the "Creator God distinct from the universe" concept, in itself, is right at the heart of historic mainstream Christian theology.
edit on 2-1-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)