Yes, they were kept distinct. More on this later. But
providence cannot be because of "the Fall". Without providence,
creation understood purely as origination could not endure or do
anything. To take for the sake of argument a harmonized (Gen.1&2) 6-day
creation picture: As soon as God created light, he began to sustain,
concur & govern it via the patterns we describe by Maxwell's equations,
&c. As soon as God created animals he began to sustain &c their
metabolisms. Otherwise living things would have collapsed & died as
soon as they were created.
Created, for that matter, not out of a vacuum but out of "the
earth" & "the waters", as Gen.1 says. So already in the creation of
these things we see God making use of matter God has created as an
instrument to bring forth what God wants - living things.
This gives some biblical basis for what I think scientific
investigation of the world encourages - that we _in a sense_ reverse the
traditional roles of creation (understood as origination) and
providence. Instead of seeing providence as subsidiary to origination,
we should _as much as possible_ (N.B.) try to understand origination in
terms of providence. This is just what theological treatments of
evolution & big bang cosmology attempt to do.
And note that the explanations of the 1st article of the creed
in both the Heidelberg & Luther's catechisms emphasize providence
providence rather than origination when explaining what it means to say
that God is the creator.
> So for example, in his article on 'Providence' in the New Dictionary of
> Theology, Nigel Cameron of Trinity, Deerfield notes that without such a
> distinction Christian theodicy is in jeopardy.
As far as theodicy is concerned, note that "governance" is also
one of the traditional aspects of providence. But I'm quite wary of
most theodicies because they ignore the cross and God's ultimate
christological purpose for creation.
A similar point is made
> with rather wider implications by the late Prof Donald MacKay, doyen of
> British theistic evolutionists:
> >When an author decides to revise the story or drama he has conceived, it
> is clear that his revision is an act >of creation, on a par with any of his
> earlier acts, 'Let us no longer have this, but that' is logically on the
> same >footing as 'let ther be this, and that'. The resulting created
> order, once again is a spatio-temporal unity, >whose past, present and
> future may therefore be expected to bear the marks of the revision.
The language of "revision" is unfortunate. As I noted, quite
apart from any issues concerning sin, creation would be still-born
> Somehow we need to pull all of this into our understanding of Providence,
> noting espceially that reading back from what is natural now to events
> prior to the Fall requires a degree of care. Even one as convinced of the
> TE position as MacKay recognised that.
Much more needs to be said about a Fall, but I don't think that
is determinative for our topic. If one makes the present processes of
nature too dependent on sin, one is in in danger of denying the goodness
of creation & effectively making the devil the creator of the present
world - doing for all creation what Flacius was understood to be doing
for human nature in the 16th century. (N.B. I am not accusing anyone
with heresy here, but just noting the danger of a train of argument.)
George L. Murphy