The second chapter of Plantinga’s Engaging God’s World, “Creation,” deals largely with the portrayal of God’s works, how He relates to them, how He acts in them, and what parts of His character He instilled in it. More specifically, Plantinga elaborates on how we, as humans, are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:24) and what exactly the characteristics we derive from Him are. From the seven-day account of creation, the fact that we are “beings of speech and silence, of work and rest, each in its place, each in its turn,” just as God spoke to create, continued to created, and rested after creation. Plantinga then describes three more common characteristics: our granted authority over nature, our conformity to the martyred lifestyle He lived on earth, and our need for relationship in our lives.
Most of the content of the chapter was fairly trivial and basic information that people having grown up in a Christian home will have inevitably heard in some for or fashion. However, Plantinga’s development on our relationships as reflections of God’s person was fascinatingly new to me. He explained that God’s perichoresis, the sort of dance of communion that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit do continually with each other, is why we desire relationship in our lives: relationship with God, relationship with each other, and how we view these two relationships. This, I think, is a beautiful image; the perpetual dance shows the exuberance with which God regards communion with others. It accurately portrays the fervor with which we ourselves seek after relationship, as it is one of the most fulfilling and, in its most pure form, selfless endeavors.
However, just as Lewis writes in “The Weight of Glory,” “our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.” In order for our relationships to be truly godly, we have to approach them with humility and expect to treat these people with the same respect God has for them. As Lewis also points out, “you have never met a mortal person,” as each one was either an “eternal horror or an eternal splendor.” Each soul will live on long beyond its earthly shell, and will either join God in the dance or be forgotten entirely be the One that created it. We must therefore recognize each other as such, and build serious relationships that will reflect God’s relationship with us. Our communion with Him is one of our best ways to be blessings to others, and is therefore a business worthy of merriment, but requiring serious commitment and intentions.