First up, let me divulge a deeper than you expected level of geekery and admit to a fondness for The Silmarillion.
In that book, J.R.R. Tolkien details a creation myth that mirrors that of general Christian belief. Eru, the one, he whom we would call God, begins a song. That song sets the stage for all that is made. The Ainur, whom we might call archangels, pick up threads of this song and bring them to fruition. But Melkor, who is called Morgoth, whom we would name Lucifer and Satan, begins a discordant theme, and so starts a breaking of the work, and strife enters.
This is how we see creation. God was making a world that he wanted populated by shiny happy people, but pride and desire entered into the heart of Lucifer, and subsequently Adam, and broke that work and strife entered. Now we fight to return to that Edenic existence.
However, for a moment let us imagine the substance of the One. The best way I can think of to describe this substance is symmetry. Not so much the physical, interior decorator, one candle on each end of the mantle type of symmetry. Rather, remember your physics classes. There symmetry was described as invariance. That is, there is no change under any type of transformation. God, compassing this and more, could be thought of as a kind of super-symmetry (my apologies to all you particle physicists).
Existing in such a state, where no action produces any change, how does the one create?
Let’s examine this a little allegorically. Though the thrust isn’t so much visual, let’s steal someone else’s apt visual tool to better describe this scenario.
Imagine you are a fish in a boundless cerulean ocean. No force of gravity. No sun. Nothing is there to help differentiate any one place from any other place. Everything is the same in every direction. Without a way to determine your position, your place in this boundless ocean, with no benchmark, how can you know if you have moved? From where do you measure?
Now, imagine a long thread of seaweed appears. Suddenly you know where you are, and you can determine which direction you are going. This piece of seaweed, which has broken the perfection of symmetry, becomes your starting point – it is a benchmark for change.
In like manner, in order to create, God would have to break symmetry. This break would allow change to occur. There would now be a starting point, a benchmark for change.
Now, if I was God, what I would do is attempt to make this break in an engineer’s sandbox, in a testing ground. Then, after this break was made, I would let symmetry into the sandbox. If the break were absorbed into the symmetry, if invariance ruled, my test would be a failure. If the break remained, then I would declare success.
This is the hypothesis. How does it stack up against scripture?
This is what the scripture says about the symmetry of God. It declares he does not change. It declares that with him there is no turning or shifting as of shadow. It declares that he is the I Am. This is the state of the existence of the one.
John says that God is light, and that there is no darkness in him. With that in mind, let’s examine the first couple verses of Genesis.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep.
Isn’t it interesting that the world was created in darkness. This was the break in symmetry, the thing that was completely outside of the one. This is the benchmark from where creation could be measured (The Glory of Kings gives some details about the spiritual meaning of measuring).
After breaking the symmetry, it then became necessary for God to prove what he had made. Many creators prove their creations. A knife maker will tighten his blade into a vise, put a snipe on the handle and bend the blade 90°. When the snipe is released, if the blade returns to 0°, the blade has been proven.
To prove his creation, God introduces light — light which is the one, light which is symmetry — into the darkness. He says, “Let there be light.”
This light and this darkness remain separate, the darkness rejects the light, and so prove his creation.
John also tells us that in the beginning was the word, and that word was God. He also says that in that word was life, and that life was light. So we see that the first act of creation was a rejection of the creator – darkness rejecting light. This is why John goes on to say,
He (Christ) was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him.
This is the recurring theme through creation’s history (see What’s It All About for more on this theme). This creation did not become discordant, its perfection didn’t suffer a break; it was created with discord, with a break, and it is determined to remain that way.