First of all, Creation doesn't just occur 13.8 billion years ago (or whenever you posit the "beginning") but absolutely continuously. This is indeed orthodoxy -- not just for Christianity, but for thought. Put conversely, if your doctrine doesn't allow for continuous creation, then it's wrong at best.
So, how are we to think of the creation of this world? And when we refer to this world, we don't mean just earth, or the galaxy, or even the cosmos, but existence as such. In other words, how does existence exist? What is its source?
Again, religious doctrine -- just like any other map -- provides "points of reference" to approach this problem in a fruitful manner. For example, the Bible lets us know on the first page that existence is not self-sufficient, but dependent upon a higher principle. This dependency is perpetual, not a one-time event.
According to González, the doctrine of creation "stands at the root of the Christian understanding of the relationship between God and the world." The Creator, according to the creed, is the maker of all things, both visible and invisible. Perhaps you've noticed that no secular creation myth can even begin to account for the latter. Rather, they always try to swallow the invisible into the visible.
Think, for example, of Marxism and all its ghastly progeny, from feminism to climate hysteria. It rightly (from its own standpoint) sees religion not just as wrong, but as a kind of disease, wholly parasitic on matter. Religion is the opiate of the masses, when in reality Marxism is the pacifier of the tenured; the latter provides a kind of pseudo-heart in a heartless cosmos, or an archimedean vertical perspective in a world devoid of verticality. It is a view from nowhere by a bunch of nobodies.
Often a Christian doctrine is not just to posit a truth but to counter falsehoods. In order to understand certain doctrines, you need to appreciate them in the context of what they are arguing against.
In this case, González points out that the doctrine of creation "rejects two views that have repeatedly challenged it through the centuries: dualism and monism," the former positing two ultimate principles of creation, the latter denying the distinction between Creator and creation.
Both of these alternatives -- dualism and monism -- are heretical, not just for Christianity but for religion as such. In short, they are intrinsic as opposed to extrinsic heresies, the latter going to doctrines that only apply to this or that religion.
This heretical confusion persists to this day, in both religious and irreligious circles. Scientism, for example, begins with the inexplicable dualism of mind and matter, but then makes the dualism go away by reducing it to an absurd monism. I'm not sure if the pilgrimage from inexplicable to absurd represents progress, but there you go.
As for religious heresies, "creationism" comes to mind. Creationism is most definitely not synonymous with the venerable doctrine of creation, but rather, a kind of vulgar substitute that borrows from and tries to imitate scientism. You could say that it horizontalizes and temporalizes what is properly vertical and atemporal.
Interestingly, the doctrine of creation also set itself against another ancient idea (embraced by Neo- and Paleo-Platonists alike), emanationism -- the notion that
All things are derived from the first reality or perfect God by steps of degradation to lesser degrees of the first reality or God, and at every step the emanating beings are less pure, less perfect, less divine.
In other words, the doctrine of creation opposes the idea that the world is simply a kind of necessary side-effect of the One. Rather, it wants to emphasize and preserve God's freedom and autonomy in creating this world.
However, in emphasizing this one side, the doctrine of creation tends to obscure important truths conveyed by emanationism. In my opinion, the most fruitful approach is to see the two principles -- creation and emanation -- as complementary, not opposed.
For ultimately, creation goes to the discontinuity between Creator and creation, man and God; while emanation goes to the equally important continuity. Indeed, the principle -- or fact, rather -- of Incarnation seems to me to harmonize the two, i.e., Christ as simultaneously all God and all man. Come to think of it, there is a kind of discontinuity-amidst-continuity within the Trinity itself.
Note how different denominations tend to emphasize one side over the other. For example, Augustine highlights the discontinuity, what with our fallen depravity, whereas in the Orthodox east they have always emphasized the continuity with the doctrine of theosis (itself a reflection of the idea that man is a reflection of God).
We're almost out of time here, but Schuon relates this to the distinction between substance, which goes more to emanation and continuity, and essence, which would go more to creation and discontinuity:
The notion of essence denotes an excellence which is, so to say, discontinuous with respect to accidents, whereas the notion of substance implies on the contrary a kind of continuity...
Hmm. I'll bet radiance has to do with substance, reverberation with essence, but we'll have to wait until next week.
Just heard about Charles Krauthammer. Damn. That one hurts. There is a man.