And: “You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.” (Hebrews 1:10-12)
Scattered throughout the Scriptures are a few and varied comments about the creation of the world by God. In the above quote, the author of Hebrews notes that while God is eternal and unchanging, all created things are subject to change and to decay. Creation by definition is in a process of change and in this manner is unlike its unchanging Creator. Material creation is not eternal. St Athanasius notes only God is eternal and it is God who causes all else to exist, which also implies the created cosmos is not eternal.
… Plato, that giant among the Greeks… said that God had made all things out of preexistent and uncreated matter, just as the carpenter makes things out of wood that already exists. But those who hold this view do not realize that to deny that God is himself the Cause of matter is to impute limitation to him, just as it is undoubtedly a limitation on the part of the carpenter that he can make nothing unless he has the wood. How could God be called Maker and Artificer if his ability to make depended on some other cause, namely on matter itself? If he only worked up existing matter and did not himself bring matter into being, he would not be the Creator but only a Craftsman. (BEYOND THE SHATTERED IMAGE, pp 46-47)
St Basil the Great says creation is good and beautiful because its Maker is good and beautiful. Because of its innate goodness, creation also is a sign pointing to its Creator or a witness to the Creator existence. Because nature is not eternal, it can serve as a sign pointing to how it came into existence – namely, through the Creator.
In the beginning God created a wonderful order… a most desirable beauty… You are now able to conceive the invisible through what is visible in the world… so that the earth, the air, the skies, the rains, the night and the day – in fact everything that you can see – may be traces of the Creator… I want the created order to penetrate you with so much admiration that everywhere, wherever you may be, the least plant may bring to you the clear remembrance of the Creator. (BEYOND THE SHATTERED IMAGE, pp 46-47)