How important is Creation "Ex Nihilo"?

Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by cupotea, Sep 8, 2004.

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  1. cupotea

    cupotea Puritan Board Junior

    In metaphysics class we were discussing creation, and one student asked, "Why is creation EX NIHILO" ("from nothing," for those of you in Rio Linda) important? Couldn't the creation have been made from pre-existent matter? I know that Origen believed that God created from pre-existent matter, but I also know that Origen was later declared a heretic.

    As we got to discussing, several things seemed apparent to me:

    If God created with pre-existent matter...
    1) If matter were pre-existent, it would have to be co-eternal with God.
    2) This matter must be indestructible. God must not be able to tamper with matter, only move it, if this is true.
    3) This suggests a Platonic type of dualism.
    4) Does this mean that God could not create spirit beings, since spirit would not be a part of that pre-existent matter?

    What do you guys think? I may decide to write a paper on this, if I can get enough ideas going... So I guess the question is, why is creation EX NIHILO important?
     
  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Adam,

    I think you are right on here. Creation [i:9572c78985]ex nihilo[/i:9572c78985] is critical to a proper view of Creation. Unless God alone is eternal, then He is not God. If matter was there before He was, or always there with Him, then He is not sufficient in Himself.

    Remember that even the (false) opinion that God created the world in Genesis 1 out of matter that He had previously created in a "pre-Biblical" time still affirms [i:9572c78985]ex nihilo[/i:9572c78985].
     
  3. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    I agree that creation [i:7ccf29d326]ex nihilo[/i:7ccf29d326] is very important. To say otherwise attacks the nature of God, who is alone eternal. It also plays into the hands of various heretical views of creation such as those espoused by evolutionists, Greek Platonists and Mormons among others.
     
  4. InSixDays

    InSixDays Inactive User

    I agree with the comments by the others. I would also add that creation ex nihilo and the entire creation/evolution issue is at heart a debate on the nature of God's sovereignty. By asserting creation ex nihilo, creationists asert that God has power over all created things and He can do with it what he wills. The implication of this is that God has authority over all things.

    When a person asserts creation from preexisting matter, they are either elevating the creation to God's level, or lowering God to creation's level. Either way, this makes the creation co-equal with God. Nature, then, and man by implication, can assert their autonomy from God. This, of course, is the heart of humanism.

    By continuing to assert creation ex nihilo, we keep their feet to the fire, so to speak, regarding God's power and authority over the universe and all things.

    Just my :2cents: :)
     
  5. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    I agree with you all...but I just want to point out what others might mean by "pre-existant matter".

    I was raised with a s-dad who was taught the gap theory...he swears up and down that the first verse in the Bible actually translates as "In the NEW beginning" (this is what they are taught). Therefore there was creation before and that old matter was used for the new creation.

    go figure...
     
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