Define “Creatio Ex Nihilo.”
In Latin, “ex nihilo” literally means “out of nothing.” It often appears along with the concept of creation, as in “creatio ex nihilo”, meaning “creation out of nothing.” It contrasts with the phrase “creatio ex materia” (creation out of some pre-existent, eternal matter) and with “creatio ex deo” (creation out of God.) Christians all believe that the world is created ex deo, however, whether the universe was created “ex nihilo” or from already present material is still a topic of discussion today among Christians and people of other beliefs alike. There is evidence in the bible supporting both creatio ex nihilo and ex materia.
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The very first line in the bible supports the idea of creation ex nihilo: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) This suggests that as God is the divine creator, the most powerful thing in existence, he doesn’t need pre-existent material to produce anything. However, the verse after suggests that God is more a craftsman rather than a creator: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) These contradictory verses make it difficult to establish whether God created the universe ex nihilo or not. What we can understand is why some Christians would believe that God created everything from nothing. It is an example of God’s omnipotence, and the idea of God just using present material to create everything makes him come across as less powerful.
Let’s assume that God created the world from nothing, and that there was nothing until God said there to be so. The absence that there was before the creation must have had the potential to be something. Therefore, would it be wrong to suggest that if nothing had the potential something, then surely it would be something, and not the absence of something. If this is true, then it is impossible to say that God created the universe ex nihilo, as there must have been something for God to make the universe out of. If there truly was nothing, then it wouldn’t have the potential to be anything and therefore God wouldn’t be able to make the universe. On top of this issue, there is also the problem of God existing before the beginning of the universe. Is God included in the nothingness that existed? If so, then surely God didn’t make the universe out of nothing and used his own power, which was already there. When does nothing become nothing? When is it right to say whether nothing has the same characteristics as an existing thing? Early I have spoken about how potential is a characteristic of everything that exists, and that nothingness must have potential if it eventually becomes something. Another issue, is the very fact that we can label nothingness, means that it must be something.
Although it is understandable where the idea of God creating the universe ex nihilo came from, and that it is a prime example of how powerful God is, it is difficult, too difficult in fact, to imagine nothingness, as our brains feel it is logical to link something to something else. Even if it was possible for God to create the universe out of nothing, there would be no way for it to make sense to humankind, as I believe that there is no way for us to imagine nothingness.
“Nothing can come from nothing.” Discuss.
I have written about this topic in my previous answer, but I shall expand on it. “Nothing comes from nothing” is a philosophical expression of a thesis first argued by Parmenides (515-540 BCE). Parmenides wrote that there is no break in between a world that didn’t exist, since it...