Created God out of nothing

Creation / Creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing)

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Creation from nothing - "Creatio ex nihilo"

Summary: The traditional Christian churches teach that God made the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo), while Mormons teach that God organized the universe out of pre-existing matter. Hence, it is claimed that the "LDS God" is "less powerful" than the God of the great churches or "unbiblical". This dispute plays an essential role, especially in the USA, where Protestant churches do ex nihilo consider essential for the faith and a necessary condition for a denomination to be called Christian.

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Question: How did mainstream Christ see that God created the universe out of nothing?

Creatio ex nihilo suddenly appeared in the second half of the second century AD

The traditional Christian churches teach that God made the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo), while Mormons teach that God organized the universe out of pre-existing matter. Hence, it is claimed that the "LDS God" is "less powerful" than the God of the great churches or "unbiblical". This dispute plays an essential role, especially in the USA, where Protestant churches do ex nihilo consider essential for the faith and a necessary condition for a denomination to be called Christian.

The conclusion of a non-LDS scholar is true:

Creatio ex nihilo appeared suddenly in the second half of the second century AD For creatio ex nihilo Not only was there a lack of precedent, the teaching stood in stark contrast to all the philosophical schools of the Greco-Roman world. As we have seen, doctrine was not imposed on the Christian community by its revealed tradition, either in biblical texts or in their early Jewish interpretations. As we shall also see, it was not a position confirmed by the teaching of the New Testament, not even by the Lower Apostolic Scriptures. It was a position occupied by the late second century apologists, Tatian and Theophilus, and which was subsequently developed by various ecclesiastical authors, Iernous, Tertullian and Origen. Creatio ex nihilo represents a novelty in the interpretive traditions of revelation and cannot simply be explained as a continuation of a tradition.[1]

Creatio ex nihilo is not taught in either the Old or New Testament, not even by the early Church Fathers, unless it is imputed to them

Creatio ex nihilo is not taught in either the Old or New Testament, not even by the early Church Fathers, unless it is imputed to them. This teaching was a novel idea that changed the beliefs and teachings of Jews and early Christians.

The problem of a pre-existing 'something'

The reason most of today's Christianity calls for creation ex nihilo comes from arguments related to the sovereignty of God. If something exists independently of God, i.e. is already there before the first act of creation, it must be eternal like God (and, if you develop this further, maybe the same as God or at least with the possibility of being the same as God) . Thus LDS scriptures teach in the book of Abraham that there is something that exists forever beside God and has the possibility of being equal to God. Is God entirely above the material with which he works? Is there only one who was there (God) before creation, or is there more than one?

The Old Testament says nothing directly about an ex nihilo creation

The Old Testament says nothing directly about an ex nihilo creation, so the creation account was checked for clues. Much of the debate about ex nihilo creation comes from the first few verses of Genesis. And the controversy begins with the very first word: bereschit. When interpreting Genesis 1: 1 one is faced with two questions. 1) Is Genesis 1: 1 an independent sentence or a subordinate clause that introduces the first sentence? And 2) How is verse 1 related to verse 2 and even to the rest of the creation account in Genesis 1?

The Hebrew word roschit occurs about 50 times in the Old Testament. The vowels in the word indicate that it is a construct form, that it means "beginning of" and not just "beginning". Of the other 50 times, 49 follow this pattern. The exact same construction with the prefix occurs in four other places (Jeremiah 26: 1; 27: 1; 28: 1; 49: 34), and without exception it is translated as "At the beginning of the government of ..." The other cases of roschit follow this pattern with the exception of Isaiah 46:10, where we read, “I am God .... I have proclaimed the future from the beginning. There can be little doubt here that the word cannot be read as a construct. And that single passage is often taken as a justification for it bereschit read in Genesis 1 as an absolute and not as a construct. To this we reply: Is a grammatical error in one place a reason to assume a similar reading here? Why should we prefer the reading of a single passage over dozen passages with the alternative?

If beroshit is a constructive state, then verses 1 and 2 are both subordinate clauses describing the state of everything at the moment God began to create, and the beginning of verse 3 becomes the main clause of the first sentence of the Bible. When read like this, the beginning of the Bible reads like this:

When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless and empty and darkness was over the depths and the Spirit of God walked on the surface of the waters, and God said, "Let there be light!"

The first act of creation is then the commandment that light should exist. And all the rest - the earth as desert and barren (terms that presuppose the absence of both plants and animal life), the darkness, the depth, etc. all existed before that first act of creation, and are thus by definition pre-existent.

In addition to this passage, there are often discussions about the meaning of the word bara - "create". The Hebrew expression bara itself is probably not meaningful in relation to the question of creation ex nihilo. It is often claimed that the word is used only for God, but that is clearly not the case (see e.g. Ezekiel 21:19). The meanings of bara depends entirely on how we read the rest of the first line of the Old Testament.

In the absence of any expression for creation out of nothing in the Old Testament, it seems preferable to follow the view that the Israelite religion did not develop this theology. Joseph Smith resolved this translation dilemma in Genesis 1: 1 in a unique way. Instead of defining creation in absolute terms as either of something or of nothing in the Book of Moses, it limits the description of creation in Genesis to a specific place and time. Creation is no longer universal:

And it came to pass that the Lord said unto Moses, saying: Behold, I give you revelation concerning this heaven and this earth; write down the words that I speak .... yes, in the beginning I created the heavens and the earth that you stand on. (Moses 2: 1)

A work by Dutch Old Testament scholar Ellen van Wolde sheds new light on the question:

She said that at some point she came to the conclusion that the Hebrew verb "bara", which is used in the first sentence of the Book of Genesis, does not mean "create" but "spatially separate". The first sentence should now be read: "In the beginning God separated heaven and earth" [2]

This statement is consistent with LDS creation doctrine.

The New Testament doesn't offer much additional help in solving the problem

The New Testament doesn't offer much additional help in solving the problem. It relies heavily on Old Testament language when discussing creation. And there the same ambiguities arise. James Hubler wrote in his doctoral thesis on the subject:

Several New Testament passages have been used to provide evidence for creatio ex nihilo derive from it. Neither makes a clear statement that was needed to introduce such an unprecedented position or that we need as evidence of such a break with tradition. Neither is unique and could easily be provided by a representative one creatio ex materia to be accepted ... The punctuation [of John 1: 3] becomes essential to the meaning. representative of creatio ex materia the creatures of the world could count towards “what has become”, with the exception of matter. Advocate of creatio ex nihilo could put a point after “without the word nothing became” and insert “what has become” in the next sentence. The absence of fixed punctuation in the [Greek] text of the New Testament leaves room for both interpretations. Neither does the word "creation" mean in itself out of nowhere... as we saw in Egypt, in Philo and Midrash Rabba, and even in 2 Peter 3: 5, where the word says that pre-cosmic matter is organized.[3]

Question: What were the early Christian beliefs about creation?

A belief in ex nihilo Creation was not shared by the early Christians

Contrary to the claims of the critics, the early Christians shared their faith creatio ex nihilo Not. The concept of creatio ex nihilo

began to be announced in Christian circles shortly before Galen's time. The first Christian thinker to outline a doctrine of creatio ex nihilo expressed was the Gnostic theologian Basilides, who was active in the second quarter of the second century. Basilides worked out a sophisticated cosmology in which he sought to think through the logical conclusions of Christian teaching in the light of Platonic cosmology. He rejected the analogy of the human maker, the craftsman carving a piece of wood, as an anthropomorphism that seriously limits the power of God. Unlike a human being, God created the world from 'nonexistent matter'. First he brought matter into being by creating 'seeds' and this created matter was formed into the cosmos according to his will.[4]

The doctrine of creatio ex nihilo was first represented by a Gnostic, the representative of a heretical branch of Christianity, and did not appear until more than a century after the birth of Christ.

The thought that God used pre-existing material in creation

The idea that God used pre-existing material in creation was adopted by at least some early Church Fathers, leading to the conclusion that beliefs about the nature of the creation process changed over time, as did Greek philosophical ideas into Christian doctrine invaded. Justin Martyr (110-165 AD) said:

And we have been taught that in the beginning, out of His goodness, for the good of man, He created all things out of unformed matter. And when people prove themselves worthy of his creation through their works, they are found worthy, and so we have received to rule in communion with him, freed from decay and suffering.[5]

Justin continues elsewhere with examples like these:

  • through the Word of God the world was made of the substance previously spoken of by Moses.[6]
  • [the earth] that God made according to the pre-existing form.[7]
  • And his son, who alone is rightly called his son, the word that was with him too, and who was begotten before the works, when he first created and ordained all things through him, is called Christ, indicating that he His anointed is and the one who commands everything of God. Through him...[8]

Justin wasn't the only church father who ex nihilo Refused creation. Clemens said in his "Hymn to the Pedagogue":

You who from a confused heap created this ordered sphere, and from the formless mass of matter you adorned the universe ...[9]

And Blake Ostler comments on that 1. Clement's letter:

Clemens stated: “You ... obviously make the everlasting fabric of the world. You, O Lord, created the earth. " The expressions that Clemens uses here are significant. He assumes that God “made manifest” (ἐϕανεροποίησας) the “everlasting fabric of the world” (Σὺ τὴν ἀέναον του κόσμου σύστασιν). It refers to an eternal substratum that underlies God's creative activity. Clement is important because he was at the very center of the Christian church that was developing at that time. His perspective assumes that God created from an eternally existing substratum, creating by "making manifest" something that already existed in some form. The lack of arguments or further explanation indicates that Clemens was not trying to introduce a philosophical position, but that he was only advocating a generally accepted one. But the fact that such a view was presupposed is even more significant than if Clemens had argued for it. Had he presented an argument for this view, we might assume that it was either a controversial doctrine or a new view. But since he took it as obvious, it appears that it was a generally accepted doctrine of belief in the early Christian church.[10]

Question: How was the doctrine changed from creation to "creatio ex nihilo"?

Some Greek philosophical ideas influenced the change to "creatio ex nihilo"

Non-LDS writer Edwin Hatch noted the influence of some Greek philosophical ideas in turn creatio ex nihilo:

With Basilides, the concept of matter was taken to a higher level. The difference between subject and object was preserved so that the action of the transcendent God was still a creation and not an evolution. But now he brought things “from what was not into existence .... The basis of the theory was platonic, although some terms were borrowed from both Aristoles and the Stoics. It itself became the basis for the theory that eventually prevailed in the Church. The change appears in Tatian [approx. 170 AD] [11]

Question: Does Colossians 1:16 teach that Jesus created everything out of nothing?

Creationists among Christians believe in the post-biblical teaching of Creatio ex nihilo (Creation out of nothing)

Creationists among Christians believe in the post-biblical teaching of Creatio ex nihilo (Creation from nothing). Because this is how you understand the idea of ​​creation, read it into the verse.

Latter-day Saints do not address these verses. They expressly believe that the Father created all things through Jesus Christ (see LDS scripture guide. Jesus Christ, Creator.)

Latter-day Saints do not dispute these verses. They strongly believe that the Father created all things of Jesus Christ

The scripture in question reads:

[Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For in him everything was created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, thrones and dominions, powers and authorities; everything was created through him and for him. 'He is before all creation, in him everything endures. (Colossians 1: 15-17)

Doesn't the Greek text teach ex nihilo but creation from the previously existing raw materials

As one author noted, the Greek text does not teach ex nihilo but creation from the previously existing raw materials, since the verb ktidzo has an architectural connotation ... like building or erecting a city. In this way the verb assumes the presence of pre-existing material. [12]

One must not overlook 2 Corinthians 4:18, which explains that the things you see are temporal, but the things you do not see are eternal. This suggests that the aspects of the invisible world are eternal despite the action of God's creative power.

LDS doctrine sees creation as an act of organizing pre-existing matter and intelligence (see D&C 93:28 and D&C 131: 7)

In this way Jesus participated in the creation of all things

In this way Jesus participated in the creation of all things - but he was working with pre-existing chaotic materials. The thrones and lordships, powers and authorities of the angels were also created by Christ.These beings did not assume their angelic status or form without divine creative power, although some aspect of their consciousness was already there before God created them.

Each of us, along with Jesus and Lucifer / Satan, are children of our Heavenly Father. Our personality and character have evolved during our long pre-mortal existence. During this time, the Savior, as the firstborn of the Father, developed traits that allowed God the Father to entrust Jesus with the creation of all things that would be created and give him the divine role of the Son. At the same time, Lucifer developed traits that led him to sin and rebellion.

The difference between Jesus and Lucifer is so great that it can hardly be understood. All of the other children of God were somewhere between these two extremes. Because of Jesus' role in creation, Satan's premortal powers and status were dependent on the creative power and authority of God effected through Jesus Christ.

The difference between those who followed the Father and those who followed Lucifer depends in part on the eternal aspect of each individual. This may help explain Satan's antipathy towards Jesus and his desire to seize the power and authority of God that Christ possessed. (See Moses 4: 1)

The claim that Jesus and Satan were just equals misunderstood and misinterpreted LDS doctrine about creation and the preeminent role of Jesus in it.

For more information, see:

Main Products: Creatio ex nihilo

Question: Does what Joseph taught about creation contradict the scriptures?

It should be expressly noted that Joseph used the word create to mean "organize" and not "create out of nothing"

Joseph taught that spirits were not created and that spirits have no beginning because they will have no end. However, there are many verses in Scripture that say that God created spirits.

  • Does what Joseph taught about creation contradict the scriptures?

It should be noted that Joseph used the word create to mean "organize" and not "create out of nothing". That is why God can shape whatever it takes to put spirits together, just as He organized chaotic matter into the world and everything we see. As long as one correctly understands that "creating" is "designing" rather than creating something from nothing, there is no problem or conflict between God who creates spirits and creates the world. In both cases he uses pre-existing material to create both.

The statement on which this teaching is based is actually an excerpt from a lecture given by Joseph Smith on April 7, 1844, known as the "King Follett Speech"

In the 2008 guide, "Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith," we find the following in chapter 17 — The Great Plan of Salvation.

In April 1844, the Prophet taught, “I have something else I want to talk about, something related to the exaltation of man. ... It has to do with the resurrection of the dead - namely the soul, the human ego, the immortal spirit. Where does he comes from? All learned men and doctors of theology say that God created him in the beginning; but that is not the case: the mere thought lowers my esteem for people. I don't believe in such a teaching, I know better. Hear, all you ends of this world; God told me so, and even if you don't believe me, it will not make the truth ineffective. ...

I am now speaking of the immortality of the human spirit. Is it then logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal but that it had a beginning? The intelligence of the spirits has no beginning and will not have an end. That's good logic. What has a beginning can also have an end. There has never been a time when there were no ghosts. … ” [13]

These quotes are from King Follett's Discourse as used in the Grimshaw Amalgation Teaching Guide

These quotations are from King Follett's speech, as recorded in the teaching manual for Grimshaw Amalgation, a work by Jonatha Grimshaw from 1855. Grimshaw was a minister in the Department of Church History and was assigned to review Joseph Smith's sermons for the purpose of ending them to compile the 7th volume of church history.

Since there was no shorthand account of the sermon and no prepared text, Grimshaw relied on the accounts of the four men who wrote down the Prophet's words that day. Three of these men, Thomas Bullock, Willard Richards, and William Clayton, were assigned to do this, and the fourth, Wilford Woodruff, made a report for his diary.

Does the teaching contradict the scriptures?

The following quote appeared in Stern in April 1972 on page 149 [14] In the speech, Joseph is reported to have said the following:

“I am now speaking of the immortality of the human spirit. Is it reasonable to say that the intelligence of spirits is eternal but that it had a beginning? The intelligence of the spirits had no beginning, nor will it ever end. That's good logic. What has a beginning must also have an end. There was never a time when there were no spirits, for they are from the same eternity as Heavenly Father. "

The question is: are there any references to creation in Scripture that contradict this statement? It should be noted that the scriptures themselves clearly state about this:

“In the beginning, too, man was with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, nor can it be. " D&C 93:29 It appears that whatever that intelligence is, it cannot be created or made. What exactly that intelligence is, and whether it is an individual spirit being or just the chaotic precursor of an organized individual spirit, has been the subject of much discussion in LDS thought. Suffice it to say that we existed as intelligences before whatever the Father did that resulted in us becoming His spirit children. This is how this has been understood and set forth by Church publications. Does the fact that we existed as intelligences before we were formed into spirits preclude creation? Not necessarily. It all depends on how one understands the process of creation. God created the world from nothing; how do our Christian brothers of other faiths conclude? Joseph thought differently. In the same sermon he declared:

"Ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made of nothing, and they reply," Doesn't the Bible say: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth? " And from the word "created" you conclude that God made everything out of nothing. Now, however, the word or the term “create” comes from the word “bärä”, which does not mean, however, that the world was made out of nothing, but rather it means order, shape, give a certain form, produce, build, such as the Man builds a ship from already available material. For our part, we therefore come to the conclusion that God had material to shape the earth out of chaos - that is, out of the disorganized elements in which all glory resides. The elements are as old as he is. They cannot be destroyed. They can be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They have no beginning and cannot have an end.

Endnotes

  1. ↑ James N. Hubler, "Creatio ex Nihilo: Matter, Creation, and the Body in Classical and Christian Philosophy through Aquinas" (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1995), 102; cited in {{FR-17-2 | author = Blake T. Ostler | article = Out of Nothing: A History of Blake T. Ostler, "Out of Nothing: A History of Creation ex Nihilo in Early Christian Thought (review of Review of Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, "Craftsman or Creator? An Examination of the Mormon Doctrine of Creation and a Defense of Creatio ex nihilo," in The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement, edited by Beckwith, Mosser, and Owen), " FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 253–320. link
  2. ↑ Richard Alleyne, Telegraph.co.uk, October 8, 2009, "God is not the Creator, claims academic"
  3. ↑ James N. Hubler, "Creatio ex Nihilo: Matter, Creation, and the Body in Classical and Christian Philosophy through Aquinas" (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1995), 107-8; cited in {{FR-17-2 | author = Blake T. Ostler | article = Out of Nothing: A History of Blake T. Ostler, "Out of Nothing: A History of Creation ex Nihilo in Early Christian Thought (review of Review of Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, "Craftsman or Creator? An Examination of the Mormon Doctrine of Creation and a Defense of Creatio ex nihilo," in The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement, edited by Beckwith, Mosser, and Owen), " FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 253–320. link
  4. ↑ Gerhard May, Creation from Nothing: The Origin of the Doctrine of Creatio Ex Nihilo (Works on Church History, Vol 48) (Walter De Gruyter Inc, 1978), 63-85. ISBN 3110072041; as quoted in Robert Louis Wilken, The Christians as the Romans saw Them (Yale University Press, 2003), 88-89. ISBN 0300098391.
  5. ↑ Justin Martyr, "First Apology of Justin," (Chapter 10) Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:165. ANF ​​ToC LinkThis volume
  6. ↑ Justin Martyr, "First Apology of Justin," (Chapter 59) Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:182. ANF ​​ToC LinkThis volume
  7. ↑ Justin Martyr, "Hortatory to the Greeks," (Chapter 30) Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:286. ANF ​​ToC LinkThis volume
  8. ↑ Justin Martyr, "First Apology of Justin," (Chapter 10) Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:165. ANF ​​ToC LinkThis volume
  9. ↑ Clement, "Hymn to the Paedagogus," (?) Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:296. ANF ​​ToC LinkThis volume
  10. ↑ {{FR-17-2 | author = Blake T. Ostler | article = Out of Nothing: A History of Blake T. Ostler, "Out of Nothing: A History of Creation ex Nihilo in Early Christian Thought (review of Review of Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, "Craftsman or Creator? An Examination of the Mormon Doctrine of Creation and a Defense of Creatio ex nihilo," in The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement, edited by Beckwith, Mosser, and Owen), " FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 253–320. link; citing 1 Clement 60, in J.B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, ed. J. R. Harmer (1891; repr., Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book, 1956), 1: 176. Lightfoot translates this text as: "Thou through Thine operations didst make manifest the everlasting fabric of the world" (1: 303). See Oscar de Gebhardt and Adolphus Harnack, Patrium Apostolicorum Opera: Clementis Romani (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1876), 1: 100.
  11. ↑ Edwin Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church, 195–196.
  12. ↑ Michael L.T. Griffith, One Lord, One Faith: Writings of the Early Christian Fathers as Evidences of the Restoration (Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers, 1996), 72.
  13. ↑ Quote from Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith ” Church History, 6: 310–12; Updated capitalization from the talk given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 7, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, Thomas Bullock, and William Clayton; see also appendix, page 562, item 3.
  14. ↑ Joseph Smith, "The King Follett Discourse,"The star (April 1972), 149. Continued: Joseph Smith, "The King Follett Discourse,"The star (May 1972), 187.