Ex nihilo - does it matter?

Hi everyone!
I know this has been covered multidude of times but somehow nothing seems to settle my mind about it. There’s always lots of different headlines like “science hotly refutes creation ex nihilo” but also “science doesn’t know origins of the universe”…in the same article, which seems to be opposing facts to me but then I’m not a physicist so… The point I’m trying to make does it actually matter? I mean, does the bible actually say anything solid about creation ex nihilo or is that our flawed interpretation? I’m not a Bible scholar either so when I hear opposing views it’s hard for me to decide who is saying the right thing.
Would love to hear opinions, and hopefully facts too, about both sciefntific evidence and biblical interpretations.
Thanks
Marta

IMO, no.

If it does, I’ve never seen it.
Genesis 1:1

  • בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
  • First, God made the visible sky and earth.
    I note that the Hebrew word often translated “created” can mean “to make”. Precisely how what is made is not defined, but who is doing the making is important. בָּרָא (bara’)
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Bible scholarship is of no use in this instance marta.

Logic alone will do.

Wherever creation, including nature, comes from, it isn’t nothing.

Minimally it comes from itself. Since eternity. Nature is self creating, self tuning. From forever. The ultimate extrapolation of nature abhors a vacuum.

If God exists then creation, nature and supernature, the transcendent creation, have always been instantiating in Him.

Either way, absolute nothingness can’t exist in any meaningful way.

Thank you for your reply! While reading it I reminded myself of BL podcast featuring John Walton. I think he mentioned something about “bringing order” and “giving purpose” as interpretation of creating world, as understood by people at the time. Does this ring any bells? And if so how widespread would this interpretation be?

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In the context I’m asking, it certainly does.

I don’t go reading about these things because I know my head will end up spinning and I won’t learn anything new or useful. I only came across it while reading about Richard Dawkins and his outlandish views(something I have mentioned on another thread, you may have seen it) and you must know people like him or his followers often use these sort of arguments(another example, God doesn’t exist because we know animals weren’t “made one by one by God himself”).

So yeah, knowing Bible and what it ACTUALLY says and doesn’t is important in this instance. And lots of others too, of course.

Marta

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I’m not familiar with John Walton’s BL podcast. (BL = Biologos ?) I suspect my view may be substantially different.

Sorry. I wouldn’t know.

Is there anything else besides the heavens (sky) and the earth? Wasn’t the point that God made everything? Or since our ancient ancestors had little conception of what the “heavens” meant, is this anachronistic on my part? Was the sky/heavens the place where God and other beings lived?

Colossians 1:16 is probably important. I mean we can’t understand God as going to a Lordly hardware store to pick up some universe building parts can we? Maybe, somehow we are probably made out of God’s own being. O maybe being limited 4 dimensional beings we just have no idea how the big picture works?

Vinnie

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How about virtual particles?

Vinnie

So we’re not commanded by God to use reason? To love Him with our whole minds?

FYI: I believe in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and I believe that there is no other name under heaven given to humanity by which it behooves us to be saved. How the cosmos works and how things come into being in it do not diminish or jeopardize my confidence in those two beliefs. When our Father says, in Jeremiah 17:5-8,

  • “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
    And makes flesh his strength,
    And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
    For he will be like a bush in the desert
    And will not see when prosperity comes,
    But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
    A land of salt without inhabitant.
    Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
    And whose trust is the Lord.
    For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
    That extends its roots by a stream
    And will not fear when the heat comes;
    But its leaves will be green,
    And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
    Nor cease to yield fruit."

I don’t hear Him saying to me: “And you can’t and don’t trust me if you don’t believe that I created everything, in the beginning, out of nothing.”

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If you’re interested here’s the link to the Biologos podcast I mentioned

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Thanks. I’ll check it out.

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Of course we are but I’m not sure how that suppose to relate to what I just said.
Did you mean that we’re not supposed to listen to the likes of Mr Dawkins and random headlines from low quality publications that are probably biased against or simply uneducated about Christianity? I agree we shouldn’t but if you haven’t got the knowledge to see trough them and their claims…

Yes and I admit my faith should probably be stronger and I shouldn’t let things like that get to me. On the other hand

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It’s Dr. Dawkins and yes I listen to everything he says. Can’t get enough. I disagree with him of course, but not for any reason that anyone else here or any other of his critics sees. I wouldn’t dream of listening to random headlines from low quality publications. As for definite bias and lack of education about Christianity, I come here. And yeah, I see right through claims made in that.

Hi Marta. It’s good to interact with you again.

Well… that probably depends a bit on what matters to you. Creation out of nothing has been a part of Christian orthodoxy for a very long time. When the Nicene Creed (the gold standard of historical orthodoxy says: “We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible” it’s making a statement that everything God made (however he did it) was made from nothing. This is similar to ‘plain reading’ interpretation of Hebrews 11:3 (NIV2011):

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

All this is to say, that whilst orthodox Christians have historically disagreed and vacillated about how God made everything out of nothing (YEC v ID v OED v EC, etc.). Generally, they have always agreed that the it was from nothing.

That said, whether one accepts creatio ex nihilo or not, neither positions is not without objections. The biggest objecting to creation out of nothing is summed up in the phrase ex nihilo, nihilo fit. That is, out of nothing, nothing comes. In other words, since God cannot do what is logical impossible (like make a square circle), and creating something out of nothing is logically impossible, it is therefore impossible for God to create everything from nothing.

However, those who argue for creation from nothing might reply: Where then did that matter come from? If matter like, God is eternal, then this detracts from God’s uniqueness and therefore his God-ness. Or that creation from nothing is only logically impossible for created beings.

TLDR, neither position is unassailable from a theological perspective, but CxN has been the traditionally orthodox theological position. Personally, I would be remiss to let go of that without compelling evidence. But that is me.

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OK I didn’t make myself clear, I didn’t mean we shouldn’t be listening at all. More like we shouldn’t simply accept everything they say just because they claim to be “rational” or are scientists(although we should as long as they speak about their field of expertise).
Since you claim to be disagree for different reasons to everyone else, can I ask what is that reason?

I admire your robustness marta. Iron to iron.

My disagreements with Dickie are here, where I demonstrate that I do not simply accept everything he says at all, on a scientific and rational basis. I don’t disagree with him on evolution of course.

Science MUST refute ex nilio because materialism requires a nonspiritual “only this, and no more” presupposition.

Yeshua Jesus speaks to this directly in John 1, and 3

John 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
*> John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
*> and…
*> …12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"

This is the sum total of what is INTENDED to be taught in Genesis.
Our “scientifically fixed” education demands we provide the answer to “What is Material” ignoring anything metaphysical.

Personally, I believe in evolutionary processes, but the existence of creation itself must be ex nilio as nothing greater can come out of something lesser. Thermodynamics of philosophy as well as science prevails!

What does this mean?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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