Did God create the universe from nothing?

The statement was made, “God did not say that he created the universe out of nothing.”

What follows are a list of objections to the idea of God creating ex nihilo:

“1. The problem of the word nothing. Nothing in Christian orthodoxy means nothing in existence or absolute nothingness. The theoretical problem here is that one cannot conceive of absolute nothingness.”

Actually, you are incorrect. This is not a problem. If one can think of a lack of something, one thinks of nothing. Thus the invention of the idea of zero. The same applies to the concept of nothing. But God, not being limited by man’s perceptions or abilities, is able to create from nothing – whether you can understand it or not.

 

“2. Historical problem. Genesis and 2 Peter and elsewhere affirm that creation is from something (water, deep, chaos, etc.), not creation from absolutely nothing.”

Please show this scripture, for I am unaware of it. If you are going to make Biblical claims, please support them with the verses in question. 

The best I could find was 2 Peter 3:5, 

5For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

But this does not state God made anything from anything. This is dealing with the fact that God separated the clouds from the water and brought out an expanse of land. It does not speak of whether anything existed before God created the universe and the earth. This is a description of the formation of the earth found in Genesis 1:1-9

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 2The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

 4God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

 5God called the light day, and the darkness He called night And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

 6Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”

 7God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.

 8God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

 9Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.

 10God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

 But again, while the Hebrew word for create, bara (used in Genesis 1:1), is only used for God, this does not state what was used to create the universe. God both created (Bara) and made (Asah)  everything. While man can make things, only God truly creates.

Gen. 2:4

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens

We see in Colossians 1:16-17 that everything was created by God, including whatever is visible or invisible – this would include any materials used in said creation.

Colossians 1:16-17

16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

God did it through speaking it into existence. 
Hebrews 11:3

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

So again, not a problem, because you are mistaken in your understanding of Scripture.

 

“3. Empirical problem. We have no evidence that our universe originally came into being from absolutely nothing. Everything observed in existence indicates otherwise.”

Again, not a problem. Just because something is not observed does not mean it does not happen. You are relying upon a concept that the one who creates rules for the running of a universe must necessarily follow those rules. However, this is a fallacy, as God is not bound by that which He creates. He existed before the creation of time and the rest of the universe, including the rules which He created to run said universe.

You are saying God is not powerful enough to have created everything from nothing. That He did not breathe it into existence. 

 

“4. Creation at an instant problem. We have no evidence in the history of the universe after the big bang (an explosion from mass and energy about the size of your fist) that entities can emerge instantaneously from absolute nothingness. As the earliest philosophers noted, out of nothing comes nothing (ex nihilo, nihil fit).”

Again, not a problem.

The science measuring the processes since what is perceived as a “big bang” hinges upon things like decay rates and closed systems, making assumptions which have not been proven. While our science continually changes, God does not. While mankind is not powerful enough to create from nothing, God is.

 

“5. Solitary power problem. Creatio ex nihilo assumes that a powerful God once acted alone. But power, as a social concept, only becomes meaningful in relation to others.”

This is an invalid assumption. Power, in terms of that which was used to create, has nothing what-so-ever to do with social concepts – it has to do with ability. God is not a created thing. God needs nothing. God chose to create. God chose to create from nothing.

Again, not a problem.

 

“6. Errant revelation problem: The God with the capacity to create something from absolutely nothing would apparently have the power to guarantee an unambiguous and inerrant message of salvation (e.g, inerrant Bible). An unambiguously clear and inerrant divine revelation does not exist.:”

Again, not a problem.

The Gospel is clear, to those to whom have been elected or choose to not be hard headed or blind. You have only to believe God sent Jesus to suffer and die for your sins. People choose to disbelieve or add to what God has said, but this does not mean it is ambiguous, nor does it mean it is not clear. 

 

“7. Evil problem: If God once had the power to create from absolutely nothing, God essentially retains that power. But a God of love with this capacity appears culpable for failing to prevent genuine evil. If Gods knowledge is unlimited and power unlimited, it stands to reason that he could have created a universe without evil but acted against his deepest values and allowed evil into existence.”

Again, not a problem.

You make the common mistake of believing God is only love. God is so much more that He chose to make beings capable of making choices. Another mistake you make is to believe that evil is the opposite of good (or love). It is not. Evil is the lack of good (or love). God did not create evil, but allowed for beings to decide to not be with Him. 

Had He not allowed people to have choice, then He would have robots. But He wants beings with Him who want to be with Him. So He gives us the choice.

 

“8. Empire Problem: The kind of divine power implied in creatio ex nihilo supports a theology of empire, based upon unilateral force and control of others.”

Again, not a problem. Your assumption is predicated upon the idea that God being in control is a bad thing. You also assume that God would control everything all the time with no allowance for God’s grace and love and the concept of free will we see in the BIble that is in tension with God’s supremacy and election.

 

So yes, God created the universe out of nothing.

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