Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Creation out of nothing

Hebrews 11:3 is a key text in support of the doctrine of creation out of nothing "ex nihilo." By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Coincidentally, today I came across two takes on this essential doctrine of our apostolic catholic faith, from a couple of theological heavyweights writing around sixteen centuries apart.

Berkhof:

Creation is here represented as a fact which we apprehend only by faith. By faith we understand (perceive, not comprehend) that the world was framed or fashioned by the word of God, that is, the word of God's power, the divine fiat, so that the things which are seen, the visible things of this world, were not made out of things which do appear, which are visible, and which are at least occasionally seen. According to this passage the world certainly was not made out of anything that is palpable to the senses. . . . It belongs to the very nature of God that He is able to call into being what does not exist, and does so call it into being. [emphasis mine]


St. Athanasius:

[From the divine teaching of the Christian faith] we know that, because there is Mind behind the universe, it did not originate itself; because God is infinite, not finite, it was not made from pre-existent matter, but out of nothing and out of non-existence absolute and utter God brought it into being through the Word. . . . For God is good—or rather, of all goodness He is Fountainhead, and it is impossible for one who is good to be mean or grudging about anything. Grudging existence to none therefore, He made all things out of nothing through His own Word, our Lord Jesus Christ; and of all these His earthly creatures He reserved especial mercy for the race of men.

I guess you could classify these books as sort of old and really old. I like 'em both!

1 comment:

z said...

How awesome the thought of it. Both thoughts!
Thanks Stephen for sharing! I'm constantly inspired by your blogging. Keep up the good work & deep thought!
Rochelle