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Creation of the world ex nihilo

n  Most significant dogma from which all other doctrines emerge
t  God's love

t  God's freedom

t  Absolute otherness of the world compared to God

t  Mortality of the world / charismatic immortality

n  Ancient cosmogonies

t  Hyloism

t  Manichaenism

t  Creator

n  Creation of the world

t  Not all at once

t  Firstly foundations created

t  The rest of creation built upon this

t  Every thing very good

Aspects of the creation of the
world ex nihilo
n  Biblical foundations
u  Macc. 7:28; Heb 11:3

n  From God's will not His essence

n  Safeguards God's freedom - ie unprovoked
n  Meaning of nihil
n  Part of God's eternal plan
n  A Trinitarian act of God
n  2 stages in creation
u  Spiritual and material

n  The Human person - the crown of creation

n  Creation in Time
n  Creation and Evolution
Significance of this teaching!
" This teaching alone would have been
enough to build all other teachings of our
" A most basic and fundamental dogma!
" Highlights"
!1. God's love"
!2. God's freedom"
!3. God's absolute otherness"
!4. The mortality of the world!
Ancient Cosmogonies
n  3ancient theories of creation
n  Hyloism
u  World self-existent and autonomous
u  Heracleitus - "the cosmos… has been created by no
one but was always and is and shall be fire, ever
n  Dualism or Manichaenism
u  Co-existence of good and evil

u  Plato - an adherent of this group

n  A Creator - the cause of the world

Biblical Understanding of
n  Scriptural teaching of creation
–  not a scientific exposition (note
– stages of creation
– affirms the sacredness of the world
– a result of God's ecstatic love and free will
–  livan kalw'"
n  Judeao-Christian
teaching claims that
the world was created out of nothing
Creation ex nihilo
•  Not a biblical term as such;
•  Yet still a Biblical teaching
– 2 Macc. 7:28
“I beg you, my child, to look at the heaven and the
earth and see everything that is in them, and
recognize that God did not make them out of
things that existed (ejk oujk o[ntwn ). And in the
same way the human race came into being.”
- Heb. 11:3
"By faith we understand that the worlds were
prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen
was made from things that are not visible."
Working definition
n  The creation ex nihilo is an economic
manifestation of God the Trinity through
which God Himself, directly and without
any creative mediator freely creates the
world bringing everything into existence in
time as part of His pre-eternal plan for
the world from His ecstatic love.
Creation out of nothing

"   The world created from the will of God in

contrast to the Word begotten from the
essence of God before the ages.
"   St John of Damascus
"  “since the generation is a work of nature and proceeds
from the very substance of God, it must necessarily be
that it is eternal and without beginning. With creation on
the other hand, it is a work of the will, and is thus not co
- eternal with God. Thus to create is of the energy, but to
beget is of the nature, for nature and energy are not
"   Safeguards the ontological difference
between Creator and created.
Creation out of nothing

"  This teaching safeguards the

freedom of God.
"  God was not provoked to create so
as to put "order" in the world
"  Part of God's pre-eternal plan - this
safeguards God's simplicity
Creation – a Trinitarian act
w  The Scriptures claim that the Heavenly Father
creates the world (out of nothing) by means of His
Divine Word and His divine Spirit.
n  "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made and all
their host by the breath of His mouth." (Ps. 33:6-9)

w  Creation - a Trinitarian act of God

n  "we should understand in creation the original cause of the
Father as a founding cause, the cause of the Son as a
creative cause, and the cause of the Holy Spirit as an
implementing cause." St Basil.
Creation out of Nothing

§  God the Father wills - "creator of

all things" (1Cor.8:6)
§  God the Son activates - "through
whom all things were made" (Jn
§  God the Holy Spirit perfects - "in
whom are all things" (1Cor.2:10)
§  All three Persons create but in different
Two stages in creation
•  We have the creation
–  1. of the spiritual beings - that is the angels
–  2. Of the material world
•  The kosmos
•  The stars
•  The galaxies …..
•  The human person is the bridge between both these
worlds -
–  Human person as microcosm; crown and climax
–  "What is humanity that you are mindful of him? What is this
new mystery which concerns man? I am small and great,
lowly and exalted, mortal and immortal, earthly and
heavenly. I share one condition with the lower world, the
other with God." St Gregory the Theologian
Creation and Time
•  The creation of the world and the concept of
time occur simultaneously
•  Biblical references: Ps 90:2; Ps 92.2; Jn 17:5;
Gen 1:1; Eph 1:4
•  Logically there was NO conept of time since
times presupposes a succession of things BUT
before the creation of the word there was NO-
•  God's pre-eternal idea to create the world
becomes a reality.
Creation and Time

•  "nothing of what is created has the final end in

itself since it is not its own cause either, for
otherwise it would be uncreated and without
beginning and immovable, having nothing to
move towards… Nothing is an end in itself, for
otherwise it would be inactive, since it
possesses fullness within itself, and would
always be the same and would not have its
being from any other source. For what is an end
in itself is also without cause."
•  Maximus the Confessor, The Ambigua, PG 91.1072B-C.
In the Beginning
•  Fathers written expensively on the phrase "ejn
ajrchv" - a-temporal; creative explosion
•  "Perhaps these words "in the beginning God created" signify
the rapid and imperceptible moment of creation. The
beginning of the road is not yet the road, and those of the
house is not yet the house; so the beginning of time is not yet
time and not even the least particle of it. If some objector tells
us that the beginning is a time, he ought then, as he knows
well, to submit it to the division of time – a beginning, a
middle and an end. Now it is ridiculous to imagine a
beginning of a beginning. Further, if we divide the beginning
into two, we make two instead of one, or rather make
several; we really make an infinity, for all that which is divided
is divisible to the infinite. Thus then, if it is said, "in the
beginning God created", it is to teach us that at the will of
God the world arose in an atemporal manner (ajcrovnw")".
§  St Basil the Great Homilies from the Hexaemeron, 1.4. PG
Implications of the Creation
  A) creation as an act of absolute
freedom of God
  B) creation as an act of God's
absolute love
  C) The absolute otherness of Creator
and creation
  D) the mortality and immortality of
the creation
Creation as an act of
God's absolute freedom
•  Creation as a free act - unprovoked
•  No internal or external necessity on God's
•  “The creation of the world is accomplished by
God not out of any necessity, whether of
essence or of knowledge or of will, but out of
a sheer freedom which is not moved by
anything external that it should not have to be
a cause.”
l  Duns Scotus, taken from G. Florovsky, Creation and
Redemption, p.52
Creation as an act of God's
absolute love
© There is no other motive for the creation of the
world than love since God is love.
© God's freedom actualized in God's ec-static
© Therefore the starting point of all existence is
not an impersonal logical necessity but God's
© God loves us for who we ARE and not what we
do for Him.
© Therefore to live is to love since this is how
God exists.
The absolute otherness of
Creator and creation"
" This affirms the ontological gap between God
and his creation"
" God is the "entirely other" - K. Barth"
" St Cyril of Alexandria - "
"affirm that all things, both in heaven and on earth have been
by Him so that thereby He should be recognised as having no
natural !
affinity at all with creation; for the difference between creator and
is incomparable, between a nature uncreated, unadorned with the !
distinction of empire, possessed of divine and supramundane glory,
The mortality and immortality
of creation!
n  God elevates the world from ontological
mortality to charismatic immortality!
n  This affirms both the fragility of the world yet
the nobility of the world as well!
n  With God's love nothing does not necessarily
lead to nothing but to eternity!
n  "all creatures are balanced upon the creative word of
God, as if upon a bridge of diamond; above them is the
abyss of divine infinitude and below them that of their
own nothingness." !
n  tsken from K. Ware, The OrthodoxWay, p.57!
Ultimate end of creation"
n  Ultimate end coincides with the initial
reason of the world's creation"
n  Causa impulsiva and causa finalis
n  Proximate end - happiness of the whole
n  Final end - the glory of God"
n  Rom 11:36; Heb 2:10; Ps 19:1;Rom 1:19"
Earth is crammed with
heaven and every common
bush afire with God. But only
that person who sees, takes
off his shoes. The rest sit
around it and pluck