Creation of the world ex nihilo
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 Ancient cosmogonies t Hyloism t Manichaenism t Creator 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 n n n n n n n n n
Biblical foundations u Macc. 7:28; Heb 11:3 From God's will not His essence Safeguards God's freedom - ie unprovoked Meaning of nihil Part of God's eternal plan A Trinitarian act of God 2 stages in creation u Spiritual and material The Human person - the crown of creation Creation in Time Creation and Evolution
Signiﬁcance of this teaching!
This teaching alone would have been enough to build all other teachings of our Church! 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 theories of creation n Hyloism
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 living….."
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 Creation
teaching of creation
– not a scientific exposition (note discrepencies) – stages of creation – affirms the sacredness of the world – a result of God's ecstatic love and free will – livan kalw'"
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.”
"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."
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 identical.”
" 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.
"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
"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 1:3) § God the Holy Spirit perfects - "in whom are all things" (1Cor.2:10)
§ All three Persons create but in different ways.
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 NOTHING. • 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 doctrine
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
part • “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.”
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 love © Therefore the starting point of all existence is not an impersonal logical necessity but God's love © 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 constructed! by Him so that thereby He should be recognised as having no natural ! afﬁnity at all with creation; for the difference between creator and created! 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 n n n
God elevates the world from ontological mortality to charismatic immortality! This afﬁrms both the fragility of the world yet the nobility of the world as well! With God's love nothing does not necessarily lead to nothing but to eternity! "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." !
tsken from K. Ware, The OrthodoxWay, p.57!
Ultimate end of creation"
end coincides with the initial reason of the world's creation" n Causa impulsiva and causa ﬁnalis coincide" n Proximate end - happiness of the whole creation" 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 blueberries.