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Geisler, Norman Systematic Theology II Vol.

Chapters 18 and 19

Systematic Theology II Chapter Eighteen “Alternative Views on Creation” pp. 423-440

Alterative Views on Creation
• There are three primary alternatives: 1.Materialism 2.Pantheism 3.Theistic

• Two basic subdivisions of materialism: 1.Platonism: God created out of preexisting matter. 2.Atheism: There is no god, matter is eternal.

• Absolute Pantheism claims that only mind (or spirit) exists, not matter. What we call matter is only an illusion, like a dream or mirage: It appears to exist, but it really does not exist. • This is much like the dream world that existed in the movie The Matrix.

• Non-Absolute Pantheism holds a more flexible and elastic view of reality. According to this thinking, there are many things in the world, but they all spring from the essence of the One (God). • The word was not made out of nothing (ex nihilo), or out of something preexisting (ex materia)—it was made out of God (ex Deo).

Summary of Pantheistic View of Origin: • There is no absolute distinction between Creator and Creation. • There is an eternal relation between Creator and Creation. • The World is of the same “stuff” as God. • Human Beings are God.

• In contrast to both materialism and pantheism, there is the JudeoChristian view that God created all that is, out of nothing (ex nihilo). • According to this position, God is above and beyond the world, not merely in it, and certainly no of it. God created the world and manifests Himself in it (Ps. 19:1).

Important Elements of the Theistic View of Creation
• There is an absolute difference between Creator and Creation. • Creation had a Beginning, God does not. • The “Nothing” out of which God created was “absolute nothing.” • Creation out of Nothing is not creation by Nothing.

Source of Creation
• The source of creation is a theistic God: He alone can create something from nothing. • Not only did God create, but only God can create. This is in distinction to “recreate” or “reduplicate” which uses existing elements to produce something.

The Content of Creation
• God created everything that exists: He created “the heaven and the earth” and “every living thing” (Gen. 1:1, 20-27, KJV) • All things are from God, but they are not of God. In other words, God did not pull out pieces or essence from Himself and create. He created out of absolute nothing.

The Method of Creation
• God is the source of creation, and His Word is the means. God created by His unlimited power and by His will. He was not compelled by anything to create. Creation came from nothing more than His own desire or will to create and by necessity.

The Time of Creation
• God created “in the beginning.” God is eternal, but the world is not. The universe came to be, but God always was (actually, is). • Both time and space were created with the universe.

The Purpose of Creation
• If God created freely, then we can ask, Why did He create, rather than not create? • Augustine’s answer was “because it is good.” • Aquinas concurred, saying, “God brings things into existence in order that his goodness may be communicated and manifested.”

Be familiar with the following table
CATEGORY Source of Creation Method of Creation Duration of Creation Relation of Creation and Creature God’s Control THEISM Creator beyond nature Out of nothing (ex nihilo) Temporal Creator and creation (really different) Unlimited MATERIALISM No Creator PANTHEISM Creator within nature Out of something Out of God (ex materia) (ex Dio) Eternal No real Creator Eternal No real Creator

Limited or nonexistent


Systematic Theology II Chapter Nineteen
“The Origin of Material Creation” pp. 441-474

The Biblical Basis for Creation
The word create (bara) is used in connection with three great events in Genesis 1: the creation of matter (v. 1), living things (1:21), and human beings (1:27).

The Creation of Matter
• Gen. 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” • This verse describes the origin of all things, and creation is the foundation for everything else that follows. It is a reference to creation from nothing (ex nihilo).

The Origin of Matter
All of this was created by God “in the beginning.” And “through him all things were made” (Jn. 1:3). God created “all things . . . Visible and invisible” (Col. 1:16). He created “heavens and earth.” He creation includes the “land,” the “seas” (Gen. 1:10), and all plants and animals (vv. 6-26). It includes also the human body that was made “from the dust of the ground” (Gen. 2:7). This is a real material universe, and it was created by God.

The Origin of Matter
• Matter was created from Nothing • Matter was created by God, Not out of God

The Nature of Matter
• Material Creation is Contingent: That is to say, even though the world exists, it could nevertheless not exist; it is, but it might not be. • Material Creation is Finite, only God is infinite. • Material Creation is Spatial and Temporal, restricted to space and time. • Material Creation is Good.

Creation of Living Things
• God not only created matter (Gen. 1:1), but He also created “every living thing that moves” (Gen. 1:21 NKJV)

Creation of Living Things
• The Origin of Live: All life exists because God wills it to exist (Acts 17:25) • The Nature of Life: 1.There is unity of all life. 2.There is diversity of all life. 3.All life was created to multiply. 4.There is stability in life, created to continue. 5.Humankind was given dominance over all life.

Creation of Humankind
• The Origin of Humankind “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7)

The Nature of Humankind
• Human dignity: Humankind is a special creation of God. • Human sanctity: Human life is sacred. Murder is, as it were, killing God in effigy.

The Image and Likeness of God
• • • • Image includes intellectual likeness to God Image includes moral likeness to God Image includes volitional likeness to God Image includes the body: not that God has a body, but that the human body communicates something about the image of God. We are like God, but God is not like us in all respects.

Baseless Arguments for Racism
Be prepared to refute the following errant arguments which are used to support racist positions: •The Mark of Cain •The Command not to Intermarry with other Nations •God Desired nations to be separate (See Geisler, pp. 454-455)

The Basis for Ethnic Intermarriage
First, all ethnic groups are from the same race—the human First race. Second, the New Testament specifically repeats that we are Second all “from one blood” (Acts 17:26, NKJV) Third, there are biblically approved cases of ethnic Third intermarriage (such as Ruth’s and Rahab’s) Fourth, when Moses married an Ethiopian and was criticized, Fourth God intervened and judged those who disapproved. Fifth, and finally, the scriptural commands applicable to Fifth marriage are to marry “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39, NKJV), someone with whom one is not “unequally yoked together” (meaning, not an unbeliever—2 Cor. 6:14, NKJV).

The twofold purpose of humankind is to honor the Creator and to enjoy His creation.

The Purpose of Humankind

The Debate on Creation and Evolution
Young-Earth Creationists insist that creation occurred in 144 hours—six successive twenty-four hour days with the text of Genesis 1 understood as literal. Old-Earth Creationists allow for millions (even billions) of years with the text in Genesis understood as symbolic. Theistic Evolutionists believe God used evolution as His means for producing the various forms of physical life on this planet, including human life.

According to Geisler (p. 473) The essentials of Creationism that are consistent with the Christian faith include the following: 1.There is a theistic God. 2.Creation of the universe was ex nihilo 3.Every living thing was created by God. 4.Adam and Eve were a direct and special creation of God. 5.The Genesis account of creation is historical, not mythological.