Wednesday, December 28, 2016

God creating the world out of nothing?

God created the world, as we read in Genesis. However, did He create it out of nothing or out of something? Does nothing truly exist outside of God? This creates a number of theological problems. However, Philip Sherrard in his book Christianity and Eros explains this theme, giving the true theological exegesis of creation. Sherrard writes:

‘One of the cornerstones of Christian doctrine is the idea that God creates the world – and man – out of nothing: ex nihilo. But this nothing – the nihil – out of which God creates the world is not and cannot be a nothing that exists, so to speak, outside God, independently of God, because this would mean that something exists outside God from all eternity. There would be a duality art the basis of all things. On the contrary, unless one is to admit such a basic duality, it must be recognised that this nothing describes what is within God, some aspect of his nature. It must in some way represent the inchoate depths of his nature: a ground of pure potentiality or receptivity at the heart of the Divine, its innermost principle or pole, and so a kind of pre-ontological or pre-conscious reality. To adopt Christian terminology, it is what might be described as the ‘divine darkness.’ Creation therefore is not the result of God implanting the seeds of things in a nothingness that is external to him. Rather it is an exteriorisation of the innermost depths of his nature. It is the activisation of the pure potentiality or pre-ontological ground of the divine darkness. This is the nihil or non-being out of which all things are brought into existence. (pp.71-2). 

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