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I have been wondering how can God create matter and energy out of nothing when nothing is simply nothing. Unless God simply created matter and energy when nothing else other than Himself existed. When theologians say God created matter and energy out of nothing, I find this confusing because it implies that God used nothing in the process of creation, since nothing will always be nothing, this seems problematic.

It seems that there are others who believe that creation Ex Nihilo was not an interpretation of this scripture until the 2nd centry. This leads to my question:

Does Genesis teach creation "Ex Nihilo"?

closed as off-topic by Dan, fredsbend, Flimzy, David Stratton Aug 2 '14 at 14:56

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    Eustace, welcome! There's a core of a good question here - I mean a very good question - but as it's phrased, it can be answered a zillion different ways. We're designed to focus on questions specifically talking about the beliefs of particular Christian denominations; if you ask how different denominations answer this question, we'll be able to answer you better. – Matt Gutting Aug 1 '14 at 16:34
  • The accepted doctrine is that He created it out of literally nothing. If you're asking for something that can convince you, personally, you're in the wrong place. we're not here to convince you. You might also need to read How we are different than other sites? – David Stratton Aug 1 '14 at 17:56
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Although a traditional understanding of Creation is 'ex nihilo' - out of nothing, it can be seen from one of the passages quoted by another answer (John 1:1-3) and also the following:

By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. - Hebrews 11:3 NET (cf. other versions)

That this doctrine is actually slightly misleading - in fact creation didn't come from 'nothing', but according to scripture, it came from 'the invisible'. Together with John 1:1-3 & Proverbs 8:22-23, we can infer that 'the invisible' preceding 'building blocks' of the Universe are variously termed 'The Word of God' and 'The wisdom of God' which from an orthodox Trinitarian perspective are understood to be attributes of God's nature particularly associated with the second person of the Trinity: the Son - 'begotten before all worlds'. So viewed through a scriptural filter, Creation 'ex nihilo' would mean God created everything using nothing apart from himself.

  • This is a very good and clever answer. – gideon marx Aug 2 '14 at 9:54
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Yes, the bible says that God created matter, time, space, logic, physics, etc... out of nothing.

John 1:1-3 ESV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

So, with a plain interpretation of the scriptures we see that God literally made everything. You now ask...does that make sense? To that I ask: who made sense? Who made wisdom?

Proverbs 8:22-23 ESV The Lord possessed me [wisdom] at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Romans 11:33 ESV Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

You are correct in saying that God making something out of nothing goes against human logic and reasoning--but that's because God created human logic and reasoning and that reasoning is finite. Can you imagine a stick with only 1 end? Can you imagine an all powerful God creating a rock so big he can't lift it? Can you imagine what it's like to be outside of time?

These are just some of the mysteries of God that do have answers, but our brains can't handle them.

  • Eustace, just to expand a little on LCIII's excellent answer, even your concept of "nothing" is a thing. I've long held the opinion that ANYTHING I can wrap my mind around is not big enough to be my God. From that vantage-point, I avoid the question, "Does this make sense" when trying to grasp the godness of God. – DJGray Aug 1 '14 at 16:53
  • What Bible says that God created out of nothing? The verses you quoted does not say that at all unless you are using a bit of imagination. – gideon marx Aug 2 '14 at 9:53
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You are correct; it is evident that “nothing” always begets “nothing”. Your premise “nothing will always be nothing” asserts that since we encounter “something” then an eternal reality is imperative.

The Bible asserts that God is eternal and that God is responsible for the heaven and the earth:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth

It appears this is why you readily accept that God is the “eternal imperative”. Your question then “How can God create matter and energy out of nothing” God is not “nothing” but rather “someone”. He has no beginning and He will have no end. So God creates from His own volition.

In contrast we observe that all things “material” have a beginning and are sourced without their own volition.

Only “nothing” can source itself into existence, but then what is "nothing"?

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