Creation

“The first sentence of sacred Scripture sets forth the affirmation upon which everything else is established: ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’ (Gen. 1:1).” No other explanation of the universe makes sense.

EX NIHILO NIHIL FIT [‘Out of nothing, nothing comes’]

Some hold the view “that the universe came into being suddenly and dramatically by its own power, although proponents of this view do not use the language of self-creation because they understand that this concept is a logical absurdity. In order for anything to create itself, it must be its own creator, which means it would have to exist before it was. That violates the most fundamental law of reason – the law of non-contradiction.”

“The term usually used in place of self-creation is chance creation…. The term chance is useful in scientific investigations because it describes mathematical possibilities.” But it is illegitimate “to shift the usage of the term to refer to something that has actual creative power,” because “chance is not a thing…. Since it has no being, it has no power. Therefore, to say that the universe came into being by chance – that chance exercised some power to bring the universe into being – merely takes us back to the idea of self-creation.”

We are left with “two options: that the universe is self-existent and eternal or that the material world is self-existent and eternal. Both of these options…agree that if anything exists now, then something somewhere must be self-existent. If that were not the case, nothing could exist at the present time. An absolute law of science is ex nihilo nihil fit, which means ‘out of nothing, nothing comes.’ … nothing cannot produce something…. Something has to be self-existent; something must have the power of being within it for anything to exist at all.”

However, “since virtually everything we examine in the material world manifests contingency and mutation, philosophers are loath to assert that this aspect of the universe is self-existent and eternal, because that which is self-existent and eternal is not given to mutation or change. So the argument is made that somewhere in the depths of the universe lies a hidden, pulsating core or power supply that is self-existent and eternal, and everything else in the universe owes its origin to that thing.”

“Advocates of the big band theory, for example, say that fifteen to eighteen billion years ago, the universe began as a result of a gigantic explosion. However, if the universe exploded into being, what did it explode out of? Did it explode out of non-being? That is an absurd idea. It is ironic that most secularists grant that the universe had a beginning yet reject the idea of creation and the existence of God.”

EX NIHILO

The Christian view is that “God created the world, ex nihilo, “out of nothing…. God is self-existent and eternal in His being, and He alone has the ability to create things out of nothing…. He alone has the ability to create matter, not merely reshape it from some preexisting material…. God created by the power and authority of His command. God said, ‘Let there be…’ and there was…. Nothing can resist the command of God, who brought the world and everything in it into being.”

[Adapted from chapter 16 of Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]