Deus Ex Machina

"This is the generation of the great LEVIATHAN, or rather, to speak more reverently of that mortal god, to which we own under the immortal God, our peace and defense." -Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan

A Puzzle about Ex Nihilo Creation; Does the Classical Doctrine of Creation Lead to Atheism?

Now that I think about it, I think Milton has a good point when he rejected creation ex nihilo and argued that the creation must necessarily have come out of God’s infinite life and being and not “from nothing”. Theists often point out that the idea that the universes simply popped into existence out of nothing, or that something can come out of nothing, is senseless and irrational, but the (classical) theist says exactly the same thing, that God created the world “ex nihilo” or out of nothing. Thus, the atheist and the “classical” theist are basically saying the exact same thing: that the world came out of nothing. The only difference is that the atheist merely removes the completely superfluous God out of the process.

(A friend of mine once argued that Thomas Aquinas was really just a closet atheist because his arguments against God were so much stronger and better than his arguments for it. Maybe with his innovation of the doctrine of “creation ex nihilo”, Aquinas was really trying to subvert the Christian faith by subtlety sneaking in a nihilistic proposition that the world owes its existence to nothing and that the world could have come out of nothing sans God. Bloody scholastics!)

If, as theists argue, something must come out of something, then obviously the universe must come out of something which preceded it, God. God could not have created it “ex nihilo” but out of his own infinite divine life and being. I am here reminded of Rowan Williams’ interesting reinterpretation of omnipotence, not as infinite power, but rather infinite resources, whereby God has an infinite abundance of life to “give away” to the void.

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One comment on “A Puzzle about Ex Nihilo Creation; Does the Classical Doctrine of Creation Lead to Atheism?

  1. Pingback: When Nothing Becomes God (or is it vice-versa?) | Eclectic Orthodoxy

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This entry was posted on September 18, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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