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creation ex nihilo

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of religio n Creation out of nothing, in contrast to the claim that ex nihilo nihil fit (nothing comes out of nothing). Christian theists held the doctrine that God created the world out of nothing, contrary to the view of the relation between God and the world expressed by Plato and Neoplatonism . The doctrine of creation ex nihilo maintains that matter is not eternal and that no matter existed prior to a divine creative act at the initial moment of the cosmic process. Whilst the pre-existence of matter would restrict God to the role of a formal cause or an agent that orders or arranges pre-existing stuff, the doctrine of creation ex nihilo holds that matter was created instantaneously by God out of nothing, in the strict sense of absolute non-being. On this view, creation is absolutely without determination. For example, God did not create the world because he needed this action to complete his nature. God is held to be necessary and is not confronted with any alien and rival necessity that might determine or constrain his acts. “According to classical theism God created the world ‘out of nothing’ ( ex nihilo ).” H. Owen, Concepts of Deity ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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