Ex Nihilo

Most Christians believe the universe was created by God from absolutely nothing. The world then was said to be created ex nihilo. Like many theological terms, ex nihilo is Latin. It means “from nothing”. It is an important concept that finds its roots in the early church when there was much argument over whether or not the universe was made by God from pre-existing matter. It is important because it is fundamental to our concept of God and God’s relationship with the Universe.

If we believe that God is eternal, then logically nothing could exist before God. If we believe that “the world depends on God for its existence” (McGrath, 220) then we must also believe God created its substance, in whatever form. I think the implications of this are profound in that God, in creation, completely made the universe, and in a similar way God loves that creation completely. We were made in God’s image as part of that creation and are loved completely as well.

In the Gospel of John (3:16) we read that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” Did God send Jesus because the universe was made from nothing? Was it a factor in God’s love for us? What do you think?

(ref: Alistair E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction, 5th Ed. UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.)

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