Creation ex nihilo

It appears to me that creation ex nihilo employs 'nothing' in a certain narrow sense, as in being the non-existence of all things whose existence is material or physical. True nothingness, however, would be utter and absolute non-existence, not restricted to material or physical existence. The case in point being the existence of God. If God exists, then the existence of God is incompatible with absolute nothingness, because that would demand even the non-existence of God. If God exists, and if we are to be stringent in our use of nothing, then creation ex nihilo is untenable. It would simply translate as saying that God created universe out of a state of affairs in which there was no material/physical existence.


Qasim Aziz said…
But I am still a bit unclear about this conclusion. The argument that there is a conflict between creation ex nihilio and eternal presence of God works with an assumption. The assumption is a very subtle one, that God is a 'thing', a 'substance', a being etc. Hence the eternal presence of a being makes creation ex nihilio impossible.

Well, I have trouble with such understanding of God. Our ordinary everyday language starts to break down when we ask such questions. Have a look at this question.
Does God exist?

I am not really sure whether we understand these concepts yet. What is 'existence'? What is 'is'? And above all what is 'God'?

So, I would still argue that the creation ex nihilio is used in a narrow sense. In short, there was no physical substance before creation. God created it out of such 'nothingness'. Absolute nothingness in the sense that the absence of any 'physical substance'.
Awais Aftab said…
@ Qasim

My assumptions are
1) God exists.
2) Absolute Nothingness implies the absence of all existence.

I don't think a Theist can consistently doubt 1) and espouse creation ex nihilo. We can talk about God creating the world, yet we can still be doubtful whether God exists? If we maintain that we cannot meaningfully say 'God exists' (given the limitations of ordinary language) then we cannot meaningfully say 'God created the World out of Nothing' either. The only alternative would be a Wittgensteinian silence.
Qasim Aziz said…
'The rest is silence' ;-)

Btw, what if God decides to end creation someday? If creation ex deo is the case, then what will that amount to?
Awais Aftab said…
@ Qasim

Lol. Here's a wildly speculative answer.

Assuming that it is in God's power to end creation, I suppose the world will be destroyed in its 'form' and it's Being will return to being the original undifferentiated Being of God.
Komal said…
Yes, you're right. Creation ex nihilo implies creation from nothing physical, or perhaps from nothing temporal. It's just a semantic thing.
ProfoundReverie said…
For me, nothingness is a state beyond which human brain stops perceiving anything. But maybe it's "something" for God. I am a theist and I believe that human mind is limited in the amount of knowledge it can attain, and the power of God is not limited to that point where my mind stops working. :D