We are reading this book for our Sunday School class. I’ve gotten to the fourth page so far and already, my whole theology has been shaken to the core. Can I trust the bible? Oh my… I’m kidding of course… But Willimon approaches the subject of Creation like this:
In Genesis, God does not really create the world out of nothing, ex nihilo, but rather works on the dark and formless void. Creation is that good that would not be there if God were not the sort of God who God is. God addresses the chaotic, formless stuff of darkness with, “Let there be light!” God speaks to the chaos, and in that address there is evocation of a world that God calls “good.” Creation is depicted in Genesis as a series of divine addresses.
To many, Creation Ex Nihilo is sacrosanct. I personally do not believe that. I tend to believe in Creation Ex Deo. I’m not sure where Willimon is going, but I wanted to use his statement here for my own jumping off point.
Two things. First, we know that matter cannot be created or destroyed. Second, we know that something existed before everything else. Now, I do not take Genesis 1 as actually applying to the creation of the world. Long story, but if you want to know, just ask.
When God was placing things in order, at the very beginning, or whatever, there did exist something. Chaos. Void. ‘Formless stuff of darkness.’ Something. It wasn’t nothing out of nothing which is, frankly, absurb. It was something out of something. Given that I believe that God existed before all, and that God obeys natural laws – the laws he created – creation cannot then be ex nihilo, but in my opinion, ex deo. I do not mean that the created mass then is the same as the Creator, but I do mean that the created mass is not wholly separate from God. In other words, God is not so transcendent that we are as his creation untouchable and unmanageable and unsaveable.
Anyway… I cannot wait to see where this books leads…