Is Willimon a heretic? Creation Ex Nihilo

Click to Order

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…

You Might Also Like

5 Replies to “Is Willimon a heretic? Creation Ex Nihilo”

  1. Genesis 1 does not seem to describe an ex nihilo creation but doesn’t John 1? I think we can infer that God created everything from philosophy and other statements made in the Bible outside the process described in Genesis.

      1. This may be my limited formal Bible training (just introductory classes at a liberal arts Christian college) showing but I’ve always read John 1:3 “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being” (NRSV) as supporting creation ex nihilo because if everything came into being with the Logos and not one thing came into being without him then only non-being would exist without the Logos. The only word I can think of that describes total non-being is nothing. Do you think John is referring to something else? Is it presumptuous to say that creation ex nihilo (maybe not phrased by that but something like it) is what John had in mind when he wrote this verse?

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.