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Monday
May052008

Theological Term of the Week

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creation ex nihilo
Literally, creationout of nothing,” refering to the tenet that prior to God’s first creative act, only God existed, and there was no material in existence, so that when God created the universe, he did not use preexisting materials.
  • From the Belgic Confession, Article 12:
    We believe that the Father by the Word, that is, by His Son, has created of nothing the heaven, the earth, and all creatures, when it seemed good unto Him; giving unto every creature its being, shape, form, and several offices to serve its Creator…
  • Hebrews 11:3:
    By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
  • From Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology:
    Because God created the entire universe out of nothing there is no matter in the universe that is eternal. All that we see—the mountains, the oceans, the stars, the earth itself—all came into existence when God created them….

    This reminds us that God rules over all the universe and that nothing in creation is to be worshiped instead of God or in addition to him. However, were we to deny creation out of nothing, we would have to say that some matter has always existed and that it is eternal like God. This idea would challenge God’s independence, his sovereignty, and the fact that worship is due to him alone; if matter existed apart from God, then what inherent right would God have to rule over it and use it for his glory? And what confidence could we have that every aspect of the universe will ultimately fulfill God’s purposes, if some parts of it were not created by him? 
Learn more:
  1. Got Questions.org: What does creation “ex nihilo” mean? 
  2. Tim ChalliesEssential Theology: Creation
  3. J. I. Packer: God Is the Creator
  4. Theopedia: Creation out of nothing
  5. Theopedia: Creation
  6. Fred Sanders: Notes for a Doctrine of Creation
  7. Wayne Grudem: The Doctrine of Creation, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 (mp3s)
Related terms:

Filed under God’s Nature and His Work.

Have you come across a theological term that you don’t understand and that you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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Reader Comments (1)

Wow. This one's a bit of a mind bender -- for me anyway. I really appreciate Grudem's take on it.

May 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjen elslager

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