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The Nature And Relationship Of God And Creation


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The verse is understood as teaching creation from nothing, by the Eastern Orthodox, whose language is Greek.

 

The legacy of Origen, not necessarily the text itself.

 

 

From things that are not, or from nothing, what difference do you see in the two phrasings? Is there *something* in what is not?

 

A thing that is not is still a thing. A zygote is formed from something which it wasn't before, separate egg and sperm. In turn, the zygote will become something that it is not now, a multicellular being with differentiated organs, etc. What was before is gone--it is not. Cf. Genesis 42:36 KJV.

 

 

God created the soul of Adam from nothing.

 

God created the earth, and making Adam from something which God created does not make Adam created from the type of existing material of which Mormons believe. But of material that God made. Ultimately making him created from nothing.

 

 

Facts not in evidence, at least not in the text.

 

 

At any rate, LDS follow the Reformers, who removed Maccabees from the Biblical canon and reject the authority of the Church to interpret scripture. Instead, going with a shortened canon and self interpretations, as you are. So it comes down to where the authority to interpret scripture resides. My belief is, it is in the Church that Christ established during His ministry.

 

Churches are free to proclaim any official interpretation of the text they want. However, if the goal is to convince others of that interpretation, you're going to have to do better than "The Church says so."

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There are big problems for creation ex nihilo. 

 

1. Problem of Evil 

2. The Bible does not say that "space and time" were created 

3. and a Trinity God that exist outside time cannot think because time is required to think. 

4. How did God create time? Doesn't that take time?

5. How is existing outside time possible? Do you have any evidence? 

 

 

Stephen Hawking, the great theologian, has declared there is no after life and no Heaven! I for one am convinced! He's an extremely smart guy after all, right? How could he be wrong? 

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The quote feature stopped working on this device.

Origen sought to reconcile Christianity with Plato, and did so by rejecting creation ex nihilo. His error here is sometimes viewed as a catalyst for Arianism. Creation from material is incompatible with Christianity.

A sperm and egg are something that is, not something that is not.

I see the text speaks for itself. Claiming something that is, is something that is not, is ignoring reality.

Edited by saemo
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Questions about God, which have not been answered in revelation, so answers would be guesses. But, the questions presume God needs creation to create, reflecting a propensity to remove God from creation. Which coming from Mr. Hawking, is not a surprise. The Christian understanding of God, is that God has no need. A God that needs is dependent on something outside of Himself, and therefore, not in possession of the attributes of God, namely, omnipotence. But, if you believe in a God who is not omnipotent, fine, your belief is your prerogative, however, the God of Christianity is omnipotent.

What is more reasonable, to believe scripture is meant to be self interpretated, creating a scenario of thousands of interpretations with associated denominations, or, that Jesus gave authority to teach, including interpretation of scripture, to the Church He established. I have no interest in personal interpretations.

Edited by saemo
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if you believe in a God who is not omnipotent, fine, your belief is your prerogative, however, the God of Christianity is omnipotent.

 

So do you believe God can think outside time? How is it possible to exist and think outside time? 

 

Do you believe God can create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift? 

 

I don't believe in logical contradictions 

Edited by TheSkepticChristian
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Origen sought to reconcile Christianity with Plato, and did so by rejecting creation ex nihilo. His error here is sometimes viewed as a catalyst for Arianism. Creation from material is incompatible with Christianity.

 

Origen obviously didn't think so. :crazy:

 

 

A sperm and egg are something that is, not something that is not.

 

You missed my point. Once sperm and egg combine, it is no longer either sperm or egg. The zygote was created from things that are not.

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No, this verse does not teach creatio ex nihilo explicitly. First, there is a textual/translation issue here. The text could could just as easily read "God made them from things which are not" (note e to the verse in the New Jerusalem Bible, cf. Wisdom 11:17 and Hebrews 11:2). You quote the second half of the verse, but you don't consider the implication. "In the same way humankind came into existence." Now back up to Genesis 2:7, "Yahweh God shaped man from the ground." If Jason (or his abridger) intended say the world was created out of nothing (And why not just say so? It's not like there wasn't perfectly serviceable Greek words meaning "nothing."), he sure picked a strange way of doing it.

And what kind of "thing" is a "thing which is not"?

It had to already exist as a "thing" but a thing without form (matter unorganized, awaiting being changed into something nameable)

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God created ALL through the Word. Defining things creates them culturally, in language.

They may "exist" but be literally "no-thing" because they have not been named. Where was Michelangelo's Pieta before he defined its boundaries?

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God created ALL through the Word. Defining things creates them culturally, in language.

They may "exist" but be literally "no-thing" because they have not been named. Where was Michelangelo's Pieta before he defined its boundaries?

To expand, so there IS a sense in which "God created the world from no-thing" is absolutely true, in the sense that the Pieta was no-thing until Michelangelo "created" it.

So yes I believe that God created the world from no-thing, and so now I am a good fundamentalist Christian as well as a Mormon. ;)

The power of creation is in The Word and how you choose to understand it

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Questions about God, which have not been answered in revelation, so answers would be guesses. But, the questions presume God needs creation to create, reflecting a propensity to remove God from creation. Which coming from Mr. Hawking, is not a surprise. The Christian understanding of God, is that God has no need. A God that needs is dependent on something outside of Himself, and therefore, not in possession of the attributes of God, namely, omnipotence. But, if you believe in a God who is not omnipotent, fine, your belief is your prerogative, however, the God of Christianity is omnipotent.

What is more reasonable, to believe scripture is meant to be self interpretated, creating a scenario of thousands of interpretations with associated denominations, or, that Jesus gave authority to teach, including interpretation of scripture, to the Church He established. I have no interest in personal interpretations.

Surely He had some need to create in the first place
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Sorry for the late replies.  I was on vacation.

 

I have addressed all of this as well.

 

I start with the history of Ex Nihilo doctrine

 

Part 1

Part 2

 

Then I explain EXACTLY why it cannot be said that the Bible teaches Ex Nihilo

 

First Old Testament

 

 

Then New Testament

 

-Stephen

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So do you believe God can think outside time? How is it possible to exist and think outside time? 

 

Do you believe God can create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift? 

 

I don't believe in logical contradictions 

 

Or how can the members of the Trinity have a "relationship" outside of time?

 

God may be able to move outside of time "as we know it" , but not outside of space and time altogether.

 

-stephen

Edited by stephenpurdy
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Here is some of William Lane Craig's thoughts on the idea of a Timeless or a Temporal God:

----------------------------------------------------

Imagine God existing once more, alone, without the world, without the creation. Now in such a state, God is either timeless or temporal. If He's temporal, then the issue is decided. God is in time. So let's suppose that He's timeless. And now let's suppose that God decides to create the world, and He brings the universe into being. Now when He does so, God either remains timeless or else He becomes temporal in virtue of his new relationship to a changing world. If God becomes temporal, then clearly He is in time. So could God remain timeless while creating the universe? Well, I don't think so. Why? Because in creating the universe God undergoes at least an extrinsic change—a relational change. At the moment of creation He comes into a new relation in which he did not stand before because there was no "before." It's the first moment of time. And at the first moment of time, He comes into this new relation of sustaining the universe or at least of co-existing with the universe, a relation in which He did not stand before. And thus, in virtue of this extrinsic, relational change, God would be brought into time at the moment of creation.

Thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas attempted to elude the force of this argument by denying that God sustains any real relations with the created order. Aquinas granted that if God does come into new relations at the moment of creation, like being Lord, then He would be temporal. So Aquinas was driven to deny that God sustains any real relations to the world. Aquinas said that we as creatures are related really to God as His effects, but God is not really related to us as our cause or Creator. But I think that such a doctrine is clearly an expedient of desperation. God is causally related to the universe, and it seems impossible or incoherent to say that there could be real effects without a real cause. How could we be really related to God as effect to cause, but God not related to us as cause to effect? Moreover, God seems clearly related to us in that He knows us, He loves us, and He wills our existence. So it seems to me that Aquinas' solution is simply not plausible. These are real relations by any sensible definition of the term "real relation." Therefore I think we have a powerful reason for thinking that in virtue of His causal relationship to a temporal creation, God is temporal.

------------------------------------------
 
Now granted, LDS believe that William Lane Craig is wrong in the sense that he believes that God is some kind of formless spirit entity , but he makes some good points here.
 
However, let me return to the concept of creating free-will beings Ex Nihilo.
 
William Lane Craig says, "How could we be really related to God as effect to cause, but God not related to us as cause to effect? "
 
This is what I ask concerning "free-will" choices.  Can God cause an uncaused cause? 
 
Absolutely not.
 
-Stephen
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Origen obviously didn't think so. :crazy:

 

 

You missed my point. Once sperm and egg combine, it is no longer either sperm or egg. The zygote was created from things that are not.

 

The videos I created and just posted a link to go over this as well ... although I believe my example was a castle.    But the video goes in far more detail.

 

-stephen

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Or how can the members of the Trinity have a "relationship" outside of time?

 

God may be able to move outside of time "as we know it" , but not outside of space and time altogether.

 

-stephen

 

More assumptions. God is both inside and outside of Time, what ever time is. 

Edited by danielwoods
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Sorry, but I missed this post from earlier.

 

The Mormon belief about God appears to me as believing, all you need is a superior leveled being, who is exactly the same as yourself, to do things for you so you can climb levels. Eventually believing you will be superior yourself over lower leveled beings, who are exactly like you, who need you to do the same things for them so they can climb levels.

 

 

But God is not "exactly the same as myself".  In a relationship between two people, there is always a difference between the two people.  If there is a father and a son, the father will always be the father and the son will always be the son.   That relationship does not change.

 

LDS believe that the physical existence is representative of the spiritual existence.  Just as we have physical fathers, we have a Father in Heaven, the Father of our spirits.  A mortal father would like to see his children grow up, be successful, and become like the parents.  Likewise with God.  If you deny the idea that God wants us to be like Him, I think you missed something from the Biblical text, and I suggest that you pick it up and read it again.

 

Saemo wrote:  I don't view that as believing in God. More like believing in an organized group of like minded beings who want to help each other out. Similar to a country club.

 

I don't see how I am helping God out.  Again, with the children analogy:  If the room is a mess, the parents can probably clean up the room perfectly well without the children.  They don't need the help of the children, but that isn't the point.  Parents ask the children to help clean up because they need to learn and become responsible adults. 

 

Saemo wrote: So, the idea that is not in the country club, is that there is One God who is absolute sovereign over all, including you and how, when and why you are created.  You are not in need of the God that I believe. You have yourself (or selves, as it is).

 

That is nonsense.  God certainly did create me.  Just not a creation "out of nothing".  And there is nothing selfish about the LDS religion.  Everything about the Mormon faith leads to service to others.

 

 

Saemo wrote:  Certainly I don't hold a belief, that any man or woman is a god or will be a god. That idea puts an image in my head of little punky gods, running around in Elysian Fields, all self important but having a good time too.

 

So, when you read in the New Testament that "we will be like (Jesus)" or that we will "partake in the divine nature", do you interpret that as meaning that we will be "all self important punky gods"?

 

-stephen

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Stephen wrote: 

How would you know if logic cannot dictate either side, if you haven't bothered to analize the arguments that have been presented to you?

 

-Stephen

You know what I've analyzed? 

 

I provided a short 10 minute video: 

 

No post of yours that I have seen has addressed any of the arguments provided there.  Nor did you discuss the quotes of Hausam:

 

"If our choices are undetermined by God and first-causal by nature, they therefore cannot be effects of God’s creative activity. They cannot be explained by it or traced back to it. They are wholly self-existent or self-originated. God cannot create uncaused choices, directly or indirectly. He cannot create them directly, nor can he start in motion a chain of causes and effects that eventually leads to them, for the very simple reason that they are, by definition, uncaused or self-caused.  And the choices here cannot be separated from the person choosing. Since the choice is uncaused, the will that produces the choice must be uncaused. Since God did not create (even indirectly) any of the actual choices of the will, he did not create whatever it is in the will that is the cause of the actual choices we make. Even proponents of libertarian freedom will admit, although paradoxically, that the choices we make are the results of the motivations, desires, loves, values, priorities, beliefs, etc., that constitute who we are, that make up the real essence of our actual being. That is why our choices reveal who we are. If our choices were not produced from the essence of our being, they would not be our choices fundamentally and would not reveal anything about who we are."

 

Our choices are determined by God with "creation out of nothing" doctrine, because not only does God cause certain individuals to exist (out of infinite possibilities), but God also is the cause of the nature of each individual, which in turn determines how those individuals will act in any given circumstance.  He continues:

 

"Therefore, if God were the creator of our being or the essence of who we are, as a logically consistent account of creation ex nihilo would affirm, he would also be the creator and cause, at least indirectly, of the actual choices we make. But since these cannot be causally traced back to God, in Arminianism, the essence of who we are that our choices flow from, and thus reveal and express, must also be unable to be traced back to God or his creative activity. Whatever God created ex nihilo when he created human beings, he thus did not create that which constitutes the real essence of our being and character. So we can see that, in Arminian theology, the main implications of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo are negated and the doctrine itself is thus, in effect, relegated to practical unimportance, since the most important part of who we are, that which defines our primary essence, is not created by God, but is self-existent or self-created appropriate for such entities in Arminianism, although Arminians, being less consistent and developed in their theology, usually do not clearly see this and avoid the term because of its obvious clash with more classical theistic aspects of their thinking that they do not want to wholly or explicitly jettison."

 

 

Perhaps you DID analyze it, .... but you did not share your analysis?  I have not seen it.

 

-Stephen

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Stephen wrote: 

 

I provided a short 10 minute video: 

 

No post of yours that I have seen has addressed any of the arguments provided there.  Nor did you discuss the quotes of Hausam:

 

"If our choices are undetermined by God and first-causal by nature, they therefore cannot be effects of God’s creative activity. They cannot be explained by it or traced back to it. They are wholly self-existent or self-originated. God cannot create uncaused choices, directly or indirectly. He cannot create them directly, nor can he start in motion a chain of causes and effects that eventually leads to them, for the very simple reason that they are, by definition, uncaused or self-caused.  And the choices here cannot be separated from the person choosing. Since the choice is uncaused, the will that produces the choice must be uncaused. Since God did not create (even indirectly) any of the actual choices of the will, he did not create whatever it is in the will that is the cause of the actual choices we make. Even proponents of libertarian freedom will admit, although paradoxically, that the choices we make are the results of the motivations, desires, loves, values, priorities, beliefs, etc., that constitute who we are, that make up the real essence of our actual being. That is why our choices reveal who we are. If our choices were not produced from the essence of our being, they would not be our choices fundamentally and would not reveal anything about who we are."

 

Our choices are determined by God with "creation out of nothing" doctrine, because not only does God cause certain individuals to exist (out of infinite possibilities), but God also is the cause of the nature of each individual, which in turn determines how those individuals will act in any given circumstance.  He continues:

 

"Therefore, if God were the creator of our being or the essence of who we are, as a logically consistent account of creation ex nihilo would affirm, he would also be the creator and cause, at least indirectly, of the actual choices we make. But since these cannot be causally traced back to God, in Arminianism, the essence of who we are that our choices flow from, and thus reveal and express, must also be unable to be traced back to God or his creative activity. Whatever God created ex nihilo when he created human beings, he thus did not create that which constitutes the real essence of our being and character. So we can see that, in Arminian theology, the main implications of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo are negated and the doctrine itself is thus, in effect, relegated to practical unimportance, since the most important part of who we are, that which defines our primary essence, is not created by God, but is self-existent or self-created appropriate for such entities in Arminianism, although Arminians, being less consistent and developed in their theology, usually do not clearly see this and avoid the term because of its obvious clash with more classical theistic aspects of their thinking that they do not want to wholly or explicitly jettison."

 

 

Perhaps you DID analyze it, .... but you did not share your analysis?  I have not seen it.

 

-Stephen

 

I don't disagree with logic, I disagree with your assumptions and assertions. 

 

You base your conclusion on the assumption that God couldn't create free will out of nothing. Then logically infer that since that is true, something must have existed for God to create free will out of, since he can't create it out of nothing or himself. And logically that something must have an eternal nature as God does. 

 

I disagree with your base assumption. That God can't create a moral free willed being out of nothing. You make and reference many arguments in an attempt to defend your position, but you don't explain why God has this particular limitation.

calmoriah said that, "It is equivalent to God creating a rock he cannot lift." Which, if that is also your argument, you need to explain why. I can understand why God cannot create a rock he cannot lift. I don't understand why God can't create, out of nothing, a moral free willed being. Which in my mind is the very core of why God created anything in the first place and the very essence of his "image" in us. Freedom to choose him or not.

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I don't understand why God can't create, out of nothing, a moral free willed being. Which in my mind is the very core of why God created anything in the first place and the very essence of his "image" in us. Freedom to choose him or not.

 

And others can't understand why God *can* create, out of nothing, a moral free willed being. The argument there is that their nature will contribute to the exercise of their free will and thus ultimately govern it. Seeing how we don't understand how free will operates, either position is just one having an unsubstantiated opinion.

I obviously side with our nature is uncreate as opposed to merely being influential (though our created bodies do influence us, that is accepted as well). The question the creatio ex nihilo advocates need to answer is *how* much does our body, nature, and soul influence the exercise of our free will. And if they *can* influence the nature of our free will, why did God not simply create an Adam that would have been influenced to be obedient as opposed to creating some reprobate who would destroy the peaceful harmony of God's creation. Why do that?

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And others can't understand why God *can* create, out of nothing, a moral free willed being. The argument there is that their nature will contribute to the exercise of their free will and thus ultimately govern it. Seeing how we don't understand how free will operates, either position is just one having an unsubstantiated opinion.

I obviously side with our nature is uncreate as opposed to merely being influential (though our created bodies do influence us, that is accepted as well). The question the creatio ex nihilo advocates need to answer is *how* much does our body, nature, and soul influence the exercise of our free will. And if they *can* influence the nature of our free will, why did God not simply create an Adam that would have been influenced to be obedient as opposed to creating some reprobate who would destroy the peaceful harmony of God's creation. Why do that?

 

The "argument" that their nature will ultimately govern their will, thus making it not free is not validated in reality and doesn't negate the idea that God gave us the freedom to choose right or wrong. 

 

If this argument was an accurate description of reality, we'd find that all poor people with the same nature would react the same way to their poor situation. But, that isn't the case at all. Everyone doesn't react the same way to equal conditions. 

 

The error of your last question is the same as before. If God is influencing our free will, that is by definition not free will. 

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Sorry for the late replies.  I was on vacation.

And you did not get our permission first?

 

I hope you understand you are in serious trouble.

 

;)

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The error of your last question is the same as before. If God is influencing our free will, that is by definition not free will.

I get it. You want to say nothing influences our free will, albeit no competent observer will say so. Set that aside for a moment and ask did God know what Adam would do? Did he know how Adam would exercise his free will? And if so, why not simply roll the dice again as it were until he made somebody who would use their free will the right way (irrespective of influences - a moot matter ultimately)? Or, did God not know beforehand how Adam would exercise his free will to bring ruination down on his perfect creation?
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I get it. You want to say nothing influences our free will, albeit no competent observer will say so. Set that aside for a moment and ask did God know what Adam would do? Did he know how Adam would exercise his free will? And if so, why not simply roll the dice again as it were until he made somebody who would use their free will the right way (irrespective of influences - a moot matter ultimately)? Or, did God not know beforehand how Adam would exercise his free will to bring ruination down on his perfect creation?

Great point.  I will have to steal it sometime.  ;)

 

Either God didn't know, or he allowed it to happen.

Edited by mfbukowski
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