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Did God create The Universe?


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3 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

As Solomonia, the mother of the Maccabees said, "look at the earth and sky and everything in them, and consider how God made them out of what did not exist, and that human beings come into being in the same way." (2 Macc. 7:28)

It sounds like this verse is saying that God made all things out of something, "out of what did not exist".  This has to be the "formless matter" described in the Wisdom of Solomon:

"For your all-powerful hand, which created the world out of formless matter, did not lack the means to send upon them a multitude of bears, or bold lions" (Wisdom of Solomon 11:17).

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14 hours ago, Stargazer said:

"I think the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing, according to the laws of science." 

Spontaneously?  No pre-conditions?  No clue as to what "set off" the Big Bang?  How did that "infinitesimal point" come to be?

Out of nothing?  Mathematically illogical.  An empty set cannot produce a non-empty set.

According to the laws of science?  The Big Bang Theory is just that.  Not yet proven.  Only feverish imaginations and lame extrapolations.

14 hours ago, Stargazer said:

And why does he think this?

"As we travel back in time towards the moment of the Big Bang, the universe gets smaller and smaller and smaller,

It has been said that there is NO "outer boundary" that encloses the entire universe.  Also that a "spacecraft" will have to travel in a straight line continually until it eventually comes back to its starting point (kind of like seeing the back of your head).  It will need to travel at "ludicrous speed" in order to get a more accurate measurement of the distance traveled.  Do this every billion years it will be able to determine if the universe is expanding, contracting or remains static.  The universe would have to be finite.  Otherwise there is NO way to do the measurement.  I don't think the "Red Shift" can provide the "last word" on the expansion of the universe.

14 hours ago, Stargazer said:

until it finally comes to a point where the whole universe is a space so small that it is in effect a single infinitesimally small, infinitesimally dense black hole.

Infinitesimally small?  Point of singularity has NO size.  Dense black hole?  You must mean infinitely dense.  If it has NO size, then the density cannot possibly be measured!  If it had ANY mass, would the amount of matter issuing forth from the Big Bang be infinite?

Black Holes have varying sizes and varying masses.  I suppose their densities can be measured based on the diameter of the event horizons (side to side) and the amount of mass can be calculated based on its gravitational effect on objects orbiting around them.

14 hours ago, Stargazer said:

And just as with modern-day black holes, floating around in space, the laws of nature dictate something quite extraordinary. They tell us that here too time itself must come to a stop.

Black Holes exist IN time.  Point of singularity is oblivious of time.

14 hours ago, Stargazer said:

You can’t get to a time before the Big Bang because there was no time before the Big Bang.  We have finally found something that doesn’t have a cause, because there was no time for a cause to exist in. For me this means that there is no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed in."

This makes me think of the joke about how many psychiatrist does it take to change a light bulb?  Just one but the bulb has to WANT to change.

For a point of singularity to exist, we are forced back to the question of pre-conditions (see above).

14 hours ago, Stargazer said:

No doubt he thought this was a huge GOTCHA moment. I myself had an amazing realization while reading this. 

Whatever one thinks of Big Bangs, the brilliant Hawking seems to have missed a very important absurdity in these last two sentences.

In one sense, Hawking is correct. But in a more fundamental one, he is utterly wrong. In order for a creator to have created the Big Bang, he could not possibly be in the universe he was then creating, because it would have required that He create Himself. This is an absurdity, which of course Hawking recognizes. But who says that the Creator was in the universe that He created? It's a completely unwarranted assumption. The Cause of the universe had to have caused it from outside that universe -- and thus the argument that "there [was] no time for a creator to have existed in" fails.

Although I earned a bachelor of science degree in Math, I am leery and skeptical of the various theories propounded.  Don't ask me to review the math.  :vava:

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3 hours ago, Stargazer said:

The scriptures don't say a lot of things that happen to be the case. For example, the scriptures say nothing about the planet Uranus. Does this mean a Christian should not believe in the planet Uranus?

Should Christians believe God created Uranus? Let me ask, do you believe God directly creates impact craters?

 

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14 hours ago, Chum said:
15 hours ago, Stargazer said:

What happens when our galaxy merges with the Andromeda galaxy in 2 billion years?

I'm sure the DoJ has their rubber stamp ready.

The DoJ SWAT team will be ready (just in case).

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6 minutes ago, longview said:

Spontaneously?  No pre-conditions?  No clue as to what "set off" the Big Bang?  How did that "infinitesimal point" come to be?

Out of nothing?  Mathematically illogical.  An empty set cannot produce a non-empty set.

According to the laws of science?  The Big Bang Theory is just that.  Not yet proven.  Only feverish imaginations and lame extrapolations.

It has been said that there is NO "outer boundary" that encloses the entire universe.  Also that a "spacecraft" will have to travel in a straight line continually until it eventually comes back to its starting point (kind of like seeing the back of your head).  It will need to travel at "ludicrous speed" in order to get a more accurate measurement of the distance traveled.  Do this every billion years it will be able to determine if the universe is expanding, contracting or remains static.  The universe would have to be finite.  Otherwise there is NO way to do the measurement.  I don't think the "Red Shift" can provide the "last word" on the expansion of the universe.

Infinitesimally small?  Point of singularity has NO size.  Dense black hole?  You must mean infinitely dense.  If it has NO size, then the density cannot possibly be measured!  If it had ANY mass, would the amount of matter issuing forth from the Big Bang be infinite?

Black Holes have varying sizes and varying masses.  I suppose their densities can be measured based on the diameter of the event horizons (side to side) and the amount of mass can be calculated based on its gravitational effect on objects orbiting around them.

Black Holes exist IN time.  Point of singularity is oblivious of time.

This makes me think of the joke about how many psychiatrist does it take to change a light bulb?  Just one but the bulb has to WANT to change.

For a point of singularity to exist, we are forced back to the question of pre-conditions (see above).

Although I earned a bachelor of science degree in Math, I am leery and skeptical of the various theories propounded.  Don't ask me to review the math.  :vava:

You seem to be arguing with Hawking, not me. He's no longer available to take the issue up, in case you missed it.

And I'm afraid your bachelors in math is inadequate to enable you to argue quantum physics with a PhD in the field, which he was. Hawking understood that the known laws of physics break down inside the event horizon of a black hole, and we cannot know what's inside them. As for the singularity from which the Big Bang resulted, it's even worse. Presumably it would be a black hole in and of itself, so how does it turn into the Universe? The only thing Hawking had was: "It just did."  Even such a luminary as Nobel prize winner Richard Feynman once said, "If you think you understand quantum physics, then you don't understand quantum physics." 

In Hawking's last book he provided his opinion as to how it happened that the universe emerged from the quantum soup, but he provided no mathematics for it. He's entitled to his opinion, of course. 

My favorite quantum physics music video below. Tim Blais holds a MSc in quantum physics, and I've tried to read his master's thesis (about quantum gravity), "A new quantization condition for parity-violating three-dimensional gravity," and I can't even understand the abstract! In Tim's acknowledgements in the thesis he writes: "Most importantly I must thank God, the foundation of all order, to whom I owe both the theories I study and the brain to make sense of them, and without whom I would have given up on this project long ago." Lovely to have a scientist who's not afraid to acknowledge the Almighty!

 

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3 hours ago, InCognitus said:

It sounds like this verse is saying that God made all things out of something, "out of what did not exist".  This has to be the "formless matter" described in the Wisdom of Solomon:

"For your all-powerful hand, which created the world out of formless matter, did not lack the means to send upon them a multitude of bears, or bold lions" (Wisdom of Solomon 11:17).

I can see how a Latter-day Saint might want to fit the verse from 2 Maccabees into a "formless matter" framework. My approach to these verses is to:

  • Observe that the verse in WoS does not indicate that "formless matter" is uncreated and eternal.
  • Note that there's a similar notion in Genesis 1:2, which speaks of God creating "the heavens and the earth" and then clarifies that the earth was still "without form and void."
  • Realize that the literal sense of Genesis is that God called the cosmos into existence (Gen. 1:1), that the cosmos lacked form initially (Gen. 1:2), and that for the first three days God provided the form of the cosmos (Gen. 1:3-19).
  • Conclude that WoS 11:17 is consistent with a reading of Genesis and 2 Macc that has a two-step process wherein God 1) first calls formless matter into being (ex nihilio) and then 2) forms that matter.

When Latter-day saints speak of creation as organizing matter, as a Catholic I think of that perspective as only accounting for the second step of creation. I may very well be misunderstanding what LDS folks are saying--please do correct and/or clarify as you see fit.

Also, I am pleasantly surprised to be discussing a passage from WoS with a Latter-day Saint. I think that's a first.

Have you spent some time in the deuterocanonical books (the apocrypha)?  

Edited by Saint Bonaventure
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2 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Presumably it would be a black hole in and of itself,

And where did it come from?  Only if you define “nothing” as “something we know nothing about that does not exist within our universe, our space and time” is it logical to claim the Big Bang came spontaneously created out of nothing.

Edited by Calm
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20 minutes ago, Calm said:

And where did it come from?  Only if you define “nothing” as “something we know nothing about that does not exist within our universe, our space and time” is it logical to claim the Big Bang came spontaneously created out of nothing.

Hawking said so. Of course he was wrong. Was he being logical? Well, maybe but maybe not. The problem with quantum mechanics is that it isn't necessarily logical.

The entire universe occupied a dimensionless point at the moment of the Big Bang. That's even more squeezed together than a black hole. Do black holes explode and spread their matter in every direction? No, but if a black hole is small enough it evaporates in an instant through Hawking radiation. Evaporates, not expands into a universe.

Physicists have no idea at all where the singularity of the big bang came from. The laws of physics break down and cannot predict what was inside that singularity. Mathematically, I am told (for I do not know this of myself), it is all very rational, but trying to explain all this in cogent human language is a losing game.

"Neither general relativity nor quantum mechanics can currently describe the earliest moments of the Big Bang, but in general, quantum mechanics does not permit particles to inhabit a space smaller than their wavelengths." And yet, they did.

One may as well try to discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

God made it, not out of nothing, but wherever He got it, He made it.

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45 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

Physicists have no idea at all where the singularity of the big bang came from.

Exactly.  To say it came from nothing is a greater leap of faith imo than to say it came from God because our experience is that there is always something prior to the creation of anything we have observed and at least God is something.  I am fine if Hawking wanted to say the Big Bang spontaneously appeared out of nothing, as long as he didn’t claim he was speaking scientifically or rather that there was any empirical evidence supporting his belief. 
 

Just to be clear, he didn’t claim the math supported the BB being out of nothing, correct?  No way I can debate him on the math, but if it is “we don’t know anything” and then “I know it was out of nothing”…that is a simple contradiction.

Edited by Calm
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9 minutes ago, Calm said:

Exactly.  To say it came from nothing is a greater leap of faith imo than to say it came from God because our experience is that there is always something prior to the creation of anything we have observed and at least God is something.  I am fine if Hawking wanted to say the Big Bang spontaneously appeared out of nothing, as long as he didn’t claim he was speaking scientifically or rather that there was any empirical evidence supporting his belief. 
 

Just to be clear, he didn’t claim the math supported the BB being out of nothing, correct?

What he said in his book did not include any wording to the effect that the math supported this. It was just his surmise based on what he thought he understood about things.

Given a choice, atheists generally prefer to avoid giving credence to any involvement by a Deity in the matter of creation. That's why Hawking was so comforted by the idea of random chance causing the universe.

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Many would argue that God creating the universe from nothing conflicts with Restoration theology. We believe God organized everything from chaotic matter.  But where did the chaotic matter come from?  It could have been created from the Big Bang by God outside the universe.
But then we have the problem of an embodied God living within the universe.  Maybe God, along with all other intelligences, condescended into the universe He created. That fits with the teaching that intelligences later inhabit spirit bodies.   

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28 minutes ago, Rivers said:

Many would argue that God creating the universe from nothing conflicts with Restoration theology. We believe God organized everything from chaotic matter.  But where did the chaotic matter come from?  It could have been created from the Big Bang by God outside the universe.
But then we have the problem of an embodied God living within the universe.  Maybe God, along with all other intelligences, condescended into the universe He created. That fits with the teaching that intelligences later inhabit spirit bodies.   

What you've written here hits right at the differences between Latter-day Saint's theology and Catholic theology.

The Word being made flesh and dwelling among us--the Incarnation of the Son--is a condescension of God so that Jesus is both fully God and fully man and lived in a particular place and at a particular time. 

I'm fuzzy on intelligences; I'm having thoughts of you saying maybe that angels or pre-mortal human essences are/were unembodied and then were embodied. I'm definitely confused.

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33 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

What you've written here hits right at the differences between Latter-day Saint's theology and Catholic theology.

The Word being made flesh and dwelling among us--the Incarnation of the Son--is a condescension of God so that Jesus is both fully God and fully man and lived in a particular place and at a particular time. 

I'm fuzzy on intelligences; I'm having thoughts of you saying maybe that angels or pre-mortal human essences are/were unembodied and then were embodied. I'm definitely confused.

That’s understandable that you’d be confused.  I’m trying to think through things in my head and the thoughts are just spilling out into words. So they probably aren’t making sense.  
 

What I’m trying to do is mesh the theology of my faith with that of mainstream Christianity.   Maybe it’s a futile effort.  
 

But you make an interesting point.  You believe that Christ condescended into human form becoming God and man.  I’m wondering if the same thing could be said of the embodied being we call God the Father. A being outside time and space condescending into a body.  
 

This is an idea that literally popped into my head not very long ago.  So it’s probably not very well thought out. 

Edited by Rivers
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On 8/12/2022 at 7:03 PM, Rivers said:

According to classical theism as I understand it, there needed to be a First Cause for the universe to come into existence.  If every cause is contingent on another cause, the First Cause had to be caused by something uncreated and self-existent.  And that uncreated something is God.  So yes, God Created the universe.  
 

And I don’t believe this line of thinking necessarily conflicts with Restoration theology.

May I offer a possible refinement? 

The first four of St. Thomas Aquinas' Five Ways are variations on the First Cause argument. I'd like to zoom in on the First Way, summarized below:

Quote

First, he argues that the chain of movers must have a first mover because nothing can move itself. (Moving here refers to any kind of change, not just change of place.) If the whole chain of moving things had no first mover, it could not now be moving, as it is. If there were an infinite regress of movers with no first mover, no motion could ever begin, and if it never began, it could not go on and exist now. But it does go on, it does exist now. Therefore it began, and therefore there is a first mover.

The bold is in the original, the italics are mine. 

The interesting thing about the First Way is that it doesn't actually preclude objects from existing without a cause, rather it prohibits change from occurring without a cause. Any child can ask "who created God", and Bertrand Russell tried to make the same argument, but it flounders because a Cause isn't needed for the brute existence of an object, rather a Cause is needed for changes that occur to and around that object. 

This is somewhat compatible with LDS theology as it does allow for the coeternality of God and spirits, of God and basic material. Change is what God creates, not stuff. However, we run into problems when we talk about God the Father getting a body. If God did not always have a body, and I think that the King Follett sermon suggests that He did not, then God has changed in a material way since the beginning. Thomistic theology is pretty insistent that God is unchanging. Latter-day Saint theology says "kind of"; His core nature and personality are unchanging but His domain expands and He does have a body. I myself am not so sure that God Himself needs to be unchanging in order to exist as First Mover as I think its possible for processes started by an ongoing Cause to have effects on that Cause, but I'm also not the most knowledgeable on the fine points of Thomism so I would likely get clapped in a debate on the matter. 

There is a possible way out available to Latter-day Saints sympathetic to Thomism: one of the two big interpretations of the King Follett sermon (the B.H. Roberts interpretation, if I am not mistaken) suggests that God the Father is not the first Elohim. If so, then our God need not be the First Cause which is the subject of Thomism. This reduces the apologetic value of Thomism for us, but it does have the advantage of avoiding our desolation in the event of Thomism being true. 

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Last I heard from String Theorists is that the Big Bang Theory has been wrong for a while because the trajectories have multiple origin points, so it was not a single explosion, and there could more in the future so the Omega Point theory (an end of the universe when matter stops expanding and retracts back into a singularity by gravity) is also wrong. That was a decade ago, I could be mistaken, so any way... 

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Nowhere in Genesis does God make the water. In other Creation accounts, like Psalm 104 states the water already existed when God created His heavenly palace. The Creation Out of Nothing Doctrine might have a foundation if you are interpreting the first verse in Genesis "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" as a comprehensive creation act that happened on the first day, but that is completely undermined when he proceeds to create the heavens on the second day and the earth on the third day (Gen 1:9-10). The ancient Jews interpreted Genesis as a creation out of water (or 'hyle', the primeval element, formless matter) which God made the heavens and earth (Gen 1:1; Job 37:6; Wisdom of Solomon 11:17; 2 Enoch 28:)2).

As the first century Jewish scholar Philo said, "earth and water being mingled together and kneaded like a mass of dough, into a single element, without shape or distinction of it's parts" (Philo, On Creation 38).

As the first century Christian Apostle Peter said, God created "the heaven and earth" by "forming" them out of "water" (2 Pet 3:5). 

So, in Genesis God creates all things by forming them, after first extracting them out of other preexisting things. Even the Light of the first day was formed from preexisting darkness, God "formed [yotzer H3335] light and create [borei H#1254] darkness" (Isaiah 45:7). If you form something out of a preexisting something, then it already existed inside of it.

Note to my dear Catholic friends; the potter makes a bowl from clay, so the bowl was not made from nothing, but the bowl was created from non-being. The bowl came to exist from non-existence but not nothing. The texts from which creatio ex nihilo derives such as the Shepard of Hermas, which describes creation like a piece of art, and therefore they perceived that art is made from nothing, that is not quite the case.

Through the forging of a great covenant (1 Enoch 69:16-25) God set a series of 'bonds' or 'seals' that separated the light from the dark, the upper waters from the lower, the land from the sea. As the Bible repeatedly says God separated the land from the water by a bond or seal (Job 38:8-10; Jeremiah 5:22; Psalm 104:9) and the breaking of the covenant brings the peace of creation to its original chaos (Isaiah 24:5; Jeremiah 5:22). Breaking of the covenant is the origin of natural disasters and floods...

-―-----------------------------------

Anyways, gather round. Of the many interpretations of the meaning of the creation of light, one of my favorites is the Jewish lore of the enthronement of Yhwh and the binding of Belial, aka Genesis' creation of light is the Light of the Lord and the darkness, the War in Heaven;

There was a Satanic figure, the prince of darkness, who existed before creation, and sinned by claiming to be God ()Pesikta Rabbatii 20:2; 53:2; Yalkut Re'uvent 1:19; Midrash Alphabetot 434). The "sons of light" are at war with the " sons of darkness" and "Belial and his angels" (11Q13) the "Prince of Darkness" (4Q'Amram). Leading to his ancient time binding (Testament of Levi 18:12, Isa 24:22-23). This is depicted in the Bible as purification of heaven by expelling of spiritual darkness before the creation of the earth on the third day (1 Sam 22:12; Psa 18:9; Job 26:12-13). Resulting an ongoing conflict with the "sons of light" (Lk 16:8; Jn 12:36; Eph 5:8; 1Thes 5:5; Mt 5:14-16) and the "sons of Belial" (1 Sam 1:16; 2:12; 2 Cor 6:14-15), or the "devil" (Mt 23:33; Lk 8:44; 12:34) or "perdition" (Jn 17:12; 2 Thes 2;3). 

The First Day, Yhwh dawned his royal robe, was "clothed" "in light" (Psa 104: 1-2), formed light by separating light from darkness (Isa 45:7), which saying there were dark spirits that were cast out of heaven and into the sea of the uncreated world below, on the Second Day the firmament was formed to be a veil, to conceal heaven from those below, and a rebellion of the waters ensued and the water had to be subdued before the Third day. The Creation account in Job says on the First Day, "by his Spirit He hath garnished [H#8235] made bright, purified] the heavens" and in chiasmic parallel, "by His hand hath formed [H#2342] felled, made to writhe (as in pain)] the crooked []H#1281] pierced]" serpent", and on the Second Day, the dark spirits, the "dead [H#7496] shades, ghosts" were within the sea where they "formed [H#2342]" as Yhah stretched the "north" or heavens over the void, shielding the view of the heavens from those below (Job 26:5-8, 12-13) and the Sons of God sang for joy to see the foundations of the earth being laid on the Third Day (Job 38:7), and that "bonds" were set for the "waves of the proud" (Job 38:8-11). Yhwh made the "winds" (spirits) his messengers and the "fires* (angels) his servants before the foundation of the soil were land on the Third Day (Psalm 104:1-5). With victory in the Rebellion of the Waters, over Rahab, the rebel angel of the sea, aka the Leviathan, the dragon of the sea, (Job 9:13; 41:1; Isa 22:1). To make land appear he had to drive back the waters, smash and cut the rebel spirits from which the water was their body.(psalm 74:13) and Rahab was defeated (Isa 27:1; 51:9; Psa 89:18) or tamed (Job 40:1, 45). This maybe the original narrative of Miriam's Song of the Sea, where the Lord is a warrior (Ex 15:3) who cast his enemies in the sea, and the earth swallowed the wicked, and marched to his holy mountain (in Eden) (Ex 15:1-18).

Edited by Pyreaux
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8 minutes ago, Pyreaux said:

Note to my dear Catholics; the potter makes bowl from clay, so was not made from nothing, but it was created from non-being. The bowl was not, it did not exist, until it was made

The Catechism response to the potter/clay  argument (you are not the first to use it):

296 We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance.144 God creates freely "out of nothing":145

 

If God had drawn the world from pre-existent matter, what would be so extraordinary in that? A human artisan makes from a given material whatever he wants, while God shows his power by starting from nothing to make all he wants.146

 

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c1p4.htm

Edited by Calm
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36 minutes ago, Calm said:

The Catechism response to the potter/clay  argument (you are not the first to use it):

296 We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance.144 God creates freely "out of nothing":145

 

If God had drawn the world from pre-existent matter, what would be so extraordinary in that? A human artisan makes from a given material whatever he wants, while God shows his power by starting from nothing to make all he wants.146

 

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c1p4.htm

Fine, I edited more to it.

 Why is creatio ex nihilo a matter of God's greatness? A potter can't terraform a planet. I don't think I grasp the importance of metaphysical absolutes. God created from nothing, because he can do anything, therefore that is what He did? Can God create a tree so large that even he can't cut it down? No, that's a paradox. Sure, He can do 'anything', but 'anything' must conform to some restraints.

Edited by Pyreaux
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18 minutes ago, Pyreaux said:

Fine, I edited more to it.

 Why is creatio ex nihilo a matter of God's greatness? A potter can't terraform a planet.

If it is manipulation of matter, the likelihood is with advanced technology terraforming of planets will be possible for mortal humans to produce. I can see how this turns creation into a less inspiring achievement for some if in essence God terraformed Earth and humans can repeat the same process. 

Edited by Calm
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22 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

Observe that the verse in WoS does not indicate that "formless matter" is uncreated and eternal.

Not directly, but that does seem to be implied from the verse you quoted from 2 Maccabees.  Consider the verse from 2 Maccabees again:

 "look at the earth and sky and everything in them, and consider how God made them out of what did not exist, and that human beings come into being in the same way." (2 Macc. 7:28)

And how does the Bible say that human beings came into being?:   "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."  (Genesis 2:7)  Wisdom of Solomon 7:1 also supports the same view.  And Genesis 2:19 says that God created animals in the same way, "out of the ground".  So if God made the earth and sky the same way as he made human beings (as it says in 2 Maccabees 7:28), then he did it from the elements that already existed with him.

On 8/13/2022 at 3:39 PM, Saint Bonaventure said:

Note that there's a similar notion in Genesis 1:2, which speaks of God creating "the heavens and the earth" and then clarifies that the earth was still "without form and void."

Or, Genesis 1:1 means that God organized the heavens and the earth, and Genesis 1:2 is a continuation of the organization of matter.  This is where we would differ on the meaning of the Hebrew word bara', which I take as meaning to shape, fashion, or form.  To "organize".  

On 8/13/2022 at 3:39 PM, Saint Bonaventure said:

Realize that the literal sense of Genesis is that God called the cosmos into existence (Gen. 1:1), that the cosmos lacked form initially (Gen. 1:2), and that for the first three days God provided the form of the cosmos (Gen. 1:3-19).

I see Genesis 1:1 as God calling the cosmos into existence from relative non-existence, by organizing the matter from which he formed the earth, animals, and humans.

On 8/13/2022 at 3:39 PM, Saint Bonaventure said:

Conclude that WoS 11:17 is consistent with a reading of Genesis and 2 Macc that has a two-step process wherein God 1) first calls formless matter into being (ex nihilio) and then 2) forms that matter.

I understand how you might explain it that way.

On 8/13/2022 at 3:39 PM, Saint Bonaventure said:

When Latter-day saints speak of creation as organizing matter, as a Catholic I think of that perspective as only accounting for the second step of creation. I may very well be misunderstanding what LDS folks are saying--please do correct and/or clarify as you see fit.

It sounds to me like you are understanding the LDS point of view correctly, and I understand why you would see it differently. 

On 8/13/2022 at 3:39 PM, Saint Bonaventure said:

Also, I am pleasantly surprised to be discussing a passage from WoS with a Latter-day Saint. I think that's a first.

Have you spent some time in the deuterocanonical books (the apocrypha)? 

I have read through the Apocrypha, and read from it occasionally, but I spent more time studying the Wisdom of Solomon (I studied it in a Bible study group I was in a few years back).   I see those books as important from a historical perspective and I believe there is value in studying them, but I agree with the assessment of them in Doctrine and Covenants section 91.  I often use BYU's WordCruncher software for searching the scriptures, and I emailed WordCruncher support a while back to ask if they had an electronic version of the Apocrypha.  They didn't have one readily available, but they were kind enough to make one up for me.  It's awesome.

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13 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Not directly, but that does seem to be implied from the verse you quoted from 2 Maccabees.  Consider the verse from 2 Maccabees again:

 "look at the earth and sky and everything in them, and consider how God made them out of what did not exist, and that human beings come into being in the same way." (2 Macc. 7:28)

And how does the Bible say that human beings came into being?:   "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."  (Genesis 2:7)  Wisdom of Solomon 7:1 also supports the same view.  And Genesis 2:19 says that God created animals in the same way, "out of the ground".  So if God made the earth and sky the same way as he made human beings (as it says in 2 Maccabees 7:28), then he did it from the elements that already existed with him.

Or, Genesis 1:1 means that God organized the heavens and the earth, and Genesis 1:2 is a continuation of the organization of matter.  This is where we would differ on the meaning of the Hebrew word bara', which I take as meaning to shape, fashion, or form.  To "organize".  

I see Genesis 1:1 as God calling the cosmos into existence from relative non-existence, by organizing the matter from which he formed the earth, animals, and humans.

I understand how you might explain it that way.

It sounds to me like you are understanding the LDS point of view correctly, and I understand why you would see it differently. 

I have read through the Apocrypha, and read from it occasionally, but I spent more time studying the Wisdom of Solomon (I studied it in a Bible study group I was in a few years back).   I see those books as important from a historical perspective and I believe there is value in studying them, but I agree with the assessment of them in Doctrine and Covenants section 91.  I often use BYU's WordCruncher software for searching the scriptures, and I emailed WordCruncher support a while back to ask if they had an electronic version of the Apocrypha.  They didn't have one readily available, but they were kind enough to make one up for me.  It's awesome.

Way cool!

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