Creatio Ex Nihilo

See, heaven and earth exist, they cry aloud that they are made, for they suffer change and variation.  But in anything which is not made and yet is, there is nothing which previously was not present.  To be what once was not the case is to be subject to change and variation.  They also cry aloud that they have not made themselves: ‘The manner of our existence shows that we are made.  For before we came to be, we did not exist to be able to make ourselves.’  And the voice with which they speak is self-evidence.  You, Lord, who are beautiful, made them for they are beautiful.  You are good, for they are good.  You are, for they are.  Yet they are not beautiful or good or possessed of being in the sense that you their Maker are.  In comparison with you they are deficient in beauty and goodness and being.  Thanks to you, we know this; and yet our knowledge is ignorance in comparison with yours.

How did you make heaven and earth, and what machine did you use for so vast  an operation?  You were not like a craftsman who makes one physical object out of another… The way, God, in which you made heaven and earth was not that you made them either in heaven or on earth.  Nor was it in air or in water, for these belong to heaven and earth.  Nor did you make the universe within the framework of the universe.  There was nowhere for it to be made before it was brought into existence.  Nor did you have any tool in your hand to make heaven and earth.  How could you obtain anything you had not made as a tool for making something?  What is it for something to be unless it is because you are?  Therefore you spoke and they were made, and by your word you made them (Ps. 32:9, 6).

Augustine (354-430), Confessions, XI.iv-v.

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Filed under Church History, Creation, Theology

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