The biblical doctrine of creation ex nihilo…

Profound theological and philosophical implications of the biblical doctrine for creation of something out of nothing set historic Christianity apart from alternative worldview perspectives. Fifteen points follow logically when the biblical doctrine of creation ex nihilo is affirmed as true:

  1. The universe is not an extension or emanation of God’s essence or being. Thus, pantheism (the Eastern mystical view that all is God and God is all) and panentheism (the view that God is in the world but more than the world) must be rejected as false.
  2. God created a universe with a distinct existence of its own (though always dependent upon God’s power for its continuance). Therefore, metaphysical views that assert monism, the belief that all reality is one or that reality is a seamless garment, must be rejected as false. These include various forms of Eastern mysticism, which affirms that everything is divine; idealism, the belief that everything is mind and/or idea; and metaphysical naturalism or physicalism, the belief that everything is physical or material (see chapters 12-14).
  3. The world is a distinct reality that cannot rightly be denied. As a result religions and worldviews that view the physical universe as an illusion or as only apparently real (such as Vedanta Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Gnosticism, Christian Science, and other mind-science religions) must be rejected as false (see chapter 14).
  4. The world is a finite and contingent creation of God and therefore not a proper object of worship. Thus, religious systems that engage in this type of devotion and deification (such as animism, popular polytheism, and folk religion) should be rejected as false.
  5. Matter was created by God and is therefore not eternal (nor the sole reality). Therefore, philosophies that affirm the eternity of matter, whether dualistic (considering matter and god as eternal) or materialistic (believing that everything is reducible to, or explainable in terms of, matter), should be rejected as false.
  6. The universe is not self-sufficient, self-explanatory, or self-sustaining. Whereas the universe is not self-caused and did not pop into existence as the result of a quantum accident, a worldview that asserts such things (like metaphysical naturalism—nature is the sole reality) must be regarded as false.
  7. Everything has value and meaning as implied by the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. Therefore, philosophies that discount value and meaning in life and in the world (such as nihilism) must be rejected as false.
  8. The natural, material, and physical universe was created by a supernatural, personal divine agent. As a result methodological naturalism (which accepts only natural scientific explanations for things) must be rejected as false.
  9. God’s creation of the world from nothing demonstrates his complete power and control over all things (his sovereign lordship). Thus, any religious philosophy that denies God’s sovereignty (such as finite godism, process theology, and open theism) must be rejected as false.
  10. God is both transcendent and immanent. Therefore, religious systems that view God as being wholly transcendent (such as deism and Islam) must be rejected as false.
  11. God not only created the universe, but also continually sustains its existence. Worldviews that consider God as merely winding up the universe so that it then became self- sustaining (such as deism) must be rejected as false.
  12. God created all things, not out of need or desperation but as an act of divine freedom (given the Triune nature of the Christian God). Religions that view God as a single solitary person (such as Islam and other unitarian conceptions of God) should be rejected as ontologically inadequate.
  13. God made the universe as a very good creation. Therefore religious philosophies that affirm an eternal and intrinsic evil as a metaphysical part of the universe (such as Manichaeism, Gnosticism, and Zoroastrianism) must be rejected as false.
  14. A creation out of nothing excludes any preexistent or chaotic contingent entities. Thus any religion that affirms this view (such as Mormonism) must be rejected as false.
  15. The world was created by God with rich natural and living resources to be used wisely by human beings for the purpose of sustaining and enhancing human lives. Radical environmental views (that fail to recognize mankind’s proper role of dominion over nature) should be rejected as false.

Kenneth Richard Samples, from A World of Difference, kindle location 1769

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