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In Wesley’s view the fish and fowl were indeed produced out of the waters, and the beasts and man out of the earth. At the same time, the earth and those waters were made out of nothing. A question still remains. If the earth and waters were made out of nothing, why was “something” needed as a “substrata” for the creation of the fish, fowl, beasts and man? It is just another inconsistency, as many others. God either created all His creatures out of nothing or He needed a raw material for some of His creation.
Creation out of nothing is not thought by the Bible. If God created the universe, He created it out of Himself, out of His own resources, energies or powers, which have generated something else. Nothing comes out of nothing, and God can be seen as the most original source of existence.
Theophilus of Antioch was the first Christian writer to give explicit arguments in favour of the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo which van Bavel usefully summarises as follows:
“1) If not only God but matter also were uncreated, as held by the Platonists, God would no longer be the creator of everything and the only Lord; 2) If matter were uncreated and unchanging, it would be equal to the immutable God;
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3) If God had created the world out of pre-existing matter, that would be nothing special; for human beings also can produce something new out of existent matter.”
Such arguments were seen to be persuasive and the later Christian thinkers accepted the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo which remained the established Christian teaching on creation. As Rowan Williams said, this doctrine is at the heart of St. Augustine’s accounts of creation, because it has the merit of combining a simultaneous defence of God’s transcendence of the material world but at the same time His connection with it.
Augustine gave to the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo a larger extent and his analysis was very profound in many details. Creation from nothing for Augustine was, as a matter of fact, a creation made from formless matter which had been created from nothing.
“First there was made confused and formless matter so that out of it there might be made all the things that God distinguished and formed. He goes on to say that ‘therefore, we correctly believe that God made all things from nothing. For, though all formed things were made from this matter, this matter itself was still made from absolutely nothing’....”
Augustine’s views on nothingness are very interesting. Nothingness isn’t anything at all but is a negative principle which explains the human penchant towards negativity. The created beings are good because they are created by God but they have also a dark side because this creation had been made from nothing and this is the principle of evil. Being and non-being are the two sides of reality, and whilst being is good, non-being has an opposite qualification. Thus, the ‘nihil’, far from being literally nothing, about which nothing meaningful may be said, actually plays a crucial and indispensable role in Augustine’s account of the world, its being, its creation and its relationship to God. It is that which accounts for the world’s corruptibility and tendency toward nothingness, and it continues to make its haunting ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ felt in the undoubted ‘presence’ of evil in the world, a ‘presence’ which is itself an ‘absence’.
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The idea of creation from nothing has a very strong theological connection with many other theological commonly agreed issues, but, in my opinion doesn’t have any metaphysical or scientific support. In my opinion, the principle of creation from nothing, developed by the Christian thinkers, is not what the first 2 chapters of the book of Genesis try to tell us. God, in the biblical context, must be seen as the cause of all things, and not only a catalytic or transformative Force of “nothing” in “something”. He causes things from His own Reality, generating them as an effect of His powers.
The created world is generated by words, which can transform, in a rational or ordered way, energies in deeds. By what mechanisms has this transformation been produced? We don’t know. An agnostic attitude is probably the most rational one in this regard. Nevertheless, “nothing” is not able to receive any command; it is one of its characteristics. “Nothing” cannot react because there isn’t anything to react in it.
God is a cause, generating effects from that cause. The universe was caused by God as a seed causes the growth of a flower. The universe had its potentiality in God therefore the world had existed in its seed in Him before becoming an actual reality. All elements needed for the existence of the universe had to be present in God, before its creation.
Everything which exists has a cause in another existent thing, not in absolute nothingness. Saying that God had created all that is from nothing doesn’t mean anything because it doesn’t establish any causal relationship between nothing and what it is. According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, there are four types of causes – material causes, formal causes, efficient causes, and final causes. Absolute nothingness cannot account for any of these types of cause. If God is at the same time the material cause, formal cause, efficient cause, and final cause of the entire existence, nothingness doesn’t play any function in creation.
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Energy can transform itself in matter and matter in energy as Einstein has shown in his formula, E=mc2.
“Einstein theorized that matter and energy are interchangeable. Matter takes up space, has mass and composes most of the visible universe around us. Energy, on the other side, takes multiple forms and is essentially the force that causes things to happen in the universe. Yet both matter and energy are variations of the same thing. Each can convert into the other. According to Einstein and to the first law of thermodynamics, a fixed quantity of energy and matter exist in the universe.”
Can energy by transformed in matter? The answer is yes and is given in the following quotation:
“So yes, humans can manufacture matter. We can turn light into subatomic particles, but even the best scientists can’t create something out of nothing.”
If not energy, what else can convert into matter? One thing can be said for sure. Absolute nothingness, no particles, no fields, no space, no laws, no nothing cannot be transformed into anything because there absolutely isn’t anything in it. Absolute nothingness is only a concept which can never be instantiated in reality. For this reason, creation from absolute nothing by God is only an absurdity which doesn’t do any good to the Christian faith.
What are spoken words and how can they become matter? They are only sounds with a certain meaning or significance. They are symbols, communicated messages. Can words generate matter by transforming themselves into it? Not to the common knowledge. God didn’t transform words into matter, but He had materialised ideas based on His rationality, for this process, using matter and energy. Did God create matter and energy from absolute nothingness?
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He surely didn’t because absolute nothingness cannot exist. How God would have created energy and matter, we don’t exactly know, but before their existence there was something in His Reality which could have been transformed into energy and matter. If not, the direct chain of causality between Him and the created world would be broken. If God is a pure spiritual Reality and spirituality is the opposite of matter, it is hard to imagine how matter can be produced by pure spirituality. Are matter and spirituality interchangeable in a similar way to the manner in which matter and energy are interchangeable? Before humankind can demonstrate this kind of interchangeability, creation from nothing is only a speculation.
God asked the earth to bring forth vegetation. But earth which is matter without consciousness doesn’t hear and is not able to interpret symbols. Probably it is more rational if we understand that God prepared earth for the process of growing vegetation by endowing it with all needed ingredients for the process. The book of Genesis is far from explaining how the universe came in place.
The concept of the creation from nothing, existent in both religion and science, demonstrates a limit of human comprehension. It is hard to imagine an infinite existence with no beginning or end. This existence may or may not have its own Consciousness; the answer will depend on the person engaged in the spiritual experience with that Consciousness.
At the same time, creation from nothing is a principle no less confusing than the principle of the eternity of all existence. Nevertheless, Thomas Aquinas, a very important theologian of the thirteenth century, considered that all things must have a beginning, there cannot be an infinite regress of causation, and consequently a Prime Mover is a necessary concept. In the natural finite human logic, this seems to be right, but in point of fact, presuming the Prime Mover is a way of transferring the need for causation to a transcendental Reality. If all things have a cause, the Prime Mover has to have a cause also. The idea that the Prime Mover doesn’t need to have a cause cannot be in any way demonstrated other than by rejecting the impossibility of an infinite regress of causalities. At the same time, it is very difficult to sort out problems at the level of the infinite dimension of reality using only a logic based on the finite human dimension.
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If there is one exception to the principle of causality that of the Prime Mover there can be others, and also the entirety of existence, the existence per se can be such an exception. Dividing reality into necessary existence and contingent existence doesn’t sort out the problem because God as a necessary existence needs His creation in order to be the Creator. God cannot be the Creator without His creation and being Creator is one of His most important attributes.
The creation from nothing is a principle loosely exemplified in the Bible and about which science has already pronounced itself by the laws of thermodynamics. The first law of thermodynamics specifies that the total amount of energy in a closed system cannot be created or destroyed (though it can be changed from one form to another). Matter, instead, can be both created and destroyed by transforming it into energy. Mass became another form of energy that has to be included in a thorough thermodynamic treatment of a system. At the level of the universe, it is important to define what meaning a closed and an open system has and which better describes our cosmos.
Is the universe a closed system? How about the entirety of existence as an infinite reality, can it be considered a closed system? The universe is a closed system if it isn’t influenced by anything outside it.
If there are a plurality of universes, before knowing what the relation between them is, it is difficult to describe our universe as closed or open. On the other side, when we talk about the entirety of existence or the existence per se there isn’t anything outside it, it is an infinite system therefore the notions of closed and of infinite must both be integrated by the same equation.
God didn’t do things from “nothing”, as Theophilus of Antioch understood “nothing”, because never was there such a non-reality as absolute nothingness. Probably, all material existence comes from an infinite and constant energetic source. If God exists and if He is eternal there isn’t such thing as absolute nothingness because He doesn’t equate with absolute nothingness.
Is energy in space or outside space? Does energy have mass? I tried to find an answer to these questions in the scientific literature but I got mixed opinions.
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Most answers are related to the photons, a form of energy; consequently if photons occupy space, energy must be said to occupy space also, and if photons have mass, energy has mass. One thing can be said; where there isn’t any space, light cannot travel and cannot be there for the simple reason that in this case there isn’t any “there”.
God firstly needed space in order to create something and space is the condition of all creation. Space cannot be created from outside space or from a state of no space at all because for its physical existence every reality needs space. The idea that God could have created space from outside space is absurd but is the necessary consequence of the affirmation that first of all He would have created space, and the entire creation started with His creation of space. If God was outside space He couldn’t have existed as an objective existence.
Space being already out there, the creation was done in the context of something and not out of nothing because space is something, not nothing. God couldn’t have created space out of nothing because He is eternal and necessarily He occupies space, therefore space also must be eternal and co-existent with Him. God’s existence completely out of space cannot be a Reality but only a concept in the minds of intelligent beings living in space. God couldn’t have created anything from out of space, from absolute nonexistence, because such a concept can never become real. The assertion that God would have created space in the beginning of His creation is nonsensical as far as He is eternal and He occupies space. Space must be also eternal if God is an eternally existent divinity.
If God wasn’t infinite in space something else must be at the limits of His space, but He doesn’t have any limits. That something cannot be absolute nothingness understood also as inexistence of any space, because space per se, not the space of a certain object, cannot be limited by absolute nothingness. Space per se can be occupied or can be relatively empty but it is infinite in its extension. God eternally occupies an infinite space or He isn’t an infinite Reality.
Creation out of nothing is an absurd proposition as long as any creation would have been realised in a spatial context. Besides the infinite space, there is also the individual space of every object which is linked with time, in the way that was explained by Einstein.
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In order to be consistent with the biblical account, one must accept that we don’t need the idea of nothing, in any way, for the explanation of God’s creation. God didn’t need a certain “nothing” in order to create “something” and that “nothing”, no space, no energy, no matter, no fields, and no laws, couldn’t have replaced existence per se.
Roger E. Olson summarises very well the possible visions about the relation between God and His creation:
“Creation out of nothing is the only alternative to four alternative beliefs about creation that are absolutely untenable for Christian thought. One is pantheism or panentheism—belief that God and the world are either identical or interdependent. In either case the world is part of God or so inextricably united with God eternally that God is dependent on it. (Here “world” refer to creation, the universe, finite reality.) Another alternative belief about creation is that God created the world out of some pre-existing matter that he did not himself create. In that view God “created” by organizing an eternal something that was chaotic and stood over against him. Yet another alternative belief is that God created the world out of himself in which case the world is made of “God stuff”—God’s own substance. Finally, a mostly modern, secular view is that some world (or substance, energy) has always existed and God, if he exists at all, has nothing to do with its origin or development.”
It is understood that creation out of nothing is an important element of fundamental Christian beliefs and it sustains other important teachings of Christianity inclusive of the teachings of the gospels. Even if it isn’t taught by the Scriptures one must support the principle of creation out of nothing, if not many Christian teachings would be questioned. One such fundamental thesis in doubt if creation out of nothing is rejected, is that God doesn’t depend on His creation for His actuality. This of course is false because God depends on the existence of His creation in order to be an actual, not only a potential Creator. The affirmation that God doesn’t need anything is absurd as far as He needs to be loved by human beings and displayed tremendous energy and sacrifice to reveal His love to humankind.
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To say that God wants us to love Him but He doesn’t really need our love is a deformity which is very present in some Christian movements. God doesn’t endorse the imposition of any religious dogmas or doctrines on people by other people. One should try to understand all possible interpretations of the biblical texts and choose whichever seems to him or to her closer to his or her spiritual experiences. God needs our love as much as we need His love and without humankind Christ couldn’t have been embodied in a human being making visible the Father’s love. God wants to be known by conscious beings able to understand Him.
According to Roger E. Olson, if one doesn’t believe in creation out of nothing he or she casts doubt on the principle of gratuity of grace..
The Bible doesn’t teach creation from nothing, but the creation from chaos, which is symbolised by the primeval sea. The book of Genesis is silent as to the origins of the primeval sea and it is absurd to think that God would have created chaos from within Himself before creating an orderly universe. God being a rational Reality, He wouldn’t have created chaos, so the chaos represented by the primeval sea couldn’t have been created by Him.
Comparing the theory of the Big Bang and the creation of the universe from a primeval sea, the result is a huge difference in the quality of the explanations given by science in comparison with the texts of the Bible. Scientific explanations are by far much better supported and much more credible than the narratives of creation of the universe and of humankind from the book of Genesis.
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 www.physicsforums.com › Physics › General Physics
Revelation isn’t only what the Bible contains. Revelation through nature is also a very important form through which we can know God. The objects of all sciences are given by God’s revelation in nature. God had revealed Himself in the origins and structure of the universe and also through the vegetal and animal nature. Nature is a revelation in no way inferior to the written Bible and revelation in nature can be better understood from the study of nature than from the biblical texts. Revelation in nature is a revelation written in the life of so many species of plants and animals and in the structure of the cosmos. Very importantly, God revealed Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ, and that is also a revelation in nature, but in human nature. God has revealed Himself in human history also, at a particular time and in a particular way. Besides the revelation in nature and history, God reveals Himself to us in our inner selves and sometimes through the Bible; not as directly as one would probably be inclined to believe, but through many layers of human interpretations by the authors and redactors of the texts.
In case of divergence, which has priority as a more valid revelation of God, Scriptures or nature? Both Scripture and nature are recognised as being the result of God’s revelation by the Bible. What happens if God reveals one thing through Scriptures and another thing through nature in the same matter? This is the essence of the debate between science and religion. How can we maintain that both Scriptures and nature are God’s revelation if they contradict each other in many of their aspects? Scripture and nature have to be in harmony if both have God as their source, but they aren’t.
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If one states that revelation through Scriptures has priority upon the revelation through nature, what is the biblical basis for such a claim? Nowhere in the Bible can be found the claim that Scripture is more authoritative than the revelation in nature but this is the presumption maintained by many religious commentators. Nevertheless, one can safely maintain that revelation through nature is a much older and direct source than any revelation through Scripture and, even more, nature goes back until the beginnings of all things, and keeps an unbroken continuity and perceptible traces from then until today. Nature as a revelation would have been much more difficult to alter than some texts written by man, because it is a story inserted in the structure of reality.
Many commentators of the Bible try to sanction the false idea that all nature has been corrupted following Adam and Eve’s sins, and that the disobedience of the first man and of the first woman had the power to drastically change God’s creation. God had created the universe in a certain way but following Adam and Eve’s transgression everything that He had built was overturned by the human beings’ faults. Initially God did everything very good but because of man it became very bad. Death, suffering, killings, illnesses, wars and others aren’t the effect of God’s creation but are caused by man’s disobedience to God. With this false idea those commentators want to demonstrate that nature cannot be trusted as source of knowledge about the origins of the universe and humankind, therefore the results of scientific studies also cannot be trusted.
According to those commentators, carnivorous animals had been created good and peaceful but they became bad and destructive because Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge. Nothing is more absurd than that. All nature is exactly in the situation which had been created by God not in seven days but during billions of years, through evolution. A major transformation of nature following humankind’s disobedience would have meant a new creation, but God created nature once and not twice. According to the book of Genesis God created nature in seven days and He didn’t create it again in another period of time.
Nature speaks very precisely about how God is and tells us that He had accepted from the beginning death as an important tool for evolution. Without death, evolution wouldn’t have been possible because death permits something imperfect to be replaced by something better.
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God is a divinity of life and death and He does His own kind of selection for eternal life similar to nature, which also does a selection but for natural life. This is the revelation contained in nature and can be enriched with the amount of revelation contained by the Bible.
One form of revelation without the other is incomplete and that was not really well understood, in the history of Christianity. The revelation through the Bible was always emphasised and considered to be God’s main form of discovery because it was canonised and therefore easier to keep under institutional control. Being “unmovable”, the Bible was considered to confer more stability for the authority of religious institutions. Any new scientific discovery based on the study of nature was regarded, by the religious clergy, as a direct attack on the Bible and surely it wasn’t at all intended to be that. Starting with the recent past and caused by the development of the sciences, the emphasis had gradually been moving onto the revelation through nature from the revelation through the Bible, and that caused important debates.
Where can we find our priorities, in nature or in the Bible? Is God’s revelation more valid in some ancient texts or in nature? It seems that we have to choose between what allegedly is revealed through some ancient texts contained by the Bible, and what humankind can discover carefully researching nature. What they both say greatly contradict each other. All tentative attempts to correlate harmoniously the two of them, aren’t really convincing, and some of them are ridiculous. The Bible is considered to be scientifically accurate by some Christian commentators on a very thin base:
“The Bible is not a science book, yet it is scientifically accurate. We are not aware of any scientific evidence that contradicts the Bible. We have listed statements on this page that are consistent with known scientific facts. Many of them were listed in the Bible hundreds or even thousands of years before being recorded elsewhere. Many concepts and notes on this page are adapted from ideas and statements that appear in The DEFENDER’S Study Bible.”
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The author of the article isn’t aware of any scientific evidence that contradicts the Bible but there is much evidence which shows that the first 11 chapters from the book of Genesis are as far as possible from sciences. The arguments used by the author of the article in order to demonstrate the so-called scientific character of some biblical texts are very naïve. Here we have some of them:
“The Bible frequently refers to the great number of stars in the heavens. The Bible also says that each star is unique. The Bible describes the suspension of the Earth in space. The Bible describes the circulation of the atmosphere.”
The great number of stars can be seen by any man living on Earth. Nevertheless, when the Bible has compared the number of children of Israel with the number of the stars or the number of the grains of sand, it was a metaphor and didn’t have anything to do with science. Of course each star is unique by its size and shine but no divine intervention is needed to realise that and none was necessary in the past either. About the suspension of the earth in space the Bible says that it hangs on nothing, which is a very strange description of gravity and as a matter of fact the earth “hangs” on the sun, through the law of gravitation. Keeping the metaphor, it is wrong to maintain that the earth “hangs” on nothing. About the circulation of the atmosphere, the Bible presents an impossible situation from the creation until the Flood period in which there wouldn’t have been any rain on Earth according to its texts. We should remember that the rainbow would have appeared only after the Flood but in an atmosphere where it rains periodically rainbows would have been a usual phenomenon. The Bible is inconsistent in many ways with science, starting with the short periods of time allocated for the apparition and development of earthly history and up to the order of creation where the earth is said to have appeared before the apparition of the sun and disentangled from the rest of the cosmos.
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Basically, true revelation in order to be validated should not contradict direct observations, when referring to the origins of the universe. For example, if we all see the daylight coming from the sun, we shouldn’t be pushed by religion, under the threat of eternal hell, to believe otherwise. God cannot reasonably ask us to believe something contrary to our direct observations, contrary to what we see and is scientifically undisputable. In other words, God cannot ask us to believe things which are obviously contradicted by our direct experience of natural phenomena materialised in scientific thesis. If God would insist for us to take something which was meant to be a metaphor as having the value of a historic or scientific fact, that would equate with the unreasonable obligation of believing a lie.
In my opinion, God would never ask us to believe something contra-factuality, so it isn’t Him, but the organised religion which insists on a literal interpretation of the narratives from Genesis, chapters 1-11. Jesus has encouraged people to believe what they have seen and have heard:
“22 And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers* are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.” (Luke 7; 22 NRSV)
Even God’s miracles presuppose the existence of valid senses and a healthy mind in order to be understood. One legitimately can doubt that Genesis, chapters 1-11, was inspired by God as a real description of the apparition of the universe, on the basis of the contradictions and inconsistencies that these texts contain. Through direct observations of reality anyone can understand that what the book of Genesis says about the creation of the universe cannot be but legend. One can believe in the existence of God but not necessarily in the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.
A loving God wouldn’t demand us to believe blindly all that religious systems maintain is inspired by Him, even if it is manifestly not the result of inspiration. If He would do it, which is not the case, all rational coordinators, indicators, or points of reference of reality are gone.
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In such a case, we would be obstructed from rationally leading our lives, and we would have to choose Him through constraints and not on the basis of personal convictions and rational arguments. In such a case men couldn’t approach reality in a thoughtful manner and couldn’t be asked to have rational behaviour.
If God would ask us to be irrational, how could society ask us to be otherwise? In other words, if God would ask us to be irrational, all rational fundament of our lives vanishes. The idea dissipated by organised religion that in order to be a good Christian one has to believe literally the entire Bible, is false and doesn’t serve the spiritual interests of the believers.
If the unreasonable obligation to take myths as facts was imposed on human beings in real life, none could be held responsible anymore for any irrational or inconsistent personal attitude. This is one point which reveals the dark side of any religion where freedom of consciousness is replaced with enforced authority. If one sincerely rejects the truthfulness of any religious proposition which is absurd or contradictory, what would be God’s rationale to punish him or her in an allegedly eternal hell, for lack of religious faith? Being thoughtful, and accepting the rational conclusions of sciences shouldn’t be seen as the ultimate sin even if one rejects a certain religious doctrine because of that. Probably the best work that a Christian can do at the moment is to disentangle the faith in the universal God from the boundaries of the biblical fables about creation and about the universal Flood.
Together with other myths of creation, the narratives from the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis give us an intuitive hint about God’s existence. If there is any revelation in the book of Genesis, it is not historic or scientific information. No myths or parables should be taken literally. In the course of history God spoke through parables, through Jesus Christ. Why don’t the advocates of the biblical literalism interpret literally all Jesus’ words and cut their hands or pluck their eyes when they sin as He has said word for word? It is the same idea. A myth or a parable must be recognised as such and one should try to decipher its spiritual meaning. The myths of creation from the Bible can be interpreted as having some spiritual content in spite of their numerous contradictions but this doesn’t mean that they have been inspired by God. This kind of spirituality reflects the human need to understand the universe outside our world in connection with fundamental human concerns. The stories of creation can bring to our days some echoes coming from the most ancient times of human history.
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At the same time, trying to serve God but in the wrong direction, many commentators of the book of Genesis obtain the opposite outcome than the one intended by emphasising a literal interpretation of the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis.
As a matter of fact, the beginning chapters from the book of Genesis don’t reveal anything about what happened before the moment of creation, before the beginning, meaning before the Big Bang and in that respect don’t add anything to what the sciences bring to human knowledge. The book of Genesis, in its beginning chapters, doesn’t contain any revelation at all, meaning that it doesn’t refer to an area to which the human mind cannot ascend. What happened before the Big Bang is an area for possible revelation but that space isn’t approached at all by the book of Genesis even in its outdated language. Of course, the stories of creation from the Bible don’t refer at all to an event as it was, the Big Bang, but it refers to a beginning. What would have been a true revelation, or true information, would be what happened before that beginning.
In a domain where revelation would be very useful, in the area of beginnings which extends before the apparition of the universe where human beings don’t have the possibility to investigate, in the proper area of revelation, the message coming from God is not there.
"In the beginning when God created* the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God* swept over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1; 1-2 NRSV)
Our universe has a beginning but an eternal existence cannot have such beginnings. God without space, time, energy and matter isn’t other than the absolute nonexistence, and from this nothingness absolutely nothing could have appeared. The vision of classical theism on God is the view on a non-reality which couldn’t have determined anything in any way. Nothing can be caused by absolute nonexistence which doesn’t contain anything and it cannot be said to exist. If God existed before the beginning of the universe as something totally different than the components of our world, we have to know what that is, but the Bible doesn’t give us any idea about that.
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The only so-called revelation from the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis is nothing but a mythological explanation of the existence of our world.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth the earth was a formless void. That is what the Bible says happened in the beginning. What happened in the beginning is discovered by science, which explains how things happened in the first moments of the apparition of the universe. At the present time, there isn’t any need for a scriptural revelation for the beginning of the universe on; a revelation about what was before the beginning would be very important to have, but the Bible doesn’t offer it to us in any way. For this reason, the book of Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, cannot be considered to contain revealed information about the origins of the universe, and proves that their human authors didn’t know anything about this issue.
What happened technically in the moment of creation and immediately afterwards? The book of Genesis doesn’t give such information. The first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis don’t show us exactly how the plants and animals were made and why there is a common descent to all living beings. All plants and animals would have been created miraculously, in a supernatural way, according to Genesis, but in the world of nature everything functions according to natural laws. The main explanations regarding nature can be found in the way in which nature works, and unless one understands the dynamic of nature he or she cannot comprehend reality.
Why wouldn’t God have used the natural laws set in place by Him rather than having supernatural interventions? There isn’t any reason why God would have created the entirety of nature miraculously if on the other side He organised its functioning according to natural laws. At the heart of the knowable reality there are not miracles but rationally predictable laws.
We are led to believe, falsely I would say, by some interpreters of the book of Genesis, that human beings are somehow biologically different from other living beings, because they were made in a different manner, shaped by God out of the ground.
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“7 then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground,* and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2; 7 NRSV)
Such interpretation of the texts of the Bible isn’t right because these texts state that both man and animals had been formed out of the ground. Both man and animals had to receive the breath of life from God in order to become living beings.
“19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2; 19 NRSV)
Man and animals are made from the same material and have the same fate, a finite existence on Earth. What differentiates them is rationality, and if we take that from man he becomes an animal like all other animals. In a subtle way, many religions try to discourage a rational inquiry into their doctrines and dogmas. They boast about humankind being above any other earthly beings by using rationality, but on the other side they don’t like all the consequences of what a reasonable mind would generate about what they believe.
What happened before the Big Bang is an area of pure speculation and is a domain which cannot be analysed through scientific means such as direct observations, experiments, predictions about the phenomena and construction of scientific theories based on concrete data. Why can such thing not be done? If direct observations aren’t possible no experiments can verify hypotheses made for that area. Are we the prisoners of our universe? It may be that the future will prove we aren’t. We cannot go back to before the Big Bang but we can go forward in the immensity of the cosmos where other universes are born. String theory or M-theory endorses the idea that existence doesn’t come from absolute nothingness – existence is the norm, the rule.
Revelation should be a bridge which helps us in crossing the impassable darkness of a transcendental reality. Transcendentalism has to be understood in the sense of a reality which transcends finitude, not in the sense of something beyond existence. What really happened before the Big Bang isn’t the object for the sciences, at least at the moment, because it cannot be the object of a thorough, direct, and verifiable research, but only an unverifiable hypothesis. Humankind doesn’t have at its disposal the necessary instruments to access the reality before the Big Bang. At the same time, if God exists and He is above and before our universe what other way of communication than His revelation could be possible? God didn’t pass through the Big Bang, He was before it, He was unaffected by it, and He would be the only contact that we can get from previous stages of existence. God couldn’t have created the universe from inside of it therefore He has to be situated before the Big Bang as an eternal Reality.
If that is so, why do we have to continue to consider it an important revelation? The book of Genesis doesn’t reveal to us anything concrete about what the infinite existence is. From this point of view, the Bible could have brought about knowledge of the origins of our entire existence but it didn’t, its texts aren’t a revelation because they don’t reveal anything hidden which cannot be found through scientific research.
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