Sunday, 4 December 2011

Creation ex nihilo

Rabbi Michael Samuel suggests here that the idea of creation ex nihilo may be older than I thought. He hasn't got any clear statements of it though, only texts which might suggest some such idea at the back of their authors' minds. There's certainly nothing which would stretch it all the way back to Genesis!


  1. Sorry, I must differ with you. To assert the reality of a primordial chaos that has always existed--in my view--comes dangerously close to the belief in a dualism. Besides, Gen. 1:1 is really a merism, one that includes the entire creative order--including the chaos. None of the cosmos, or multi-verse would exist, were it not for the creative power of the Divine. In my book, there are about 50 pages that explore this issue in great depth.

  2. Dualism is the idea that there are two equal, and usually opposite, deities. That's not present in ancient Near Eastern religion; God - or whatever god was worshipped by a given people - is seen as being more powerful than chaos because he overcomes it in the primal battle. In PS 74, God is remembered as having crushed the heads of Leviathan; he doesn't get his head crushed in return!