Creatio ex Capacitas and Creatio Continua: When having Power just isn't Enough

Satisfactory Essays
Creatio ex Capacitas and Creatio Continua: When having Power just isn't Enough

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep . . . Then God said, "Let there be light;" and there was light. ~ (Genesis 1:1-2a; 3 NRSV).

The biblical passage above has been the subject of much debate in light of not only how God created, but also as to out of what He created. There are two main camps in this debate: those who affirm creatio ex nihilo and those who affirm panentheism. Both speak of God's omnipotent creativity expressed through the generation of new modes of existence. Creatio ex nihilo advocates claim that God did this 'out of nothing;' creating all things out of absolutely nothing. Panentheists purport that God created by influencing a realm of 'non-divine actualities.' These non-divine actualities are comprised of 'moments of experience,' which have always been, and these actualities present the options from which the next moments are created. Panentheists believe a realm of actualities has always existed alongside God, although the individual actualities themselves are neither eternal nor do possess any divine power in, or of, themselves.

Those on both sides of this debate profess God to be a sovereign, holy, omnipresent, and a personal being who interacts with the loving intent of bringing about the most possible good for all creation. The discrepancy in the debate is found in the different views of how this goal is carried out. As a result, some of the attributes of God are conceived differently: in particular God's love and omnipotence, and free creaturely response to God.

Those professing creation ex nihilo come under fire by those who ask the question "what is nothing?" This question cannot be ignored, because, while it endows God with unlimited power over creation by showing Him to be the sole actor in creating, creatio ex nihilo seems paradoxical. Or as Peter Van Inwgen says,

To say that there is nothing is to say that there isn't anything, not even vast emptiness. If there were a vast emptiness, there would be no material object - no atoms or elementary particles or anything made of them - but there would nevertheless be something: the vast emptiness (Qtd. "Creation Out of Nothing" Lodahl. 2).

Critics criticize panentheists for affirming the existence of a 'realm of non-divine actualities.
Get Access