Creation Out of Nothing

10/02/2013

Christianity didn’t start out the way that most Christians practice it today.  Some of the church dogma is hardly even recognizable, if at all, in the Bible.  Take Original Sin, for example.

If it was in the Old Testament, it would by necessity have to be part of Jewish religious thought.  However, one rabbi summed up Judaism’s rejection of Original Sin this way, “The term ‘original sin’ is unknown to the Jewish Scriptures, and the Church’s teachings on this doctrine are antithetical to the core principles of the Torah and its prophets.”  By Jewish Scriptures, he meant the Old Testament, of course.  So how exactly, did the Church get there?

The road to Original Sin is a fascinating story.  It all started with the Greek philosopher Epicurus who created the well-known logic problem with respect to  evil and where it came from (for a comprehensive discussion of Epicurus and his logic problem you can read my article “The Illogic of God” posted 8/26/13).  The Church had a quandary.  How do you have a omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God without having to finger Him as the source of evil?

Their answer was remarkably simple.  Since God, by definition, had to have created a perfect world, the source of evil in the world must have been Man.  One problem though, since if God created man then the source of evil still had to be ultimately attributable to this all-powerful God.  The solution to that dilemma was to say that souls were not part of God, which doctrine is typically referred to as creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing); as if anything could ever be created out of nothing.

Aside: Why would a non-contingent being create a contingent being, anyway?

That solution caused yet another problem in that an all-powerful God certainly could have created a good entity (out of himself) if he wanted to.  He didn’t have to resort to creating something out of nothing. So the Church tried to solve that dilemma by saying that Man fell (The Fall of Man) as a consequence of Original Sin. The Church thought that perhaps they were now off the hook. However, an omniscient God would have known the end result (sin) if he had created something out of nothing.  All this twisted logic about Original Sin was simply the result of trying to explain how God (who is presumably good) created man (who is presumably evil).

Aside: Of course, the concept of Original Sin ignores the fact that the Bible says that life was created from either the Waters, the Deep or from the Chaos (depending upon which verse you read), as opposed to creation from absolutely nothing.

French biologist Louis Pasteur, popularly known as the “father of microbiology”, actually may have had the last word on this issue.  It was Pasteur who proved that life can only come from life (omne vivum ex vivo), also known as the Law of Biogenesis.  That pretty much upset the apple cart of both the deists who believed in Original Sin and the evolutionists.  No more primordial soup and no more creating life out of nothing.  Unfortunately, no one was listening then and still are not listening now.  Perhaps they never will.

“Nothing comes from nothing.”

        – Lucretius, Roman poet and philosopher

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24 Responses to “Creation Out of Nothing”

  1. Arkenaten said

    I like the minor nod to Don Maclean in your last sentence. Very clever 🙂

    • chicagoja said

      Brilliant, you spotting that. I actually didn’t have Don McLean in mind when I wrote that line, at least not consciously. After I wrote it, though, I noticed the same thing. Perhaps it was clinking around somewhere in my subconscious and finally had an opportunity to come out. Like Vincent, I’m still suffering from being misunderstood. Yes, I’ve tried to set them free. They would not listen. They’re not list’ning still. Perhaps they never will.

      • Arkenaten said

        Not one of my favourite musicians but definitely my favorite artist. I read someone found an undiscovered Van Gogh recently.
        That will surely be worth a few shekels!

        Oh, and I quite enjoyed the post, too.

      • chicagoja said

        Really enjoy your comments. Not a big McLean fan either but he did write two terrific songs. Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
        singin’ this’ll be the day that I die.

      • Arkenaten said

        The 45 version of that song I owned once upon a time.
        Have a feeling i swapped it with the sister of a friend for America’s Horse With No Name (which was an infinitely better song!)
        Ooops…giving away my age just now!

      • chicagoja said

        Quite alright. I grew up on “Howdy Doody”.

  2. chialphagirl said

    Two things: most Christians believe that evil existed before man was created because (as I have been told but admittedly can not find scripture for) the fall of Lucifer existed in heaven before man was. Evil is the result of actual free will.

    Secondly, Christians believe that life did come from life. God breathed his life into man and man became a living soul. It was not out of nothing, it was out of himself.

    • chicagoja said

      Thanks for your comments. Most Christians have a myopic view of their own religion. Christianity has many denominations that frequently believe in very different things. Take the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church which is the second largest Christian denomination and which believes that sin is cancelled by baptism or the Catholics whose Bible, and therefore their Word of God, is considerably different from Protestants. Brian McLaren, a Christian pastor and theologian, described the situation thusly, “One of the problems is that the average Christian in the average church who listens to the average Christian broadcasting has such an oversimplified understanding of both the Bible and of church history – it would be deeply disturbing for them to really learn church history.”

  3. Nan said

    While he may have been influenced by Epicurus, it’s my understanding that Paul is the originator of the idea of “original sin.” In his attempts to win over the Jews (after he abolished the Law, which was their guide to living a life pleasing to God), he had to come up with a way for them to accept his Christ. So he told them sin was in the world before the law was given (Romans 5:13) — and it was all because of Adam’s wrongdoing in the Garden (Romans 5:12).

    He further asserted that with sin came death, and since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), the only way to life and salvation was by acknowledging that Jesus was the Messiah/Savior. St.Augustine (one of the “fathers” of the Church) was the first theologian to further this teaching. And as we all know, it is part and parcel of Christian teachings today.

    You are correct that this doctrine is unknown to the Jewish people. They believe everyone is born innocent. Throughout life, people may make choices that lead to sin, but it is not part of their inherent nature.

    Interested readers can find out more about the role that Paul played in the establishment of Christianity in my book , “Things I Never Learned in Sunday School.” (Hope you don’t mind the plug.)

    • chicagoja said

      Excellent commentary. Interesting thing is that St. Augustine who authored the concept of Original Sin lived some three hundred years after Jesus. He blamed sin on concupiscence, which is no longer Church dogma. I believe that his source for the original Sin concept was not Paul, but old pagan beliefs and Neoplatonist Philosophy. Paul was then cited as “moral authority” in making it a Christian belief.

      • Nan said

        St. Augustine lived several years after both Jesus and Paul, so I still hold that Paul was the originator of this doctrine. I’m sure pagan beliefs influenced St. Augustine (there are a lot of them incorporated into Christianity), but my research indicates it was Paul that first introduced the idea. St. Augustine just helped move things along.

        In any case, inherent sin is a primary doctrine of the Church today … with Jesus being the one with “divine” powers to provide salvation.

      • chicagoja said

        Could well be. It’s not something that I’ve researched although I find that research on ancient history is often unreliable (i.e. history is written by the victors).

  4. chialphagirl said

    The Jews did not believe everyone was born innocent, that is why when questioning Jesus about the man born blind they asked “who sinned, this man or his parents?” Because the Jews believed that sickness was the result of sin and in that perspective this man may have sinned in the womb and was thus born blind.

    • chicagoja said

      The problem with interpreting the Bible is that you can’t always take it literally. Paul, for example, wrote several times about the mysteries of the Kingdom of God being withheld from the masses and even rulers. What then is the Bible?

      • chialphagirl said

        Romans 16:25 which you reference, answers this in the very next verse, 26. Here they are together, as a complete sentence: “Now to him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past but now is manifested and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, HAS NOW BEEN MADE KNOWN to all the nations leading obedience of faith.”

      • chicagoja said

        Quite true. I quote the Bible not as the source of my belief but to communicate my belief in words and terms that many people can relate to. If I were to quote the Bible only for the veracity of its sayings, I’d have to follow Paul in giving my allegiance to the Roman emperors (of course, that wouldn’t be possible today) and I would have to disparage women, just to give a couple of examples. To put it another way, I don’t believe everything the Bible says. Just because Paul says that he’s passed on the Mysteries to his followers doesn’t make it so. By the way, initiates into the Mysteries were sworn to secrecy and nothing that Paul told his followers would qualify as information that came from the Mysteries.

      • chialphagirl said

        What is the source of your belief? And why quote the Bible at all, especially Paul, if you think he is a liar and a misogynist?

      • chicagoja said

        I quote from the Bible because there’s a lot of truths in it. But I’m discriminating, I don’t just accept anything that I read as the truth. Do you? Does anyone?
        The Book of Romans that we were discussing was actually written by the scribe,Tertius,on behalf of Paul. So did Tertius faithfully transcribe all of Paul’s words? Who knows. Did Tertius even understand the meaning of all of Paul’s words? Very doubtful, since Paul was a mystic and was expressing a new philosophy of God. As for Paul being a liar, those are your words not mine. I just raised the question because as a skeptic that’s what I do. Do you know anyone who hasn’t lied? Anyone? Paul’s followers likely knew that he was an initiate in the Mysteries and kept bugging him to let them in on the secrets of the Kingdom of God. However, Paul was sworn to silence on that matter. So is it possible that he pontificated on his new religion (later to be known as Christianity) and said it was from the Mysteries? Sometimes, that’s how history happens. As for my beliefs, they almost always start with personal revelations, in that regard no different than Paul. Thanks for your insights. It shows that you are a thinker and not a follower.

      • chialphagirl said

        I try to ask questions but I do generally start from the premise that the Bible is accurate, although our interpretation of it is not always as accurate.

        Personal revelation is fine, and I agree is the way that the Bible is written but it is highly subjective as it is personal. I also find it difficult to debate theology based on personal revelation. How can I argue against what you say God said to you or revealed to you? At that point we move into more philosophical discussion and that is always less concrete. Not totally without merit but generally without conclusion.

      • chicagoja said

        I totally agree with you. That’s exactly the problem with having to deal with the Bible as the unerring Word of God. It’s perhaps more accurate to say that the Bible is the inspired Word of God which then leads into what you said about man’s interpretations being less than perfect.

  5. Lux Ferous said

    Reblogged this on Whispers of Satan and commented:
    Don’t quote me saying I agree with “everything”, but it is interesting. Once again, The Ethical Warrior makes a brilliant post.

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