Sunday, August 07, 2005

Ex nihilo

The Maverick Philosopher takes on a fascinating subject (well, to me, anyway): Does Ex nihilo nihil fit (nothing comes from nothing) contradict God creating the world ex nihilo? Bill says no, and I'm inclined to agree:
God creates out of himself: he creates out of materials that are internal to his own mental life. It is ANALOGOUS to the way we create objects of imagination. (I am not saying that God creates the world by imagining it.) When I construct an object in imagination, I operate upon materials that I myself provide. Thus I create a purple right triangle by combining the concept of being purple with the concept of being a right triangle. I can go on to create a purple cone by rotating the triangle though 360 degrees on the y-axis. The object imagined is wholly dependent on me the imaginer: if I leave off imagining it, it ceases to exist. I am the cause of its beginning to exist as well as the cause of its continuing to exist moment by moment. But the object imagined, as my intentional object, is other than me just as the creature is other than God. The creature is other than God while being wholly dependent on God just as the object imagined is other than me while being wholly dependent on me. Can this proposal steer clear of an objectionable form of pantheism? Obviously, the distinction between God and the created world must be upheld. The former is not the latter, and the latter is not the former. So they are distinct. But if two things are distinct, it does not follow that each can exist without the other. God can exist without the created world, but the created world cannot exist without God. The world depends on God for both its essence and its existence at every moment.
Note: the comments are also worth delving into.

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