The Creation of the Universe by the Word: John 1:3-5 -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 160:638 (Apr 2003)
Article: The Creation of the Universe by the Word: John 1:3-5
Author: David J. MacLeod


The Creation of the Universe by the Word: John 1:3-5a

David J. MacLeod

The doctrine of creatio ex nihilo, that is, the creation of the universe from nothing, sets the biblical worldview against virtually all other philosophical systems, ancient and modern.1 Nonbiblical systems have tended to view creation in one of the following ways: (a) the universe is the result of self-origination; (b) the universe is the unfolding or emanation of a divine being; (c) there is some form of eternally existing chaos, which an intermediate “creator” or prime mover fashioned into a cosmos; or (d) the universe is an illusion.2 The biblical assertion of an absolute creation by a transcendent God was a scandal to the pagan mind and a threat to the worldview of ancient civilizations.

Galen, the great medical authority and philosopher of the second century after Christ, wrote, “Moses’ opinion greatly differs from our own and from that of Plato and all the others who among the Greeks have rightly handled the investigation into nature. To

Moses, it seems enough that God willed to create a cosmos, and presently it was created; for he believes that for God everything is possible…. We however do not hold such an opinion; for we maintain, on the contrary, that certain things are impossible by nature, and these God would not even attempt to do.”3

The biblical account of creation differs in three crucial respects from the views of all ancient philosophies.4 First, the world had a beginning and is therefore not eternal. Second, the universe is utterly dependent on God, but He is not dependent on it. God is transcendent and absolutely sovereign over creation. Third, God made the universe out of nothing, not out of preexistent material.5

The New Testament writers affirmed that creation was through Christ. Brunner wrote, “The Christian belief in Creation arises at the point where all Christian faith arises, namely, in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.”6 The classic texts on Christ’s

role in creation link His creative work to His redemptive work, that is, to the great events of His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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