Saturday, December 15, 2012

Barth on creatio ex nihilo

It is sometimes debated whether science and Genesis 1 is consistent with the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo [creation out of nothing].

I found it interesting to see what Karl Barth says in the context of his exegesis of Genesis
It is clear enough that there is a chaos; that creation is "somehow" related to it; that it plays its part even in the later history which begins with creation; and that there too there are definite encounters between it and God. But there is no such thing as a "reality of chaos" independently confronting the Creator and His works, and able in its own power as matter or a hostile principle to oppose His operations. 
It may well be that the concept of a creatio ex nihilo, of which there is no actual hint in Gen. 1-2, is the construct of later attempts at more precise formulation. But its antithesis - the mythological acceptance of a primeval reality independent of God - is excluded in practice by the general tenor of the passage as well as its position within the biblical context.
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 3.1: The Doctrine of Creation, page 103.

Hence, Barth argues that creatio ex nihilo is not explicitly supported by Genesis. However, he stresses that Genesis stands in conflict with its antithesis.

No comments:

Post a Comment