“Hi James, I posted a question on here about a month ago. It was an atheist argument that I wanted to know how you would respond to. At the time, you offered to write a blog on it, but unless I have missed it, you have not given an answer as yet. Even a simple reply here would be more than sufficient for me. So if I may, I am going to pose the question again.
“Christians often argue that something can’t come from nothing. So what did God make the universe from?”‘
Contemporary cosmology strongly supports the theory that the physical universe of time, space, and matter is finite and therefore not eternal. In other words, it had a beginning. Something, which in the context of religions, is unusually consistent with the Bible’s revelation (Genesis 1:1).
However, when we see God creating the physical universe (and the things within it) in the Genesis account he simply speaks & it happens (“God said, ‘let it be’ etc.). In other words, God doesn’t make the universe from anything. He simply spoke and it happened. God never reconstructed or reassembled anything out of already existing matter; he spoke such matter into existence. Likewise, God did not create the physical universe from himself since given the Bible’s witness he is totally separated from the physical (John 4:24). He is therefore believed to be outside of space time itself.
This is what is meant by creation ex nihilo (the Latin phrase meaning literally “out of nothing”). A task only possible for God. How exactly did God literally go about doing that (after all, Genesis simply states as a matter of fact that God spoke things into existence)? I don’t think that we will ever be certain for it’s something that a finite human mind will never be able to grasp. Since we are space bound we will never know what it is like to be outside of space itself, much like we don’t know what it is like for God to be able to exist outside of space time. What would be more appropriate to consider is whether or not it is possible for God to do this. Is it? If we’re talking about the biblical God then obviously. However, if someone were to deny that the biblical God could do such a thing then he would need to provide arguments to demonstrate why God would be hindered by such an inability. And on that end I don’t think that would be possible. Only if the atheist, in this case, can demonstrate this then to hold to creation ex nihilo would be irrational. Have they? No they haven’t.