zaterdag 4 oktober 2014
Is creatio ex nihilo possible?
How could God have created the world out of nothing? Isn't that metaphysically impossible? Now, surely, ex nihilo nihil fit. From nothing nothing comes. This principle seems to me indisputable. Yet, creatio ex nihilo does not violate it. For God creating the world from nothing isn't the same as the world coming out of nothing. After all, God is the originating cause of the world and God clearly is something instead of nothing. More specifically, the potency to create the world can be understood to reside in Gods power. Nevertheless, one might respond that it is also metaphysically impossible for an agent (even as powerful as God) to create something out of nothing. But is that indeed the case? It might very well be metaphysically impossible for any agent, even God, to create concrete substances, such as planets, trees, animals and humans directly out of nothing. But that is not the way creatio ex nihilo needs to be understood. Here is an alternative picture of creatio ex nihilio that is not only in accord with modern science, but does in fact seem metaphysically possible (or at least less impossible than the first scenario). God created initially no concrete objects. In the beginning God formed abstract objects from his thoughts. Afterwards God reified or hypostatized these thoughts as separately existing abstract objects. These abstracta were subsequently transformed by God into non-substantive concrete particulars (e.g., one or more singularities, space-times having radius zero or virtual particles having mass and charge zero). From these non-substantive particulars, God brought substantive concrete objects into being. These substantive concreta evolved over a long period of time into the world of concrete substances as we know it. This multi-pass picture of creatio ex nihilo might in fact be the only metaphysically possible way to create a world of concrete substances out of nothing. If so, it explains why God created our world via a lenghtly process of evolution from some non-substantive singularity instead of bringing it directly into being out of nothing.