Bible Doctrine Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith Wayne Grudem
biblical evidence for creation out of nothing. The Bible clearly requires us to believe that God created the universe out of nothing. (Sometimes the Latin phrase ex nihilo, “out of nothing,” is used; it is then said that the Bible teaches creation ex nihilo.) This means that before God began to create the universe, nothing else existed except God himself. This is the implication of Genesis 1:1, which says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The phrase “the heavens and the earth” includes the entire universe. Psalm 33 also tells us, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth” (Ps. 33:6, 9). In the New Testament we find a universal statement at the beginning of John’s gospel: “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). The phrase “all things” is best taken to refer to the entire universe (cf. Acts 17:24; Heb. 11:3). Paul is quite explicit in Colossians 1when he specifies all the parts of the universe, both visible and invisible things: “In him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16). Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (NASB). This translation (as well as the NIV) most accurately reflects the Greek text. Though the text does not quite teach the doctrine of creation out of nothing, it comes close to doing so, since it says that God did not create the universe out of anything that is visible. The somewhat strange idea that the universe might have been created out of something that was invisible is probably not in the author’s mind. He is contradicting the idea of creation out of previously existing matter, and for that purpose the verse is quite clear. nothing, no matter in the universe is eternal. All that we see—the mountains, the oceans, the stars, the earth itself—all came into existence when God created them. This reminds us that God rules over all the universe and that nothing in creation is to be worshiped instead of God or in addition to him. However, were we to deny creation out of nothing, we would have to say that some matter has always existed and that it is eternal like God. This idea would challenge God’s independence, his sovereignty, and the fact that worship is due to him alone. If matter existed apart from God, then what inherent right would God have to rule over it and use it for his glory? And what confidence could we have that every aspect of the universe will ultimately fulfill God’s purposes if some parts of it were not created by him?
The positive side of the fact that God created the universe out of nothing is that it has meaning and a purpose. God, in his wisdom, created it for something. We should try to understand that purpose and use creation in ways that fit that purpose, namely, to bring glory to God himself.1 Moreover, whenever the creation brings us joy (cf. 1 Tim. 6:17), we should give thanks to the God who made it all.
Grudem, Wayne A.. Bible Doctrine (p. 123). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.
Why learned men . . . say God created the heaven and the earth out of nothing. Scholars of the history of Christian doctrine tell us that the idea of creation ex nihilo is a product of the hellenistic Christian era. Gerhard May in his work Creatio ex Nihilo: The Doctrine of 'Creation out of Nothing' in Early Christian Thought concludes that "in the second half of the second century the theological development begins which leads directly to the formulation of the church doctrine of creatio ex nihilo"; by "the beginning of the third century [it was] regarded as a fundamental tenet of Christian theology" (Creatio ex Nihilo, 148, 179). Of necessity the doctrine traces itself to Greek philosophy, having originated after traditional Christianity claims revelation to have ceased.
Baurau. The Hebrew word baurau rendered "created" in the Genesis account of the story of creation means "to form or to fashion." There is no thought in the word of the creation of something from nothing.
THE KING FOLLETT DISCOURSE
REVELATIONS OF THE RESTORATION
by Craig J. Ostler, Joseph Fielding McConkie
Incidentally, when Joseph suggests in the King Follett sermon that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, 25 he is essentially stating the law of conservation of mass-energy, a law currently and universally accepted in science but not known in his time. The Creation was an organization of preexisting matter. That this is our LDS belief—contrary to the theory of ex nihilo creation (out of nothing) of traditional Christianity and of creationism—has been clearly pointed out by numerous authors. 26
OF HEAVEN AND EARTH: RECONCILING SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT WITH LDS THEOLOGY
by David Clark
From a New Testament perspective, we can paraphrase this verse: “God the Father said to God the Son, ‘Sit at my right hand.’ ” But even without the New Testament teaching on the Trinity, it seems clear that David was aware of a plurality of persons in one God. Isaiah 63:10 says that God’s people “rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit” (NIV), apparently suggesting both that the Holy Spirit is distinct from God himself (it is “his Holy Spirit”), and that this Holy Spirit can be “grieved,” thus suggesting emotional capabilities characteristic of a distinct person. Furthermore, several Old Testament passages about “the angel of the Lord” suggest a plurality of persons in God. The word translated “angel” (Heb. mal’ak) means simply “messenger.” If this angel of the Lord is a “messenger” of the Lord, he is then distinct from the Lord himself. Yet at some points the angel of the Lord is called “God” or “the Lord” (see Gen. 16:13; Ex. 3:2–6; 23:20–22; Num. 22:35 with 38; Judg. 2:1–2; 6:11 with 14).
At other points in the Old Testament “the angel of the Lord” simply refers to a created angel, but at least at these texts the special angel (or “messenger”) of the Lord seems to be a distinct person who is fully divine.
2. More complete revelation of the Trinity in the New Testament. When the New Testament opens, we enter the history of the coming of the Son of God to earth. It is to be expected that this great event would be accompanied by more explicit teaching about the trinitarian nature of God, and that is in fact what we find. Before looking at this in detail, we can simply list several passages where all three persons of the Trinity are named together. When Jesus was baptized, “the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’ ” (Matt. 3:16–17).
Here at one moment, we have three members of the Trinity performing three distinct activities. God the Father is speaking from heaven; God the Son is being baptized and is then spoken to from heaven by God the Father; and God the Holy Spirit is descending from heaven to rest upon and empower Jesus for his ministry. At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, he tells the disciples that they should go “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). The very names “Father” and “Son,” drawn as they are from the family, the most familiar of human institutions, indicate very strongly the distinct personhood of both the Father and the Son. When “the Holy Spirit” is put in the same expression and on the same level as the other two persons, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is also viewed as a person and of equal standing with the Father and the Son.
Grudem, Wayne A.. Bible Doctrine (p. 104). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.
Jesus also rose from the dead in a physical, human body, though one that was made perfect and was no longer subject to weakness, disease, or death. He demonstrates repeatedly to his disciples that he does have a real physical body. He says, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39). He is showing them and teaching them that he has “flesh and bones” and is not merely a “spirit” without a body. Another evidence of this fact is that “they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them” (Luke 24:42; cf. v. 30; John 20:17, 20, 27; 21:9, 13). In this same human body (though a resurrection body that was made perfect), Jesus also ascended into heaven. He said before he left, “I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (John 16:28; cf. 17:11). The way in which Jesus ascended up to heaven was calculated to demonstrate the continuity between his existence in a physical body here on earth and his continuing existence in that body in heaven. Just a few verses after Jesus had told them, “A spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39), we read in Luke’s gospel that Jesus “led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50–51). Similarly, we read in Acts, “As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). All of these verses taken together show that, as far as Jesus’ human body is concerned, it was like ours in every respect before his resurrection, and after his resurrection it was still a human body with “flesh and bones,” but made perfect, the kind of body that we will have when Christ returns and we are raised from the dead as well. 2 Jesus continues to exist in that human body in heaven, as the ascension is designed to teach.
Grudem, Wayne A.. Bible Doctrine (p. 229). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.
"A Marvelous Work and A Wonder" Le Grand Richards pp 19-20
Through modern revelation we learn that the universe is filled with vast numbers of intelligences, and we further learn that Elohim is God simply because all of these intelligences honor and sustain Him as such.... But since God 'acquired' the honor and sustaining influence of 'all things' it follows as a corollary that if He should ever do anything to violate the confidence or sense of justice' of these intelligences, they would promptly withdraw their support, and the 'power' of God would disintegrate.... 'He would cease to be God.' Our Heavenly Father can do only those things which the intelligences under Him are voluntarily willing to support Him in accomplishing (The First 2000 Years, pp. 355-356).
Evidence in Scripture. In Psalm 102 we find a contrast between things which we may think to be permanent such as the earth or the heavens, on the one hand, and God, on the other hand. The psalmist says: Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like raiment, and they pass away; but you are the same, and your years have no end. (Ps. 102:25–27).3 God existed before the heavens and earth were made, and he will exist long after they have been destroyed. God causes the universe to change, but in contrast to this change he is “the same.” Referring to his own qualities of patience, long-suffering, and mercy, God says, “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6). Here God uses a general statement of his unchangeableness to refer to some specific ways in which he does not change.
As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.
Author: Lorenzo Snow
Source: Gospel Through The Ages
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder
heavens. That is the great secret... …I am going to tell you how God came to be
God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will
refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. … It is the
first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and
to know...that he was once a man like us.... Here, then, is eternal life - to
know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods
yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done
before you... (“King Follett Discourse,” Journal of Discourses 6:3-4, also in
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345-346, and History of the Church, vol.