Creatio ex nihilo vs Cex nihilo nihil fit

Published on December 6, 2022 at 9:27 pm by LEW


I remember being told, at a young age, that Genesis 1:1 means that God created everything out of nothing (Greek: creatio ex nihilo).

In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth (Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz). Genesis 1:1.

Later in life I was told that God performed three creative acts (Hebrew word bara) in Genesis 1:1 (heavens and earth), 1:21 (sea creatures and birds), and 1:27 (humans). All other acts use the Hebrew word asah, meaning to make.

There are around a dozen other verses in the Bible that talk about creation. But in the initial three I find nothing that supports the dogmantic view of creatio ex nihilo. I also want to make it clear that in the said verses I find nothing that discounts it either.

From what I can tell the Bible is silent on the matter, and it appears to not have been a concern of the original authors. This bit of dogma irks me because many state it as a fact. From what I can tell. it is not a fact, it is just one possibility.

Cex nihilo nihil fit

Cex nihilo nihil fit is Greek for nothing comes from nothing. It is a basic concept in many disciplines that you can not make something out of nothing.

My questioning of the way I was taught to interpret scripture in this case started many years ago when I was reading Genesis 2:7 and 2:21 – 22. The first is when the Lord made Adam, and the second when the Lord made Eve. In both cases they were created from something (dust of the ground in Adams case, and a rib of Adam in Eves case). For me this invalidated the creatio ex nihil claim.

This hypothesis required further investigation. From what I have reviewed and read, the following verses are the ones used to justify creatio ex nihil; Psalms 33:6, Isaiah 44:24, John 1:3, Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 2:10, 2 Peter 3:5, Revelation 4:11, and for those whose Bible use additional books there is Wisdom 1:14.


Our first stop is Psalms 33:6, By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Nothing here to rule out cex nihilo nihil fit. The verse just states that the heavens were made, no explanation as to how. Similar to Isaiah 44:24, no direct information on how.

All the New Testament verses are very similar. They talk about creation but not how.

From my research, the Hebrew word bara can in general be translated as the English he created, and used in context with God. However I have found nothing suggesting the word can be translated “he created out of nothing” .

It can be argued that a human creative act comes purely from the human intellect, thus having no substance. I would agree so far as saying the creative notion came from the mind of God with no actual substance.

However, a potter cannot create a pot with out using clay, and God made man out of dirt. So even if life was the creative act, it still needed a vessel, which is not nothing.


After looking at the relevant references, I cannot discount creatio ex nihil. However I cannot discount other possibles too (cex nihilo nihil fit), as the Bible is neither detailed or specific on the subject.

What I would want is those preaching either creatio ex nihil or ex nihilo nihil fit to be clear that while it is there belief, it is also an opinion and is not specifically supported by the Biblical text. And to suggest that people read the texts for themselves, do their own research, and investigate other opinions before deciding what their beliefs should be.

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