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Theism holds that God made the world. In Judaism and Christianity, God is said to have made the world in six distinct periods of time (“days”), and rested on a seventh, providing the model for the Sabbath. The account of this Creation (two accounts, in fact) are to be found in the opening chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1 and 2. Two of the central elements in this account are Creatio ex Nihilo and the goodness of the world.

Creatio ex Nihilo

As the First Cause who brought the universe into being, God is not thought to have formed pre-existent matter into stars and planets as a potter might mould clay into a vessel. Rather, God is said to have created the universe out of nothing. Before God’s act of creation, nothing existed other than God. This doctrine is often referred to by its Latin name, “Creatio ex Nihilo”.

This understanding of God ties in well with the cosmological argument, which holds that the universe cannot have existed forever, that it must have come into existence at some point in the distant past and the only adequate explanation of this event is the existence of a Creator God.

The Goodness of Creation

As a good Creator, God made a good Creation. Some have even thought that as God is perfect, his Creation must also be perfect, that this must be the best of all possible worlds. Despite the problem of evil, the problem of explaining how a universe created by a good God could contain the levels of moral corruption and suffering found in our world, the idea that God made the world good remains a central element in Creation theology.

This position conflicts with of dualist religious systems such as Gnosticism. Gnostic dualism divides all existent things into two categories, good and evil. The material world, according to Gnostics, is evil; the spiritual is good. We are seen as spiritual beings trapped in physical bodies, only to be liberated at death.

From the Gnostic perspective, Creation was not a good thing, but a disaster. Creation was the creation of evil matter. Gnostics therefore ascribed Creation not to God, who is good, but to some lesser deity, the “demiurge” or craftsman.



Catholic Encyclopedia article.