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Creation and conservation, religious doctrine of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K012-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 15, 2024, from

Article Summary

The doctrine of the creation of the universe by God is common to the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; reflection on creation has been most extensively developed within the Christian tradition. Creation is by a single supreme God, not a group of deities, and is an ‘absolute’ creation (creation ex nihilo, ‘out of nothing’) rather than being either a ‘making’ out of previously existing material or an ‘emanation’ (outflow) from God’s own nature. Creation, furthermore, is a free act on God’s part; he has no ‘need’ to create but has done so out of love and generosity. He not only created the universe ‘in the beginning’, but he sustains (‘conserves’) it by his power at each moment of its existence; without God’s support it would instantly collapse into nothingness. It is controversial whether the belief in divine creation receives support from contemporary cosmology, as seen in the ‘Big Bang’ theory.

Citing this article:
Hasker, William. Creation and conservation, religious doctrine of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K012-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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