(An alternative to creation out of nothing)
What if God didn’t create out of nothing (Ex Nihilo) but instead created out of pre-existing matter in a chaotic (uncooperative to the love of God) state? Would that affect your view of the Divine? Or does it even matter to you? I think it’s fun to ponder.
Personally, I don’t see creation out of nothing specifically taught in scripture but find it intriguing that this is what is the most accepted and taught belief. To me if God is truly relational and eternal then God has always (eternally) created and with that, the possibility that some type of creation has always existed is possible/probable.
Since, in my opinion, free agency/will is a necessary component for relationship, God can’t create without working alongside and in relation to what already exist, without creaturely (anything created) cooperation, there is chaos. A definition of chaos in this thought could be “that which is not working in cooperation with God” or in could be termed “that which is without God’s spirit”, which is life. This could be an interpretive lens to view Genesis 1.
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep (primeval chaos), while a wind (the spirit) from God swept over the face of the waters.”
It could be interpreted like this.
“In the beginning there was just chaos, (un-cooperative matter/creation) then God spoke a word and creation listened and came alive. Then the big bang happened.”
This goes well with the entire biblical narrative of chaos (think Israels slavery in Egypt, Babylon exile, Roman occupation) and then God breathing spirit into it (the exodus from Egypt and the gift of the promised land, freedom from exile and return to the land, Jesus’ coming as messiah and setting the captives free once and for all).
It’s also practical in our daily lives as it creates hope that in the chaos of our daily lives, God is always there breathing her spirit into us, rescuing us, entering into the chaos, calming the waters, and giving meaning to what sometimes seems like an empty void.