Two quotes on creatio ex nihilo

Assumed audience: Theologically-orthodox Christians, or folks interested in things that theologically-orthodox Christians think.

By the work of divine love, finite things come to share in the universal good of being, but only in a finite manner, and only as they stand in relation to the creator God, the source of being. This relation constitutes creatures. Every element of creaturely being and action is what it is in the very dependency of the created act of being upon the principle from which it is produced. There is, therefore, a depth to created things. To consider them, we have to understand not only their finite causes but the first cause, tracing them back to their source, which is God. Creatures have being as principiata, as effects of God their principium.

 — “‘Love is also a lover of life’”, in God Without Measure: Working Papers in Christian Theology – Volume I: God and the Works of God, John Webster, p. 107

Creation is a work of wholly adequate love. Part of this love’s adequacy is its voluntary character: it is fully spontaneous and self-original, nothing more than God’s will being required for creatures to come to be. But creative divine volition is not caprice but purpose, direction of entire capacity to another’s good; and it is purposive love, most of all because this other does not antecede the gift of its own being but receives the gift of life from God. Love gives life, and love gives life. In willing to create, God wills the realization of life which is not his own: Love is also a lover of life.’1 Only God can do this; only God can bring about a life which is derived yet possessed of intrinsic substance and worth. Because God is not one being and agent alongside others, and because he is in himself entirely realized and possesses perfect bliss, he has nothing to gain from creating. Precisely in the absence of divine self-interest, the creature gains everything; because of (not in spite of) the non-reciprocal character of the relation of creator and creature, the creature has integrity.… Benevolent love establishes and safeguards the integrity of the bings which it creates.

 — ibid., pp. 110 – 111


  1. Webster is here citing Izaak Dorner, A System of Christian Doctrine, vol. 2, p. 15. ↩︎