“Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” (Nehemiah 9:6)
The Bible clearly states that God created the “heaven, and earth, the sea and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11) out of nothing. “Things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). The first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” could be paraphrased: God called into existence the space–mass–time (i.e., heavens–earth–beginning) universe. Evidently before creation, nothing now intrinsic to the universe existed at all.
While this teaching is clear, not hard to understand, it is hard to believe. Such ex nihilo (i.e., out of nothing) creation is so foreign to our experience that it can only be comprehended as God reveals it to us. We are taught that His creative work was finished at the end of the sixth day of the creation week (Genesis 2:1-4). With the exception of certain of the miracles of Christ on Earth, such creation has not occurred since, and we have difficulty believing it could happen, so foreign is it to our experience.
Our difficulty stems primarily from the fact that we are sinful creatures; our minds are hampered by sin. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Since the doctrine of creation is foundational to the rest of Scripture, we dare not neglect it just because it is difficult, and we dare not impose our feeble naturalistic reasonings onto the clear teaching of Genesis 1 and related passages, thereby reducing God’s power to mere human abilities. JDM