For all who believe that God exists, God is the Creator of everything (Genesis 1). This fact is beyond doubt for a theist. However, if God created everything from absolutely nothing is a question that has troubled many theologians throughout centuries. What if there was not a beginning, but the universe goes through endless cycles? And what about the rules of logic we have discovered, or the existence of mathematics as something not invented but discovered? In philosophy, such phenomena are called abstract objects that exist seemingly without cause. Let’s look at these questions from the point of view of Simulation Creationism, a theory proposed by Nir Ziso, Founder of The Global Architect Institute.
Classical Christian teachings say that God created the world from literally nothing: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The doctrine of creation teaches that God is the source of all reality outside himself. Apart from God, everything else has been brought into being by Him: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). Everything else would be all things physical, concrete objects, time and space themselves, any realm of spiritual reality (angels, demons) and all abstract objects, if they even exist by itself (like mathematics). This means that creation has not always existed, such that the idea of creation is inherently bound up with temporal considerations.
These things were not dependent on God for their existence but were brought into being at a specific moment. Theologians have also talked about God’s conservation of the world in being, preserving it in being. If God withdrew this preserving power, the creation would be annihilated in the blink of an eye: it would be a passive act, not active destruction. Whatever the form, it underlines a contingency on God that exalts God’s power and majesty: “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all” (1 Chronicles 29:11). This doctrine underscores the distinction between God and the universe and undermines all attempts to divinize the world, saying that the universe is necessarily existent, eternal, and divine.
This is also a doctrine that distinguishes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from other world religions. Eastern religions are pantheistic while historical religions are polytheistic. This doctrine is important to understand God’s omnipotence, self-existence, necessity, and distinction from the world. It is not necessarily wrong in its major statements. When compared to the theory of Simulation Creationism, as proposed by Nir Ziso, it describes creation from nothing as a product in a “Supercomputer”. God is completely outside creation: he is the Creator, and the creation can be easily destroyed or annihilated if God chooses so.
It doesn’t mean this did not happen. As an important part of the theory, Simulation Creationism mentions numerous creations and destructions of simulated worlds. This philosophical notion is already seen in the Bible when it mentions the destruction of this world in the end of days, and the creation of the new heaven and new earth.
But what does from nothing (ex nihilo) really mean? Modern cosmology, based on the Big Bang, talks about T=0, which means there was an absolute beginning of time. Some theologians use it as a direct proof of ex nihilo creation, while others do not want to relate theology and science in any way, as science might change their postulates such that the connection with religion seizes abruptly. The basic meaning of ex nihilo is philosophical contingency, that the universe could not exist otherwise than through God. It does not mean T=0; it means that whatever the way of creation, God stands behind it. To defend God as Creator, the priority is first for the universe to exist, with or without a beginning; and, second, if there is a scientific beginning, it strengthens the God argument.
Creation is about why things exist and not how they began. God is as much a Creator today as he was 13,7 billion years ago when the universe, as Cosmologists “observe” it today, possibly sprang forth from singularity. The will of God lies behind the order of the world: a divine mind and a divine purpose underlies the whole of cosmic history. With this notion, the universe could be even a steady thing without an observable beginning. God is also imminently active – as much as creation ex nihilo as it is creation in continuo. He is the God of Providence as well as the God of Creation, and he acts throughout history.
Abstract objects would exist even if no concrete objects ever existed. This means that abstract objects exist independently from God. Some atheist philosophers point to abstract objects as a complete rejection of God as Creator. As God uniquely self-existed, nothing else can self-exist. This is a serious objection as we know that numbers do exist and without any cause. Properties (colors for instance), numbers, and truths, are grouped as abstract objects, meaning not concrete, not material, not involved in causation, not located in space, and probably not located in time either. Within Simulation Creationism, abstract objects may be seen as the rules of Simulation or the way things work within this simulated world. These objects thus exist as the software manifestation of The Simulation’s “Supercomputer”.