Friday, August 26, 2005
Meditating on Nothing (or Something for Nothing)  

At the beginning of St. Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises, he encourages the reader to reflect on the purpose of God's having created us. As an article of faith, the Church teaches that God created everything ex nihilo, out of nothing. Consequently, we too, were created from nothing.

Through the late Fr. John Hardon's reflections on this teaching, I began to become aware of what this really means. He pointed out that apart from an all-loving God, we would have no existence. We would be where we were before creation--in nothingness. In other words everything that I am or can be is because in God's mind, He wanted to create me. He desired that I exist. Why?

Fr. Hardon went on to point out that we do not add anything to God. This is obvious because He was fully God before He created us. He cannot become "more God" through something He created. In fact, it is blasphemy to suggest that we can add to God in any way. However, there is a certain hubris within us that acts as if we do provide a benefit to God. Instead, Fr. Hardon points out that God lovingly created us in order that we might receive the benefit. He cannot, so it must be for us. His creation of us is for us.

Now back to nothing. It really is quite hard to conceive of nothing. It is even more difficult to grasp the idea that we were created from that nothing. God existed, as He had from all eternity. He conceptualizes creating. He decides to create. Then He creates using what? Nothing. Of course, only God can do that. We can only create from materials at hand.

This idea of creation ex nihilo is really quite something amazing. Through creation, God did not lose any part of Himself. Neither did He gain anything for Himself. He will not gain anything from His creation now or in the future. Instead, He pours out His love on His creation. As such, His creation is a pure act of love because it is completely for the benefit of the creatures.

As a result of His creation, God has given a great something from a complete nothing. In fact from nothing, there is something, which has the opportunity to gain everything. That is one over which the mathematicians can puzzle. I, on the other hand, can only wonder in awe at my very existence and this God who is able to create as He did, for the reason He did.

Posted by David at 2:15 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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