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By N. Joseph Torchia

This learn proceeds from an research of the importance of the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo in many of the key elements of St. Augustine's prolonged anti-Manichaean polemic. To an excellent volume, his devastating critique of the Manichaeans' international view, their notion of evil, and their so much primary theological presuppositions relied seriously upon the confirmation that God finally created every little thing that exists from not anything. In broader phrases, the research demonstrates how the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo supplied Augustine with a good technique of defining the nature of created being as finite and mutable, and drawing a very important ontological contrast among the Divine Nature and that which God creates. Such teachings have been operative in a number of the key issues of Augustine's theology.

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Extra resources for "Creatio ex nihilo" and the Theology of St. Augustine: The Anti-Manichaean Polemic and Beyond

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1 focuses upon two key points: first, the source of the orderly arrangement of visible things; secondly, the fact that creation did not happen fortuitously, but originated in God. In this context, he adapts a Platonic image in service of 18 ... Saint Augustine's Doctrine of Creatio ex nihilo his own understanding of God as the ultimate causal principle of the visible universe: the Maker of all things brought the visible world into being by the mere inclination of His will, like potters who exercise their craft without diminishing their art or power.

Plato (as well as all of the pagan Greek thinkers considered here) did not develop a doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. Rather, the Ti mae us provides an account of the generation of the world through the operation of an external cause, that is, the Demiurge (Timaeus 28c 2-3). According to Plato, the demiurge "took over" disordered motion and ordered it (Timaeus 30a 3-4), thereby forming the world according to an eternal model and transforming it into an animated, rational creature (Timaeus 30b 1-c 1).

Saint Augustine's Doctrine of Creatio ex nihilo tribution to this debate, distinguishing between four senses of Plato's teaching that the universe has been "created". This distinction is found in Taurus's Commentary on the Timaeus (included by the sixth-century Christian thinker John Philoponus in his On the Eternity of the World (p. 145, 13ff, Rabe). I here quote the relevant portions of Taurus's discussion: . . we will discover that Plato does not use the word 'created' in the sense in which we say that things which derive their existence from some beginning in time are 'created'; for this is what has led the majority of interpreters astray, when they hear this word 'created', into assuming that this is the meaning.

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