Thursday, November 01, 2007

Was the World We Know Created Out of Nothing -- Or Out of Something?

If one thinks of creation stories as containing psychological truths, rather than physical truths, then perhaps those stories in which the world was created out some pre-existing substance are more psychologically true than those stories in which the world was created out of nothing.

I've tried to point out in the post that follows this one how our awareness of the world is limited. That is, we are not aware of the world as is, but only as interpreted. This psychological truth seems to imply, however, that our interpretation is derived from some kind of information we get from the world. Our eyes detect photons. The photons are of the world and pre-exist our interpretation of the world. We then interpret those photons. That act of interpretation can be seen as an act of creation in which we make the world -- not out of nothing -- but out of something (photons).

Yet, if all that is true, and if one wants to look at creation stories as psychological truths, then those creation stories which state the world was created out of pre-existing matter would seem to be more psychologically accurate than those creation stories which state the world was created out of nothing.

2 comments:

Brendan said...

Almost all of the connotations of the Hebrew word translated as "create" in Genesis are of shaping, pruning, and forming - bringing order to by cutting away. It more likely means to bring "form to formlessness" or "order of out chaos" than it does "creation from nothing."

Paul said...

I was hoping you'd point that out, Brendan!