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Creation is the process of making something new.

When written in English with a capital letter, Creation or The Creation is a casual reference to the origin of the Universe, or to the universe or cosmos itself. This colloquial use of the term refers, not always intentionally, to the belief that all things have a beginning. The creation of all things, the process by which the present cosmos began, is a subject of scientific, religious, and mythological interest.

Table of contents
1 Religious creation beliefs
2 Scientific creation theories
3 Creation by natural causes
4 Creation ex nihilo
5 See also

Religious creation beliefs

Several religions have creation beliefs, some of which account for the existence and present form of the Universe by the act of creation by a supreme being or creator god. Most of these accounts depict one or several gods fashioning things out of themselves, or from pre-existing material.

Exceptions to this idea are the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which for the most part speak of creation ex nihilo (Latin: out of nothing). This is typified, for example, by the assumption that the first verse of the Bible ("In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth") indicates that only God is self-existent, and all other things have their being from God. 2 Maccabees 7:28 shows that this may have been a common Jewish understanding of creation: "I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not ...". This is very like the language of the Christian view in Hebrews 11:3, which states, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear".

However, in these traditions, the belief that God gave shape to pre-existing things was not unheard of, and that idea became more fully articulated especially under the influence of Greek philosophy. In both, Judaism and Christianity, belief in creation "from nothing" began to dominate the traditions more completely, sometime in the second century C.E., as a way of asserting that God alone is eternal, in reaction to the implications of philosophy. The following quote from the second century rabbi, Gamiliel II, illustrates this reaction:

A philosopher said to R. Gamiliel: Your God was a great craftsman, but he found himself good materials which assisted him: Tohu wa-Bohu, and darkness, and wind, and water, and the primeval deep. Said R. Gamiliel to him: May the wind be blown out of that man! Each material is referred to as created. Tohu wa-Bohu: "I make peace and create evil"; darkness: "I form the light and create darkness"; water: "Praise him, ye heaven of heavens, and ye waters" -- why? -- "For he commanded, and they were created"; wind: "For, lo, He that formeth the mountains, and created the wind"; the primeval deep: "When there were no depths, I was brought forth". BR 1.9, Th-Alb:8

Departing from this tradition, some modern scholars have argued that these statements and all others are still susceptible to ambiguous interpretation, so that creation ex nihilo may not be clearly supported by ancient texts, including the Bible. They point out the similarities of the biblical account, to other ancient religious beliefs that the universe was created by God or the gods out of pre-existing matter, as opposed to "out of nothing". Some scholars see evidence that the biblical account, like other ancient religious views, presumes pre-existence of some kind of raw material, albeit without form: "Now the earth was formless and void, darkness was over the face of the deep, and the spirit of God hovered over the waters." God then fashions the disordered material, to create the world.

Scientific creation theories

Astronomers, cosmologists and others have advanced scientific theories about the creation of the universe a finite time ago, where however the terms "creation" and "universe" may have different meanings than they do in other contexts.

For example, many scientists believe that the physical universe that we observe today came into existence in accordance with the Big Bang theory, without necessarily implying that the universe was created "out of nothing" in an absolute sense. Similarly, many scientists who subscribe to the Big Bang theory do not endorse the view that the occurrence of the Big Bang has itself been explained in scientific terms. Some scientists have speculated, for example, that the Big Bang was preceded by a Big Crunch.

The Big Bang theory is currently the most popular scientific creation theory, as it has passed a number of experimental tests, including measurements of the anisotropy of the cosmic background radiation, that could not have been known at the time the theory was first proposed.

Creation by natural causes

Most modern atheists and agnostics assert that the creation both of the universe and of life came about through purely natural causes. Those holding this opinion offer evidence that the cosmos developed on its own in accordance with the laws of physics, through an evolutionary process, and suggest that since science has been successful in explaining things at ever more distant times in the past, the prospects for continued success are good. One potential problem with this view is that it seems to involve a scientifically impermissible extrapolation beyond the beginning of time.

Creation ex nihilo

The belief that a supreme being actually created the universe out of nothing is considered by some to be at odds with the view that the origin of all things can, in principle, be fully accounted for by reference to natural processes alone. Although nearly all ideas of creation include evolution of some kind, creation ex nihilo denies that the beginning of things was a natural process, and therefore presupposes the acts of God rather than natural processes, as the ultimate reference for creation. See
creationism for further discussion.

See also