Monotheism was a fundamental article of faith from the beginning of the church. God was defined as omnipotent, as the ruler of the universe, leading the human race on the way to salvation. The Gnostics, however, despised matter as being the source of evil. They devalued the creator God of the Bible, and assumed an absolutely good God in utmost transcendence. The juxtaposition of two gods, however, was against all the tendencies of the time, and would ultimately be marginalised.
'Creation out of nothing' was originally a Hellenistic-Jewish formula expressing the power of the creator God. It was used in a rather imprecise manner. The debate about God's creative work led to two opposing alternatives: 'shaping of pre-existing matter' or 'creation out of nothing'. Despite the difficulties felt in the Greek philosophical tradition, the latter view won. It became the classic Christian formula for expressing the absolute freedom and boundless power of God.
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