It is now claimed by others that Zoroastrianism, the Vedas, and the religion of the ancient Egyptians had the idea of absolute creation. On creation in the Zoroastrian system, see our treatment of Dualism, page 382. Vedie hymn in Rig Veda, 10:9, quoted by J. F. Clark, Ten Great Religions, 2:205 ? ?Originally this universe was soul only; nothing else whatsoever existed, active or inactive. He thought: ?I will create worlds?; thus he created these various worlds: earth, light, mortal being, and the waters.? Renouf, Hibbert Lectures, 216-222, speaks of a papyrus on the staircase of the British Museum, which reads: ?The great God, the Lord of heaven and earth, who made all things which are? the almighty God, self-existent, who made heaven and earth; ? the heaven was yet uncreated, uncreated was the earth; thou hast put together the earth; ? who made all things, but was not made.?
The Egyptian religion in its later development, as well as Brahmanism, was pantheistic. It is possible that all the expressions we have quoted are to be interpreted, not as indicating a belief in creation out of nothing, but as asserting emanation, or the taking on by deity of new forms and modes of existence. On creation in heathen systems, see Pierret, Mythologie, and answer to it by Maspero; Hymn to Amen-Raha, in ?Records of the Past?;
G. C. Muller, Literature of Greece, 87, 88; George Smith, Chaldean Genesis, chapters 1, 3, 5 and 6; Dillmann, Com, on Genesis, 6th edition, Introduction, 5-10: LeNormant. Hist.Ancienne de l?Orient, 1:17-26; 5:238; Otto Zockler, art.: Schopfung, in Herzog and Putt, Encyclop.; S. B. Gould, Origin and Devel. of Relig. Beliefs, 281-292.
<581103> Hebrews 11:3 ? ?By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear? = the world was not made out of sensible and preexisting material, but by the direct flat of omnipotence (see Alford, and Lunemann, Meyer?s Com in loco) ?
Compare 2 Maccabees 7:28 ? ejx oujk o]ntwn ejpoih>sen aujta oJ Qeo>v . This the Vulgate translated by ?quia ex nihilo fecit illa Deus,? and from the Vulgate the phrase ?creation out of nothing? is derived. Hedge, Ways of the Spirit, points out that Wisdom 11:17 has ejx ajmo>rfou u[lhv interprets by this the ejx oujk o]ntwn in 2Maccabees, and denies that this last refers to creation out of nothing. We must remember that the later Apocryphal writings were composed under the influence of the Platonic philosophy; that the passage in Wisdom may be a rationalistic interpretation of that in Maccabees and that even if it were independent, we are not to assume a harmony of view in the Apocrypha. 2Maccabecs 7:28 must stand by itself as a testimony to Jewish belief in creation
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