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Hebrews 11:1, 3

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

So did God create what we see out of nothingness (as a previous question has asked) or is there a scientific method to God's creation?

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    Good question, but the idea of science and special revelation are 2 ways of knowing things, so finding a scientific method in scripture might either be hard or nearly impossible. However, to say that God used pre-existing matter would be an “argument from silence” in light of the biblical texts.
    – Cork88
    Commented Jan 25 at 21:31
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    We cannot understand God's miracle of creation any more than we can understand God.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 25 at 21:46
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    @Cork88 Thanks for the upvote on the question. I would normally think of matter as something seen. So I am at a loss on pre- existing matter.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 25 at 22:05
  • @Dottard Thanks for the edit.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 25 at 22:13
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    Good question! I think we can say God created out of nothing.
    – Jason_
    Commented Jan 26 at 2:02

2 Answers 2

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If we are to not stray from scripture.

God created out of nothing and He created what is not seen:

Something needs to be eternal (that is, it cannot have originated but has always existed) in order for it to exist independently of a previous cause. Therefore, the cosmos cannot exist from nothing; rather, it can exist as a result of an uncaused, everlasting First Cause, which is exactly what God is. This would have to include what is unseen as that also would have to be eternal.

God created the visible and invisible: Colossians 1:16 NKJV

16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Revelation 4:11 NKJV

11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

If God created all things then it means that there was nothing invisible that He used to create unless He created what was invisible first to create the visible.

Where there was nothing before, there is now something. The power, will, and Word of Almighty God brought them into being and caused them to exist. This is the message of Scripture.

It's worth noting that the ancients also interpreted it this way:

2 Maccabees 7:28–29 The New Revised Standard Version

28 I beg you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. And in the same way the human race came into being.

As for a method.

Genesis 1:1 NKJV

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I've heard it noted that: Beginning = Time, Heavens = Space, and Earth = Matter. God created time to say when He put things. God created space so that there was a place for where to put things. Finally, He created matter to fill both time and space.

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"If I hadn't an absolute faith in the harmony of creation, I wouldn't have tried for thirty years to express it in a mathematical formula."
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

I have to wonder what Einstein would have made of this, the creation expressed in a poetic variant of his celebrated equation.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen (βλεπόμενον) was not made out of what was visible (φαινομένων).

Hebrews 11:3 NIV

βλεπόμενον : to bring to light, to cause to appear
Usage: I shine, shed light, I shine, become visible, appear ...

φαινομένων : suggests "to see something physical ..."

"In physics, mass–energy equivalence is the relationship between mass and energy in a system's rest frame, where the two quantities differ only by a multiplicative constant and the units of measurement. The principle is described by the physicist Albert Einstein's formula: E=mc2.
In a reference frame where the system is moving, its relativistic energy and relativistic mass (instead of rest mass) obey the same formula.
Einstein was the first to propose the equivalence of mass and energy as a general principle ..."
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass%E2%80%93energy_equivalence

This equivalence between light and matter readily observable in nuclear explosions, where small amounts of physical matter are converted into tremendous amounts of light.
Or, in reverse, for matter to be created, energy, or light, is consumed.
While the capacity of deity to manipulate space and time is largely beyond our awareness, there is an order to the creation that for the most part is observable biblically.

"God doesn't play dice with the universe."
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

There's a neat description of the interchangeability of light and physical existence throughout the bible including the opening creation.

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5 NIV

The perversion of John 1 to suggest that somehow Jesus was in the beginning is incredibly offensive and disrespectful.
The logos or idea of Jesus was in the beginning. That's the point of John's prologue.
It's written for a reason.
Denying it is denying the father as the source of all light, and created matter, including men.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being ...

Hebrews 1:3 NIV

Deity is the source of light and consequently created matter. This dependence found here :

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Genesis 1:1,2 NIV

There being some created matter, the earth, brought into existence by deity, but no light, in what relativity calls a "rest state".

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:3,4 NIV

Further input from on high, adding light to the system, but in a controlled manner, such that there is a period of darkness, and then light. This controlled manner pointing to the source of that light, and the origin of that control.
In other words, the created universe is dependent on the hand of god, as the creation account informs us. Not "it just is", but there's a power behind it. Night turns to day, and back, and back again, according to the will of the creator. The difference between light and darkness - the absence of light - being the fundamental expression of the father, literally, and with following metaphor.

And of course we see that in the imprint of the manifestation of the father in men.
Four days of light and darkness until the creation of the physical manifestation of observable sources of that light.
Four thousand years from Eden to Messiah.

A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

Psalm 90:4 NIV

As John puts it :

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

John 1:9 NIV

That light that came into the world being imbued with the power of the father, and being seen to be a source of the same light.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.

And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Genesis 1:14-15,16-18,19 NIV

Any so inclined ancient would readily fathom, that for there to be light, there must be a source of light.
In contrast to natural inclinations, the bible gives us the ultimate source, and we are plainly informed as to the active participation of deity in all creation.

So while for the most part, the creation has observable boundaries, they point to external input.
That is obviously biblical but readily accepted by any sensible scientist.
The bible speaks of a creator who is the source of all light, and science educates us as to the capacity of light becoming physical material.
While Genesis doesn't describe this in the details, it's a theme that pervades the bible. God is light, and not only creates matter "on demand" by his input, but furthermore maintains control over the boundaries of time and space.
Relativity is observable, by science, but, as much as science might try to explain away cause and effect, the bible leaves us in doubt as to the control of deity over all things, including special and general relativity.

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”

Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

“It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

2 Kings 20:8-11 NIV

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  • I don't understand your "incredibly offensive". John 1:3 "all things were made by him". Jesus came before creation. Colossians 1:15-16 agrees. The first born of all creation is the One by whom all things were created in heaven and on earth.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jan 26 at 14:39
  • "Jesus came before creation." Yeah good luck with that. Commented Jan 26 at 15:03
  • @davidianwalker Jesus is the Word (John 1:1, 14) who was with God and Was God. The construction “was with” indicates a differentiation. And the “was God” shares the ontological nature.
    – Cork88
    Commented Jan 26 at 18:18

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