Creation and Cosmology in the Early Church

God created it all out of nothing. He spoke it into existence and then formed man from the dust of the ground.

The Reformed Reader

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vols.   -              Edited By: Alexander Roberts      The early church fathers and apologists spent much time debating and debunking the prevalent pagan cosmologies of their day.  Most of the cosmologies back then essentially denied that God made the world out of nothing.  Of course, this debate is still going on; modern Christian theologians and philosophers are still pointing out the weaknesses and inconsistencies in creation accounts that deny Scripture’s explanation of ex nihilo.

In the early 4th century in Gaul a Christian teacher and rhetorician named Lactantius(who taught Constantine’s son Crispus) was engaged in polemics against pagan philosophies and cosmologies.  Among other things, Lactantius wrote “The Divine Institutes,” and “On the Workmanship of God.”  In these treatises and books Lactantius often pointed out the absurdity of Greco-Roman creation theories and stories.  Here’s Lactantius refuting one view that reminds me of today’s “Big Bang” theory:

“They who do not admit that the world was made by divine…

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