Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit & Theism
There are theists who attack materialistic, atheistic and non-theistic theories of cosmology on the grounds that these theories violate the latin principle ex nihilo nihil fit (“from nothing, nothing comes”). These same theists also maintain that the universe hasn’t always existed and/or depends on more than itself to exist.
This is directed at the theist that maintains three things (a) God created the world ex nihilo, and that this is the only viable explanation for the world’s origins, (b) the principle of ex nihilo nihil fit (“from nothing, nothing comes”) is true, and (c) that ex nihilo nihil fit is a necessary truth. Although I would argue that even theists who just accept (a) & (b) but deny (c) have problems of their own.
If ex nihilo nihil fit is a necessary truth, and traditional theism maintains that God cannot do what is logically impossible & God created the world ex nihilo, then the traditional theist has a serious problem:
p1. Ex nihilo nihil fit (“from nothing, nothing comes”) is a necessary truth (self-evidence); p2. God cannot do what is logically impossible & p3. God created the world ex nihilo (“from nothing”) (from traditional theism); p4. Creation ex nihilo violates ex nihilo nihil fit (by definition); p5. Creation ex nihilo is logically impossible (from 1 & 4); p6. God did not create the world ex nihilo (from 1, 2 & 5).
The theist that denies (1) has a problem: if the principle can be violated in a theistic universe, why not an atheistic universe? The theist might respond that the principle could be changed to: from nothing, nothing comes with a sufficient explanation. But why couldn’t this apply to the atheist too? And if not, how is it not ad hoc?
If the principle is only contingent, then how does the theist know that ‘ex nihilo nihil fit’ is contingently true?