“Why is there something rather than nothing?” This philosophical question, posed by Martin Heidegger in the 20th century, is one that reaches into the depths of our being. When we look around and see stuff—people, trees, rocks, Burger Kings, dust, light—we can often take it for granted. That stuff is just there. It always has been. It always should be. But is that really true? Why is anything here? For the philosophical mind, we realize that stuff didn’t have to exist, that there could be a “world” of nothing, a non-world in which nothing existed.
So, why is there something rather than nothing? Admittedly, this is not a question I can pretend to answer, but I think the question leads us to other ones. Like, “How did God create the universe?” or “How does God relate to what God has created?” We can’t truly know why God decided to create, but since we see that things do exist and we do believe in God, we can wonder how they fit together.
There are clues, no doubt, all throughout Scripture, but the most concentrated bits of evidence obviously occur at the beginning: Genesis. And while we can all probably give an account of what happened (God spoke and it came to be, God took a rib from Adam to make Eve, they lived in the garden), what might surprise you is that such a story is a combination of two creation myths found in Genesis. Yes, that’s right: Genesis contains two separate stories, complete with different details about the process of creation, different words to refer to God, and different theological conclusions about God.
What do we do with this? Well, that’s the topic of this week’s Catholicism in Focus, a look at Creation from a biblical perspective. For email subscribers, click here to watch.