How Did We Come to the Conclusion that the Universe Was Created ex nihilo?

Fr. Mariusz Tabaczek, OP

Angelicum Thomistic Institute

In about the year 180 a Christian bishop, about whom we know very little, wrote to a pagan about whom we know even less: “God brought everything into being out of what does not exist, so that his greatness might be known as understood through his works.” These words of Theophilus of Antioch may seem to contemporary eyes and ears thoroughly unexceptional as a piece of Christian teaching, but at the time they not only represented something controversial for the entire tradition of Greek philosophy – which provided a terminological background for the foundations of Christian theology – but also introduced something new and original to the very foundations of Christianity. The lecture will address some crucial facts from the history of the development of the conviction that the universe must have come into existence from nothing (ex nihilo).

Mariusz Tabaczek, O.P., is a Polish Dominican and theologian. He holds Ph.D. in philosophical theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and Church Licentiate from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. After his studies at the GTU and a fellowship at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Studies he returned to Poland. For three years he worked as a researcher at the Thomistic Institute in Warsaw (Poland), a lecturer at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Warsaw and the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Krakow, and a director of Studium Dominicanum in Warsaw. He then moved to Rome where he became a professor of theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He is also a researcher at the Thomistic Institute at the same University.