EWTN Catholic Q&A
Creatures creating something out of nothing?
Question from Michael Petek on 04-15-2013:

I have been thinking about St Thomas' proposition that a creature cannot co-operate, even as an instrumental cause ,in the creation of a thing out of nothing, though I find his explanation unsatisfactory.

Some theologians had ventured that God could confer the faculty of creation ex nihilo on a creature.

Do I understand the matter correctly when I say as follows?

The Creator creates a thing out of nothing only by giving it, along with existence, a share in His own perfection. If a creature had this power, it could be exercised only within the limits of the creature's actual perfection, and only in such a way that its conferral of existence on another would entail giving some of its perfection away.

The creature with a power of creation could exercise that power only by becoming less good than it was before, a thing which could never be willed by God. And so only God, being infinitely perfect and good, could confer perfection on a creature without diminution of His own.

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 10-06-2013:

Dear Michael,

God is able to create our of nothing because he is an infinite being and, therefore, cannot gain more being or lose any being when ever he creates. What he creates is necessarily a finite being having a limited nature and a limited act of being. Now it is imaginable that God give a creature the ability to ask God to create something out of nothing. But the act of creation is still God's. Since all creatures, angels included, only have existence because they have been caused, they can only make something out of some kind of raw material. God there is no raw material, no preexisting matter. First there is absolutely nothing. Then there is absolutely something. That's the act of creation.

Dr. Geraghty