ABSTRACT

This chapter proposes the way in which the otherwise Platonic discourse of key fourth century Fathers, Eastern and Western, was transformed by the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo, and a distinctive Christian spirituality was forged. The power of God is evident in the creation of whatever he wants ex ouk onton, out of the non-existent. So creatio ex nihilo not only shifted perspective on human being itself, but also on the natural world. The chapter suggests that there are three features of the City of God which show that creatio ex nihilo remains a foundational impetus to Augustine's thinking about human being. Augustine has developed a distinctive spirituality which is rooted in creatureliness. The doctrine of creation was thus a crucial factor in forging a distinctively Christian discourse, reflecting a distinctively Christian sensibility in relation to nature, and a distinctively Christian spirituality in relation to God.