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Why would Joseph Smith take a chance on disagreeing with creatio ex nihilo?

The dominant view within Christianity is that God created the universe ex nihilo, whereas the Book of Abraham presents an ex materia view. For example in Abraham 3:24:

And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

Pearl of Great Price Central remarks:

Scholars now recognize that the ancient cultures of Egypt, Syria-Canaan, and Mesopotamia did not seem to countenance ideas of creation ex nihilo but rather envisioned creation as the emergence of an ordered cosmos out of pre-existing chaos. This pre-ordered chaos is often personified as a primordial cosmic ocean or as a primeval cosmic combat between gods in ancient Near Eastern creation myths. For instance, in ancient Egyptian mythology, the earth first emerged as a primeval hillock springing out of a preexisting, chaotic, and unorganized primordial ocean called Nun.6 In the Mesopotamian myth known today as Enuma Elish (from the opening lines of the text meaning “when on high” in ancient Akkadian), the evil goddess Tiamat is defeated in battle by the god Marduk and her body is split in half to form the cosmos.

Pearl of Great Price Central – Creation from Chaos

How would Joseph Smith know this?


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