It was brought to my attention that God did not create out of nothing, but that matter or something like it had existed at the time God created the heaven and the earth and that all God did was form things. Consider Heb. 11:3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
But, let us consider a couple of things: (1) It has been established by scientific investigation that matter is not eternal, that there was a Time when nothing material existed. (2) It has also been verified that the universe is winding down and wearing out; there will come a Time when the sun will be burned out (if Time continues indefinitely). (3) Matter cannot create itself; it had a beginning; only God could have brought it into existence. Therefore, God brought matter into existence from nothing.
So now the question must be asked, “Why do people think that the universe was created by things that were already here?” Well, people by the name of Milligan, Thales and Aristotle believed that matter is eternal and that nothing can come from nothing. Yet, as great as these Greek scholars were, their speculations about the formation of the world were not built upon the great details of science, nor was it built upon the Word of God. Furthermore, these speculations heavily influenced Jewish thinkers like Plato.
But consider that in Colossians 1:15–‐17: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” All is the Greek word Pas and it means “everything” or “all things.” Well, if God takes all things out of heaven, then that would include matter and all the known elements of the universe. Nothing would be left including the black sky of the universe. Therefore, if God created all things in heaven, then matter also had to be created. So, when looking at Genesis 1:1 and it speaks of the universe coming into existence by the supernatural activities of God, that would include everything in it that we can and cannot see.
So, what did the Hebrew writer mean when he said, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” because it seems to be saying that the universe, that we can see, was not made from nothing and that “made of nothing does not apply.” But, consider the ESV rendering, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” This is showing that there was no pre–‐existence of anything. The universe which we can see was not made of things that already existed or were visible. Everything was made from nothing. No natural law to keep things in place, which means no atoms or elements which means no matter and therefore nothing was there.
Genesis 1:1 tells us that it took creation to make the elements, natural law, atoms and matter and according to Genesis 2:3, God made them appear, that He might put them into the form and order they now are. Thus, these things were made by God before the visible existed because God is before the visible universe. Furthermore, the universe was made by a God we cannot see and by faith we understand all these things. In addition, this verse is not about creation, it is about faith in God. Therefore, the universe was not made from something, it was made by someone, God who brought forth that which did not exist to create those things we can clearly see.