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1663
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Topic

Resolved: God created “the heaven and the earth” with existing matter and energy and not ex nihilo.

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With 1 vote and same amount of points on both sides ...

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Science
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Resolved: God created “the heaven and the earth” with existing matter and energy and not ex nihilo.

The demonstration is stated not just in generality in Genesis, but in the context of the very words, and damn few of them. Specifically, verses 1 through 13, inclusive of chapter 1, which gets us through “day” 3.

While we’re discussing creation, let’s interject that too many are still hung-up on the notion that either God created, or it was all random evolution. Glad the latter camp of you are so kind to yourselves to accept your randomness, when it is just as easy to accept that not only did God create, but the creation included evolution, and that by such means, creation continues to this day. Or do you really think that some among the creationists [I am one] believe that God rested and retired after “seven days?” Nonsense. I contend that creation and evolution, rather than being different coins, or even two sides of one coin, are really a tandem pairing on one side of one coin. God may play golf once in a while, but there’s still work to do, and “days” to do it.

Speaking of days, since creation started “day one,” and the Earth was not created until “day three,” what makes you think a “day” was limited to a 24-hour period as Earth has now? In fact, that term, “period” may have more significant meaning in terms of our current translation of “day” as rendered by Moses in ancient Hebrew some 3,400 years ago.

From www.Ancient-Hebrew.org, we read, “The Hebrew word יום (yom, Strong's #3117) means a ‘day,’ but not specifically a twenty-four hour period, but instead more generically like in ‘a day that something occurs.’ An example would be ‘a day of the month’ (Genesis 8:4), ‘in that day Yahweh made a covenant’ (Genesis 15:18) and ‘until the day’ (Genesis 19:37). This word can also refer to the light part of the day in contrast to night (see Genesis 1:5 and Exodus 13:21), but the related word יומם (yomam, Strong's #3119) specifically means ‘daytime’ as in Job 5:14. This word can be used for a time, age or season, but that is only when this word is in the plural form, which is ימים (yamim), and in my opinion should simply be translated as ‘days’ and not time, age or season, as this can lead to incorrect interpretations of the text. The word היום (hayom) is the word יום (yom) with the prefix ה (ha) added and it literally means ‘the day,’ but we would translate it as ‘today.’”

Therefore, our biblical “day,” or “days” may be more correctly understood as days of time, including many, many days. A million years? A billion? Does it matter if we accept the definition of God? Who is the ultimate Timekeeper, after all, but He for whom time may not even exist but as an allowed construct of imperfect man?

Definitions:

God: the Being perfect in use of power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped [as in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism] as creator and ruler of the universe

Create: Bring something into existence; cause something to happen as a result of one’s actions

Heaven: A place regarded in various religions as the abode of God [or the gods] and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky

Earth: The planet on which we live, the present abode of humankind

Matter: Physical substance occupying space

Energy: The property of matter and radiation which is manifest as a capacity to perform work such as causing motion or the interaction of molecules

Ex nihilo: [Latin], out of nothing

Debate protocol:

Rounds 1, 2: Argument, rebuttal, defense

Round 3: No new argument Rebuttal, defense, conclusion

All argument, defense, rebuttal, and sourcing will be listed within the context of the debate argument rounds only, except sourcing may also be listed within comments within the debate file to conserve maximum space for argumentation, but only during the argumentation phase. No other external reference may be made within the context of the debate argument rounds.

Biblical references will be accepted as evidentiary source, along with any other recognized “holy writ.” Any peer-reviewed secular science reference will also be accepted as evidence.

No waived rounds. No more than one round may be forfeited, or forfeiture of entire debate will result. Concession in any round is a debate loss.

All argument rounds will contain arguments, rebuttals, and defenses, plus 4th round conclusion. No declaration of victory will be made but in the 4th round.

Arguments, rebuttals, defenses, or conclusions may not address voters directly for voting suggestions beyond statement of validity for arguments, et al, made in all rounds.

Joe Biden may not be used as a source. Why would anyone want to do that?

1 Holy Bible, Genesis 1: 1

2 https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/definition/day.htm

Round 1
Pro
Thank you, Fruit_Inspector, for accepting this debate. I look forward to a fun discussion.

I Argument: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”[1]
 
I.a As we perceive the description of creation in Genesis as written by Moses, we must be aware that it is, after all, a description by a mortal man from his mortal, earthbound perspective. That has bearing relative to the first words, “In the beginning,” because many of a religious perspective, let alone a scientific one [and note that this debate is listed as a scientific genre and not religious], perceive the universe as having a finite beginning, and point to these very words as the justification. 
 
I.a.1 However, we must remember the context of perspective, specifically the perspective Moses had. Also observe the final words of the verse: “heaven and earth.” The description of creation offers a generic, geocentric view of the universe, as depicted in an illustration described as the ancient Hebrew concept of the universe, with an accompanying article.[2] We know, today, that the geocentric, and even a heliocentric perspective, are not correct. We also know that the universe not only represents other planets in our solar system not recognized by the mosaic model, but, in fact, many stellar systems gathered into many galaxies that populate the greater universe we understand today. I propose, for purposes of this debate, that God the Father, He who Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus, and perhaps others recognize, by different names, created and rules the “universe.” I put that in quotes, only because of the limited view Moses presents, which, at best is a limited view of our Milky Way galaxy.
 
I.a.2 There is another book of Holy Writ, entitled “The Pearl of Great Price,”in which the“Book of Abraham,”[yes, thatAbraham] also describes the creation of “the heavens and the earth…” and proceeds to describe a similar geocentric model of creation.[3]
 
I.a.2 I suggest that Moses’ “heaven and earth” may have consisted only of our galaxy, which, within the greater context of the entire universe, is just part, and that, while the greater universe may or may not have a beginning, the galaxy certainly does; therefore, the mosaic declaration, “In the beginning…” Whether or not the suggestion is true is of no consequence to this debate, and I will not use space to describe any further argument.
 
I.a.3 Therefore, to conclude this argument, we should consider that God’s purpose in describing the creation to Moses and Abraham was not an astronomy lesson but a means to describe God’s power and glory in terms the two prophets could see for themselves and understand their relation to God and His expectation for humanity.
 
II Argument: Matter and Energy pre-exist the Creation
 
II.a “And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the waters.”[4]  “Without form” does not mean it did not exist, as in ex nihilo. It means it lacks “the shape and structure of something as distinguished from its material.”[5]  Nor does “void” imply ex nihilo. It means, in this context, “being without something specified.”[6]  Bottom line, “the heaven and the earth” were made from existing, but disorganized materials. One might think of the disorganization of the millions upon millions of chunks orbiting Saturn we observe as “rings,” and compare that model to the planets orbiting the Sun. Even the closest planet, Mercury, is far enough from the Sun [58M km] to have coalesced into a planet. Otherwise, the mass of rocks and dust and gas around the Sun that ultimately coalesced into the planets, of them, Mercury, closer to the Sun than it is, would remain an expanse of chunks similar to those orbiting Saturn due to the Sun’s extreme gravitational force.[7]. But the rings orbiting Saturn are a mere 282km to 80,000km from Saturn; too close for Saturn’s gravity force to allow the chunks to coalesce into a planet. This is the same model, many astronomers believe, forms a massive collection of stars into galaxies.[8]
 
II.a.1 Therefore, Creation is a matter of God using perfected power and natural law, as a god, a divine, creative being, to affect raw matter and energy [think elementarily of Einstein’s E = MC^2  - “energy equals mass times the speed of light squared,” coupled with Newton’s three laws of motion, and likely other natural laws of physics, astronomy, geology, and biology, to name a few], to organize existing, disorganized matter, into stars, the Sun, planets, and moons, and even populate at least one of the resulting planets with living organisms whose chemical elements match the stuff of which all that disorganized matter, now formed, is, and always was, and always will be made.
 
III Argument: Why creatio ex nihilo is not a correct model of creation
 
III.a Creato ex nihilo means creation out of nothing. “The biblical writers give us to understand that the universe had a temporal origin and thus imply creatio ex nihilo in the temporal sense that God brought the universe into being without a material cause at some point in the finite past.”[9] So says Paul Copan and William Lane Craig from the reference [9]. However, “imply”  is a word laden with problems when compared against my arguments I & II, above. There is simply no legitimate translation of biblical text, when compared to Genesis of the Ancient Hebrew Torah.[10] “Gen 1 does not teach creatio ex nihilo. It does not narrate the creation of an inchoate earth, the waters of the abyss, the darkness which covered the abyss, or the wind that hovered over said waters; all of the above pre-exist the first creative fiat the narrator recounts: ‘Let there be light!’ (Gen 1:2-3).”[11]
 
III.b Creato ex nihilo is a construct of the early Church fathers of the second and third centuries C.E., who confused efforts of translation of ancient Hebrew into their interpretation in Latin, itself a dead language by then, and then, into their more modern European languages. Their confusion was, in effect, dictionary-to-dictionary translations. And “…the problem with that is, while being great sources of word meaning in the context of one’s native tongue, dictionaries tend to be poor instructors of foreign cultures, particularly ancient cultures.”  Culture is the root of language. Without understanding a foreign, and ancient culture, specific word meaning in translation is going to be suspect, at best.[12]
 
III.c Only by reading holy writ in context, and not cherry-picking verses, or just portions of them, such as “without form, and void,”  is one able to capture the implications of what may not be as overtly obvious to the reader as reading, for example, a recipe from a cookbook. The ingredients are not so specified. What to do with them is not well defined. But then, as I argued in I.a.3, above, we must understand God’s purpose in offering the information on creation that He rendered to Moses and Abraham, and likely others.

III.d While it is true that if translation as described in III.b, above, from ancient Hebrew, in the case of biblical text, may be confused, rendering the possibility of an ex nihilo understanding, why should my BoP be so easy as to just carefully read the text in context, and conclude a pre-extant, disorganized matter and energy from which to organize matter and set it in motion? Well, first, a more modern rendition of ex nihilo than the second century C.E.
 
 III.d While it is true that if translation as described in III.b, above, from ancient Hebrew, in the case of biblical text, may be confused, rendering the possibility of an ex nihilo understanding, why should my BoP be so easy as to just carefully read the text in context, and conclude a pre-extant, disorganized matter and energy from which to organize matter and set it in motion? Well, first, a more ancient rendition of ex nihilo than the second century C.E. comes from Parmenides, and 5thcentury B.C.E., pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, who said, “(Greek: οὐδὲν ἐξ οὐδενός; Latinex nihilo nihil fit).” In English: “Nothing comes from nothing.” 
 
III.d.1 Second, “Consider these two facts about the Universe, and how contradictory they are:
1.    Every interaction between particles that we’ve ever observed, at all energies, has never created or destroyed a single particle of matter without also creating or destroying an equal number of antimatter particles.
2.    When we look out at the Universe, at all the stars, galaxies, gas clouds, clusters, superclusters and largest-scale structures everywhere, everything appears to be made of matter and not antimatter.”[13]


  
 
 
 


[1]Holy Bible, Genesis 1: 1
[3]Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 4: - [the entire chapter]
[4]Holy Bible, Genesis 1: 2
[12]Dr. High Nibley, Temple and Cosmos, Deseret Book, 1992

Con
I have read through both the description and PRO’s Round 1 argument multiple times, and I feel I need to clarify exactly what we are debating and where PRO stands on the issue. This may be wasting a round on my part, but the clarification will help me make a more substantive argument and provide a more productive discussion. I will also address a few of the points made by PRO to fuel some discussion still.

Clarification Needed
When I read the topic, I assumed that we were speaking of the universe (all matter and energy). I have no issue if I made a faulty assumption, but I do need to clarify exactly what we are debating based on the Round 1 argument.

“I.a.2 I suggest that Moses’ “heaven and earth” may have consisted only of our galaxy, which, within the greater context of the entire universe, is just part, and that, while the greater universe may or may not have a beginning, the galaxy certainly does; therefore, the mosaic declaration, “In the beginning…” Whether or not the suggestion is true is of no consequence to this debate, and I will not use space to describe any further argument.”

The debate is actually significantly impacted by this section of PRO’s Round 1 argument. The debate topic reads, “Resolved: God created “the heaven and the earth” with existing matter and energy and not ex nihilo.” If PRO’s suggestion that Moses’ “heaven and earth” only refers to our galaxy, then the debate about creation ex nihilo should strictly apply to our galaxy and not the universe. However, if the debate topic was originally meant to apply to the whole universe, then perhaps it would actually make sense for “heaven and earth” to mean the universe and not just our galaxy. Now, this isn’t an attempt to pigeonhole the debate, but clarification on this point would be helpful for the sake of argumentation.

The other point from the above quotation that impacts the debate is whether the universe has a beginning or not. If the universe has a beginning, an argument could be made that the logical conclusion would be a universe created ex nihilo. If the universe does not have a beginning, then it would be eternal. My original assumption I was arguing against an eternal universe, not simply a galaxy made from existing material. Again, I have no problem if I made a faulty assumption, but clarity will be helpful. Perhaps I am overthinking it, but could you clarify your stance on the origin of the universe? Did it have a beginning or not?

Genesis 1 Interaction
PRO has asserted that Moses had a geocentric view. I do not believe there is any reason to assume this is true. The word for “heavens” can be taken to mean the universe. Genesis 1:14 states, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the [heavens].” The English translation typically says ‘sky’ but the word is the same as Genesis 1:1. If God is recounting the creation of all the stars in the ‘heavens,’ then how could the heavens be restricted a single galaxy? I propose that even if Moses did not fully understand astronomy, the God who created the universe and recounted the events had a perfect understanding of it. Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable to allow the use of the word ‘heavens’ in Genesis 1:1 to mean the entire universe as it would mean in verse 14.

I believe that Genesis 1:2 is somewhat irrelevant to the point of a creation ex nihilo. Genesis 1:1 states that God created the earth, and verse 2 describes the created earth as formless and void. Consider this clarification:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth [that God created] was without form and void,

Thus, we agree that verse 2 describes a pre-existent earth. However, I disagree that the matter and energy used to create it existed prior to verse 1. He simply created a formless and void earth ex nihilo in verse 1, then proceeded to shape that formless earth in the following verses. Of course, this argument is somewhat dependent on the clarification of the debate topic.

Round 2
Pro
I Clarification
 
I.a I will offer clarification, noting as an aside that, if sought, it should have been obtained prior to accepting the debate. That is the time to either agree with the resolution [i.e., in accepting the appropriate roles of Pro and Con], on definitions, set-up, and debate protocol relative to rounds. Let’s address my given, and de facto accepted definition of “heaven” as the “place… regarded as the abode of God, and angels…” etc. A “place,” an “abode” specifies not an entire universe, but a much more refined and specific place. 
 
I.a.1 I reside on planet Earth, but that’s not very helpful if one wishes to know where my residence is located, at least by neighborhood. The “universe” is a non-specific reference. The Milky Way, and our solar system, and Earth, herself, are more specific. Further, as the inexhaustible count of galaxies continues growing as we are capable of seeing further into the expanse, it seems an overall system is in order that is approximately duplicated galaxy to galaxy. Yes, there are different shapes, etc; I am speaking in very general terms. Therefore, regardless that the distinction of whether the “heaven” of “heaven and earth” imply the universe, or our own galaxy, I see little purpose in the way of dissecting the resolution on that basis.
 
I.b What difference does it make if Moses was shown just our galaxy or the entire universe? He saw the “lights in the firmament,” [that is, “heaven” – Gen 1: 8]. He saw the lights at night, but our Sun [the “greater light”, and our Moon [“the lesser light], are both more brilliant than all the other lights, and only they are seen during the day, and the Sun rules the day, and the Moon rules the night. [Gen. 1: 14 – 18] This is a definitive geocentric vision. It is the Sun and Moon that are the dominant “lights” in heaven, and this would not be even a galactic view, let alone from the universe at large. 
 
I.c Newton published Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica  (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy] in 1687. Within 100 years, with many astrophysicists [as we refer to them today] testing his theories [the Laws of Motion], the scientific world began calling galaxies “island universes.”[1]  This reference has relevance considering Con’s request for clarification, and further demonstrates that the thinking behind Newton’s laws of motion were demonstrated by his peers and subsequent generations of research and testing to be universally valid with few exceptions, whether limiting a discussion to a single galaxy, or expanded as Con proposes. The consistency of the science says it does not matter.
 
I.d Con proposes, ignoring my R1, argument III, that “…the debate about creation ex nihilo should strictly apply to our galaxy and not the universe.”  Con’s implication, as I noted to introduce argument III, was that “creatio ex nihilo [implies]  in the temporal sense that God brought the universe into being without a material cause at some point in the finite past.”[2]  In defense of my R1, argument III, I refer the reader, and Con, to review III.a, III.b, and III.c, because Con has ignored the whole of it. Con argues that if the universe has a beginning, then it follows that it was accomplished by creatio ex nihilo.  But that is a syllogism that is debunked by 5thcentury BCE Greek philosopher, Parmenides, who predates the concept of ex nihiloby at least 7 centuries. Parmenides said, “Nothing comes from nothing”[3] [ex nihilo nihil fit, or, more correctly in his Greek: οὐδὲν ἐξ οὐδενός ].  Con offers no source for his contention; I have offered scholarship to my argument and this defense, and will do so at the conclusion of this argument; scholarship that predates and post-dates the notion of ex nihilo.
 
I.e Con’s suggestion that we should differentiate between the creation of our galaxy and the greater universe is refuted by the near-400-year consistency of Newton’s laws of motion in our galaxy and others comprising the universe, meaning that each galaxy likely has the same “beginning” of extant, disorganized material and energy, organized by separate creation by a superior intelligent Being, such as “God” [a title, not a name]. Multiple gods, then, each creating their own galaxies in the continuously expanding universe; a system that is eternal. But this idea is beyond the scope of this debate and I will not explore further. I do not suggest that the concept of multiple gods is a justification for my BoP, just food for thought not to be considered in judgment of my BoP as a peek into the length and breadth of my thinking in this regard. It is consistent with the true definition of ‘eternity,’ which is also beyond the scope of this debate. Perhaps in the Forum…
 
II Rebuttal: Interaction?
 
II.a Con argues that the mosaic view is not geocentric. I refer my opponent to the above clarification. This can only be a geocentric view.[4]
 
II.b Con declared in R1, under the heading “Interaction,” rebutting my R1, II.a argument, that Gen 1: 2 describes an earth without form and void. Con added an apparent quote from my R1 argument:  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth [that God created] was without form and void.  However, that exact word string does not exist in my R1, or in the resolution Description. I raise this rebuttal because Con misses a significant punctuation that is in Genesis: the comma following “without form.” See the Merriam-Webster definitions as references. The “without form and void” written as Con did, missing the comma,leads to understanding that “without form…” is therefore void., i.e.  non-existent. With the comma, “form” and “void” are a list of two separate words meaning two separate things supported by definition. This understanding cannot be dismissed. It is entirely a matter of correct English syntax.  See my argument IV, following…
 
III Argument: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”[5]
 
III.a As we perceive the description of creation in Genesis, we must be aware that it is a description by a mortal man. A geocentric perspective, rather than God’s, tells me that although God was well aware it was a faulty perspective, God’s purpose in describing the Creation was not to give an astronomy lesson, or of any other science involved, but to teach Moses the power and glory of God, and man’s relationship to Him. That has bearing relative to the first words, “In the beginning,” because many of a religious perspective, let alone a scientific one [and note that this debate is listed as a science genre and not religion], perceive the universe as having a finite beginning, and point to these very words as the justification. 
 
III.a.1 However, we must remember perspective, specifically the perspective Moses had. Observe the final words of the verse: “heaven and earth.” The description of creation offers a generic, geocentric view of “heaven.” We know, today, that the geocentric perspective is incorrect. We also know that the universe not only represents other planets in our solar system not recognized by the mosaic model, but, in fact, many stellar systems gathered into many galaxies that populate the greater universe we understand today. I propose, for purposes of this debate, that God, He who Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus, and perhaps others recognize by different names, created and rules the “universe,” but more specifically, for our purposes, “heaven.” I put “universe,” from the definition of “heaven” in quotes, only because of the limited view Moses presents, which, at best is a limited view of our Milky Way galaxy, at most.
 
III.a.2 There is another book of Holy Writ, entitled “The Pearl of Great Price,”in which the“Book of Abraham,”[yes, thatAbraham] also describes the creation of “the heavens and the earth…” [does this imply multiple “heavens” as multiple galaxies, or, in other words, an expanded and expanding universe?]. It proceeds to describe a similar geocentric model of creation, and likely for the same simplification as Moses received.[6]
 
IV Argument: Matter and Energy pre-exist the Creation
 
IV.a Refer to my R1, II.a argument, in full, where I compared the Saturnian system to the creation of our solar system, and even loosely to the galaxy. In the Saturnian system, a body, or bodies, were drawn too close to Saturn, and were, literally, ripped apart by the planet’s gravitational force, and then how the solar system as a whole is comparable to a galactic system.[7] It even suggests the fate of bodies that cross the event horizon of black holes, similar to the fate of a body, or bodies, drawn too close to Saturn.[8]
 
IV.b Compare my R1, arguments III.a, III.b, III.c to my argument above, I.d regarding the counter-argument to creation ex nihiloby “nothing comes from nothing.”This is can be expressed syllogistically:
 
P1: The galaxy [and the universe] is composed of matter and energy as its lowest-common-denominated elements, linked by Einstein’s E = MC^2 and Newton’s laws of motion.
 
P2: The raw elements of disorganized matter and energy pre-exist their organization demonstrated by the Creation.
 
C1: Therefore, matter and energy are greater than nothing; a nothing from which nothing can be made.
 
IV.b.1 Conversely, the Kalam Cosmological Argument has a salient syllogism:[9]
 
P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
 
P2: The universe began to exist.
 
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause
 
IV.b.2 This syllogism, however, makes an assumption that may be incomplete, because it assumes that whatever has always existed does not have a cause. But, what if the universe has always existed? What if the Kalam syllogism is wrong, that whatever has always existed also has a cause? Does it not follow that the universe still has a cause? That cause may just be that matter and energy in their disorganized form were and are organized and set in a “clockwork” of intentional, godly design, out of chaos. This is still in keeping with the basis in thought, previous to Einstein, that matter and energy have always existed; the necessary conclusion of Rudolf Clausius’ first law of thermodynamics:
 
IV.c Consider: “The first law of thermodynamics doesn't actually specify that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but instead that the total amount of energy in a closed system cannot be created nor destroyed (though it can be changed from one form to another). It was after nuclear physics told us that mass and energy are essentially equivalent - this is what Einstein meant when he wrote E= mc^2 - that we realized the 1st law of thermodynamics also applied to mass.”[10]
 
 



Con
It was not until I read through your first argument where things became confusing for me as I will point out here. Had I realized this from the description, I likely would not have taken the debate. Had I realized it earlier in Round 1, I likely would have tried to clarify over a message or the comments, but I did not think there would be time to receive a response and continue forming an argument with the few hours I had left. The problem I see is that we are operating with completely different worldviews and dictionaries, and that was not clear from the debate description. Here is a list of topics that could be debates in and of themselves that need resolution before we can even debate the proposed resolution:

Did the universe have a beginning or is it eternal?
Here is why the clarification is important. I did not see it explicitly stated that you were arguing from a position that the entire universe was created from existing matter and energy. I only saw that you were explicitly arguing the earth, or at most our galaxy, was created from existing matter and energy. This leaves the door open for the argument that the universe was created ex nihilo, but Moses' account was only speaking of the Milky Way that was created from that material. Rebuttal of an argument that leaves open possibilities would have been difficult. If it was explicitly stated that the universe, and not just the Milky Way, was eternal, that would be a much different argument than if your position was that the universe had a beginning. This is especially true if this debate is, as you said, a scientific one and not strictly religious.

Can the universe have a beginning while the matter and energy is eternal?
You seem to be saying that this is possible, but I would argue it is not. The answer to this question would have implications for our debate about creation ex nihilo. Your stance on this issue beginning in Round 1 was that the question of the beginning of a universe did not matter.

What is the specific meaning Moses had in mind when he wrote "heaven and earth" in Genesis 1:1? The earth, the galaxy, the universe, or something else?
It was not explicitly introduced that you were operating under the assumption that "heaven and earth" refers only to the earth, or at most our galaxy, as opposed to the universe as a whole. This was not made clear until Round 1. I actually would have had no problem with this assertion had you not left it open for debate whether or not the universe had a beginning as I have stated. 

What is the nature of God in relation to His abode, heaven?
An orthodox understanding of biblical Christianity would view God the Father as being only spirit, not material. This affects how we understand where God is. If you believe that God the Father has a material body, then the understanding of heaven as His abode would seem to be a specific place. If God is an omnipresent spirit only, then His abode is not limited to a particular place. The definition of God per the debate description references Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, all which have very different understandings of the nature of God and heaven, so there was really no clear definition of the nature of God, nor His abode. Even the phrase "often traditionally depicted as being above the sky" does not offer any concrete description.

Does God even have the ability to create ex nihilo?
I have no issue with Parmenides argument. I actually agree with it. But then we are left to discuss whether or not God can create from nothing. It would seem apparent that the Christian understanding of God would say yes. But it seems you are operating from more of an LDS perspective that God does not even have the ability to do so. The debate as presented called into question whether God did create from nothing, not whether He can create from nothing. Again, this was not clear from the description.

Is the Bible inspired or not?
Here is another issue that will greatly affect the debate. Again, an orthodox Christian understanding would hold to an infallible and inerrant Scripture. It seems you would not agree with this and that Moses' account is just simply him writing things down not inspired by the Holy Spirit. If God is ultimately the author, then our understanding of how to interpret Genesis 1 is not simply assuming Moses had a geocentric view and then inserting that assumption into the manmade text. Again, this was not made clear from the description.

Can conflicting sacred texts be used to prove a point?
I would argue that the Bible and The Pearl of Great Price are two conflicting texts. While this is not a debate to declare which is correct or not, it matters on the question of whether they can both be used as evidence for the same argument. After all, the law of non-contradiction would apply to any argument being made. So, if these two texts offer an account of creation with greatly conflicting details, then they cannot both be used as evidence for the same argument. But again, we would have to establish whether or not they are conflicting first.

Is this a scientific debate or a religious one?
It seems that scientific principles and the laws of nature are being applied in a manner that does not coincide with the biblical text. If God created all material and energy - and thus, the laws of nature - then there is not actually a disagreement between science and religion. The problem is that this would not be observable, measurable, or repeatable. However, you are applying the laws of nature back onto God in order to disprove the idea of creation ex nihilo. This means we have to establish whether or not God created the laws of nature or if He is bound by them. This cannot be established using the scientific method but is crucial to the debate. It was not clear that we were limiting God by making Him subject to the laws of nature, nor did the definition of God seem to allow for that.

Can something exist eternally without a cause?
Introduced in Round 2, this introduces an entirely new framework for the debate. As with the other points, the answer to this question which we disagree on will have major implications for the topic of creation ex nihilo.

Conclusion
This is not an exhaustive list of issues to be resolved. On top of interpretation of Hebrew words and other such questions that directly apply to the debate topic, I do not see how this debate can be salvaged in a final round, nor do I even know where to begin in order to resolve said issues. I do not think that the debate was framed in such a way that these issues were made clear, but I will not absolve myself from blame either. This is not a concession but I do understand this will likely result in a loss on my part. I hope my statements came off as respectful as I bear no ill will, and I apologize if the debate seems wasted. If nothing else, I was forced to think through some of these issues which is always beneficial for me. I am happy to address anything in the final round as well.
Round 3
Pro
I Defense/Rebuttal: Issues with the debate proposal from Con
 
I.a Con: Did the universe have a beginning, or is it eternal?
 
I.a.1 The question asks the equivalent of: “Did Abraham Lincoln build the cabin in which he was born?” No, he did not. Nor did God “create” the universe, and that is understood within the debate proposal, since the resolution refers only to God’s creation of “heaven and earth,” which are defined as more finite and specific places than the universe at large. However, Con argues in this section of his R2 that the universe contained matter and energy, which are eternal, before heaven and earth were created. He also contends that if these elements existed in the universe before creation, then the concept of creatio ex nihilo  must be right. No, it is not, as explained in my R1, Arg. II and III, complete. Because disorganized matter and energy were extant in the universe prior to creation, that clearly demonstrates that the universe was not filled with nothing, which precludes any consideration of creation by "nothing from nothing," which is the argument of ex nihilo.
 
I.b Con: Can the universe have a beginning while the matter and energy [are] eternal?
 
I.b.1 Clausius’ first law of thermodynamics says it cannot, since the universe is an expanse of disorganized elements of matter and energy. The definitions given of “heaven” and “earth,” separately, clearly imply specific places and abodes that are created, and, therefore, have a beginning relative to being disorganized, chaotic and eternal elements of matter and energy transformed by natural law to exist as organized matter and energy which align with the first law of thermodynamics. The universe is too vast a concept to be limited by these details, being eternal, but containing both disorganized elements and organized [created] elements. Con argued, "Your stance on this issue beginning in Round 1 was that the question of the beginning of a universe did not matter."  I've reviewed my R1; I did not say that. I argued that the universe did not have a beginning, and that it was filled with disorganized elements. From that perspective, it does not mater because the creation was a function of transforming disorganized elements into organized elements.

I.c Con:What is the specific meaning Moses had in mind…?
 
I.c.1 Answered in definitions, as noted above, I.b.1, and explored further in my R1, Arg. I, complete. Con agued that the eternal nature of the universe compared with the finite beginning of heaven and earth were confusing. My R1, Arg II.a.1 clarifies this confusion. Perhaps Con is still confused by the distinction of “universe” and “heaven and earth” as being distinctly different.
 
I.d Con: What is the nature of God…?
 
Id.1 “God” was defined in definitions. To further ask more of His nature belongs to a different debate. It is not relevant to this debate. God is proposed to be a figure who creates, as defined, specifically this “heaven and earth.”  Con queries, “If God is an omnipresent spirit only, then His abode is not limited to a particular place.”   But I never said anything concerning the nature of God in this respect. Con states the logical if/then statement as if we all agree with the premise, “God is a spirit.” In fact, I totally disagree with it, but, again, the nature of God is outside the parameters of this debate. Since science cannot demonstrate the nature of God, and this debate is science-based, I declare it is irrelevant. But, if Con wants to go there, I'll just say that the "logic" of a disembodied God creating an embodied man [of physical body and spirit] only to separate at death, then resurrect as an embodies, perfect man, as was Jesus resurrected, and witnessed by many, many mortals, to live with, hopefully, a disembodied God forever and ever is a logic that escapes me. For example, the argument that God cannot be everywhere unless He is a spirit, falls apart when one realizes that a very important man, the President of the U.S., for example, can influence many, many people in many, many places while being in the Oval. Are we saying God is less powerful than the President, whoever may be filling those shoes? I laugh at such a god. Pathetic.
 
I.e Con: Does God even have the ability to create ex nihilo?
 
I.e.1 That is Con’s BoP. I’ll stick to my BoP; refer to I.b.1, above, and my R1, Arg. III, complete, plus R2, Arg. III and IV, complete. I'll remind Con, however, the the rounds for argumentation have expired. Con argues that the LDS perspective [I am LDS] is that God cannot create from nothing. Actually, that is not an LDS perspective. In all of our holy writ [the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine & Covenants], that statement is not made. However, science, the persons of Parmenides, Newton, Clausius, and, effectively, Einstein, do say He cannot, as demonstrated in my R1, Arg II and III. 

I.f Con: Is the Bible inspired or not?
 
I.f.1 I refer Con to the Description: “Biblical references will be accepted as evidentiary source, along with any other recognized ‘holy writ.’” Relative to its inspiration, that is a topic outside the resolution, therefore, for a different debate. I’m merely saying it is useful for sourcing. There are a myriad of scholarly sources that are not inspired, yet are accepted as viable source material. In this respect, the Holy Bible,  and other holy writ is also suitable for sourcing.  Con queries, “If God is ultimately the author…”
Another assumption couched in if/then logic. See the response below in I.g.1. Is God the author or inspirator? I think that’s clear in a religious context, but that is outside the debate. 

I.g Con: Can conflicting sacred texts be used to prove a point?
 
I.g.1 If one is confident that that the conflicting text will not present a problem to readers and voters, that’s one option, but it s not my decision to impose it. However, one must also recognize that just within one complete text, the Holy Bible, there are several conflicts, but it must be recognized that one person did not compose the entire volume, but several. None of them was God, and, therefore, it is not perfect. Nor is any other scholarly source; this is why we have variability of reliability and accuracy. All of creation certainly is not perfect, either… yet. Con argues [another if/then] "So, if these two texts offer an account of creation with greatly conflicting details, then they cannot both be used as evidence for the same argument."  Since I presented the Pearl of Great Price  reference  in R1, Con had sufficient time to check the source; it is freely available online. If he declined to do so, that was by choice, and his question of comparability remains uncharted, by his choice. I noted a solitary difference, minor at that, and not sufficiet to change the content of my argument.

I.h Con: Is this a scientific debate or a religious one?
 
The set-up declares it is science-based, not religion. The mention of God does not blur the distinction. Con argued, "whether or not God created the laws of nature or if He is bound by them. "  I reply that this is another nature-of-God question and refer Con to I.d.1, above. However, I will defend the notion by recognition of Parmenides, Newton, Clausius, and Einstein that their arguments of law correspond to what we observe in the created heaven and earth.

I.j Con: Can something exist eternally without a cause?
 
I.j.1 To quote the resolution: “Resolved: God created “the heaven and the earth” with existing matter and energy and not ex nihilo.” “heaven and earth,” as understood by their respective definitions, and as reiterated above, I.b.1 and I.c.1, and also by Clausius as noted in R2, Arg IV, was created for a cause as explained in my R2, Arg IV/ Not only do created things have a cause, but also eternal things, though their singular cause is to be organized, i.e. created. However, Con argues with this section that I "Introduced in Round 2, this introduces an entirely new framework for the debate."  This argument sounds like Con expects that I fire all of my guns, not even in just R1, but in the Description. For some reason, given the rules of the debate that arguments can be made in R1 and R2, it appears Con thinks I have violated something by introducing a new argument in R2. The argument given in my R2, Arg. IV leads directly to the resolution that heaven and earth were created with existing matter and energy, and non ex nihilo. How I make that connection is the nature of debate, and I do not fire all of my guns at once, or I'd declare a one-round debate. I have properly laid the foundation for this argument in Description and in R1. 

I.k Con states that the preceding 9 questions is not a complete list of his concerns. Sp be it. Round 2 closes the door on further argument, and Con, having R2 to make some argument regarding these nine issues, as I have rebutted them by defense of my arguments, Con fails to make counter arguments. So be it. I accept Con’s conclusion as a summary of his approach to the debate. All has been said fairly, and positively, but Con has not said enough amnd must stand on R3 to defend what argument he has made.
 
 II Conclusion: The first law of thermodynamics, et al.
 
II.a By Clasusis’ first law of thermodynamics I demonstrate all the BoP necessary to affirm the resolution: Resolved: God created “the heaven and the earth”[1] with existing matter and energy and not ex nihilo.  That law states that, as quoted from my R2, “…the total amount of energy in a closed system cannot be created nor destroyed,”  and that“…we realized the 1st law of thermodynamics also applied to mass.”[2]  If matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed, then God did not create it, and it has, therefore, met the allegation by Parmenides, who said, “Nothing comes from nothing”[3] Therefore, the only conclusion to be drawn from these sources is:
 
1.    God created the heaven and earth.
2.    Heaven and earth both consist of matter and energy.
3.    Matter and energy have always existed, even prior to creation, as disorganized chaos.
4.    Creation, therefore, is not something from nothing, let alone nothing from nothing, but, rather, something organized from chaotic formlessness, and void to be put to purposeful use, therefore, having cause.
 
Since Con has not presented further argument in R2, there is nothing else to rebut or defend but that which is contained above in I, complete. And as no further argument can be made in Con's R3, I rest my case as is. I invite you to vote for Pro. After all, I have voted for Moses, Abraham, Parmenides, Newton, Clausius, Einstein, and God. Two knowledgable laymen and five scientists. Not a bad team, all in all, and certainly good company.
 


Con
Keep in mind, the main issue is that not until Round 1 was it explicitly asserted that "heaven and earth" was limited to a single galaxy. At that point, there was no clear assertion as to whether the universe had a beginning or not. This leaves open the possibility that PRO could have said that the universe was created ex nihilo but the galaxy ("heaven and earth") was not, all while staying within the parameters of the instigated topic. That is why I asked for clarification. Consider this rephrasing of the topic:

"Resolved: God created [the Milky Way] with existing matter and energy and not ex nihilo."

If the Milky Way consists of organized matter and energy, then there was no Milky Way before it was intentionally organized. Again, disorganized matter could have been created ex nihilo, and this disorganized matter could be considered pre-existent to the Milky Way. Since there is still one round left in this debate, I will defend my statements and be specific as to why they are crucial to resolve before addressing the topic. 

Did the universe have a beginning or is it eternal?
This is PRO's argument from Round 1:

I.a.2 I suggest that Moses’ “heaven and earth” may have consisted only of our galaxy, which, within the greater context of the entire universe, is just part, and that, while the greater universe may or may not have a beginning, the galaxy certainly does; therefore, the mosaic declaration, “In the beginning…” Whether or not the suggestion is true is of no consequence to this debate, and I will not use space to describe any further argument.

It was explicitly stated that the universe "may or may not have had a beginning," leaving its origins up for debate. It wasn't until Round 2 that there was an explicit statement that PRO was operating under the framework of an eternal universe. If this truly is supposed to be a scientific debate, the arguments against an eternal universe will be far different than arguments against a time-bound universe made of eternal matter and energy.

Can the universe have a beginning while the matter and energy are eternal?
This was the quote from argument I.a.2 in Round 1:

...while the greater universe may or may not have a beginning, the galaxy certainly does

This clearly leaves the question of an eternal universe undecided. 

Since "heaven and earth" was limited to the galaxy in Round 1, any argument about creation of the heavens and the earth from Scripture would also be limited to the galaxy, not the universe as a whole. Categories must remain consistent. So there was no explicit statement about an eternal universe in the debate description or in Round 1. It was only stated that the galaxy was created using existing, disorganized material. As I have stated, that leaves the possibility of a universe created ex nihilo, in which the galaxy could still be said to have been made from existing material.

What is the specific meaning Moses had in mind when he wrote "heaven and earth" in Genesis 1:1? The earth, the galaxy, the universe, or something else?
It became clear that PRO was arguing "heaven and earth" meant the earth or possibly the galaxy in Round 1, but it was not clear from the description or definitions. I will expand on this in the next question. But I will say there is as much of a distinction between the "universe" and "heaven and earth" as there is between the "universe" and the "galaxy," because that's how the terms were presented in Round 1.

What is the nature of God in relation to His abode, heaven?
These definitions were provided by PRO:

Heaven: A place regarded in various religions as the abode of God [or the gods] and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky

God: the Being perfect in use of power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped [as in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism] as creator and ruler of the universe

As I stated, the different religions listed all have different views of God and no further specifications were given. Even the difference between LDS theology and biblical Christian theology are vastly different. The former understands God the Father to be an exalted man with a material body. The latter views God the Father as an omnipresent spirit that is not bound by the laws of nature. Since no distinction was made in the description or definitions, there was no agreed upon understanding of the nature of God. This is important for how heaven is defined.

If God is an omnipresent spirit, then "heaven" does not have to refer to a specific place. If God is a materially finite being, then it would make sense to limit his abode to a specific place. Since no distinction was made, the limitation of heaven was also not made clear.

Does God even have the ability to create ex nihilo?
Again, the God of biblical Christianity, which was given as a valid definition of God per the debate description, does have the ability to create ex nihilo. That would also be perfectly consistent with Parmenides' statement since the Christian God is not bound by the laws of nature because He created them. If it was necessary to prove that God even has the ability to create ex nihilo, then the definition of God in the description should not have included the Christian God. The debate was framed as discussing if God did create ex nihilo, not if God could create ex nihilo.

Is the Bible inspired or not?
This is vitally important in how we interpret what the text means. PRO's position argued for an uninspired, manmade, geocentric text based on an errant view of the physical world. PRO also said this:

However, one must also recognize that just within one complete text, the Holy Bible, there are several conflicts, but it must be recognized that one person did not compose the entire volume, but several. None of them was God, and, therefore, it is not perfect.

This argument is dependent upon the presupposition of an uninspired and errant text, so yes we do need to resolve this issue to determine how we interpret what the text means. There was no explicit statement indicating whether the Bible was viewed as inspired or not until Round 1.

Can conflicting sacred texts be used to prove a point?
It was not my intention to debate the validity of any particular text. I was simply making the point that two conflicting texts would be the same as presenting conflicting evidence to make a case in court. The reason for this particular issue was that the framework of the debate was not made completely clear until Round 2, which means I would not have been able to make a substantial argument about either text until that time in a 3-round debate.

Is this a scientific debate or a religious one?
This will be addressed in the next question regarding the nature of God.

Can something exist eternally without a cause?
"Heaven and earth" was not specified until after the debate started. The first law of thermodynamics does not settle the argument. Had I known your position was that of an eternal universe, I would have brought up the problem of the second law of thermodynamics. If entropy is constantly increasing, then there should theoretically be a finite period of time after which no useful energy is left. This can create a problem if there is no finite time in eternity past, but there is useful energy left today. I would have also argued that anything that is eternal does not have a cause. But, since this was not made clear until Round 2, it would have been difficult to argue against an unknown position.

I am not saying there was a violation of any sort on your part. I am simply laying out that the above points were not specified before the debate started. Had the debate simply been framed from the beginning as a discussion on whether all matter and energy were created ex nihilo, I don't know if these problems would have arisen to confuse the matter. Using the unclear definition of "heaven and earth" in the debate topic, as well as not making clear whether we were debating the eternal nature of all matter and energy, confused the issue most of all.

It is also not an issue of presenting new arguments as the debate moves on. The main issue was that the definitions and framework of the debate were not all made clear until Round 2. New arguments are meant to support the resolution, not present new resolutions altogether. Additionally, the debate description included the God of Christianity who is an omnipresent spirit not bound by the laws of nature. However, you later argued:

...the nature of God is outside the parameters of this debate. Since science cannot demonstrate the nature of God, and this debate is science-based, I declare it is irrelevant.

I hope that I have shown the nature of God is absolutely relevant. It also seems erroneous to make an argument that is dependent on your understanding of the nature of God, but then dismiss mine because "science cannot demonstrate the nature of God." Technically, science cannot prove the existence of God at all so that logic would preclude us from making any arguments involving God.

Conclusion
I think there is a shared burden in the result of this debate. I should have perhaps sought more clarification on the terms, but I also think that the debate was not fully and clearly presented until Round 2, leaving little time for actual argumentation. I think the intended topic is an interesting one and I hope to see you debate it with someone soon. As a suggestion, I think it would be helpful to simplify the description. Most of it was referring to the Hebrew definition of "day" which is not really relevant to this debate. Also, making clear that you are arguing from the standpoint that all matter and energy are eternal would have been helpful, rather than using a debatable phrase "heaven and earth."

Again, I apologize if this seems like a wasted debate but I still appreciate the discourse and benefitted from thinking through these issues.