As I was reading through II Maccabees again, I was struck by the references to God as creator and the Jewish mother’s exact confession of God as Creator in chapter 7. Regardless of whether chapter 7 was originally in Jason’s history (2:19-23) or an interpolation of the epitomator, the view she confesses is still from the second century BC at latest (see NETS, 503, for details).
Texts Pertaining to Creation
7:23 τοιγαροῦν ὁ τοῦ κόσμου κτίστης ὁ πλάσας ἀνθρώπου γένεσιν καὶ πάντων ἐξευρὼν γένεσιν καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὴν ζωὴν ὑμῖν πάλιν ἀποδίδωσιν μετ᾽ ἐλέους, ὡς νῦν ὑπερορᾶτε ἑαυτοὺς διὰ τοὺς αὐτοῦ νόμους.
Therefore indeed the Creator of the world, the one who formed the beginning of humanity and invented the beginning of all things will give both spirit and life to you again with mercy, as/because now you watch yourselves on account his laws.
7:28 ἀξιῶ σε, τέκνον, ἀναβλέψαντα εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς πάντα ἰδόντα γνῶναι ὅτι οὐκ ἐξ ὄντων ἐποίησεν αὐτὰ ὁ θεός, καὶ τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένος οὕτω γίνεται.
I ask that you, child, after looking into heaven and earth and seeing all things in them, know that God did not make them from existing matter/things, and the race of men came about in the same way.
Some observations that stand out: 1) God invented the beginning of all things, which has to include all matter. 2) This view of creation is the ground for believing that God will raise the dead and supply them again with spirit and life. Thus the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo functions as the ground for the life in the new creation. 3) 7:28 expresses negatively what was already expressed positively in 7:23: God did not make them (the heavens and the earth) from existing things.
Although these texts are late compared to the rest of the OT, these texts depend on the doctrine of creation contained therein. The Jews were certainly reading the text that we have, and concluding from it that God created all things and he did not create them from existing matter. Their interpretation is not inspired, but it certainly enjoys a long tradition, and it is also the conclusion of the Author to the Hebrews in 11:3: Πίστει νοοῦμεν κατηρτίσθαι τοὺς αἰῶνας ῥήματι θεοῦ, εἰς τὸ μὴ ἐκ φαινομένων τὸ βλεπόμενον γεγονέναι and the Gospel of John 1:3: πάντα δι᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν and other place in the NT.