Vishistadvaita Vedanta or Qualified Non-dualism is one attempt to bypass the Advaita objection.
NARENDRA: "What is Qualified Non-dualism?"
MASTER: "It is the theory of Ramanuja. According to this theory,
Brahman, or the Absolute, is qualified by the universe and its living
beings. These three — Brahman, the world, and living beings — together
constitute One. Take the instance of a bel-fruit. A man wanted to know
the weight of the fruit. He separated the shell, the flesh, and the
seeds. But can a man get the weight by weighing only the flesh? He
must weigh flesh, shell, and seeds together. At first it appears that
the real thing in the fruit is the flesh, and not its seeds or shell.
Then by reasoning you find that the shell, seeds, and flesh all belong
to the fruit; the shell and seeds belong to the same thing that the
flesh belongs to. Likewise, in spiritual discrimination one must first
reason, following the method of 'Not this, not this': God is not the
universe; God is not the living beings; Brahman alone is real and all
else is unreal. Then one realizes, as with the bel-fruit, that the
Reality from which we derive the notion of Brahman is the very Reality
that evolves the idea of living beings and the universe. The Nitya and
the Lila are the two aspects of one and the same Reality; therefore,
according to Ramanuja, Brahman is qualified by the universe and the
living beings. This is the theory of Qualified Non-dualism.
(To M.) "I do see God directly. What shall I reason about? I clearly
see that He Himself has become everything; that He Himself has become
the universe and all living beings.
"But without awakening one's own inner consciousness one cannot
realize the All-pervading Consciousness. How long does a man reason?
So long as he has not realized God. But mere words will not do. As for
myself, I clearly see that He Himself has become everything. The inner
consciousness must be awakened through the grace of God. Through this
awakening a man goes into samadhi. He often forgets that he has a
body. He gets rid of his attachment to 'woman and gold' and does not
enjoy any talk unless it is about God. Worldly talk gives him pain.
Through the awakening of the inner consciousness one realizes the
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 38, With the devotees in Calcutta
Brahman in Vishistadvaita Vedanta is redefined as the sum of God(Narayana), Jiva and the universe. The Jiva and the universe are not created ex nihilo here. A spiritual adept experiences this as long as his purified ego is still around. What happens when the ego dies? Then only he can experience the all-pervading consciousness described by Advaita.
One could think of Vishstadvaita and Advaita as different stages of spiritual experience. When a person has succeeded in purifying his ego then he has the Vishistadvaita experience. When his ego dies then he has the Advaita experience.
Could there logically be a differentiated entity that creates things ex-nihilo through infinite power, and still be sarvam, purnam, anantam and not vastu paricchinnam?
Now we are in a position to answer this question. The answer is no. It is not possible to imagine a deity creating ex-nihilo anything. It might be possible to think of Brahman as sarvam, purnam and anantam if Brahman is redefined as the sum of God, universe and living beings. Of course there is still svagata-bheda which will not be acceptable to Advaitins.