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Can Something Come From Nothing?

We’ve all heard it before.  The classic argument from a theist’s perspective on why a god must have created our universe.  I can’t tell you how many times religious people have said to me: “well, can you think of one example where something comes from nothing in the universe?”

Hubble Deep Field: thousands of galaxies in one tiny view of space

They are correct in noting that “something cannot be created from nothing” within our known universe, as far as we have been able to demonstrate through scientific inquiry.  However, when considering the big bang and the origins of our known universe, we cannot apply the laws of physics WITHIN the known universe to that which act OUTSIDE the known universe.  Before the start of our universe, it is plausible that other laws of “physics” governed and dictated how our universe singularity began and where the energy and material originated from.

Additionally, when a theist states that “something cannot come from nothing” and then states that a god created the known universe, he still hasn’t solved his own question.  Is god “something”?  Why, yes, god is something.  Then where did he come from?  Theists usually state that god is eternal, and always existed and was never created.  This statement violates the first assumption they make that “something cannot come from nothing”.  God is a “something” and they are supposing he came from “nothing”.  All this supposing gets us nowhere, which is why we turn to evidence and the scientific method of inquiry to find answers.  When we do not know the answer, we continue searching, testing and finding evidence for what is actually real, while admitting that we do not know the answer until we have evidence.

There is a notable phenomenon observed in quantum mechanics.  Particles composed of quarks such as protons, neutrons, positrons, etc have been observed popping into existence from nowhere and leaving again just as fast.  Such particles “appear” in a vacuum where no other matter or energy exists.  At the quantum level, even empty space is not truly empty but is seething with activity;  particles are constantly popping in and out of existence everywhere.  In pair creation, a particle and its antimatter partner seem to “appear”  (see Bosons).  This is cutting edge quantum mechanics research.  The Large Hadron Collider in Switzlerand was built and is just recently up and running in the search for the Higgs-Boson particle.

We cannot apply the laws of this universe to that which acted outside of the universe.  The laws that hold true within the bubble of our universe may not govern outside the bounds of this universe.  It is plausible that there are endless numbers of other universes “floating” about and our universe is just one of them.  Within each of these multi-verses different laws and properties may govern the interactions within.  This “Multiverse theory” is the leading theory in the scientific cosmology community, though it remains untested and still a speculation.  (Though this speculation is based on other observations and evidence of how our universe operates).  It is probable that the “laws” that act outside our bubble universe commonly call into existence something from nothing.  It is also possible that our universe is eternal, in the sense that it cycles through stages.  We cannot say with certainty so  it is irresponsible to jump to a conclusion without the ability to test or prove it to be false or true.  This applies to the multi-verse theory and the theory of a god or gods.

Watch this 10 min video where Dr. Michio Kaku, a leading cosmologist explains the multiverse theory:

To listen to a great conversation with Astrophysicist Laurence Krauss and Biologist Richard Dawkins on this very topic, click here to be taken to the video.

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  • Hank

    Well, your clarification is a good start in support of what I am saying.

  • LibMindcom

    Basically I am saying we do not know anything about things that might exist or forces that might act outside our known universe. I am simply saying “we don’t know” You are saying you know how and in a very detailed manner described this above, without any evidence to support your claims.

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  • Hank

    I can’t prove what I am saying anymore than the best scientists can prove there are multi-universes. But I think Aristotle’s logic is still a strong argument even today, that the first cause is the Unmoved Mover. Given the limitations of our own minds and bodies, it answers the question, is mind the product of matter, or is mind the origin of matter? Neither can be “proven” so far, but I prefer the latter.
    Our minds want to know the first cause of existence. If it is not the Unmoved Mover, we can never get to the first cause.

    Another question we humorously ask, is which came first, the chicken or the egg? I like egg, because it is the first seed, so I came up with the idea that the Unmoved Mover or God actually came from the First Seed of Love, composed of + and -.
    It is kind of poetic.

  • LibMindcom

    Interesting. But I suppose the debate stops there. If you simply prefer one fantastical explanation over another, admitting there is no compelling evidence to support your preference, all I can say is “well, that’s nice”. You clearly understand that your reason to believe in an “unmoved mover” is just as invalid as every other made-up guess as to how the universe began.

    To clarify, the idea of multiple universes is not a proven scientific fact. It is merely a hypothesis for which some astrophysicists are attempting to come up with ways of testing their hypothesis through math. It may, however, be entirely impossible for us on the inside of this universe to ever discover or test that which is “on the outside”. We like to know the answers to everything and fast. This may be one humbling admittance of the limits to our ability to know.

  • Hank

    LibMind,

    At the top of your blog back in 2009 you say:

    Additionally, when a theist states that “something cannot come from nothing” and then states that a god created the known universe, he still hasn’t solved his own question. Is god “something”? Why, yes, god is something. Then where did he come from? Theists usually state that god is eternal, and always existed and was never created. This statement violates the first assumption they make that “something cannot come from nothing”. God is a “something” and they are supposing he came from “nothing”.
    Your argument is not good logic. Eternal means there never was “nothing.” God didn’t come from nothing, He is eternal. Always there. There always was something—God. This is the premise behind Aristotle’s argument for a Unmoved Mover. As I said previously, we have our minds to think logically with. Philosophers have used that mind for centuries to try to understand ourselves and our world. Aristotle was also a scientist in the sense that he observed the world or universe, and used logic to understand it and come up with a very compelling explanation.
    Putting forth logical explanations of our universe still seems valid to me, and not fantastical. As valid as using mathematical and experimental evidence to back scientific theories. The fact that science has no evidence to either prove or disprove the existence of an Unmoved Mover, or God, does not automatically make the notion of God fantastical.
    Hank

  • Hank

    LibMind,

    At the top of your blog back in 2009 you say:

    Additionally, when a theist states that “something cannot come from nothing” and then states that a god created the known universe, he still hasn’t solved his own question. Is god “something”? Why, yes, god is something. Then where did he come from? Theists usually state that god is eternal, and always existed and was never created. This statement violates the first assumption they make that “something cannot come from nothing”. God is a “something” and they are supposing he came from “nothing”.

    Your argument is not good logic. Eternal means there never was “nothing.” God didn’t come from nothing, He is eternal. Always there. There always was something—God. This is the premise behind Aristotle’s argument for a Unmoved Mover. As I said previously, we have our minds to think logically with. Philosophers have used that mind for centuries to try to understand ourselves and our world. Aristotle was also a scientist in the sense that he observed the world or universe, and used logic to understand it and come up with a very compelling explanation.

    Putting forth logical explanations of our universe still seems valid to me, and not fantastical. As valid as using mathematical and experimental evidence to back scientific theories. The fact that science has no evidence to either prove or disprove the existence of an Unmoved Mover, or God, does not automatically make the notion of God fantastical.

    Hank

  • LibMindcom

    I think you misunderstand who’s logic is flawed. The Christian states that something cannot come from nothing BUT they make an exception to that rule and say that god CAN come from nothing (eternal). Their reason for making an exception to the rule is based on no evidence whatsoever.

    If you think that an eternal being called into existence the universe we live in, I challenge you to devise a method that is repeatable and provable to test if your claim is true or false.

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  • Jakob

    God himself created cause and effect, so therefore it does not apply to him. Also, God is not made of elements.

  • LibMindcom

    Leo, sorry I must have missed this comment, just noticing it now. I am trying to understand your points. If I could sum up what I understand you to be saying: God was not created, he was not created from nothing; also god created the elements. Did I get most of it?

    The statement: “God was not created” has two unproven assertions. First, that there is a god, and second that this god has the property of always existing (before the known universe?). These assertions contradict the other assertions I address above, which is the idea that something cannot come from nothing. By making a blanket statement that something (including everything? even a god?) cannot come from nothing, one self contradicts by saying that a god (something) can come from nothing.

    The concept that matter and the universe “must” have come from something else (insert any god here), is an assumption without evidence. It is a “rule” imposed by certain religious groups on the universe and matter that has no scientific basis. Because we exist within the known universe, we are (currently and likely always) unable to test/explore/deduce that which may exist outside the known universe. This includes any properties, differences in matter, differences in forces or “laws of physics” if you will. We can only postulate, perhaps never know.

    The atheist stops at this point of unknown and simply says it is ok to not know, to continue exploring and searching for answers and evidence. Many religions take this unknown and insert a god theory, piling on rules about how god operates and how things operated before the universe began. They have no way of knowing or proving any of these myths.

  • LibMindcom

    How do you know what your god is or is not made of? If you have a sample, that could win the nobel prize!

  • Joe

    First off, you don’t seem to get that a creator would have to be outside of his creations and therefore not classified as “something.” When we say, “how can something come from nothing?” we are saying that with the knowledge that the question does not include the creator because by definition he is not “something” for He created all things. For example, the creator would have to be time-less and space-less for he created time and space. This concept is difficult to grasp because we are bound by the physical world and can’t imagine anything outside of time or space.
    Secondly, you may than ask: “than what is G-d? how does He work? To this the theist humbles himself as well and says “I don’t know.” The only thing we know about G-d is that he created everything and is beyond time and space.
    You might ask further: why do we call G-d, “He?” Is a “He” not “something?” To answer ill say that this is the way the world was created: as one big parable to the spiritual world. That is why we must sometimes refer to spirituality with words like “He,” it starts our understanding off with something we can relate to and we build from there.

  • Joe

    And are your actions truly sincere? If you help someone out what will it lead to in the end? Are we not all damned to the grave, destined to fall into infinite nothingness? WHATS THE POINT??? We’re all just instinct based evolved creatures who have no purpose and are getting closer and closer to the worms. We all end up in the same place. And who are we to define what’s good and what’s bad? Oh! How can I be so dum! The evolutionary process gave us morals! Right, all morals are mere roots of rote instinct. What do you say?

  • LibMindcom

    This is all a wonderful story and a great hypothesis, but how can you (a person of “something” living in time) know that a god exists (who at the same time does not exist) that resides not in our world, our “something” and not in our time or perception of the something? We can only see and interact with things that exist in our universe. How do you know what exists outside of our universe? If you know of a way, you should immediately submit it for a nobel peace prize!

    It is all too easy to define a deity to fit the gaps in our knowledge, but without evidence every claim is just a nice story, no different than the tales of a good fantasy.

    Thanks for posting!
    -LM

  • LibMindcom

    The journey is the reward. Religion threatens to treat the world and our time here as a mat on which to wipe one’s feet before a more glorious eternity. An outlook such as this fosters distain for the earth, a careless attitude towards what we leave behind.

    Why are we living? Our biological reason for existence is procreation (the passing on of our genetic material). Our personal and humanitarian reasons for living can be very different, depending on what we value. If we value family, love and connecting with others, we will live differently than someone who does not value these things.

  • Mr. Smith

    So what…nothing still comes from nothing… Both arguments are just as right. Except one thing…what makes the just dead different from that moment before?