A while ago I shared a post from Cross Examined titled “There’s No Need to Apologize.” Someone had left some comments addressing different parts of the article. This post is the first in a series that I address this individual’s comments.
His first comment is about the universe coming into existence from nothing. The article says:
[T]here has never been an observed instance where something sprang forth from nothing.
The individual responds:
Not sure this is true-hasn’t it been observed on a quantum level?
I will give this person some credit – he at least acknowledges that he doesn’t know whether or not it’s true. Many people just assert it as truth.
Dr. Lawrence Krauss has popularized this theory in his book, A Universe From Nothing. He claims that quantum particles pop in and out of existence all the time. In fact, it happens so much that you would think that it’s unreasonable to think that everything everywhere doesn’t randomly pop into existence.
At first, this comment sounds reasonable. It also sounds really, really, smart. Quantum physics is a very advanced and complicated area of science. So someone is appealing to quantum physics, so they must know what they’re talking about because only smart people talk about quantum physics. So who are you to question them? (For the record, Dr. Krauss is really, really, smart. He just makes some faulty assumptions which cause him to end at faulty conclusions.)
Despite Dr. Krauss’s intelligence, something from nothing hasn’t been observed on the quantum level. Sub-atomic particles pop “in and out” of existence in a vacuum. A vacuum is not nothing; it’s a vacuum. We also have all the material for matter to exist in this world. So what is observed isn’t new matter; it’s comes from the matter that already exists.
In a review of Dr. Krauss’s book, atheist David Albert says,
Vacuum states are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff…The fact that some arrangements of fields happen to correspond to the existence of particles and some don’t is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that some of the possible arrangements of my fingers happen to correspond to the existence of a fist and some don’t. And the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings…amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.Albert, David, On the origin of everything. Newyorktimes.com
So even Krauss’s “nothing” consists of vacuums and elementary particles. Not no-thing.
That aside, if you’re discussing what has been observed, no-one’s seen a God creating a universe.
Not true. Jesus has seen it.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made.John 1:1-3
The world was made through him.John 1:10
“But I don’t believe in Jesus,” someone might say.
That’s not my fault that. Jesus has still seen it.
Your belief in something has no bearing on its truth. If you don’t believe in something, that doesn’t automatically make it false. That just might mean that if it’s true, then your belief is false. Let me put it another way…
You tell me that 1+1=2. I tell you that I don’t believe in math. Does that automatically make math false?
Or another way…
You tell me that Orville and Wilbur Wright invented flying. Flying exists, so it’s reasonable to believe that the Wright brothers to have existed.
But I say flying doesn’t exist because I don’t believe the Wright brothers existed.
You see, lack of belief in something (or someone) doesn’t automatically discount truth. You may believe that someone has never seen God creating. But Jesus has seen the creation of a universe – and that’s independent to what you may or may not believe.
The person continues:
For that matter ‘nothing’ has never been observed-we don’t even know if something is possible.”
I’ll address the first part first.
He is right about the fact that “nothing” has [ever] been observed. Even God has never witnessed “nothing.” For nothing to exist, then no-thing can exist. Not even God.
In the beginning, God…Genesis 1:1
For those who believe the Bible, God was there even before the beginning of the universe. He is an eternal, uncreated being. Before everything existed, He existed. Nothing didn’t exist. God existed.
But for the atheist, nothing had to have existed. The problem becomes that one-thing can never come from no-thing. Let alone every-thing. No time, no space, and no matter cannot explain all time, all space, and all matter.
But how would someone exactly observe nothing? How does someone observe something that’s timeless, space-less, and immaterial when they’re confined to time, space, and matter? So we can’t observe it. He’s right about that.
But is no-thing possible? (I’ll assume that’s what the author meant. He said “we don’t even know if something is possible.” I’ll assume he doesn’t mean that we don’t know if time, space, and matter are possible since he made his post at a certain, from a certain place, using a certain item to type the post.)
For the Christian – no. God is the beginning, the end, and everything in between. Everything could cease to exist, but God would remain. But I digress because the something-from-nothing argument isn’t the Christian argument.
For the atheist, nothing isn’t only possible; it’s necessary. Since the universe had a beginning, the question isn’t “Is nothing possible?” The question is, “Why isn’t it still nothing? Why, instead, is it something?”
Time cannot create itself. It can only measure events.
Space cannot create itself. It can only expand. (Theoretically, it can contract, but we’re way beyond that point now, so it has no other choice to expand. If it stops expanding, that will mean there is no more usable energy in the universe)
Matter cannot create. It can be rearranged to form different things.
Nothing creates nothing. Nothing begets nothing. There is no-thing to kick start some-thing. So the only thing nothing can create is no-thing.
So if there was really nothing before the universe, then there should still be nothing. Forevermore.
But here we are…Discussing what should exist if there was no Creator.