I think the use of the term “photons” makes for an awkward delivery. If you look at the subordinate components of protons and neutrons, you learn that Quarks are held together by another “entity” called “Gluons”… and that amazingly enough, when you add up the combined mass of Quarks and Gluons… they are still a tiny proportion of the mass of a Proton!
So where does the bulk of the mass for a proton come from? From the green blobs shown below… they are energy field fluctuations that appear and disappear in the vacuum of space… And the net weight of the “blobbish” energy (as depicted in the animation) is where the majority of mass comes from! … not just for protons… but for everything !!! Protons and Neutrons!
Go to just before minute 1:00 of the video and have a gander! What is really shocking is that out of these blobs of energy … they can harvest new quarks and gluons that appear from out of nothingness…
So… one might imagine that the entire Universe, when a small point, could have been created by the appearance of energy and mass from out of nothingness.
But the real question is not mass appearing from out of nothing … the question is - - is there awareness in the Universe or not???
This is a faith question, in my view. I am quite certain there IS awareness out there somewhere… Why? Because I am aware… and that is sufficient.
If I wasn’t aware, and nobody else was either… then, obviously, there is no God.