No such thing as nothing?

Peace of Christ everyone!

Being my inaugural post, I’d like to start at the very beginning of things: The Big Bang. After happening upon the musings of Sir Roger Penrose and online skeptics, I came to wonder how we can know if time and the universe truly began as we think it did. Was there something before that infinitesimal ball of matter burst into creation, perhaps the carcass of another universe? Would a multiverse remove God from the creative process and leave us to be the one lucky winner of the cosmic lottery? Is it all just quantum fluctuations that suddenly began to exist one “day”? Are we guilty of “The God of the Gaps”?

Pax,
Charles

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Welcome. :slightly_smiling_face:

I like the suggestion that quantum mechanics may be hinting that the fundamental reality of the universe may be information. The mind of God fits the bill pretty well. (“Ex nihilo” is not really specified in the Bible.)

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Hi Dale!

Fundamental reality is information…that’s extremely interesting! Is that related to the hologram theory or the math theory? Also, would that be a sign of divinity’s role in creation?

Regarding “Ex-Nihilo,” Ben Stanhope helped me also realize that God was more-so reordering the formless chaos rather than making it like we’d think, and this didn’t seem to bother many people anyway; St. Thomas Aquinas didn’t seem to think the universe had a beginning beginning (unlike Robert Grosseteste), but for me, I’m always left asking: but what created that? Am I wrong to think that matter demands a creator?

It’s just a conjecture I read back a while, so I cannot address your questions.
 

I’m okay with a literal reading of Genesis 1:1. Physics tells us that even time had a beginning, so there was no chaos in existence to order, unless we are talking about after the big bang. By definition, God is uncreated. There are several NT scriptural passages that are relevant…

Through him all things were made, and without him nothing was made that has been made.
 
John 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Hebrews 1:3

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
 
Hebrews 11:3

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Do we know how babies begin? How stars begin? We know a lot about the beginning of many things, the universe included. Do we know everything? No. There is a point where the laws of nature derived from the evidence breaks down. As far as beginnings reaching before that, we don’t know very much.

There was no ball of matter – and certainly not bursting into anything. That is not a correct understanding of the big bang. The correct explanation is all we see originated from a very small space and that space expanded into the universe we see.

Hardly. But it is an explanation some people prefer to a creator, thus helping them to remove the need for believing in a creator as they see it.

Some like that explanation. But it begs the question a little bit, for where did this propensity for quantum fluctuations come from?

Only if we appeal to things science has not discovered yet (but has every expectation of discovering some day) as a reason to believe in God.

I find attempts to boil reality down to one aspect of it to be a lame and feeble way of thinking.

No.

Since energy dissolves the distinction between thing and action it is hard to see any great objection to creation ex-nihilo… unless you want to use some pre-existing natural laws as a way of limiting God, as they apparently do in process theology.

These are not mutually exclusive. Just because we make a pot out pre-existing clay doesn’t mean we didn’t make the clay.

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Hi Mitchell!

Thank you for engaging with my questions. I’m having a bit of trouble conceptualizing the state of everything before time. If it wasn’t a ball of matter, was it infinitely compressed, totally invisible, and if so, how come it didn’t collapse? Also, if we were to, say, go back in time to witness The Big Bang itself, would it be impossible to view it from a distance?

Hi Dale!

Thank you so much for this.

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The phrasing ‘before time’ is problematic, since there was no ‘before’. It is difficult, nigh unto impossible, to get our heads around. The only language we have is tensed. Jesus said,

…before Abraham was born, I am!
 
John 8:58

That’s not good grammar. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thinking about existence before time is like trying to describe color to someone who could never see in the first place. That’s so humbling to ponder!

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“In the beginning, God…” is a long way from lame, bro, and if, as is not impossible, the fundamental reality of the universe is information, neither is that feeble.

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That’s a pretty decent analogy, except that we are the blind. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I guess I’m not sure why the multiverse would take away from the possibility of God. But I also don’t believe there is any scientific proof for God at all. Zero. I believe in God by faith and faith alone. I don’t need a god of the gaps because I think faith is philosophical understanding and hope.

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Not in the OT anyway.

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What do you have in mind in the NT? The only thing I can think of I cited above. Ex nihilo can certainly be inferred from it, but I don’t think necessarily –

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It’s also in the Apocrypha and in the prologue to St John’s gospel:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

This is part of Christian doctrine. The Nicene Creed begins,

I believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth
and of all things visible and invisible.

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Similarly, I don’t think ex nihilo is necessarily implicit in those and an inevitable deduction.

So if God didn’t create everything, where did the other stuff come from? Is it co-eternal with God?

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Information is not nothing. See above.
 

Yes.

What information are we talking about?

All of the information contained in reality, the mind of God.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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