Something From Nothing

Hi Everyone!

Im a 24 year old Christian from the UK. I Believe and do my best to follow Jesus but over the past year, ive been thinking through my faith. Ive been following this forum for a good while now. Very thankful for it. I want to bring up something from an account that popped up in my instagram feed today. Id noticed it before but i want to bring it up here as It is something that has been bugging me. The below text is in quotation marks, please advise me to delete it if it is inappropriate for here.

HereticalTheology writes:

“Yesterday I read a book by Lawrence Krauss @lkrauss1 called “a universe from nothing: why there is something rather than nothing” and it was just a real joy to hear the scientific and philosophical reasons joined together to tackle this question.
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The question of why there is something rather than nothing is both deeply scientific and philosophical… it really has very little to do with God or theology. This doesn’t stop Krauss from taking a couple paragraphs to address his debates with theologians as it was almost certainly necessary to do so (unfortunately) due our highly religious world. Just moving from a post religious mindset and to hear actual critical ideas about the science regarding this question was so refreshing.
Between Krauss and and other scientists like @seanmcarroll who have both spent time dealing with the absurdities of various God theories, it just boggles my mind how people are trapped within the “God did it” mentality. The reasoning for this God answer is found in the fringes of modern philosophy only and has to work hard at rejecting dozens of others that are more logically and scientifically sound.
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If a God did create the universe, and is the first and prime mover, which would make logical sense in a pre-scientific era, then we can conclude God interacts with our physical reality. If this hypothetical God does indeed do this, then it’s actions should also be detectable. We do not see this. Instead, we can only see the point where the Big Bang happened, and there is no reason to think that is where it all begin- it’s just the furthest we can see back as that is also when time began as it’s also connected with space. What happened “before” that is literally eternity, infinite, and astrophysicists like Krauss and Carroll explain the science of how such a thing can happen.
The only difference between the universe and God is that we know the universe exists.
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If God can be self-existing then so can the universe. There may very well be a God out there, but there is no real good reason to believe in one. Rather, the falsifiable evidence is telling us a much less mythical tale, though still one that’s just as beautiful and amazing.”

Can we discuss this? I feel like the foundations of my faith rest on this. This is the most vulnerable I have been about discussing this stuff. Like I said, I can delete this, if it isnt appropriate for here and I can take it to DMs if need be

Cheers!

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Correct. But the reverse is equally true. In which case…

Why shouldn’t it boggle my mind how people are trapped within the “Nature did it” mentality. LOL

Or… one can acknowledge the fact that this is something about which the objective evidence says NOTHING.

So my position? I defend both theism and atheism as both being rational alternatives. This means I reject all the proofs and arguments for the existence of God as being invalid. And yet I am a theist. BECAUSE the failure of these arguments do not equal an argument that God does not exist. The plain fact of the matter is that I am biased against these arguments because they necessarily point to a God which I do not believe in. Objective evidence only exists because of the space-time mathematical equations of the laws of nature which force things on us. Since God is not a part of this mathematical space-time structure then you would not expect there to be any such evidence.

What you would expect if such a God exists (theist kind rather than the Deist kind) is that the laws of nature are not causally closed. And what do you know… they are not. Sure theists have had quite a number of things wrong over the history of mankind. But not always. Theists also have this big “I told you so” when it comes to the universe having a beginning rather than being steady state. Thus there have been surprises for both points of view.

But I suppose you can say that I am at least part agnostic… agnostic with respect to objective knowledge of the existence of God – I don’t think that is possible. But I am still a theist… about 1.5 on the Dawkins scale.

So… why do I believe? Link.

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Hi Josh, and welcome to the forum! I’m glad you’ve found it helpful to read here – it’s nice to have a place where these topics can be discussed and your post fits in just fine. Faith shifts can bring up all kinds of difficult questions so thank you for being willing to share one like this.

I don’t have much in the way of answers, but in reading this, the part that I zero in on is this:

If a God did create the universe, and is the first and prime mover, which would make logical sense in a pre-scientific era, then we can conclude God interacts with our physical reality. If this hypothetical God does indeed do this, then it’s actions should also be detectable.

And my question to this idea would be: Why? Why should God’s interactions with the world be “detectable” to us and what would we even classify as “detectable” anyway? Only things which would qualify as scientific evidence? Until the reasons behind this assumption are dealt with, I’d find it difficult to engage more with this idea.

Is it just because we live in a materialistic era and this is the standard that we’ve set up for scientific evidence? I think this idea makes God very small, and a God that can be scientifically studied does not seem like much of a God to me.

I believe in and experience all kinds of things on a daily basis that are not “scientifically detectable.” So the idea that only those things that fall into that category are reasonable to believe in just doesn’t make sense to me. I think this is going beyond the limits that science should have.

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Hi Josh,

I haven’t read Krauss’s book but have read several reviews of it. I understand that it is problematic because he defines “nothing” differently than most physicists define it, so when he claims that science can explain how universe(s) pop in and out of existence from “nothing” he’s not really understanding the fundamental question “why is there something rather than nothing”! FYI, here’s an article that goes into some of the debate:

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Absolutely we can discuss this, Josh! It is very appropriate here. (And even though you’ve been lurking a while … welcome to the discussion, where you belong!)

I’m just going to give one brief reaction here for now - I won’t pretend it’s adequate, and hopefully others will provide more discussion yet. But one thing Krauss & Co. seem to do a lot is react against the crowd who they see as “Here is a gap in my knowledge … therefore … Goddidit!” by giving a mirrored result (sharing completely in the presumed philosophy), and saying “Here is our knowledge of how this works … therefore … no God!” It would be sort of like me suddenly getting disturbed in my mathematics classroom if I realized I had just solved a problem on the board, and didn’t invoke God anywhere in the process - so I then leap to the conclusion that God is unnecessary. Of course this is all easily answered - the aggressively atheistic conclusions as well as the naively caricatured theism.

I hope you don’t mind if I bring up your post over in our “Apologetics” thread, because the struggle you describe is very pertinent to what we’ve been discussing over there too.

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I suppose the New Atheist Kind of response to “Why” is a Shoulder Shrug? LOL!

Ha. Yeah, some people may not be interested in the ultimate “why” questions to begin with, and maybe don’t know how to properly frame them.
In this case, I think Lawrence sets up his (philosophically naive) New Atheist audience to think that he’s really answering the age-old question that philosophers and theologians have pondered for centuries (why is there something rather than nothing). But then he does a bait-and-switch by altering definitions of “nothing” and claiming to answer something that he really didn’t. Like man! Philosophy and theology are useless because science had the answer all along… :wink:

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I have particularly enjoyed reading your posts Mitchell! Very, Very unique beliefs you have.

If you don’t mind, my initial thoughts on your reasons. Underdevloped as Im not formally trained in the Sciences, or Theology/Philosophy for that matter:

  1. Is this a way of saying, somehow, that science cant answer everything?

  2. Is Exisitentialism usually agnostic or Indifferent to God? I always thought it was

  3. Quantum Physics is intriguing. The account that I copy and pasted from in my original post has discussed Quantum Physics before but summed it up as “Not knowing what hell is going on” which to me, does not rule out a God belief wholesale at the very least

  4. Ah Mysticism. It seems to be making a slow comeback amongst deconstructing Christians. Methinks Church leaders are afraid because it involves not knowing or being certain of everything!

  5. In Our Polarised world, some might view this as quaint?

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Hi Mervin

Yes, move it where it is most appropriate!

God of the Gaps, The Christian apologists greatest undoing? Then again, it seems Atheists can Grasp at straws just as much?

Could you expand on “Of course this is all easily answered”

Cheers!

Hi, and welcome. :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t know how long you’ve been ‘hovering’ or ‘lurking’, or how thoroughly you browse, but objective evidence has been discussed before. There is good evidence for God’s existence, but it does require epistemic humility before him and a childlike willingness to connect the dots:

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I found that really interesting. Really turns the question on it head as there seems to be a sleight of hand in it where the objector is assuming “nature did it” is the axiomatic posture to take for the origin of the universe or why there is something rather than nothing.

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Hi Laura, thanks for the warm welcome. Ive had many tabs open on my computer for this forum (don’t worry, I get out too haha)

I suppose it would be difficult to engage further with people who don’t particularly seem interested in the “why” regarding any sort of philosophical question. Unless in this case, they have far too high a view of humanity despite our shortcomings? As if we deserve to be able to detect God’s interactions?

Yes, a small God doesn’t much appeal to me either

Haha, your last paragraph. Ina comments section of another post from that Instagram account, there was a back and forth spew regarding things being falsifiable. Needless to say, it went nowhere!

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Cheers Dale. Ive been lurking quite a bit in all honesty! Ill save this link, don’t think ive come across this one

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Oh - it doesn’t need to be moved anywhere other than where you put it right here. I was just wanting to give you a heads-up in case I want to mention some of your discussion elsewhere so that you don’t feel like we’re talking behind your back.

As in - there has been no credibe challenge given - so there really isn’t even anything to answer. So Krauss doesn’t believe in any Zeus-like deity (only a bigger model - one that presumably is good for popping the universe into existence) who is also then running around and occassionally “interfering in creation” to do some miracles or supernatural mischief. Very well. Many (most?) of us believers around here don’t believe in a god like that either. So kudos to Krauss for stepping away from that. Meanwhile, the God we do believe in (also a Creator and Sustainer of everything - including the cosmos and its intelligible processes that we can even study) is not just another “being” to be discovered or proven. God is the ground of all existence itself in a classical Christian view. So there is no science or scientific discovery which will touch on that belief any more than I would expect a mathematical formula to suddenly reveal a miracle to me.

So my answer to Krauss would be congratulations. We agree on this! - that is, until you start presuming that all God-belief must be irrational because you insist that all god-belief must be on your terms. Which it isn’t. And in fact may not even be about that at all (which is part of where we’re going in the Penner Apologetics thread.

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That’s the same kind of direction my train of thought tends to go with that… basically placing ourselves and what we are capable of “detecting” as the be all, end all of the universe. Kind of implying that if we can’t scientifically detect something it’s not even worth believing.

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It doesn’t get more courageous than this of you Josh. For me Leibniz’ question is only scientifically approachable; with the philosophy of science and rationality extrapolated from it. Terribly cognitively biased of me I’m sure. Eternal nature is the brute fact. I can think of none more brutal. Encapsulating it in God without warrant explains, adds nothing at all at infinite cost. The universe is utterly mediocre, insignificant, infinitesimal. I can’t think of anything philosophy can say any more than religion can. Apart from to doubt everything including doubt. In a sense they’re right, existence is absurd. Kierkegaard.

Desire alone is not sufficient warrant. The only possible, positable warrant is Jesus. This is what Kierkegaard realised I misunderstand I’m sure. Welcome to fideism shorn of natural theology. Faith is not reasonable. I still hanker for it. Want to live as if transcendence is real, like my patron saint, Puddleglum - it’s easier to believe in God than in a meaningful afterlife; I can see that life is better with God for most people. And I can argue for a best case God to be better with.

What have we got to lose eh?

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Welcome. I think I still qualify as a non and there are others here as I guess you know who are entirely comfortable with the atheist monicker. I feel the agnostic label is a better fit but if pressed as to whether I think a being exists who created everything and guiding it along a path with a purpose I’ll freely admit I do not. But I realize the God-does-NOT-exist position is on the same shaky ground as those who think God exist precisely as they envision Him and has exactly the qualities and agenda that they imaging Him as having. As a result I’ve taken to talking about that which has given rise to and still supports God belief rather than God Himself, because that at least I do think is real, important and dynamic. While I am not a card carrying member of the club, I am a regular here and enjoy the company of thoughtfulChristians who are good neighbors.

Merv mentioned the End of Apologetics thread that is going on now. At 24 I imagine you are a busy guy but if you’re interested your participation in that thread would be a plus.

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This is just a phenomenally bad argument. By this logic, if J. K. Rowling created the world of the Harry Potter novels, then the characters in those novels should be able to detect her interactions with their physical reality. Because they don’t see any evidence of a novelist, Rowling must not exist.

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Why should that be so? It’s the Intelligent Design movement that think that God’s actions are detectable.

Would this look like the characters in the novels wondering where they came from??

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