My questions concerned how matter came to be in the first place, before the beginning. Like you said, something can’t come from nothing and prior to 14 billion years ago, there was nothing.
I think it is fair to try to figure out how everything began as we consider whether or not God is involved in the development of life. In fact, everything else revolves around that issue, imo. If God is, it necessarily must follow that we interpret everything from the perspective that God is, I think.
It came about by the condensation of energy at the beginning of the universe. That energy was there from the very start of the universe.
We don’t know what was around before the initial expansion of our universe.
It seems rather irrelevant to me. God could have come across our already formed universe and then created life on Earth. God could have set up a naturalistic process that naturally gives birth to new universes. The origin of the universe has as much to do with the beginning of life as it does the beginning of a raincloud.
We don’t know how the universe came about, nor do we need to know in order to study the possibility of how life emerged on Earth.
I agree that understanding how the universe came about could supply us knowledge about God, but it wouldn’t supply us knowledge of how stars, planets, life, or species come about. If we are trying to figure out how life came to be, the best place to start is after the Earth formed and had water on its surface.
The best place to start, imo, is at the beginning. Let’s pm if you want to continue this. BTW–ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN THIS CONVERSATION. COME ON IN!
If there is a God behind creation, I bet He had a purpose in mind when He decided to speak and kick off the whole shooting match.
If there is a God and it is possible to know him, I want to know Him. I’m curious about lots of stuff. Knowing God would be way beyond cool, to me. I think it sheds a different light on everything that is, if God created it all.
I believe science itself, the laws of nature, weak force, strong force, magnetism, gravity, relativity, quantum physics–all these incredible things, all point to a Mind behind the scenes.
The list of things that are peculiar to our planet, our moon, our planet’s place in our solar system, our solar system, our solar system’s location in our galaxy, our galaxy, and more that enable life here would make your eyes glaze over. Having a gas giant like Jupiter turns out to be critical, for instance. (I am not claiming that ‘fine tuning’ can be proven.)
People try to create a conflict between science and religion for political reasons, e.g, because it helps them to create doubts in peoples minds that makes them susceptible to manipulation. In order to justify science you must believe that reality is ordered and that it follows rules. To understand this reality is seen as reading the two books of God as nicely summarised in
In fact it is logically incoherent to argue the origin from nothingness in random events. Funnily even the “NotGod” of the gaps invoked by atheists as the origin of the universe requires a God you have to define to make out his nonexistence. And the God they create from the bible that says -“if you eat from that tree I will kill you” is one I would not believe in either because I understand the concept of a loving father. Sadly a lot of people do and some use it to justify their own killings. The other God they create is Big Santa, e.g. a God that has to give us what we want / ask for in prayer, especially when they add "and this I ask for in the name of your son. That is love to those who mistake the feeling of satisfaction in getting what you want with love. Our consumer society is built on this premise and we are experts in creating the “want” that we can than satisfy. I thank my parents for raising me with the opportunity to experience love in learning to get satisfaction from giving something to someone to satisfy their need. But then according to some Atheists a God that does not already satisfy all needs can’t be a loving God, in fact he must be the Anti-god as he allows people to suffer a need. In some peoples perfect world only wants should exist
Once you understand the concept of a loving father on which the Christian worldview is based, you have to ask yourself why people reject this worldview in favour of a NotGod. If they could give me a better worldview I would be happy to go for it, as if it would allow a more meaningful interaction with reality it would be desirable, particularly if it would make it more loving, but love based on nothing or a brain that is supposed to be as thick as a brick because it only consists of the dust of the earth gives me some doubts
I am an example similar to the founder of this forum, scientist first become Christian, though in some ways even more so. I was not raised Christian, but hostile to Christianity, and turned to science first for the truth about things, then philosophy. Finally I took a look at religion and was surprised by what I found in Christianity. Its not that the criticisms I was raised with were wrong, in fact, I have since found even worse things since then. It is just that there is much in Christianity to appeal to me in spite of all that is wrong with it.
Yes, I believe all that. Though, it is likely we disagree on many details – such disagreements are practically a Christian pastime. BUT I am a Trinitarian, 5 solas protestant, and not universalist or Calvinist. I am of the western liberal (as in not fundamentalist) evangelical tradition with some preference for a few of the doctrinal positions of the Eastern Orthodox.
I believe in an historical Adam and Eve (6,000 to 10,000 years ago), Noah, Abraham, Moses and all that, but not in talking animals, magical fruit, or golems of dust and bone animated by necromancy. Oh and yeah… the earth is not flat. And of course all living things on this planet have evolved from a common ancestor.
P.S. I modified my first reply in the thread a bit from rereading what you wrote.
I suspect that it comes down to how different people determine which is the better worldview. For skeptics like myself, the better worldview is the one backed by more objective evidence. Other people will have different approaches to the same question.
I’m an atheist and I happily admit that I don’t know how the universe started. I am just fine with the gaps being gaps, and I don’t feel the need to fill them with just anything in order to have an answer.
For many atheists, myself included, it is hard to understand how God could be loving and at the same time let children die from painful diseases that could easily by cured by a snap of the fingers. In my worldview, a parent would not be loving if they refused to let their child receive life saving treatment.
“Believe” is a slippery word. I trust in Jesus as the way to God and the one through whom salvation comes, but I don’t know that he is. Regarding the Bible, I think/hope that it is an important means that God has used to draw people to himself, but I’m quite skeptical that it is always correct.
The basic answer, if I remember correctly, is that they simply happen, and they produce observed effects, like repulsion of objects in a vacuum, compared to what classical mechanics would predict (energy from virtual particles bouncing in the gap), and all fundamental force interactions rely on them.
How did they get here or there or anywhere? How does something “merely happen”? Didn’t they come from somewhere? Science is all about testing. Have we ever observed something happen that didn’t occur because of something else taking place?
IOW, (I mentioned doing something like this already) if we try to make anything from complete nothingness, we fail, I believe. We have never been able to reproduce creating something from pure zero, have we?
I think, personally, coming to grips with that fact and what it must mean, is far more important than anything else. That is where everything is crucial to what we believe about everything else, imo. It is the starting point. Everything hinges upon that most fundamental issue, “How did all this get here?”
How is it possible that something can be observed? I don’t mean how did evolution produce eyes and ears and a brain. I mean, how did the materials get here that eventually became us, so that we can observe something, when we have no idea how everything began in the first place? I don’t mean how did the exploding atom or whatever we believe it was, cool down eventually forming our universe, galaxies, etc. I mean how in the world did the whole shebang start before there was ever anything from which to start the process of exploding something? Nothing decided to form and explode? That has never happened or we’ve never produced anything like that, afaik. I am not being facetious. I’m not trying to be. That is the crux of everything else as we try to understand our role, our purpose, our reasons to live, our view of this incredible ride we call life. What is it really all about?
Mentioned these things to my dad on one occassion. You remember him? He hated religion. Hated it. Opposed it with his whole life force. When I asked about how we got here referring to the wonder and vastness of it all, he said, “Well of course there has to be something behind it all out there somewhere. You’d have to be an idiot not to recognize that.” I responded, “And Jesus said He was his son.”
The random fluctuations have a set probability of occurring in a volume of space. And they occur spontaneously. This is in the "we cannot observe it directly (if we did that would falsify much of modern physics), but it can explain a number of effects we can observe, such as the ones I listed.
It would be impossible to tell, as anything forming spontaneously cannot be observable by any technique, otherwise it would violate the uncertainty principle. There are a few minor exceptions, like if one of the particles in the pair spontaneously formed falls into a black hole, but we wouldn’t be able to tell that that is how this particle formed.
That is beyond the realm of science, at present anyway, so scientifically all that can be said is “it happened, and these few hundred ideas about what happened before it are compatible with what we see, but untestable.”
Welcome! I note that you’re from Loma Linda. It’s a good school. I’m a missionary kid family doc, and some surgical residents are training through the Pan African Acacemy of Christian Surgeons in the hospital station where I grew up–through the Loma Linda auspices (I found I was not one to "heal with steel, unlike my dad).
I think there are definitely semantics, as you say, in regard to belief. I read that the Greek “pistis” in belief has more to do with allegiance to a known object of devotion, than simply “the substance of things hoped for.” I have a lot to learn in that.
One theory is that while there was nothing else at all in the distant past there was always a disembodied being capable of magicking everything and anything into existence whenever he liked. I’ve never found that at all tempting as a theory. It seems more honest to just admit we don’t know.