Out of Nothing

Did you know that God has been proven not to exist?

It was on the eve of the nineteenth century that renowned scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace met with Napoleon to discuss his research. On review of Laplace’s work, Napoleon remarked that there was no mention of the Creator. Laplace famously replied, “I have no need of that hypothesis.”

Startled? You should be! That this would be taken in any way as an argument against the existence of God is asinine. We may as well argue that there is no need to talk about an artist in regard to a painting, because the brush is explanation enough.

In his book, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking says, “spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” His statement almost sounds like an explanation, much as Laplace’s comment. But it is clear that calling the existence of the universe “spontaneous” is no explanation at all. Rather it is the absence of all reason; ironic for such a brilliant scientist.

Likewise, a new book called A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins, argues that even the nothingness of space has weight and mass. They also describe a process by which particles spontaneously appear from literal nothingness. “Oo!” they say, “here is evidence that God did not create, but it randomly appeared.” Sorry, guys, but that is not a reasonable or logical conclusion to make; in fact it is no conclusion at all. It is simply a sophisticated way of saying, “Duh, we don’t know.”

No, what Laplace said, whether he meant to or not, is that he does not need to give a supernatural explanation to fill in the proverbial “gaps” of his research. He found a logical and natural process.

Logical and natural does not mean that God is not involved. Somehow somewhere someone decided that God only could do the supernatural, when in fact, the Bible teaches that God is intimately involved in all natural processes as well, essentially writing all the laws of the physical universe.

God does not only stand in the gaps. He is all in all. The gospel of John, Colossians, and Romans all teach that creation, all of it, was created for him, by him, through him, to give him all glory and honor.

A special note to my readers: my break for the last four months has given me time to rest, recharge, and refocus my purpose in writing this blog. Thanks for hanging with me. What better way to start back in with a post on something from nothing?

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About Aaron Gardner

Aaron is a counselor and student of the Bible, passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He lives in central Indiana with his wife, one-year-old son and their two dogs. View all posts by Aaron Gardner

18 responses to “Out of Nothing

  • danielwalldammit

    It would seem that both the arguments you address and those you advance actually leave us at pretty much square one, though both your targets and yourself seem to think you end up with better than that.

  • Aaron Gardner

    Well, except if you believe that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God as I do, those conclusions are rather different.

    Either way you comment gave me a chuckle. Thanks for stopping by.

  • doddsy90

    It’s rather ironic that you that you mock the ‘something from nothing’ argument and then unleash the almighty as an explanation (from nowhere).

    And unless you’re a qualified Physicist, then you’re not expected to understand how something can appear from nothing like Hawking. Respect the people that are apt in understanding nature in its most fundamental form and are not blinded by faith.

  • Aaron Gardner

    I am sure that Hawking and other can talk circles around me when it comes to physics and what they observe and theorize. However, and I am sure you know or have heard this even if you do not agree, science is not capable of answering the question that is purely philosophical and theological. S is not just the opinion of religious hopefuls, but it is affirmed by knowledgeable atheist scientists as well, several of whom I have had the pleasure of holding candid conversations with. They rightly agree that it is not only the nature of science itself, but the very nature of the God we claim causes the question to be unable to be addresses by such methods of science.

    I could also wax eloquently about the historical nature of the biblical account and how people who were eyewitness to the events recorded did not all become believers. Instead I will not waste my breath, because I am sure you have heard the arguments and have chosen to dismiss them.

  • doddsy90

    Yes philosophical, but why is it theological?? Science may not have all the answers, but it’s certainly more qualified to tackle them – with modesty and openness.

    Which knowledgeable atheist scientists would they be? I certainly don’t advocate that opinion. But I guess an opinion is just that and I would be generally interested to hear their view.

    Enlighten me with regards to your final argument. Sounds intriguing.

  • Boz

    “Logical and natural does not mean that [Zeus] is not involved [In throwing lightning bolts].”

    Aaron, if you make this assertion, then Zeus has no effect upon the world.

    Zeus existing is indistinguishable from Zeus not-existing.

    Are you aware of this implication of that assertion?

  • Aaron Gardner

    You assume that the only evidence I have for God is the unexplained phenomena that can only, at this moment, be explained by supernatural intervention. The natural world testifies to God as any supernatural event does.

    If I were to say that Zeus exists because I see his lightning, and then science explains that there is no one in the clouds that throws lightning bolts, does that not disprove the existence of Zeus?

    The Bible says that “from him and through him and to him” all things were created. Would that not require proof that the natural world does not exist?

    Help me out, Boz. Am I missing some implications that you see so clearly?

  • Aaron Gardner

    It is theological because theology is the study of God… not sure what the study of “not God” would be. 😉

    Unfortunately I do not have a vetted list of atheist scientists to share with you. Many of these conversations have been here on my blog, at social functions, and articles either in print or on television. I will highly suggest a new book called A Shot of Faith to the Head by Dr. Mitch Stokes, which outlines much better than I can the more intricate points of this argument.

    As for the historicity of the Bible, there are numerous resources by well-educated folk that demonstrate the authenticity of the biblical account. Even people like Bart Ehrman, an atheist and biblical scholar, admit that there is historical record in the Bible (he debates about the finer details that really have no bearing on theological decisions). Most atheists dismiss this scholarship as mere “Christian apologetics,” which seems odd to me with their love of logic and the fact that this scholarship is no different than the standard by which other ancient documents are held. The only difference there being the many hundred more “witnesses” for each book of the Bible.

  • doddsy90

    I’d love to hear/see a self-confessed atheist scientist place the question of origin of the Universe in the hands of Theology. So many contradictions. Speaking of which, I’m sure you’re aware of the huge amount of them in the ‘historical accounts’ of the Bible?

  • Aaron Gardner

    You misunderstand: I do not mean that the question of the origins of the universe is a theological question. It is certainly scientific. What I AM saying is that the question of the existence of God is a theological and philosophical one, not a scientific one. Even with an explanation of the universe’s origin, from a scientific standpoint, would still not prove that God does not exist.

    If God does exist, he stands above the created order. If he is then above the created order, then the only way we could use science to prove his existence is if there were something in the created order that would hold authority above God; and if that were the case, then God would not be much of a God, would he?

  • doddsy90

    What you have started there is a familiar, yet extremely strong, argument of infinite regression. Where does it end when you’re applying the need for a creator?

    And apologies for the misunderstanding. But in essence we were talking about the origin of the Universe via “God” and the Hawking and Dawking arguments (no rhyme intended!).

  • Aaron Gardner

    Not infinite regression, because there is no infinite to the regression (except maybe for the infinity of God himself). No, the “buck stops” with God who is the Supreme Being, the supreme intellect, the supreme will of the universe. Again, Hawking and Dawkins can explain scientifically what may have happened at the beginning, but there will always be things that cannot be explained except to say “duh, I don’t know.” Of course, they have much more intelligent-sounding ways of saying that.

  • doddsy90

    Sorry to sound blunt, but with all his ‘will’, ‘supremeness’ and ‘reason’, why would the ‘buck stop’? Why is loneliness such a fear for the religious? What if the ‘supreme being’ was matter – merely the physical fabric of the Universe? Does that leave you feeling empty?

  • Aaron Gardner

    You know as I do that science is seeking the most fundamental. Obviously it cannot be “matter” because matter is made up of subatomic particles, which are themselves made up of subatomic particles. If science is not trying to find “where the buck stops” then why the ever-longer search for the edges of the universe? the next subatomic particle?

    You first argue that to say that “God did it” is an infinite regression, then you criticize my assertion that it is not. Which is it?

    And since you brought meaning into this: what is the search for scientific knowledge but an attempt to demonstrate the prowess of mankind, to help our human race reach the next evolutionary stage, to obtain knowledge of everything there is to know and understand. Sounds like a purpose to me!

    I am aware that atheist philosophers have argued against purpose, but there are just as many (like the existentialists) who argue that mankind does have purpose, even without an ultimate mind.

    To directly answer your question: in many ways, theological study discounts purpose as much as it supports it. Theology’s end is not to find purpose and meaning, much as I am sure you would argue for scientific pursuits. Rather it is to seek the truth; and a pilgrim on that journey does feel like the task is worth the trouble.

  • Sabio Lantz

    I was just looking at one of my past posts and ran into your comment, so I decided to visit. Wow, you are still at it! Does arguing with atheists never become tiring? I guess they only hit certain posts. I see that the next book review (religious books) post don’t get many comments.

    My style of discussing with Christians has changed a bit — it has been fun watching it change. Have you noticed your dialogue approaches change?

    Oh, yes, as for the OP, I agree that something from nothing is amazing. But like LaPlace, I have no reason to create a god-explanation, a spook-explanation, a demon-explanation or any number of other religious explanations. I am comfortable with amazing. And you are right, just because I am comfortable with amazing is not an argument against the existence of a god — but I am not sure LaPlace was doing that either.

    Being comfortable with critical for a healthy inner life.

    I think you comment of the centrality of the Bible for your epistemology is an honest, central point for you. You must make your reality fit your Bible — empiricists do it the other way around.

    Good to see ya again Aaron

  • doddsy90

    But you do know that Science is a beautiful journey in it’s own right?; with no destination, nor purpose or meaning. The “ever-long search” is for the love of mysteries and finding truth. There is no emotional investment.

    Currently, to our understanding, the smallest particles are point-like – as in they’re infinitesimally small. Of course, we don’t not confirm that, because we are not certain that is the truth.

    That “purpose” you talk of reaps many benefits to Humankind. Much of the purpose is to understand nature and exploit it for our own good.

  • doddsy90

    Sorry for the contradiction or purpose. I’m just downplaying the purpose you implied.

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