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Ask An Atheist: How did everything come from nothing?


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By Jim Downard

If there was not a creator then how did everything come from nothing..just a big bang?

That is the ultimate “Origins or Bust” question, but it builds on implicit assumptions.

First, is “nothing” an option?  What is meant by that?  What science can tell us is that all the observable universe dates back to around 13.8 billion years ago, and commenced in a burp when the matter/energy/spacetime we can see originated.  But from what?  Need it have originated from anything?  Why can’t universe itself be an Uncaused Cause?  There’s no Manual of Stuff to preclude that.

And of course the moment one asks where the “creator” came from (and was there just the one?) the believer is liable to pull the plug and deny the question has any validity.  More “Origins or Bust.”

But it’s just as easily imagined that there were a committee of gods, who may or may not have been immortal or omnipotent (and no rules on all on whether they need to be moral or even likable), one or more of whom engaged in creating “stuff.”  And did they have any restrictions on that?  “Stuff” only being hadrons and leptons, as opposed to squiggle-fop that is perpendicular to purple on Tuesdays?  In other words, is the universe we have with physical dimensions and stuff that obeys laws nobody in any religious document ever tumbled upon, the only one possible?

By now we’re way into speculation, but that’s where we began, the moment we start speculating on what (if anything) existed “before” timespace and whether any entities were (or even could have been) involved.

Expect others to keep asking those questions, though.  Just don’t expect any resolution to it any time soon, or maybe even ever.

Jim Downard
Jim Downard
Jim Downard is a Spokane native (with a sojourn in Southern California back in the early 1960s) who was raised in a secular family, so says had no personal faith to lose. He's always been a history and science buff (getting a bachelor's in the former area at what was then Eastern Washington University in the early 1970s).


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