God Created the Universe From Nothing—Or Did He?

God Created the Universe From Nothing—Or Did He? January 3, 2019

The Christian idea of creation ex nihilo, that God created the universe from nothing, is a doctrine within many denominations. The problem appears when Christians try to find it in the Genesis six-day creation story. It’s not there.

Like so many confidently stated doctrines, the Bible doesn’t cooperate. Letting the Bible speak for itself exposes the unsupported claims.

“In the beginning . . .”

The first verse of the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NIV). It doesn’t say that God created out of nothing, and only the lack of specified materials that God worked with supports creation ex nihilo.

Look more closely at the word created (the Hebrew word bara). This word is used 55 times in the Old Testament. Most instances are translated as “create,” but not all, and few could be read as “create from nothing.” For example, it’s “make a signpost” in Ezekiel 21:19 and “create in me a pure heart” in Psalm 51:10, which are obviously talking about forming out of existing material. The NET Bible agrees: “The verb does not necessarily describe creation out of nothing . . . it often stresses forming anew, reforming, renewing.”

Early church fathers like Justin Martyr and Origen also held that the Genesis creation was from something.

One intriguing hypothesis is that that verse should read, “In the beginning God separated the heavens and the earth” since the universe in Genesis 1 is built with separations. Light is separated from darkness (verse 1:4), water above is separated from water below (1:7), and land is separated from water (1:9).

You can respond that this is educated guesswork and that “create” might still be the best word, but it still doesn’t say “create from nothing.” (And, of course, centuries separate the original Genesis from our best copies and it was oral history before that, so it’s also guesswork what the original said.)

The next story in Genesis, the centuries-older Garden of Eden story, also has God creating, but here he creates using something else—for example, Eve was created from Adam’s rib, and Adam was created from dust.

God did use existing matter—water

Let’s continue the Genesis 1 creation story with verse 2: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The “deep” is the ocean, and the metaphorically relevant aspect here is the ocean as chaos. The six-day creation story shows God creating order from chaos.

This water wasn’t made by God but was material that he worked with. He separated the water into two parts, the sky (held up by a vault) and the ocean (Gen. 1:7). Next, we read “Let [the ocean water] be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear,” so God didn’t create the land either.

The New Testament agrees:

By God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water (2 Peter 3:5).

Combat Myth

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have already noticed hints of the Combat Myth (also known as Chaoskampf, German for “struggle against chaos”). This is a common story structure that appears in the mythology of many cultures. Some of the cultures in the ancient Near East with this myth are (oldest to youngest) Akkadia, Babylon, Ugarit, and Israel. The details were unique to each culture, but the outline is largely the same (more).

First, there’s a threat to the status quo. The threat isn’t evil, it’s chaos. The council of the gods argues about what to do, and none of the older generation of gods steps up to fight the chaos monster. A younger god (unimportant to this point) volunteers. After a fierce battle, this god defeats chaos, order is restored, and he takes his place as the chief god. The human world is formed from the body of the slain chaos monster.

For example, the Akkadian myth has Enlil as the king of the gods. Anzu steals the symbol of kingship, creating chaos. Ninurta steps up to fight Anzu. A clever trick allows Ninurta to defeat Anzu, and he becomes the new king.

Elements of the Genesis story are a little easier to see in the Babylonian version of the combat myth, documented in their creation myth, the Enuma Elis. Tiamat (the female dragon who represented salt water) and Absu (the male fresh water god) were the first gods, and their children formed the younger generation of gods.

Absu eventually grew annoyed with his noisy children and planned on killing them, but they discovered his plan and killed him first. His consort Tiamat was furious and planned revenge. Marduk the storm god responded to the threat, and he killed Tiamat, making him the king of the gods. He formed our world from the body of Tiamat, splitting it and making the heavens from one half and the earth from the other.

Note the similarities:

  • Yahweh and Marduk were both storm gods. Each fought and defeated a threat by chaos, the sea monster. For Marduk, it was Tiamat. For Yahweh, it was Leviathan (also known as Rahab). Job 41 is an entire chapter devoted to its description: “double coat of armor . . . fearsome teeth . . . its back has rows of shields . . . flames stream from its mouth.”
  • The Babylonian story begins with the gods of salt water and of fresh water. Water is also essential in the Genesis story, and “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
  • Marduk creates the heavens and the earth from two halves of Tiamat’s body. Yahweh separates the waters into two parts, the sky and the earth.
  • Another connection is linguistic. The word Tiamat is a linguistic cognate with the Hebrew tehom (the deep).

What we don’t find in Genesis is the beginning of the combat myth, though fragments of that are elsewhere in the Bible. Given the obvious parallels, the earlier Babylonian story must be in the lineage of the Genesis story somewhere, but not every story element made it.

Genesis not only doesn’t say that God created ex nihilo, it makes clear that he didn’t. He used pre-existing water to bring order to chaos. Genesis strongly parallels earlier combat myths, which very explicitly didn’t create from nothing but used the body of the defeated chaos monster.

Related posts:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • skl

    God did use existing matter—water…
    This water wasn’t made by God but was material that he
    worked with.

    But water is made – by the bonding of
    hydrogen molecules and oxygen molecules. Then those different molecules are
    made by the bonding of atoms, and the atoms are made by…

    • Lex Lata

      An eternal, boundless omnipresence that hung more stars in the observable universe than there are grains of sand in every beach and desert in the world, and that yet fixated on one minor human tribe’s foreskins?

      • RichardSRussell

        If electricity is produced by electrons, is morality produced by morons?

    • Natureboi

      Where did the atoms come from?

      • RichardSRussell

        One hypothesis, taken quite seriously by cosmologists, is that the sum total of the Universe is zero, but that it arrives at that value as the average of many bazillion protons and an equal bazillion of electrons. (That balances the electric charge; there are comparable pairs for balancing momentum, mass, etc.) The idea was that, indeed, the reason we’ve got so much stuff was that there was a separation in the very beginning of nothing into opposing pairs of something. Why? How? We fall back on the only honest answer: Nobody knows.

        • eric

          IIRC, charge balancing isn’t the contentious issue; it’s whether the total gravitational field of everything in the universe matches up with the ‘push’ forces in it. Hawking said yes they do, so we net zero energy, but as far as I know the physics community was not entirely convinced by his arguments.

        • RichardSRussell

          Yeah, it’s called “symmetry breaking”, and there are several different symmetries being broken. Your disclaimer “as far as I know” certainly applies to me as well. However, I take some solace in the assurance of Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman: “I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, ‘But how can it be like that?’ because you will go ‘down the drain’ into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.”

        • The truly surprising balance is energy–the positive energy balances the negative energy (gravity), and the net is zero energy. So, with the universe, you can have a free lunch.

      • Atom bombs well past their Use-By-Date? The active materials do have a “shelf” half-life period.

        Maybe “old” atomic devices explode less powerfully? Ah, that M-65 Kenworth M249 & M250 straddling 105mm artillery howitzer nick-named “Atomic Annie” . . . . we barely knew you, and you lasted (in service) far too briefly.
        https://www.theatomiccannon.com/history

        Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the nuclear cannon shells fly
        Before they’re forever banned?
        The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
        The radiation is blowin’ in the wind

        https://news-cdn.softpedia.com/images/news2/How-Did-the-World-039-s-Largest-Atomic-Cannon-Work-2.jpg

      • eric

        Time for the old joke…

        Never trust an atom. They make up everything.

    • Do you ever get what I write? I really didn’t think it was that complicated.

      • skl

        You apparently don’t get what I wrote. I really didn’t think it was that complicated.

        • Doubting Thomas

          The problem isn’t that Bob doesn’t understand what you wrote. It’s that he does understand.

        • skl

          See my response to Greg G.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible doesn’t say that God made the water. It says he created the heavens and the earth. The earth covered the face of the deep and the breath of God swept across the waters. Apparently, the water was there already.

        • skl

          The Bible doesn’t say that God made the water.

          That’s probably true.

          But I think Christians and Jews agree water
          is made. (For ingredients and process,
          see above.)

          You must be saying that those folks believe water always
          was, is eternal, like their gods. But I don’t think they believe that.
          Regardless of what their book says.

        • ?? The point is that Genesis 1 says that water was there already and that God didn’t create ex nihilo.

        • skl

          ?? The point is that Genesis 1 says that
          water was there already and that God didn’t create ex nihilo.

          No, it says “In the beginning God created the heavens and
          the earth”, and we all know water is part of the earth. IOW, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the water and land that is earth.’

        • Wrong again. That’s not what it says.

          When you don’t let the Bible speak for itself, baby Jeebus cries.

        • skl

          I’d almost bet that your version of John 1 begins

          “In the beginning was the Word, and the water, and
          the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
          He, and the water, was in the beginning with God”

        • John 1 contradicts Genesis 1–yes, I know. The Bible has lots of contradictions.

        • skl

          And your bible’s next verse:

          “all things were made through him, and
          without him was not anything made that was made, except for the water, which made itself.”

        • John 1 contradicts Genesis 1–yes, I know. The Bible has lots of contradictions.

        • skl

          I see no contradiction between the two.

        • Why then did you say, “I’d almost bet that your version of John 1 begins…” if John 1 simply recapitulates Genesis 1?

        • skl

          Because that version, that interpretation,
          would be crazy.

        • ??

        • skl

          Crazy interpretation of John 1:

          “In the beginning was the Word and the water,
          and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
          He and the water were in the beginning with God
          all things were made through him, and
          without him was not anything made that was made, except of course for the water, which made itself.

          Which would go along with an equally crazy interpretation of
          Genesis 1:

          “In the beginning God created the heavens and
          the earth, except God didn’t really create the earth, he only created the land of the earth. Amen, the water made itself.

        • Greg G.

          You must be saying that those folks believe water always
          was, is eternal, like their gods. But I don’t think they believe that.
          Regardless of what their book says.

          Bible thumpers believe all kinds of stuff because of what their book says. Some say that the early Genesis chapters are metaphor while others will say, “Jesus didn’t die for a metaphor! The universe was created 6000 years ago!” Others tell us that God is not a being but “the essence of being”.

    • Zeta

      skl: “But water is made – by the bonding of hydrogen molecules and oxygen molecules.

      Please clarify your position on this issue. Did your god make water by bonding existing hydrogen and oxygen molecules in Genesis 1.2? If so, he did not create something from nothing. In addition, did he create all the 94 naturally occurring chemical elements before stellar nucleosyntheses in the interior of stars and later explosions of supernovae had a chance to play their parts?

      • skl

        I think this god must have had to consult with a brilliant Brainiac
        like you to figure it all out.

        • Zeta

          Dodging because you are unable to answer my questions?

        • Rudy R

          Chock you up on the side of god magic.

  • Mythblaster

    Supposition based on guesses based on myth based on oral histories…

    Yeah, I wanna put all my eggs in that basket. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/53cf1b63ce3ed44dcecca9fffb8f90c68601abc91301c733c1bd60ff9fd2dab7.gif

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      At least somebody spent the time to research it, rather than blindly accepting dogma…

  • Natureboi

    My favorite response from evangelicals concerning origin is: “How can something come from nothing?”

    The correct answer from scientists is: “We don’t know.”

    This answer does not equate to: “Therefore God.”

    But if God, then how did God create something from nothing?

    To defend God’s ability to create something from nothing creates a hypocritical dichotomy of being simultaneously in support of and in denial of the ability of something coming from nothing.

    • Doubting Thomas

      I think it’s somewhat contradictory to think that nothing can even exist. What is existence if not something?

      Also, the idea that theologians can tell us properties about something no one has ever seen (“nothing”) just shows their adeptness at pulling stuff out their asses.

      • I’m stuck at the idea of what space expands into. If it isn’t more space, what is it? And then the idea that time didn’t exist before the Big Bang. I guess that’s why scientists get the big bucks.

        • Pofarmer

          I think the idea is that the universe creates the space it expands into. The big bang, in essence, is still ongoing. If that’s even right, because some models have the big bang happening essentially eveywhere, all at once. Ok. I think I’m done now.

        • Natureboi

          And then the idea that time didn’t exist before the Big Bang.

          It is impossible for time to not exist despite the fact that time isn’t a tangible thing.
          Time is an abstract conceptual perception. It cannot begin or end.
          It is irrelevant how time is measured. It is a constant that always was and always will be.

          To claim that time had a beginning creates a paradox.

          Our present time could not exist without a past event.
          A past event is necessary for a future event (currently the present) to occur/exist. If there was no past, (pre-present time’s existence) there cannot be a future thusly eliminating our present time.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Our original conception of time is like this, but time in reality is potentially quite different. Are you familiar with the B-theory of time?

        • But t = 0 at the Big Bang singularity, right? There are theories about negative time and so on, but one theory is that there was no time before it. Am I missing something?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          or one restrict the time to when general relativity doesn’t “tap out” with this singularity: (0,oo), maybe even “start” a bit later (planck time), and t=0 is just formally the “time” of the big bang singularity. semantics. this way every “proper event” (point in spacetime) does have a past, however short. it’s like for every number in (0,1] there is a smaller number, there is just no smallest number in this interval.

        • That’s an interesting angle, thanks.

        • Michael Murray

          If your model ignores quantum mechanics that might happen. But t=0 and the Big Bang singularity are in the model not reality and the model breaks down when you get back to Planck Epoch (around t = 10 to the power of -43 seconds). At least until we have a quantum theory of gravity.

        • zenmite

          My take on this is that time is the way our brains make sense of change. Change exists and we interpret this as time due to memory. Time is measurement of motion or change. If there were no change, there would be no time. We can imagine that there would be…but there we are imagining it and we are constantly changing sentient beings. Since something had to change in order to give rise to this universe, it is plain that some type of change did occur before the universe exploded into being. Even a vacuum fluctuation is change. So from this pov, change or motion certainly existed before the universe…even if you are a theist. Theoretical physicist Julian Barbour has a view of time similar to this, as I recall. Time is just our measurement of change, not an objective property of the universe.

        • Since something had to change in order to give rise to this universe

          But since some quantum events don’t have causes and the universe was initially quantum-particle sized, it might not have had a cause. Maybe no change precipitated it.

        • Natureboi

          The problem with that is we don’t know what was before the big bang.
          Perhaps the big bang was just another out of billions, or trillions cycling endlessly like a perpetual yo yo.
          Maybe there never was a “beginning” of the universe and time.
          Maybe they always existed.

        • Greg G.

          After I read in Krauss’ A Universe From Nothing, about the superclusters of clusters of galaxies accelerating away from one another, and that there was no limit to the velocity they might attain so they might reach superluminal speed, and this would be the most common state of a universe because the time we are in, when other superclusters are still visible is a relatively short time, I began to wonder if a universe could pop into existence within another universe. If so, the most likely time this would happen would be after the superclusters would have gone to superluminal speed (which is even faster than ludicrous speed).

          I read an article on the subject that mentioned pocket universes, that is, universes within universes which confirmed my speculation that scientists had speculated about that. Our universe might be the smallest in a huge set of Matryoshka universes.

        • Matryoshka universes®

          You heard it here first, folks.

        • Arjan Stam

          Aren’t we all… 😉 But seriously, I dunno. Maybe without time, “before” doesn’t even apply. I’d think that perhaps t = 0 is the one border of the time “dimension” of the spacetime we find ourselves in…? (Have you ever googled “Sean Carroll time”…? Sean is a real smart cookie AND also damn fun to listen to…!)

        • Agreed on the thumbs-up for Sean Carroll.

        • eric

          [time] is a constant that always was and always will be

          Unless you have some empirical evidence that t’ = t and doesn’t = [gamma * (t – vx/c^2)], I’m sticking with Einstein and saying time isn’t a constant.

        • Natureboi

          How does that disrupt the consistency of the passing of time?

        • Michael Murray

          If we follow time backwards the universe shrinks (i.e. things get closer together). We get to a time when space-time is so small (i.e things are so close together) quantum effects will dominate classical general relativity: “the Planck Epoch”. Nobody knows what happens then as there is no working theory of quantum gravity. But quite possibly there is no space-time as we understand it. So no time.

        • Natureboi

          If we follow time backwards the universe shrinks.

          True.
          But what if the expansion of the universe is a cyclical event coupled with contraction.
          Much like a yo yo that has been and always will be expanding and contracting.

        • Michael Murray

          I’m not a cosmologist so I can’t tell you the status of cyclical theories. My point is that time may not be a fundamental aspect of the universe. We don’t know yet.

        • Natureboi

          time may not be a fundamental aspect

          How cannot it possibly not be?

        • Michael Murray

          Time could be emergent. Like temperature and pressure which only make sense for collections of molecules. Similarly time might only makes sense in models that agree experimentally with certain parts of reality.

          Here is Sean Carroll (a cosmologist of course) saying this more elegantly than I can:

          The question of whether time is fundamental or emergent is, on the other hand, crucially important. I have no idea what the answer is (and neither does anybody else). Modern theories of fundamental physics and cosmology include both possibilities among the respectable proposals.

          http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/10/18/is-time-real/

        • Interesting. I always think of fluidity and wetness when I think of emergent phenomena. I hadn’t thought of temp and pressure.

          Can a single molecule have a temperature? There wouldn’t be other molecules to compare its speed against (is speed = temperature?). I guess I never thought about what “temperature” is at the molecular level.

        • Michael Murray

          Hhm. It’s a very long time since I did my second year thermodynamics course. I was borrowing from that same Sean Carroll link: “Temperature and pressure didn’t stop being real once we understood them as emergent properties of an underlying atomic description.”

          There is a long discussion below seems to imply that temperature is not defined for individual molecules

          https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/65690/can-a-single-molecule-have-a-temperature

          But fluidity and wetness are probably better.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I guess that’s just another limitation of our meat computers. Our brains evolved to pick lice and have sex, not ponder the boundaries of cosmology.

          The best part is watching theologians simultaneously demonstrate and deny our brain’s limitations. The irony is lost on them.

        • Our brains evolved to pick lice and have sex.

          It don’t get any better than that. Ah, the simple pleasures!

          The best part is watching theologians simultaneously demonstrate and deny our brain’s limitations. The irony is lost on them.

          Yes, good point. Plantinga’s EAAN argument tries to conclude, “evolution says that our brains are imperfect, and you want to do science with that error-prone thing??”

          We don’t need evolution to know that our brains are imperfect; they don’t work well when we’re just hangry. And they listen to that error-prone thing when it tells them that a god exists??

        • Greg G.

          Yes, good point. Plantinga’s EAAN argument tries to conclude, “evolution says that our brains are imperfect, and you want to do science with that error-prone thing??”

          That’s why we use tools like science and logic to compensate and eliminate for our evolutionary-designed heuristics that are faster and usually right.

        • Arjan Stam

          Space expands, but not “into” something.
          There is a beginning of (our) time; “before that” is meaningless.
          Temperature has a minimum, the absolute zero. Only once we understood that that’s because the atomic scale jitter of stuff has reached zero (well, more or less), and that stiller than still can’t, we understood WHY.
          Maybe we should first focus on finding out the NATURE of space, time, energy, matter and forces and the nature of the fabric of it.

        • Space expands, but not “into” something.

          I’m tempted to ask what the properties of that thing that space doesn’t expand into, but then I’m probably shoehorning it into space again.

          There is a beginning of (our) time; “before that” is meaningless.

          Agreed, but that doesn’t make it understandable.

          Temperature has a minimum, the absolute zero. Only once we understood that that’s because the atomic scale jitter of stuff has reached zero (well, more or less), and that stiller than still can’t, we understood WHY.

          Now that is easy to understand. We need a comparable comparison for space and time.

          Pope John Paul II apparently once said to Stephen Hawking that it was OK to examine the history of the universe BACK TO that point, but that the exact moment of the Big Bang itself was to be left alone, the reason given being that that moment “of creation” (the knowledge of which he had, apparently, assumed to posess) had to remain shrouded in mystery, as a sign of respect to this (according to him) sacred moment and God.

          Let’s just assume that God did it; now we must wall that off and consider that sacred ground.

          Weird. I’d never heard this.

        • Arjan Stam

          F.i. on http://stmaryvalleybloom.org/hawkingaudiencewithpope.html
          and http://dangerousintersection.org/2006/06/16/pope-john-paul-to-stephen-hawking-stop-studying-cosmology/
          From what I remember of what I read about what Hawking said about it, at the time, it was a private meeting between Hawking and JP II. I’d guess that a pope does not reveal anything of what he discusses with people in private.

          The wording “The thing that space doesn’t expand into” is incorrect:
          It’s not a thing, and hence there’s no “into” either. Very difficult to grasp for us. Our minds simply aren’t equipped for handling these aspects of the physical reality.
          Space “simply” expands (apparently as a function of (the) mass (of the universe) but please don’t ask me for an explanation; I have none. Here, my weird-o-meter goes off-scale too)… What does “the expansion of space itself” even mean…? (Nonetheless, this notion might be NOT all that useless; see below.)

          Maybe the example of absolute zero goes to show that things about reality like these aren’t so difficult to understand per se, provided that our model of that particular aspect of reality essentially corresponds with the actual reality that it describes.
          The speed limit that the speed of light apparently reallyreallyreally is, also seems to be that it is the expression of some zero value of something else (to the best of my understanding, which, admittedly, is not that of a theoretical physicist).
          Interestingly, if we allow for the concept of space itself expanding (which is something that the observations STRONGLY seem to suggest, and at a pace of H, the Hubble constant), and the speed of light being something that is relative to the space that it “travels” through, then it DOES become within the reach of our grasp how the rate of increase in distance between two very distant galaxies may exceed the speed of light without anything actually exceeding the speed of light…

          I do not understand how the assumption that “God did it” would, in any way, be helpful; not even as a temporary working hypothesis, and for what (valid) reason researching the foundations of reality should be considered OFF-limits. They ARE the limits of reality; THE reality that we inhabit; OUR shared reality. NO church, no entity has the right to monopolize ANY of it, and most certainly not by simply proclaiming it to be the exclusive property of their imaginary bobo in the sky, which, oh coincidence, they also proclaim to represent, exclusively.
          If a church makes such grandiose claims, they should AT THE VERY LEAST demonstrate bobo’s existence first. They can’t? Too bad.

        • Right–the absolute zero example seems quite easy to understand. Heat is a thing, and you can take away as much as there is but no more.

          Those other things don’t seem to have easy-to-understand examples or explanations. Ah, such is life at the frontier of science.

        • Arjan Stam

          Yes! The second most exciting thing to focus on for me too: the frontier of science (or, well, as far as my understanding of it goes…); here: cosmology. Oh my goodness! To me, no biblical babbling boa or burning bush can beat that in a billion years.

      • Natureboi

        I think it’s somewhat contradictory to think that nothing can even exist. What is existence if not something?

        We cannot explain nothingness, as there is nothing to compare it to.

      • Arjan Stam

        Nothing is the absence of anything. So the question equals “Can something arise from the absence of anything?” I do not notice the presence of an answer to that question in my mind. So maybe it can (but I have no idea how), and maybe it can’t. But if it can’t, then that would mean that the universe came from something, and the question merely regresses to the question where thát something came from. And if I then come to the conclusion that I juist don’t know how EITHER option makes sense TO ME, then THAT is MY conclusion. I am NOT justified in assuming that the natural ends at precisely the same point where my own, limited human understanding ends. To claim that the fact that there is something beyond MY undertstanding would automatically mean that there is a supernatural realm to accomodate for that, is like saying that it’s inexplicable that there is something that I don’t understand. How modest of me…

    • I marvel at apologists strawmanning scientists by saying what idiots they are to imagine that something can come from nothing, while positing that God makes something come from nothing (without evidence).

      The correct answer from scientists is: “We don’t know.”

      My response is: You’re surprised that there’s something rather than nothing? Are you saying that nothing is more likely than something? Prove this remarkable statement.

      • Natureboi

        God makes something come from nothing (without evidence).

        My question to this is: Where did God get all that there is from?

        They do one of two things:

        1) They say we aren’t allowed to know. This requires me to believe in magic, something I cannot do, or:
        2) They disappear from the conversation.

        • Arjan Stam

          (And don’t forget the question where GOD then came from.)
          What I find equally incomprehensible is that all there is (or, at least: all the *matter* there is) is the enigmatic one BILLIONTH that was *not annihilated* within ten seconds after the Big Bang.
          https://home.cern/science/physics/matter-antimatter-asymmetry-problem
          As to your question where all there is, came from: Maybe that’s not even the right phrasing of the question. It looks like the sum of all energy (/matter) in the universe is… zero. I wonder how that split into a plus and a minus (and, what “negative energy” even means)… Cosmology seems to indicate that Reality is actually more mysterious than the desert dwellers of old could even conjure up in their wildest dreams…

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        There’s a similar response to the “First Mover” argument. How do you know motion isn’t the default state? Isn’t a “First Stopper” just as consistent with the laws of motion? Given that even “stopped” things remain in motion relative to other perspectives, doesn’t this support default motion better than default lack of motion?

        Sure, questions remain about where the thing originated from, but the “First Mover” conceit seems to be the fault of a narrow perspective.

        • Good point. That reminds me of Newton’s laws of motion. The assumption had been that the default is objects being at rest, but Newton overturned that.

    • Arjan Stam

      Essentially, it is precisiely the idea that “(a) god did it” that came/comes from nothing in the minds of precisely the people who ridicule others in whose minds that miracle did NOT happen. Think of it. It’s not the ways of god that are mysterious; it’s those of the religious that are truly mysterious.

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    This is, by far, the most hypocritical argument made by apologists.

    You believe something came from nothing!

    Didn’t I just got through telling you that we don’t know what preceded expansion? Who is the one claiming to know that nothing existed beforehand?

    Science says something cannot come from nothing!

    What does science say about something coming from nothing at the behest of something else?

    They are completely oblivious to the fact that every problem raised is of their own msking.

  • Loren Petrich

    Proto-Indo-European mythology – Wikipedia — there is a similar Proto-Indo-European creation story that can be reconstructed with the help of comparative mythology. In it, there were once two twin brothers, Man and Twin (*mannus, *yemos). Man sacrificed Twin and then dismembered and created the familiar Universe from his body parts. It partially survived as the Norse creation story of Ymir, and Romulus and Remus (Roman and R-win).

    Another Indo-European mytheme is a god of storms and war fighting and killing a reptilian monster associated with water. So this one could have been combined to form this creation of he world by killing some monstrous reptile.

    As to how these mythemes might have gotten to the Middle East, there were Indic speakers in the Middle East around 1500 BCE. There is a surviving treatise on horse training written by a certain Kikkuli, a treatise which contains some words that look much like their Sanskrit counterparts. aiga-, tera-, panza-, satta-, nāwa-wartanna and eka-, tri-, pañca- sapta-, nava-vartana.

  • Mormonism agrees with this idea, as for them not only is matter eternal but God himself is a material being. One school of Indian philosophy believes this too. So do pantheists of course, as they say God is identical with the universe.

  • epicurus

    My guess is that just like Jesus gets upgraded over time to get the biggliest Jesus possible (from prophet, to messiah, to minor god, to equal to God, to of the same substance as God, to having always existed and never created), the creator God needed to be continually upgraded to keep him bigglier than the other surrounding gods so Voila! creation from nothing.

    • eric

      Yes, and the concept of ‘nothing’ also gets upgraded by theologians to keep pace with society too. Prior to Einstein, everyone thought of space and time as the stage on which things happened. Thus ‘nothing’ was a concept that represented something like ‘no things in space or time’. But when Einstein showed that space and time were things, suddenly God was retconned to have invented them too.

      Because nothing says “being true to scripture” like re-interpreting a book put together in AD 100-300 so that it’s consistent with a science theory put together in AD 1905.

      • skl

        But when Einstein showed that space and
        time were things, suddenly God was retconned to have invented them too.

        It seems to me that space exists only if matter exists, and
        that time exists only if change/motion in matter exists. A god creating such matter takes care of Einstein.

        • Doubting Thomas

          A god creating such matter takes care of Einstein.

          Or time and space existing infinitely takes care of it. Or living in a simulation. Or a magic space ant crapping them out…

          Even though I know you’re not a Christian (wink wink), you still don’t seem to understand the difference between “I made some shit up” and “I figured out the correct answer.”

        • C_Alan_Nault

          I’m going to stick with my theory, it explains how the universe came into existence without the need for any god.

          1) theoretical physicists that have studied the issue think that it may be possible to travel back in time by traveling through a rotating wormhole ( the math is still uncertain,they have not eliminated the possibility that it may require an infinite amount of energy to get a wormhole to rotate,but if this is not the case then we move to #2))

          2) the human race is constantly becoming more technologically advanced and at some point in the far future we have found a rotating wormhole to use for time travel to the distant past

          3) our advanced technology means we have reached the point where we could create a universe IF we had somewhere to put it

          4) a team travels to the far past with the materials and equipment needed to create our universe,which is done by means of the big bang

          5) problem of how our universe came into existence is solved ( note: it could also be accomplished by an advanced alien race using a rotating wormhole etcc etc )

        • Doubting Thomas

          Sounds interesting. I’m going to stick with “I don’t know.”

        • Arjan Stam

          “theoretical physicists that have studied the issue think that it may be possible to travel back in time” Hmyeah. Wonderful things, those wormholes. I wonder why they haven’t found or constructed one yet.

        • C_Alan_Nault

          Yeah,kinda like extrasolar planets. They hadn’t found any of them…… until they did find them.

        • Arjan Stam

          Yes, but are the two comparable? Finding the first extrasolar planets was mostly about figuring out the right techniques, building the appropriate tools and improving the sensitivy and precision. If I remember correctly, there should be something like a billion of them in our own galaxy alone.
          Wormholes and the idea of going back in time looks to me like an entirely different ballgame.

        • C_Alan_Nault

          Yes, the two are comparable. The existence of both were theorized and later ( in the case of extra-solar planets) discovered. So far they have not found any wormholes. Will they? Maybe.

        • C_Alan_Nault

          “Wormholes and the idea of going back in time looks to me like an entirely different ballgame.”

          Hence the use of the term THEORETICAL physicist and the term “may be possible” and the qualifying statement: the math is still uncertain,they have not eliminated the possibility that it may require an infinite amount of energy to get a wormhole to rotate.

        • Michael Neville

          How do imaginary critters create anything? First you (that’s you, pseudo-atheist skl) have to show that your god exists before you can claim anything that it supposedly did.

        • skl

          First you (that’s you, pseudo-atheist skl) have to show that your god…

          Wrong. I’m not an atheist and have never said I was. Nor am I a “pseudo-atheist.” I’m merely a nonreligious, commenting on a Nonreligious website.

          BTW, as soon as you or anyone else proves a god or gods do or do not exist, please let me know.

        • Michael Neville

          Let’s just say that you tried very hard to give the impression that you were an atheist and, when challenged, refused to admit that you were a Christian. Since you have NEVER argued for any points except the straight Christian view, we realized that you were a Christian. No, you slimy liar, you’re not “non-religious”, you’re a Christian who’s too fucking dishonest to admit what everyone else knows about you,.

        • skl

          It’s too bad, for you, that you don’t stick to the subject and instead engage in ad hominems.

          Good night.

        • Michael Neville

          Like many Christians, you don’t know what an ad hominem is. Not that I’m surprised. But I did notice that you didn’t even try to give any evidence that your god exists. That doesn’t surprise me either.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “If you walk like a duck, and quack like a duck, and swim like a duck….”

          quickly, how does this statement conclude?

        • Susan

          It’s too bad, for you, that you don’t stick to the subject.

          So much worse for you, then. As the subject is the last thing you ever stick to.

          Whenever anyone corners you on that strategy, you block them and continue on your disinguenous weaselly ways.

          Unless you are focused solely on being a disingenuous weasel.

          Which, in your case, it has always been.

          So, never mind.

          I think Bob has had great cause to ban you for a very long time. The last thing you want to do is have a discussion.

          The only thing you want to do is impede reasoned discussion.

          The trouble is that Bob has a day job, puts a lot of thought into writing articles, and is the only moderator here. So, he’s missed your body of work.

          And that you are a disingenuous weasel who takes advantage of every niche that can be occupied by a disingenuous weasel.

          As you blocked me a very long time ago for trying to have an honest discussion with you, I can safely say “Go fuck yourself.”

          Of course, that wasn’t my first response. My first response was to try to have a conversation with you.

          But we all know where that leads when you’re talking to skl.

        • skl

          Too bad, for you.

        • Greg G.

          He replied to you. I wonder how he saw the post. Maybe he hasn’t worked out how to block people.

        • Susan

          He replied to you.

          Yes. Strange. A very long time ago, he told me he blocked me.

          He’s claimed to have blocked a great number of people.

        • skl

          I’ve never blocked anyone. Not even you.

        • I hear baby Jesus crying …

        • eric

          as you or anyone else proves a god or gods do or do not exist, please let me know

          There is as much evidence for God or gods as there are unicorns. So were is your defense of unicorns?

          I’m merely a nonreligious, commenting on a Nonreligious website.

          You ‘merely’ write post after post over months and months defending the notion of a monotheistic God consistent with Christianity. But not unicorns. Not polytheism. Not animism. And not karmic/cosmic cycle type theologies. Funny, that.

        • skl

          There is as much evidence for God or gods as there are unicorns. So were is your defense of unicorns?

          The idea of unicorns doesn’t interest me in the least. If you want a defense of unicorns, you can try finding a purportedly serious, even academic, website on unicorn belief/nonbelief. Good luck.

        • eric

          The idea of unicorns doesn’t interest me in the least.

          Well, this exactly hits the point skl. You claim to be a non-christian, yet the only idea you are interested in defending is that of the Christian God.

          Why are you, a non-Christian, only interested in defending the Christian notion of a monotheistic God amongst all the many various belief systems? The most obvious and straightforward answer is that you think there’s a ‘there’ there, which is absent from other belief systems. You think there is something worth defending about the belief of the Christian God that is lacking from other belief systems. So…do you think there’s a ‘there’ there, or not?

        • ildi

          You claim to be a non-christian

          In the few times I’ve seen it come up, I only recall skl saying “nonreligious” rather than “non-Christian”, so could be that skl belongs to the weaselly “personal relationship with Jesus.” school of thought.

        • skl

          Why are you, a non-Christian, only interested in defending the Christian notion of a monotheistic God amongst all the many various belief systems?

          You might ask the same of non-Christian author Bob Seidensticker. Just change the “defending” to “attacking”. Virtually all of his articles are attacks only on Christianity. Nothing good or bad about attacks. I just like to test the attacks to see if “there’s a ‘there’ there, or not”.
          And in my exchanges with Bob S. on this article, I’ve explained why I see no “there” there.

        • Greg G.

          Bob S. lives in the United States which is dominated by Christianity. He grew up with it so it is the religion he knows. His blog is called “Cross Examined” which is a play on words related to examining one of the major points of the religion with a court room phrase. Get it? It is a pun. If he was going to examine other religions, the name doesn’t work.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know how long you’ve been at this game, but you haven’t changed at all since the first time I saw your posts, which is going on at least a couple years. Are you testing, done testing, not to be convinced by any answer? So far, you have stuck to one note, and no answer you’ve gotten has been satisfactory, nor have you said anything intellectually challenging, so basically, you are a troll.

        • skl

          I don’t know how long you’ve been at this game, but you haven’t changed
          at all since the first time I saw your posts, which is going on at least
          a couple years. Are you testing, done testing, not to be convinced by
          any answer? So far, you have stuck to one note, and no answer you’ve
          gotten has been satisfactory, nor have you said anything intellectually
          challenging, so basically, you are a troll.

          Nevertheless, you appear to have a small band of followers giving you up-votes. Even relative to a comment from 23 days ago!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nevertheless, you appear to have a small band of followers giving you up-votes. Even relative to a comment from 23 days ago!

          Disengage your pea sized brain from moron mode for a second and give a thought to reasons why that might be.

        • Greg G.

          A small band? Is he saying Kodie is like Gladys Knight and we are all Pips?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha…with over 30,000 upvotes, that’s some band of Pips.

        • Pofarmer

          Kodies back!!!!!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          If only fleetingly…still, it’s good to know she is okay.

        • Greg G.

          A week ago. She is struggling with affordable and convenient and uncensored internet.

        • Pofarmer

          In a large city in the U.S. That sucks.

        • Doubting Thomas

          BTW, as soon as you or anyone else proves a god or gods do or do not exist, please let me know.

          Good point. Also, if we evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys around?

          For a “nonreligious” person, you sure do bring up a lot of dumb religious arguments.

        • skl

          For a “nonreligious” person, you
          sure do bring up a lot of dumb religious arguments.

          You shouldn’t be wasting your time following people who make
          “dumb religious arguments”. That they’re “dumb” should go without saying (and without your commentary).

        • Doubting Thomas

          Other people’s commentary about your comments is the only thing that makes your comments worthwhile.

        • Greg G.

          BTW, as soon as you or anyone else proves a god or gods do or do not exist, please let me know.

          Define a god or gods without using imagination.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Disbelief doesn’t bear ANY burden of proof, being subjective.

          A positive statement of the existence of a thing is OBjective, and thus subject to the burden of proof.

          Get to it.

        • Arjan Stam

          Apparently, it can be VERY difficult for some to get (to) it…;-) Here’s a funny discussion with someone who THINKS he figured it all out…. Ouch!
          (Clip with the full conversation is called: “Something from nothing: How NOT to debate an atheist” )
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lyh_Y1CubsU&t=0s&list=PLKqdWCx26D5jAQKiGmi_zhspS5c3IzQ5M&index=24

        • eric

          It seems to me that space exists only if matter exists

          Then you seem wrong. In fact somehow you’ve managed to be wrong according to modern physics and Newtonian physics and Aristotle all at the same time. Quite a feat, that.

          A god creating such matter takes care of Einstein

          You’ve entirely missed the point here. Or chosen not to address it. Let me know if you need me to explain the point to you – or if I shouldn’t bother because you got it but opted not to actually address it.

        • ildi

          if I shouldn’t bother because you got it but opted not to actually address it.

          That about sums up 99% of skl’s responses

        • Susan

          That about sums up 99% of skl’s responses.

          Only if you give him a 1% handicap.

        • skl

          Let me know if you need me to explain the point to you

          What I need, or rather would like, is for you to explain what “space” is without reference to matter, and what “time” is without reference to change/movement in matter.

        • eric

          Study physics. Frankly, a fully relativistic description of spacetime is beyond me. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it just means you have to actually study the subject to get it. What a concept.

          Now I’ve answered your question, let’s go back to mine, which you dodged yet again. Do you not understand how interpreting a 3rd century book to be talking about 21st century physics theories is a conceptual problem? Or do you understand, and just not want to talk about that?

        • skl

          Do you not understand how
          interpreting a 3rd century book to be talking about 21st century physics theories is a conceptual problem?

          I could imagine that. But I don’t I agree with your contention that “when Einstein showed that space and time were
          things, suddenly God was retconned to have invented them too.”

          And I explained why.

          Unfortunately, your counter-explanation is ‘beyond you’.

        • eric

          “It seem to me…” is not an explanation lol, it’s an opinion.

          Here is a discussion of spacetime in general. The description of a spacetime with no mention or reference to mass is about 30-40% of the way down; this is referred to as Flat spacetime.

          So there you go. Your seeming is wrong. No reference to mass is needed to describe spacetime. And since spacetime can exist without matter, there’s no justification in claiming a 2000+ year old bible story talking about the creation of flowers and the sun and the moon (in that order, heh) is also explaining the origin of Einsteinian spacetime.

          But for goodness’ sake, it really shouldn’t be necessary to go through all of this to defend the point that relativity caused theologians to do a retcon. The definition of a retcon is when a new fact or discovery forces a new interpretation of some preexisting claim. And theologians have pretty clearly done that, not just with Einsteinian spacetime but with deep geologic time, with the evolutionary origin of man, with heliocentrism, and probably a number of other scientific advances. None of those things were known, expected or anticipated by the authors of the OT. Arguably, they may not even have known the Earth was round. Reinterpreting Genesis to be consistent with these discoveries made after it was written is practically the definition of a retcon.

        • skl

          I agree with this much of your comment:

          “lol”.

        • eric

          That’s it? What a non-response. You asked for a description of space without matter and I gave you one. Either this renders your original ‘it seems…’ claim invalid, or you’ll need to come up with an actual counter-argument as to why it doesn’t.

        • skl

          You asked for a description of space without matter and I gave you one.

          Heh. Lol.

          Study physics.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          You first.

        • skl

          I can’t. That’s why I made my first comment in this thread.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          I can’t.

          Sums up your presence on these threads.

        • skl

          Now it’s your turn.

          Explain “space” without reference to matter, and explain “time”
          without reference to change/movement in matter.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Why?

        • skl

          If you have to ask that, then you shouldn’t be on this thread.

          In any case, our short time together has come to an end.
          Good night.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Ok. Good night, troll.

    • Michael Murray

      If we are in a simulation I guess it is possible that every time we invent a theory of how everything works we expose problems with the underlying simulation coding and the super beings who created it have to upgrade everything.

  • My answer to “God created the universe from nothing” is:
    There is no such thing as nothing.
    There is no “outside.”
    There is no alternative to existence.

    • Michael Murray

      Sister Maria had it covered: “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could”.

      • I remember laughing out loud when i heard that last time I checked out The Sound of Music. So true.
        Also ironic: “How do you solve a problem like Maria” … cut to her walking down the aisle, surely to be followed by her walking into her husband’s bedroom that night.

      • C_Alan_Nault

        “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could”.

        That’s a claim she made but she didn’t prove the claim.

        • Yes, she did. We just didn’t quote her proof, which came in the next line:

          “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.
          So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”

          Thank you, Oscar.

        • C_Alan_Nault

          The line “So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”in no way proves the claim that “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could”.

        • a) yes it does;
          b) please look up the definition of irony;
          c) the idea that something can come from nothing is so absurd on its face that I resort to irony discussing it;
          c) I already posted the winning position, above. Here:
          There is no such thing as nothing.
          There is no “outside.”
          There is no alternative to existence.

        • c) Some Christians tell us that God made something from nothing.

        • Yes, I’m aware that many religions and origin myths have God creating something from nothing.

          Creating something from nothing, although impossible, is credited to God as a way of producing shock and awe — miracles. Don’t mess with someone who can do that. It’s the foundation intimidation.

        • Michael Neville

          One problem the Abrahamists have is trying to squeeze an omni-max creator of the universe into a Middle Eastern tribal god. The fit just isn’t there.

        • If I were attempting that — and I’m not — I’d claim “it shows the simplicity and humility of God to send his son into such a primitive scene.”

        • Michael Neville

          I’m not talking about Jesus but about his old man. Yahweh was a typical tribal storm god until his priests tried to make him the creator of the universe. Originally Yahweh wasn’t even the boss god of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon, El was. The notion of divinity underwent radical changes in the early period of Israelite identity and development of the Hebrew religion. The ambiguity of the term elohim is the result of such changes, cast in terms of “vertical translatability”, i.e. the re-interpretation of the gods of the earliest recalled period as the national god of monolatrism* as it emerged in the 7th to 6th Century BCE in the Kingdom of Judah and during the Babylonian captivity, and further in terms of monotheism by the emergence of Rabbinical Judaism in the 2nd Century CE.

          *Monolatrism is belief in the existence of many gods but with the consistent worship of only one deity. Monolatrism is distinguished from monotheism, which asserts the existence of only one god, and henotheism, in which the believer worships one god without denying that others may worship different gods with equal validity.

        • Greg G.

          According to Alan Guth’s Inflationary Theory, space and energy/matter can come from nothing. But not in a cause-effect scenario because a cause acting on nothing does not have an effect.

        • Theory? It has been proven to be fact? Because that’s what the word “theory” means. Perhaps you meant to say “hypothosis” which is a conjecture that shows promise for someday being proven as fact.

          I am not familiar with Guth. Naturally, this claim of something from nothing can be found in various corners of science (adjacent the claims of theists?) but every time I peek in, I find there is a cheat involved … the “nothing” from which purportedly reality comes into existence is another “kind” of thing or existent, or resides in a parallel universe, etc.

          The formulation “something came from nothing” is a solid contradiction on its face.

        • Greg G.

          You have a point but “hypothesis” and “theory” are explanations. “Theory” has evidentiary support but is not fact. Gravity is a fact. The Theory of Gravity would be an explanation. The Theory of Relativity has an explanation for gravity that works over a greater range of masses and velocities.

        • No, a “theory” is a body of facts proven true, that support each other in a non-contradictory way. “Gravity” is not a fact, per se. It is the name of a force, a thing. Yes, gravity has to be proven to exist in order to be considered real.

        • Greg G.

          Science is provisional. No theory is proven true. Facts confirm a theory, but a better theory can replace it. Newton’s theories work well for many things, including launching rockets, but Einsteins theory is needed to use GPS satellites.

          The Wikipedia definition of “Scientific theory” is: “A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method, using accepted protocols of observation, measurement, and evaluation of results. Where possible, theories are tested under controlled conditions in an experiment.[1][2] In circumstances not amenable to experimental testing, theories are evaluated through principles of abductive reasoning. Established scientific theories have withstood rigorous scrutiny and embody scientific knowledge.[3]”

        • Yes, theories are proven true. The Theory of Evolution is true.

          Einstein did not refute Newton. Nor “replace” him. He performed an expansion of the context, within which Newton remains perfect, whole and true. I noticed you do not claim outright that Einstein had done so. Did you suspect the better concept, that there is always a bracket around any knowledge that contains the context and limits?

          The reason I even fuss about this is: the postmoderist wars. There is a strong element who fight to “prove” that there is no such thing as truth. They love it when otherwise solid rationals/scientists say “Science is provisional.” I fight that.

        • Nevertheless, science is provisional. That’s not embarrassing, it’s just a fact. Since religion hasn’t explained anything, science being provisional and many questions having “I don’t know” as an answer isn’t embarrassing. Science delivers while religion doesn’t.

        • Hi Bob,

          Well then, you’d better explain why you insist on the word “provisional.” Do you mean that facts and theories proven by science might be some day declared untrue?

          Also, “I don’t know” has nothing to do with it. It is alarming that you bring that phrase up — and connect it with an “and” to your “provisional” claim — in a discussion of truth testing.

        • Why do you insist on the word “proven”? That’s not what science does.

          Do you mean that facts and theories proven by science might be some day declared untrue?

          Sure, today’s theories might be rejected in the future.

          Also, “I don’t know” has nothing to do with it.

          If “it” is engaging with poorly educated Christians, yes, it is central to the issue of science vs. religion. Popular Christian arguments are “Well, if you don’t have an answer, I do!” or “Oh, yeah? Well then tell me the explanation for abiogenesis.”

          It is alarming that you bring that phrase up — and connect it with an “and” to your “provisional” claim — in a discussion of truth testing .

          Don’t know what you’re getting at here.

        • Well, this sub-discussion is looking at the intensity with which we assert truth. “I don’t know” has nothing to do with the truth of a hypothesis, fact, or theory. It simply a indentification to whomever is asking that you don’t have the rational, true, answer or identification of something. Putting these two in the same discussion or sentence makes the irrationalist’s eyebrows go up, “see science is so uncertain, there are things this guy — or anyone — ‘does not know.’

          Name one theory that was proven true by modern science that has now been deemed false.

        • Putting these two in the same discussion or sentence makes the irrationalist’s eyebrows go up

          Is that your point? Making a strong attack against irrational people?

          Name one theory that was proven true by modern science that has now been deemed false.

          You first: name one theory that was proven true.

        • a) Newton turned over in his grave. Then he read the Principia cover to cover. Then he went back to sleep.
          b) I won’t be meeting your challenge.

        • epeeist

          Yes, theories are proven true.

          No, they aren’t. At least not true as “universal, necessary and certain”. Otherwise Huxley’s maxim, “The great tragedy of science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.” would not be possible.

          The Theory of Evolution is true.

          And yet it has been subject to two inter-theoretic reductions, so was it true when Darwin first formulate it? Is it true now? Or is it simply that it has so much evidential backing, survived so much critical testing that it is extremely unlikely to be overturned?

          Scientific theories are our current, best explanations for particular sets of phenomena, but new observations and capabilities can lead to them being revised or replaced. In other words they are both contingent and corrigible.

          The reason I even fuss about this is: the postmoderist wars. There is a strong element who fight to “prove” that there is no such thing as truth.

          I would argue that it was the sociologists of science, those who resented the privilege given to scientific epistemology, who were the real villains of the piece (you might want to read up on the Science Wars). Admittedly quite a number of these were also post-modernists. However their views are self-refuting (if all truth is relative to a perspective then the statement “All truth is relative to a persepective” must be relative to a perspective).

          As it is one needn’t claim that scientific theories are true, simply that they do provide solid explanations and predictions (try something like Putnam’s “no miracles” argument in favour of scientific realism).

        • @disqus_HOKynBthUD:disqus

          I love this type of formulation: “you might want to read up on the Science Wars”

          a) why did you couch your language? Why didn’t you have the guts to say “you should”?
          b) what did I post that reflected my ignorance of the Science Wars?

          Your payoff point? You give relativists what they want and desired “one needn’t claim that scientific theories are true…” Why did you say that? What is your fear of saying that the things science has proven true, are — in fact — true?

          Why do you privilege uncertainty?

        • saying that the things science has proven true

          Like what? And how do you graduate from “well evidenced” to “proven”?

          As you ponder (or dismiss) this question, maybe you should try to find experts who say that science proves things. For example, you mentioned Relativity before. Show where Einstein said that its conclusions were proven.

          Or, you could think about the relativistic corrections to Newton’s law of gravity. Did Newton claim that he had proven anything? If he did, was he then wrong after 1916? And if things are proven correct now (now that we have Relativity) but they weren’t in Newton’s day, how are the situations different? That is, how should Newton have known that proof was possible but that he didn’t have it?

        • [Another interesting phrase “maybe you should try.” ]

          That someone would need to find an ‘expert’ to validate using the word “proven” begs the question as to how that expert would have proven his claim.

          Einstein: on May 29, 1919 when the Eddington test showed that starlight was bent by gravity, the whole world shouted out that Relativity was proven true. Is it progress that now we quiver in fear of such claims?

          Einstein did not “correct” Newton. He moved the boundaries of context, and his embracing theory validates Newton fully at his boundary.

        • Is this the Word Salad Defense® that I’ve heard so much about?

          I need a citation to show that scientists prove things.

        • “I need a citation to show that scientists prove things.”
          That has to be the saddest sentence i have read in a long long time.

        • And now you’re trying to top it by ignoring my challenge.

        • I am not ignoring your challenge. I’m dealing. It is frightening to think a human being would state such a need, so I am here calming my breathe and focusing on my happy place.

          You ignored my “Eddington” example above. How’ya doin’ with that?

        • I am not ignoring your challenge.

          Cool. Then back up your claim that science is proven. A really, really smart guy I met online recently said that science is proven, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something.

          You ignored my “Eddington” example above. How’ya doin’ with that?

          Not well, I must confess. I’m still stuck on “the whole world shouted out that Relativity was proven true.” I’m sure laypeople said that, but I’m still stuck on evidence that proof is the right word.

          But I wonder why I should bother responding to your challenge when you’ve ignored mine.

        • I’m wondering right back at the phenomena of someone who does not think the Eddington experiment proved Relativity. Or that scientists and engineers to not claim their findings have been proven true. Who privileges uncertainty to that extent.

        • ildi

          Do some basic reading on the scientific method before you embarrass yourself further:

          So what are the words that we need to keep in mind? The hardest part about understanding scientific theories and hypotheses seems to be this: a hypothesis is never proven correct, nor is a theory ever proven to be true. Words like prove, correct, and true should be removed from our vocabulary completely and immediately.

          Article from the National Science Teachers Association: A Gentle Reminder that a Hypothesis is Never Proven Correct, nor is a Theory Ever Proven to Be True https://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=52402

        • ildi

          What’s embarrassing is that a teacher’s organization would claim that, and that you think it is a valid authority.

          Such is the legacy of radical skepticism stemming from Plato, Kant, Hume, Popper.

          By the way, do you think the teachers, and yourself, consider their claim “true?” “Correct?”

        • ildi

          Acknowledging the provisional nature of the scientific method doesn’t equate to radical skepticism. Quite the opposite, in fact. Richard Feynman famously said:

          The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.

        • Okay, i went to that link. It is worse than I thought. The two foundations for their absolute, certain, permanent, unhedged declaration that a “Hypothesis is Never Proven Correct, nor is a Theory Ever Proven to Be True” is

          a) the degradation of the word “theory” in popular culture, even to the extent it means the opposite of what science means by it, but we can’t correct the culture or children on their misuse, so let’s assure them science does not prove truth.
          b) worry that several large hypotheses will be thrashed if “true theory” is attributed to them, so lets cover our ass and assert that science NEVER proves a hypothesis or theory true. As if that is protection!

          That is embarrassing.

        • ildi

          More basic stuff for you, from the Natural History Museum in the UK: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/content/dam/nhmwww/about-us/visitor-research/nature-of-science-terms.pdf

          People’s experience of school science and the requirements of formal examination lead them to believe that
          Science is about discovering ‘Truth’ about reality. Once Science has discovered the ‘Truth’ of a particular
          situation, there is no need for further study as the Truth cannot change. This leads to problems when
          communicating Science, because as new techniques and evidence are found, Science changes.

          Science does not claim to discover ‘Truth’; if anything, the opposite is the case. Science rests on falsifiability,
          so it’s in the business of proving things wrong rather than right. Science progresses because ideas that have
          not been disproved (falsified) persist and become the basis for more Science.

          Proof (in a positive sense of proving something to be true or correct) only exists in mathematics. Scientific
          ideas and answers are always provisional. Ideas in science can be demonstrated to be wrong (falsification).

          “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your Theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with
          experiment, it’s wrong.” Feynman (1964)

          But scientific answers are always provisional, proving something true cannot be done. It is always possible
          that new evidence will appear that will falsify existing ideas.

        • Popper propaganda.

          Dear Karl, when a fact or theory is proven within its context, and science calls it true, it’s not your job to protect the sensitive people who totalize that into “You mean I can’t question anything?”

          If its true, its true, and more facts about other things will be postulated around it as hypotheses.

        • ildi

          when a fact or theory is proven within its context, and science calls it true

          You’ve made this up. Put your money where your assertion is; find me any quote from any scientist or publication who says a particular theory has been “proven” or is “true.”

        • ildi

          You’ve heard of our greatest scientific theories: the theory of evolution, the Big Bang theory, the theory of gravity. You’ve also heard of the concept of a proof, and the claims that certain pieces of evidence prove the validities of these theories. Fossils, genetic inheritance, and DNA prove the theory of evolution. The Hubble expansion of the Universe, the evolution of stars, galaxies, and heavy elements, and the existence of the cosmic microwave background prove the Big Bang theory. And falling objects, GPS clocks, planetary motion, and the deflection of starlight prove the theory of gravity.

          Except that’s a complete lie. While they provide very strong evidence for those theories, they aren’t proof. In fact, when it comes to science, proving anything is an impossibility.

          If someone tells you a scientific theory has been proven, you should ask what they mean by that. Normally, they mean “they’ve convinced themselves that this thing is true,” or they have overwhelming evidence that a specific idea is valid over a specific range.

          This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to know anything at all. To the contrary, in many ways, scientific knowledge is the most “real” knowledge that we can possibly gain about the world. But in science, nothing is ever proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. As Einstein himself once said:

          The scientific theorist is not to be envied. For Nature, or more precisely experiment, is an inexorable and not very friendly judge of his work. It never says “Yes” to a theory. In the most favorable cases it says “Maybe,” and in the great majority of cases simply “No.” If an experiment agrees with a theory it means for the latter “Maybe,” and if it does not agree it means “No.” Probably every theory will someday experience its “No”—most theories, soon after conception.

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/11/22/scientific-proof-is-a-myth/#68a2b9762fb1

        • Let’s see–first, you claim that science is proven. When you get pushback, you double down rather than either admitting that scientists don’t talk like that or simply kicking the idea around and maybe learning something new yourself.

          When asked to provide evidence for your position, you shake your head and lament the sorry state of society instead of, y’know, providing evidence.

          Do you want to try a new approach?

        • Scientists don’t talk like that. They don’t say “science is proven.” You introduced that formulation.

          Facts and hierarchies of facts, known as theories, can and are proven true, within the context of their assertion.

        • Max Doubt

          “That has to be the saddest sentence i have read in a long long time.”

          I don’t see how you could expect to make progress in a discussion when you’d rather be ignorant than offer legitimate responses to other people’s legitimate questions and concerns. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and leave aside – for the moment – the possibility that you’re just too stupid to engage in a reasonable conversation, and go with what seems obvious. You’re just being a dick because you want to. That’s called trolling. But, again giving you the benefit of the doubt, feel free to try to convince us that you’re just stupid. Oh, and you do win a prize…

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3fdeb0b479b616df233e62ad1c5395950c1434b26ec95dcb938c0e35543b9342.gif

        • @max_doubt:disqus
          Flagged and blocked for the outpouring of hate.

        • Max Doubt

          “Flagged and blocked for the outpouring of hate.”

          Of course nothin’ says you can’t be stupid and an ignorant dick.

        • epeeist

          a) why did you couch your language? Why didn’t you have the guts to say “you should”?

          Way to go on ignoring the meat of my post and concentrating on a short parenthesis.

          Why did I use the phrasing I did? Because I didn’t have a clue as to whether you had read anything on the science wars.

          Why did you say that?

          Let’s take a step back, what do you mean by “true”?

        • The meat of your post is just a zen koan about Huxley and pointing out that the giants of Science Wars self-refuted themselves, and several re-assertions of uncertainty, (contingent and corrigible), and so did not need response.

          >>>Let’s take a step back, what do you mean by “true”?<<<
          Really? Here's my counter: How do you avoid joining the self-refuters when your position amounts to "everything is uncertain or contingent," which is self-refuting.

        • epeeist

          Really?

          Yes, really.

        • The burden is on the radical skeptic of science to justify the idea of all truth being contingent and provisional without using proof themselves, or in any way claiming that their position is not — in itself — contingent, provisional, uncertain, and relative.

        • epeeist

          So in other words you can’t define what you mean by “truth”.

        • Only in your other words.
          In my words: it’s beneath my pay grade.

          The burden is on you, as I just said, and you ignore.

        • epeeist

          In my words: it’s beneath my pay grade.

          Nah, it’s something you are incapable of doing.

          The burden is on you, as I just said, and you ignore.

          You want me to define “truth”? No, problem:

          'S' iff p

        • eric

          That burden was met in the 1700s, by Hume (and others well before him, though I’m not familiar with the ancient stuff). It’s called the problem of induction.

        • I was going to make a sarcastic response for the condescension in sending that link, but I realize you might be trying to figure out if I am a crackpot, so I will refrain.

          Hume (and his ancient-stuff mentors Kant and Plato) is the problem, not the solution.

        • eric

          Well, if you’ve discovered a solution to the problem of induction, don’t beat around the bush. Out with it man! Let’s hear it!

        • I’ve indicated it above, and your radar labeled it word-salad.
          Here’s the reader’s digest version …
          Science proves facts and theories by induction, with confirmation assist from deduction.
          The truth-test requires limits and context, aka Aristotle’s “in the same way.”
          Hume pouts at that. He says it’s void unless perfect without the framework.
          Hume is the problem.
          Induction is valid for truth.

        • eric

          That’s not an argument, that’s merely a set of assertions.

          How many observations of the same phenomena are needed to prove a theory is true? At what point do you know that no future observation can undermine that theory? How do you know the theory you’ve been testing is not just an approximation of how nature really works and that this approximation will break down when humans achieve better observational powers?

          Scientific conclusions are provisional precisely because the answer to those questions are: there is no such finite number; you never do, and; you never do.

        • Induction is more than observation.

        • Susan

          Induction is more than observation.

          Yes, it is. But it requires observation.

          “Proof” is one leg of the process.

          “Proof” is the consequences of axioms.

          Or a number on a bottle of whisky.

          Recognizing that does not mean that nothing can have truth value.

          So your concern about “radical skepticism” appears to be unfounded.

          And no, I don’t need to “prove” that. Nothing self-refuting to see here.

        • eric

          How does pointing out that induction includes more things than observation solve the problem of induction?

          In induction, you reason from a set of observations to a general explanation. So how many in the set are required to prove that general explanation? And how do you know a better general explanation isn’t waiting in the wings? You simply can’t get to a formal, logical ‘proof’ through induction. No amount of data points consistent with a theorem definitively ‘proves’ the theorem; it is always provisional.

        • epeeist

          Hume (and his ancient-stuff mentors Kant and Plato)

          It was the other way around, Kant credited Hume for waking him from his “dogmatic slumber”.

        • Phil

          “Newton remains perfect, whole and true” not it doesn’t. Orbit of Mercury is not explained by Newton but Einstein does.

        • eric

          Einstein did not refute Newton

          Yes, he did. One fairly well-used example is: what would happen to the Earth if the sun suddenly disappeared? Newton says it immediately flies off on a tangent. Einstein says it doesn’t – not for about 8 minutes. Einstein contradicts Newton.

          This cannot be thought of an “expansion of context” since orbits and celestial mechanics were well within Newton’s “context” to begin with.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, he did. One fairly well-used example is: what would happen to the Earth if the sun suddenly disappeared? Newton says it immediately flies off on a tangent. Einstein says it doesn’t – not for about 8 minutes. Einstein contradicts Newton.

          Newton says that all the planets would simultaneously go off on tangents. Einstein says they would go off on tangents sequentially.

        • eric

          The reason I even fuss about this is: the postmoderist wars.

          I don’t like postmodernism either, but making wrong assertions about science isn’t a good way to defend it against pomos. Science is inductive. It has the problem of induction Hume observed in the 1700s. There is nothing wrong with admitting that. Anti-science folks still have to deal with Hume’s response – however unfounded induction may be, it seems we can’t really do without it.

        • epeeist

          Science is inductive.

          And also abductive (which KD doesn’t have a clue about).

        • A little humility, please. As Greg G. noted, “proven” isn’t how scientists talk.

          A theory doesn’t graduate to a law. As Greg G. also noted, a theory is an explanation. For example, Newton’s law of gravity is a law, but it doesn’t explain anything. It’s not supposed to–that’s what a theory is for.

        • Yes, mathematicians, engineers, and hard scientists DO use the word and concept “proven.” Its shocking you think they don’t.

          I’ll reiterate: there is always a context and limit implicit in the truth test.

        • Huh?? Mathematicians have proofs; scientists don’t.

          there is always a context and limit implicit in the truth test.

          What does that mean? That “proven” actually means “kinda proven”? If that’s the case, maybe the p-word isn’t the word that should be used.

        • You don’t think Einstein proved the absolute truth of General Relativity?

        • Nope.

        • Fair enough. Sickening, from a person I expected was for rationality, but okay, fair enough.

        • Evidence was what I expected, but I’m stuck with “sickening”? OK, fair enough.

        • eric

          Wow you don’t know much about the subject, do you? Even a basic googling of ‘relativity’ would show you Einstein derived special relativity from two postulates. Neither of the postulates are proven in any formal sense. They appear to be true as much as we can test them, but they may not be. Newtonian mechanics, for instance, doesn’t assume them to be true. And if either of them turns out to be wrong, special relativity would be invalid. Thus, it is not proven because it rests on premises that have themselves not been proven. Though it would be remarkable at this point if they (or it) turned out to be wrong.

          So, a very high confidence theory, but not proven in the way mathematicians or logicians talk about proof.

        • Philip Rand

          Follow the logical trajectory of his statements; you will find that Bob Seidensticker is admitting that the scientific method is circular.

        • And the magic mirror says that you’re the cleverest one of all.

          Now that that’s behind us, stay on topic. Whatever you’re talking about now isn’t the topic. You have something useful to add to the discussion about atheism and Christianity? If not, I’ll be happy to show you the door.

        • Philip Rand

          My comment regarding circularity was a direct comment concerning atheism.

          From your statements concerning “proved” it is clear you believe in the statement ascribed to Protagoras:

          Man is the measure of all things.

          You do believe this proposition is true, right?

          Extremely interesting that you used the word door in your comment…

        • Extremely interesting that you ignored my comment. Do you want to stay here? You can if you bring something to the topic of atheism and Christianity. I doubt you can, but let me know if you can abide this simple rules. If not, you’re banned.

        • Philip Rand

          I have abided by your rule.

          The logical trajectory of your position concerning proved is clear. Your position amounts to the conception that all proofs rest on assumptions which are not derived from others but are justified by the set of consequences which are deduced from them.

          Therefore, the logical trajectory of your position is that the scientific method is circular. Now, the atheist denies this conclusion by attempting to make the circularity of science consist of small circles that can be denied; for the atheist realises that the circle between theoretical science and human observation is unavoidable.

        • I’m afraid that that answer is incorrect, sir!

          Who out there has the birthday closest to now? The Grim Reaper just gave you a birthday present (and he used a banhammer rather than a sickle).

        • Philip Rand

          Do you believe General Relativity is verified and validated?

        • Philip Rand

          The scientific conception of proven is verified and validated.

          Mathematicians prove axioms.

          I suggest using the v-word.

        • eric

          Well, John is right that we do say that informally, to connote high confidence. It’s typically when the nitpicking theologians come out of the woodwork that we have to get all semantically precise. [shrug]

          As for John’s other comments….I find it to be a crackpottery rule of thumb that if it’s hard to tell if someone is arguing in favor of your position or against it, you may have a crackpot on your hands.

        • Good points. I am indeed not sure where John is coming from, and I’m baffled by his tenacious grip on “proof.” I fear that he will cease to be interesting quite soon.

        • eric

          There’s nothing self-contradictory about (delta x)*(delta rho) >= hbar/2. And your argument is merely the fallacy of personal incredulity.

  • Dan Hunter

    I find the idea of God creating by separating things interesting. It is a theme that repeats often in the Bible, even including the making of dietary laws to separate “his people” from the rest of humanity by making them “a people apart” and this makes him not so much a creator as a barrier to prevent things being whole.

    • skl

      That’s profound. So, the water’s not whole, and the land’s
      not whole. I guess only the muddy water is whole.

      • Dan Hunter

        I guess before God created by separating the light from darkness everything was kind of twilight grey.

        • Greg G.

          Probably 50 shades of grey.

        • Dan Hunter

          Ouch?

        • Michael Neville

          ISWYDT.

        • 3vil5triker .

          That sounds like the world of Dark Souls before the Age of Fire.

  • Otto

    Explain to me what ‘nothing’ is…and as soon as you do you are describing ‘something’.

  • Dave Gorka

    IMO

    GENISIS 1

    Everything is relative. Time is relative. If you are an earthling, your time is pretty much counted in days (hours if you punch a time clock). But, if you are a god (cosmic) your days are counted in ages, or aeons. An aeon is considered to be one billion years. So to begin with, I see “our world” which is the planet earth, as being 5 billion years old. I think scientists are off by about a half a billion years. There is nothing to suggest this is the story of the creation of the entire universe or multiverse. In fact, the first line in the bible is, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. Here, neither are capitalized, then later we see the creation of Heaven and Earth. In the detailed creation of our planet and it’s atmosphere (Heaven), both Heaven and Earth are capitalized. The original creation of heaven and earth, referred to space and the stars and galaxies. The bible is a science book, and all of the original scientists understood this. ALL real science started with scripture, though not all biblical. There were two churches born of scripture one of science (wisdom and understanding), and one of law (good and evil) and judgment. When I became a Christian, I devoted my life to three things. The first is, what ever I find that is good. The second, to find out what is TRUE. The third, to shout what I find from the rooftops. That’s all the more I needed to think about law and judgment, so I am a part of the church of wisdom and understanding. If you take into consideration the relative time of creation: 1 day = 1 billion years, the first age of creation was the separation of the outer band and the inner sphere of chemicals that were swirling into the form of two globes, The Earth and the moon. Centrifugal force pulled some of the elements to the outer shell and the opposing gravity pulled the rest into a globe. The moon’s own gravity pulled it into a smaller globe. The “expanse” or “firmament” is the atmosphere that was formed around the earth, to protect it and nurture the life it was about to give birth to. This all took about a billion years. Then the earth was covered with hot mud. It took another billion years for this to become oceans and continents to form. That’s the end of the second age (day). Then plants began to form and grow on the earth. They grew in the sea as well as on the land and thrived on all the CO2 in the atmosphere. Of course, if you lived on the Earth at that time, you wouldn’t be able to see the sun and the moon and the stars, because the Earth would have been surrounded by a gas cloud of mostly CO2. But as the plants breathed in the CO2 and exhaled oxygen for 1 billion years, the atmosphere began to loose some of it’s CO2 and began to increase the levels of oxygen. This caused the sky to clear and the sun and the moon and the stars could be seen. After another billion years of development, complex cells began to develop. Then in the fifth age, every form of fish and bird began to form. Then, six billion years from the beginning, and one billion years ago, mammals began to form. Now, near the end of the last age, man is finally formed out of the Earth. Only in the last 200,000 years. But the age of man is nearing it’s end. Man has done the same thing the giants of the Earth (the dinosaurs) once did, they destroyed all the plants that gave them oxygen and filled the atmosphere with CO2 and methane. Highly explosive. In a flash of invisible fire, they were all gone. Only the little mammals that crawled down into the holes and caverns survived. History repeats itself. The universe works in a spiral, in cycles that come back around, but further out in time and more evolved. We are about to enter the LAST age (day) of creation. The Sabbath Day. Then God will rest for the last age with His perfect creation, those who evolved from man to saint. And the saints, being ONE with God, will BE the gods they imagined. I give honor to and live for the Seventh Day.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Wall of nonsense text.

      Just bring *evidence*….none of your arguments are evidence of any type, so a screed like this is adding zeros to try to get to ‘one’.

    • Otto

      I hate to break it to you…but the dinosaurs did not destroy all of the plants. I would go into all the other problems with your ‘opinions’ asserted as truth but why? It is just such a mess…ugh.

    • Damien Priestly

      How about inserting some “nothing”…e.g. some paragraph breaks! I didn’t get past “GENISIS 1” — Ughh, is it you or God that can’t spell? …

      …Just as well — we have heard nonsensical Genesis blather before. No more is necessary.

      • Michael Neville

        I had a high school English teacher who kept repeating to her students: “If you make something difficult to read then people aren’t going to read it.” I took one look at the Wall o’ Text and knew I wasn’t going to read it.

        • Hey–if it was hard to write, it should be hard to read!

        • eric

          “If I’d had more time, I would’ve written a shorter letter.”

          -(Very loose) translation of Baise Pascal (and also used by many others).

        • eric

          Fincino’s comprehensiveness is somewhat necessary, as otherwise the A-T defender can simply resort to whataboutism.

        • Michael Neville

          My comment wasn’t addressed to Fincino, who can write coherent, lucid posts. My comment was about Dave Gorka, whose spelling and grammar are poor and who disdains the use of paragraphs.

    • eric

      The bible is a science book

      Any science book that claims seed-bearing plants and fruiting trees came into being before the sun is just wrong.

      • C_Alan_Nault

        And claims that bats are birds.

      • Natureboi

        Any science book that claims seed-bearing plants and fruiting trees came into being before the sun is just wrong.

        Interesting point.
        I asked a Christian a question on this and the response was:
        God created light before plants.

        • A Fundie I know of claim God’s light allowed plants to live despite no Sun.

        • Susan

          claim God’s light allowed plants to live despite no Sun.

          If Yahwehjesus’s light is made of photons, why is he indetectable?

          Or did the Fundie mean “It was magic.” ?

          Anyway, why bother with having a sun at all, then?

          ;

        • Maybe free will and all that. One thing is to look and the skies and see God up there watching, and other much different a Sun and God being no visible.

          Of course Helios in Greek mythology was said to be able to see everything what happened on Earth, appearing like the Sun just because the extreme brightness of his corona, so it does not hold.

    • Ficino

      Boring.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “God Created the Universe From Nothing—Or Did He?”

    It’s a moot point until someone actually proves the god of the Bible exists. The question ranks up there with who would win the fight: Superman or an adult Mon-el?

  • I Came To Bring The Paine

    @disqus_DTPTmrhAtA:disqus is proof that gods don’t exist. Because if they did, they most certainly wouldn’t send this knucklehead.

    • Arjan Stam

      God’s ways are definitely mysterious…

  • Natureboi

    I find it comical that the argument against a Natural causation of life is usually:
    You can’t get something from nothing.
    Yet the “In the Beginning, God did it” argument precisely makes this claim.
    This is a hypocritical dichotomy.

    • Ah, yes, but God is magic. God gets the magic pass.

      Checkmate, atheists!

      • Natureboi

        Ah, yes, but God is magic. God gets the magic pass.
        Checkmate, atheists!

        There were two major obstacles preventing me from accepting religion.
        The first was when I was in Sunday school, possibly the first day.

        The teacher began talking about God.
        I very quickly raised my hand and asked:
        “Who made God?”

        I remember this very clearly, because the answer was abysmally unacceptable. Even for a 6 year old. I did not pay attention to it nor did I believe in any of the subsequent teachings thereafter, The Great Flood, Noah’s Ark, etc. after that first day, nor did I have any initial belief in the “God” that was being presented to me at the very onset. You might as well have been teaching me about Keebler Elves building swimming pools on Pluto.

        The second event was in my prepubescence when my older brother was explaining the Shroud of Turin to me. There became a point when I was required to believe in magic to believe the Jesus story.
        This cemented my atheism.
        I was never convinced that a God exists, and I have always been an atheist.

        • I’m impressed.

          I heard a similar deconversion story by Ricky Gervais. It was also quite quick.

  • Arjan Stam

    Even if something came into existence ex nihilo, then the first questions should not be whether and or how some god did it. WHY oh WHY the implicit assumption that some BEING, an AGENT “did” something, and also that he had a REASON to do it, and that there was a purpuse for what he did?! It is those ASSUMPTIONS that are generated ex nihilo in our own minds. Sometimes shit just happens for no particular reason and to no particular end.
    All we know is that it happened, and that we don’t how it came to be. FULL STOP. There is a void in our knowledge. Let’s find out what we actually CAN find out. There’s plenty left.
    The idea that “God did it” is merely sneaked into existence this way, and adds precisely nothing but a demonstrably irrational assumption to any attempt to explain the reality we find ourselves in. Plus it opens the door to an endless train of other fantasies. What a waste of time. “God” is a dummy, a teat, a consoler to shield us from the realization that we just DON’T KNOW. Who needs a reason to enjoy a ride anyway?
    If I were God, then THIS would please me most: That people enjoy the ride, and that they enjoy helping others enjoying THEIR rides because they actually care for each other’s well-being.
    Instead of fighting each other over the question who’s right, and imposing that on others.