Ex Nihilo?

I've watched and listened to countless debates between religious people and atheists, especially the ones starring the Four Horsemen, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens (may he rest in peace), with myself standing firmly in the corner of the non believers.


Image by geralt - source: Pixabay

Since I've always been extremely interested in cosmology, I kept my ears peeled whenever the subject of the Big Bang was discussed in those debates, especially because the candidates in the religious camp, mostly Christians, seemed to revel in the fact that this theory about the universe's early life supports their idea about the existence of an intelligent creator outside time and space who created everything from nothing. John 1:1 says "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God", which the believers interpreted as God willing the world into existence with His voice or thoughts. In Wikipedia we find:

At the November 22, 1951, opening meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope Pius XII declared that the Big Bang theory does not conflict with the Catholic concept of creation. Some Conservative Protestant Christian denominations have also welcomed the Big Bang theory as supporting a historical interpretation of the doctrine of creation; however, adherents of Young Earth creationism, who advocate a very literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, tend to reject the theory.
source: Wikipedia

On top of that, it was Georges Lemaître, a Belgian Catholic priest, mathematician, astronomer, and professor of physics who first identified that the recession of nearby galaxies can be explained by a theory of an expanding universe; it seemed that Christian belief for once had science on its side...

Einstein's Biggest Blunder, Explained

The predominant cosmological model before the Big Bang, was that of an eternal and static universe: the steady-state model. Sir Fred Hoyle, an English astronomer who passed away in 2001, was a proponent of the static universe and it was he who coined the term "Big Bang" on BBC radio, to actually make fun of the idea that the universe exploded into existence from nothing. Einstein, when he developed his theory of general relativity also had the eternally static universe in mind at the time, and he had to fudge his equations with the now famous cosmological constant to match it up with the observation, back in 1915, of a universe with a constant density. This he later called his biggest blunder; watch the above linked video for a better explanation.

With all of this said though, the Christians as well as the very few scientists who believe that our universe came from nothing are wrong, as well as the notion that the universe is not eternal. Or at least they can't be sure that they are right. This is because science simply has no explanation of what happened at the very beginning, there's no consensus on the state of the universe before expansion began. We observe an expanding universe and it stands to reason that everything was stacked together in a very dense and hot needle-point when we go back in time enough; that time is calculated to be approximately 13.7 billion years. But 13.7 billion years ago all known equations and laws break down; we just don't know yet what happened before, and a hot dense point isn't nothing. The notion of "nothing" is further complicated by quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, where sub atomic particles constantly jump in and out of existence. Also there's this question of what is "eternal"? If both space and time were "created" in the Big Bang, ad if "forever" means "all of time", then our universe is eternal, it exists as long as time exists.

The Four Horsemen: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris e Christopher Hitchens.

Anyhow, I thought this to be some nice food for thought and a welcome break (for me at least) from all the crazy politics we've been occupied with lately, as well as a reminder of how meaningless our earthly quibbles really are in the face of All There Is... Linked above is a 2012 video with an interesting conversation between the Four Horsemen, and a chance to hear from the great late Christopher Hitchens. And below I've linked for your enjoyment a video from amateur philosopher Stephen Woodford, a.k.a. Rationality Rules with his debunking of the ex nihilo model.

The Big Bang - Debunked (Ex Nihilo Model)

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