By Ben Love ~
“How can something come from nothing?”
This is the statement made to me time and time again when I discuss the possibility of a godless Cosmos with believers. They speak this statement as though it is the end-all, be-all trump card of all time. But is it?
Usually, this statement is made in reference to the fact that it is difficult to imagine, even for the staunchest of atheists, that the Universe came from nothing, that [nothing] + [time] = [everything]. I get that. I am an atheist, and this is a difficult concept for me to accept. I don’t deny that. But grappling with difficult concepts as opposed to easy concepts is not the measuring stick for how unlikely a given idea is. And yet I do concede that while I subscribe to a godless Cosmos, I am at a loss to sufficiently explain it. (But at least I don’t deny that.)
Having said all of this, why should it be that attaching the “God solution” to the problem makes it any easier to swallow? Who says that inserting God into the gap suddenly makes all the complications go away? The truth is this: the “God solution” does nothing. Allow me to demonstrate…
If we were to observe that it makes no sense to believe matter can spontaneously exist where matter did not previously exist, and that nothing or no one caused the matter to suddenly exist, we would be right to observe it. But wouldn’t we be just as right to observe that it makes no sense to believe a God can exist without ever having need of a beginning? Which makes more or less sense: 1) that the Universe came from nothing, or 2) that God has always existed? Why is it deemed intellectually ridiculous to attribute a godless origin to the Universe but not deemed intellectually ridiculous to attribute eternality to God?
Furthermore, which sounds more trustworthy to you, that 1) scientific discoveries of new data continue to shed light on the mysterious origins of our Universe, and while we don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, we are beginning to get a sense of the writing on the wall; or that 2) an invisible being whose existence we believe in through faith made everything we see? If you ask me, both come with their problems, and yet one feels much more responsible than the other does.
Moreover, why do the believers fuss about needing a sufficient answer to how a godless Cosmos could exist, but not fuss about needing a sufficient answer as to how an eternal God can exist? Isn’t it because one question serves their purpose while the other does not? I would think a truly respectable approach would be to demand the same standard in each case. If the believers pronounce a godless Cosmos as illogical, why don’t they take it a step further and pronounce that a God with no beginning is just as illogical? I simply fail to understand why a Universe with no creator is unacceptable while a God with no creator is perfectly acceptable. I think the truth is that they fail to understand this too, but they’re going to dig their heels in all the same.
How can something come from nothing?Personally, I tire from having to point this out over and over again. It’s not unlike trying to explain to toddlers why a toy should be shared. You can’t reason with a toddler about social justice and appropriate behavior and moral correctness. You’re simply dealing with concepts above and beyond the toddlers capabilities. And so it is with believers on this issue. The idea of their God is so ingrained within their mentalities that they fail to see the double standard that exists here. You could shout in their face about it all day and they will never see it. You could write books and essays and articles and blogs about it and they will never admit the hypocrisy. They will never see, because they are simply unable, that an eternal God is just as problematic is a godless Universe.
So who is right? If both stances strain credibility, how does a curious spectator know which direction to take? The answer is quite simple: Evidence. It always comes back to evidence. Always, always, always. What is the evidence for God compared to the scientific evidence for a godless Cosmos? One requires belief in the invisible; the other requires confidence in a method. One asks you to believe in an uncertainty; the other asks that you make conclusions as you go, conclusions based on that for which the evidence has made you certain. One is open to interpretation and, as such, can produce a wide array of disagreements and disparities; the other forces all people from all backgrounds to arrive at the same destination.

How can something come from nothing, you ask? My answer is this: I have no fucking idea. That is why I am not certain that something came from nothing. I have held off on make a definitive claim. The jury, for me, is still out. Now, it’s your turn. How can something exist without ever having need of a beginning? Isn’t this question just as important as the one you asked me? But you're not going to answer it, are you? No, I didn't think so. And yet, you will still make your definitive claims, won't you? Yeah, I thought so. Tsk, tsk, tsk...


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