This world is rather large, isn’t it? We live in a world that has various fundamental rules, in which cannot be broken. Some of these rules apply to the entire universe, and are even used as arguments for the existence of God. One of these rules is that everything that begins to exist has a cause.
In the past, between the 19th century and early 20th century, it was originally assumed that the universe was past-eternal, and that it had always existed forever. However, due to recent advancements in cosmology, astronomy and physics — it is now known and understood that the universe is not in fact past-eternal, rather is something that had an absolute beginning some finite amount of time ago. Space, time, matter and all of energy in existence, as well as any quantum principles, information, and anything else you may think of that exists in the natural world — even the natural world itself began to exist. It is commonly assumed that this beginning took place some 13,000,000,000-14,000,000,000 years ago, in a cataclysmic event known as the Big Bang.
Long before anyone knew the that the universe had a beginning, before we knew that the nearest large galaxy lies two million light-years from Earth, before we know how stars work or whether atoms exist, James Ferugson’s enthusiastic introduction to his favorite science rang true.
-Neil Degrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry pg. 194
Indeed, the standard big bang inflationary model, commonly accepted by cosmologists, purports an absolute beginning, and this is part of accepted and established modern science nowadays. Previously, because the universe was thought to be past-eternal, it was also thought not to need a cause. This is because anything that is past-eternal, is necessarily self-existing and requires no external factors/causation to exist, it exists entirely on its own. Like God. However, now that it is known that the universe has an absolute beginning of its own, it must also necessarily have a cause — because everything that begins to exist has a cause. There are several reasons as to why this is true.
For one, the Law of Causality necessitates that it is true. Causality is a well understood and necessary principle, which states that any occurrence whatsoever at all, such as an action or event, must have a cause to allow it to happen. A beginning of the entire universe definitely qualifies as an occurrence, and thus the Law of Causality (which is a law of logic) must then apply to the universe. In fact, the beginning of the existence of anything at all requires a cause, as it is an occurrence and therefore the Law of Causality applies to it. The Law of Causality is perhaps, the most well established principle in all of existence. To say that something can come from nothing without any reasons, is worse then magic. Dr. William Lane Craig, who is a world-class philosopher says the following:
… something cannot come from nothing. To claim that something can come into being from nothing is worse than magic, when you think about it. When a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat, at least you’ve got the magician – not to speak of the hat!
-William Lane Craig
There are of course, some who actually try to deny this claim! Some people truly believe something can come from nothing. Usually, they actually try to cite the idea that virtual/subatomic particles can randomly pop in and out of existence from nothing, and in fact without cause as well. These claims are merely a skewing of science, and Dr. Craig goes on to make the following statement in the same speech in regards to these claims:
I think that this response represents a deliberate abuse of science, to be frank. The theories in question have to do with particles’ originating as fluctuations of the energy in the vacuum. And you need to understand that in physics, the vacuum is not what the layman means by a vacuum, namely, nothing. In physics, the vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy, a sea of violent activity, having a physical structure and governed by physical laws. Similarly, in these models of the universe, the universe comes into being out of the vacuum; it doesn’t come into being from nothing. The vacuum is definitely something, which is this sea of fluctuating energy. And to tell lay people that in this case something comes from nothing is simply a distortion of these theories and, as I say, an abuse of science by those who appeal to them. [Emphasis added.]
-William Lane Craig
The fact is, these subatomic/virtual particles do not come into existence from nothing, rather they are merely quantum fluctuations that occur in and out of the quantum field.
There’s a popular book called A Universe From Nothing by physicist Lawrence Krauss, where Krauss (who is also an atheist populist) claims that the universe can come into existence from nothing. Something that was more surprising to me is that the book was actually listed as a non-fiction. Krauss, to prove something can come from nothing, merely played a little game where he simply redefines the word ‘something’ to mean ‘nothing, and voilà, Krauss concludes you can get a universe from nothing. In reality, what he means by ‘nothing’ is really a vacuum filled with energy and quantum fluctuations. Sound familiar to what we just discussed? The funny thing is the existence of quantum mechanics (which ‘creates’ these subatomic/virtual particles) only is dependent on space, and so the cause of space (as well as time and the rest of universe) couldn’t have anything to do any quantum effects in the first place.
Now, because of mathematics, we can now it is an established criterion of the universe, and basically anything at all, that something cannot come from nothing. Allow me to explain.
Nothing, in mathematics, is represented by 0. Something, in mathematics, would be represented by any positive value above zero, like 5. In other words, for it to be possible to get something from nothing, it would also be possible to get 5 from 0 on its own. Unfortunately for any materialist of course, it isn’t. There is no possible way to extract the positive value of 5 from 0, because 0=0 and 0 =/= 5. Something cannot come from nothing. That means that everything that begins to exist has a cause — as something (5) coming into existence from nothing (0) is a mathematically incoherent idea. To Atheism, the fact that everything begins to exist has a cause is definitely frightening — and that is because it means that the universe has a cause. I wonder what caused the universe. God?