Read The Forum Rules: We have a clear set of rules to keep the forum running smoothly. Click here to review them.

Post Reply 
Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
Author Message
heavy Offline
Hummingbird
*****
Gold Member

Posts: 2,786
Joined: Sep 2013
Reputation: 36
Post: #1
Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
Just an article my dad sent me. It was too heady for me and boring. I rarely allow myself to fall into discussions this deep, but for my dad I entertained.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson...ontent=259

(I lost some of the italics in the original article that might make it easier to understand)

Quote:Deep Thoughts (Musings) about the Metaphysical Implications of “Creation out of Nothing”

Unfortunately, in my opinion, too many Christians have given up the traditional (and I think biblical) concept that God created everything outside himself “ex nihilo”—“out of nothing.” The early church fathers rightly emphasized this doctrine to avoid metaphysical dualism and metaphysical monism. I still agree with them that creation ex nihilo is necessary—even if not explicitly taught in the Bible—to avoid those heresies.

Simply put, if God created the universe (all things outside of himself) out of some eternally existing something, then God is not ultimate reality and we have no clear reason (as Augustine and C. S. Lewis right argued) to claim that good and evil are really opposites. Dualism leads to cosmic moral chaos. (I have gone over this matter and argument in detail in my most recent book which is now also a DVD “Essentials of Christian Thought” [Zondervan].)

Also, simply put, if God created the universe out of himself, then creation is worshipful and there is no good reason not to worship trees and rocks and mountains and…ourselves!

But! Creation out of nothing seems to have some implications (beyond being beyond our finite comprehension). What follows here are some mere musings about those possible implications.

First, creation out of nothing seems to require believing that the possible is ontologically prior to the actual—which has been been believed by some Christian scholars in Christian history but has always been controversial. (If you want to go deeper into the history of this idea read the following article by Ingolf Dalferth: “Possibile Absolutum: The Theological Discovery of the Ontological Priority of the Possible.” (Rethinking the Medieval Legacy for Contemporary Theology edited by Anselm K. Min [University of Notre Dame Press, 2014].)

Is that a problem? Well, it depends on whom you ask. Some orthodox Christians think it is a problem because it seems to divide God’s essence from God’s existence and they are supposed to be one—in God only. In other words, it introduces into the being of God, and therefore into ultimate reality itself, becoming whereas much traditional Christian theism has rejected that in favor of being only in God (without becoming). The implications for divine immutability would seem to be tremendous.


Even more troubling, however, for some orthodox Christians, is a second implication. Creation out of nothing seems to justify what is commonly known as “German idealism” (although the Germans didn’t exactly invent it!). Put most simply and basically, that is the idea that thought is primary and takes precedence over matter. Taken to its logical conclusion it could mean that thought is all there is and that matter is a form of thought.
By “matter” here is not necessarily meant “that hard stuff that we experience without senses;” it also means all that exists—reality itself. Think about it. If God’s thought came to expression in the creation of a material universe then it seems the material universe must in some sense, ontologically, have thought as its essence.

I am not pretending here to say anything new; of course this is the pattern of metaphysical reasoning we find in much theistic idealism throughout the centuries. It has taken many, many forms. One of those, of course, is New Thought including so-called “Christian Science.” (But there are many “milder” forms of New Thought than Christian Science which denies the very existence of matter.)

But doesn’t modern physics at least point to the idea that all of reality is composed of what philosopher Alfred North Whitehead called “energy events”—rather than traditional hard substances?

If we simply define “idealism” as any ontology (across a spectrum) that elevates thought above matter…doesn’t “creation out of nothing” seem to support it in some form?

And how is it possible to conceive of matter as being composed of anything but thought if 1) we believe in God, and 2) we believe God “thought” creation into being?

If it is not taken to an extreme, as in, say, metaphysical monisms such as “absolute non-duality” (e.g., Advaita Vedanta or Christian Science), what is wrong with “German idealism” at its most basic level—simply claiming that thought is the basic “substance” of all reality?

My response to my dad:

That was really confusing. I've never heard the "thought over matter" position before other than the idea - and I'm sure I'm muddling this idea - that the universe and it's contents (animals, plants, planets, stars, matter, anti-matter, quarks, neutrons, black holes, photons, etc) only exist because humans observed them. To me, just an extrapolation of the Uncertainty Principle. If I remember correctly, there's a podcast interview between Joe Rogan and Lawrence Krauss where Krauss touches on this idea. Something about the size or age of the universe perhaps simply being predicated on our understanding of it (and something about time and light). As you'd expect, the Uncertainty Principle ultimately distills to a human-centric perspective.

Rogan has had a few interviews on these metaphysical topics with physicists. I think in that same interview (could be a different one) they talk about how the net of the universe is zero. Energy, matter anti-matter, gravity, etc...all net to zero. For every +1 in the universe, there's a -1. In that sense, I could see a conclusion where thought precedes matter. I'm sure this either stems from or is a conclusion of a modulating universe that expands and contracts.

But then my own logic kicks in and I think, if something can maintain a net of zero (or any other constant) and change in size, age, contents...why can't it maintain a continued expansion into the nothingness. At that point you've killed math, because 0 = infinite. This idea is appealing though.

Once you've killed Math, seems like you've killed the most basic of hard science, and you've killed God. Once you've killed God, as the Jewish Rabbis during the holocaust said, "now that we've decided God doesn't exist, let's bow our heads and pray".

In relating to God, well, I think the atheist and the theist are having the same discussion. One is trying to discussing the true nature of God, and one is discussing the origins of the Universe. I've never been able to figure out how metaphysical discussions have any bearing on whether God exists or not.

But then there's Mere Christianity where, if I recall correctly, he uses metaphysics as the foundation of his God exists argument, and he makes sense of it. He uses Right vs Wrong though. That's a book I should re-read. I remember an atheist friend starting the book. He only made it to the point where CS Lewis assumed humans are different than animals.

You should read Mere Christianity if that article interested you.

Well that's more than I thought I'd reply...just my musings on that guy's musings.

(so glad I no longer involve myself in these thoughts) (hopefully my dad doesn't react with "oh you're an agnostic now, I guess you're out of the will")

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
01-18-2018 10:30 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Dulceácido Offline
Ostrich
****

Posts: 2,199
Joined: Dec 2012
Reputation: 33
Post: #2
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
Divide 0 by 0. Mathematically, the answer is 1. Just created something out of nothing.

Any number negative or positive approaching 0 that you divide by 0 and the answer is 0. But absolutely nothing will go into absolutely nothing 1 time. Mathematicians cheat you by saying the answer is "indeterminate."

I'm not a businessman; I'm a business, Man
01-18-2018 10:47 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
blck Offline
Pelican
****
Gold Member

Posts: 1,442
Joined: Feb 2015
Reputation: 10
Post: #3
Divide...
Mindblown2

I've been told numerous time that you couldn't divide by 0, I've been lied to ?!

[Image: _MPoster__DONT_DIVIDE_BY_ZERO_by_EnigmaticMercenary.jpg]

Tell them too much, they wouldn't understand; tell them what they know, they would yawn.
They have to move up by responding to challenges, not too easy not too hard, until they paused at what they always think is the end of the road for all time instead of a momentary break in an endless upward spiral
01-18-2018 01:33 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Super_Fire Offline
Kingfisher
***

Posts: 827
Joined: Apr 2017
Reputation: 7
Post: #4
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
(01-18-2018 10:30 AM)heavy Wrote:  I've never been able to figure out how metaphysical discussions have any bearing on whether God exists or not.

There's a caboose at the end of a train. It moves because a box car is pulling it. There could be 100 box cars, but box cars don't move on their own either. There needs to be a locomotive force at the head of the train pulling them.

The locomotive force of the existence is what we call God.

Let's say all matter was condensed into a tiny little speck at the time of the Big Bang. Then it banged and expanded. Why did it do this in the first place? Why was there matter there to begin with? Quantum fluctuations caused matter to literally appear out of nowhere...why are there quantum fluctuations? Again, scientists seem to equivocate here, saying fluctuations aren't even an occurrence, they're just a quality of the vacuum. But why does the vacuum have qualities? The scientist will say because the laws of physics mandate it.

Go over to the Jung thread and you'll see how this sort of purely materialistic answer isn't satisfying. Scoot on over to the E. Michael Jones thread and hear about how it's an excuse to claim there is no God, and since God created the moral order, well then, we can be total degenerates and do what we want (unless it goes against leftist principles, in which case it's literally Hitler).

How many times do I need to preach Logos?
01-19-2018 01:12 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes Super_Fire's post:
911
CynicalContrarian Offline
Peacock
******
Gold Member

Posts: 8,506
Joined: Aug 2015
Reputation: 23
Post: #5
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
Electrons don't spin around the atom nucleus.
Electrons exist at all points at all times around the atom nucleus?

(This post was last modified: 01-19-2018 04:53 PM by CynicalContrarian.)
01-19-2018 04:53 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Architekt Offline
Ostrich
****

Posts: 2,254
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 12
Post: #6
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
(01-18-2018 10:47 AM)Dulceácido Wrote:  Divide 0 by 0. Mathematically, the answer is 1. Just created something out of nothing.

Any number negative or positive approaching 0 that you divide by 0 and the answer is 0. But absolutely nothing will go into absolutely nothing 1 time. Mathematicians cheat you by saying the answer is "indeterminate."

The result of 0 / 0 is determined by the rate at which the 0's are approaching 0

Usually a scenario where you have a 0 / 0 situation, the reality is that you're chasing limits to 0, and depending on which gets there first, you can get 0, 1, infinity, or any number, really.

for example; take this equation

Z = lim [x->0] (x) / lim [y->0] (y^2)

if x and y are the same values, Z approaches infinity

if y = sqrt(x), Z approaches 1

Different values = different results

Hence, why "dividing by zero" is usually considered an "indeterminate" answer - It's not that there is no answer, but that you can't necessarily always determine what kind of "divide by zero" you're doing without delving deeper into the nature of the problem
01-19-2018 08:42 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Dulceácido Offline
Ostrich
****

Posts: 2,199
Joined: Dec 2012
Reputation: 33
Post: #7
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
(01-19-2018 08:42 PM)Architekt Wrote:  
(01-18-2018 10:47 AM)Dulceácido Wrote:  Divide 0 by 0. Mathematically, the answer is 1. Just created something out of nothing.

Any number negative or positive approaching 0 that you divide by 0 and the answer is 0. But absolutely nothing will go into absolutely nothing 1 time. Mathematicians cheat you by saying the answer is "indeterminate."

The result of 0 / 0 is determined by the rate at which the 0's are approaching 0

Usually a scenario where you have a 0 / 0 situation, the reality is that you're chasing limits to 0, and depending on which gets there first, you can get 0, 1, infinity, or any number, really.

for example; take this equation

Z = lim [x->0] (x) / lim [y->0] (y^2)

if x and y are the same values, Z approaches infinity

if y = sqrt(x), Z approaches 1

Different values = different results

Hence, why "dividing by zero" is usually considered an "indeterminate" answer - It's not that there is no answer, but that you can't necessarily always determine what kind of "divide by zero" you're doing without delving deeper into the nature of the problem

I was thinking more of what this dumb guy says...

I'm not a businessman; I'm a business, Man
01-20-2018 05:49 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
RatInTheWoods Offline
Hummingbird
*****
Gold Member

Posts: 3,344
Joined: Jul 2015
Reputation: 33
Post: #8
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
Creationists usually offer a religious creation fables as a solution to the problem of "how did all this shit get here".

The argument that a god must have made all of this shit, because 1) nothing can be around since the beginning of time and 2) nothing comes out of nothing or just appears.

Of course this argument falls apart when you ask "where did the god come from" and you get an answer "she was here since time began" or "she was always here".

The irony is always lost on them as well.
01-21-2018 12:38 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
CynicalContrarian Offline
Peacock
******
Gold Member

Posts: 8,506
Joined: Aug 2015
Reputation: 23
Post: #9
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
(01-21-2018 12:38 AM)RatInTheWoods Wrote:  Creationists usually offer a religious creation fables as a solution to the problem of "how did all this shit get here".
The argument that a god must have made all of this shit, because 1) nothing can be around since the beginning of time and 2) nothing comes out of nothing or just appears.
Of course this argument falls apart when you ask "where did the god come from" and you get an answer "she was here since time began" or "she was always here".
The irony is always lost on them as well.

One a side note though.
Time is relative enough as it is in this physical universe.
If we contend that time does not apply in a spiritual realm, time is even more 'relative'.

We ask questions to which we may never receive / acquire an answer.
Then in addition, we may not be able to comprehend the answers even if we were to find them.
01-21-2018 02:06 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Super_Fire Offline
Kingfisher
***

Posts: 827
Joined: Apr 2017
Reputation: 7
Post: #10
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
(01-21-2018 12:38 AM)RatInTheWoods Wrote:  Creationists usually offer a religious creation fables as a solution to the problem of "how did all this shit get here".

The argument that a god must have made all of this shit, because 1) nothing can be around since the beginning of time and 2) nothing comes out of nothing or just appears.

Of course this argument falls apart when you ask "where did the god come from" and you get an answer "she was here since time began" or "she was always here".

The irony is always lost on them as well.

Neither side can answer why matter existed in the first place and why it Big Banged.
01-22-2018 01:21 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
questor70 Offline
Ostrich
****

Posts: 2,427
Joined: Jan 2017
Reputation: 22
Post: #11
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
The big deal in physics is that matter exists only because of some strange imbalance in the initial amount of matter vs. anti-matter, hence allowing matter to 'win out' over anti-matter. This is in addition to the unresolved questions about what is dark energy/dark matter.

But the most elegant model of the universe is one in which matter and anti-matter exist in equal quantities and hence annihilate the other.

I think following the physics rabbit hole is much more substantive than parsing the bible or playing house-that-jack-built mindgames.

http://www.newsweek.com/universe-should-...ver-692500
01-24-2018 11:26 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Dulceácido Offline
Ostrich
****

Posts: 2,199
Joined: Dec 2012
Reputation: 33
Post: #12
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
(01-21-2018 12:38 AM)RatInTheWoods Wrote:  Creationists usually offer a religious creation fables as a solution to the problem of "how did all this shit get here".

The argument that a god must have made all of this shit, because 1) nothing can be around since the beginning of time and 2) nothing comes out of nothing or just appears.

Of course this argument falls apart when you ask "where did the god come from" and you get an answer "she was here since time began" or "she was always here".

The irony is always lost on them as well.

Interesting that you keep invoking "time" in your presumptions, but "time" did not exist until after the universe was already created. Undecided

I'm not a businessman; I'm a business, Man
01-25-2018 09:39 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Sherman Offline
Ostrich
****

Posts: 1,928
Joined: Jul 2012
Reputation: 16
Post: #13
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
When I was younger, I use to wonder why anything exists at all, but then it was equally perplexing how there could be nothing. Remember that "nothing" does not mean empty space in a universe, but literally "nothing", i.e. no universes, no gods, no empty space, just nothing. The Christian "Ex nihilo" does not mean "nothing" because it presupposes there is a god that always existed.

The starting point is that there is "something" because we exist. Furthermore, by the laws of conservation of matter and energy, the material that exists can never be destroyed but only exchanged for another form of matter or energy. So it will always exist from now to the infinite future. The cosmologists say that the universe will end up in a heat death where there are only photons in perfect thermodynamic equilibrium. So going forward, something will always exist.

The physicist Sir Roger Penrose believes that at the end of the universe, since there is no matter, there is no time because a clock needs matter to function. Thus, the universe forgets about time and begins all over again in the big bang. Thus, the universe is cycling for infinity. This agrees also with Eastern philosophy that suggests a cycling universe. Thus, there is always existence and the concept of "nothing" can't make sense because we exist.

In this talk, Penrose claims that it is possible to find evidence for his theory.




Rico... Sauve....
01-25-2018 02:44 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Simeon_Strangelight Offline
Hawk
*******
Gold Member

Posts: 20,313
Joined: Feb 2014
Reputation: 232
Post: #14
RE: Musings on “Creation out of Nothing”
You will probably never prove mathematically the life beyond, a higher meaning or God.

But science and engineering may at one time prove the existence of a divine force that can be measured, the existence of soul, maybe even the beginnings of the existence of a higher being.

The thoughts on what created the Big Bang is another matter.

And frankly - most of it just mental masturbation it won't go anywhere unless you begin to get empirical evidence. I could point towards alternative means on how to collect proof for yourself individually, but currently mankind discards the validity of those experiences - out of body experiences, experiences of reincarnation etc.
01-25-2018 03:00 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 


Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | RooshV.com | Return to Top | Return to Content | Mobile Version | RSS Syndication