I think the biggest blunder science has committed is this: it has shown how it is possible to be spaceless and timeless. Why? This is because when theists bring their God in the picture at all, they bring him in as the creator of the universe, not as a mere observer. As universe primarily means its space, time, matter and energy, so God as the supposed creator of the universe is the creator of space, time, matter and energy. That means before creation by God there cannot be any space, time, matter and energy. That will further mean the creator God can never be in any space and time and neither can the creator God contain any matter or energy. That is why creator of the universe will always necessarily have to be spaceless, timeless and immaterial; it can never be otherwise. So once scientists have shown how it is possible to be spaceless and timeless, they will no longer be able to convince us that this spaceless and timeless God cannot exist. All their efforts will be futile and all their arguments against this creator God will fall on deaf ears only.
In the year 2010 scientist Lawrence M Krauss wrote an article in Wall Street Journal1 in which he has argued that as the total energy of our present universe is found to be zero, so from this it can be concluded that it has originated from nothing. The gist of his argument is something like this: let us suppose that the universe has actually originated from nothing at all. (Here this nothing is the so-called nothing of the scientists, not the usual nothing of the philosophers.) Then in that case the total energy of the universe would obviously be zero, because here everything has started from zero or nothing. Surprisingly scientists have also found that the total energy of the present universe is zero. So naturally it can be said that it has actually originated from nothing, because in that case only its total energy is expected to be zero.
But this reasoning is faulty. This is because it can be shown that 1) if the universe has originated from something and not from nothing, then in that case also the total energy of the universe would be zero; and 2) if the universe has been created by some supernatural agent, then again its total energy would be zero.
Case 2): First I will show how the total energy of the universe would be zero if it is created by some supernatural agent. Let us say that this supernatural agent who has created the universe is God. Now what does it mean that the universe has been created by God? As universe primarily means its space, time, matter and energy, so universe created by God will mean its space, time, matter and energy have been created by God. That will further mean that before creation by God there was no space, no time, no matter and no energy. That will again mean that God was in no space and time and that God did not contain any matter and energy. That is the reason as to why theists always describe their God as spaceless, timeless and immaterial. Neither this spaceless, timeless and immaterial God can contain any energy, because energy was also created by God along with the creation of the universe. That means the total energy content of God is zero. Therefore the total energy content of the universe will also be zero, because universe cannot contain more energy than the source from which it has originated.
Here it might be objected that neither energy nor matter can be created or destroyed. But if we keep in mind that the total energy of the universe has always remained fixed at its zero value, then we can say that as such energy has not been created or destroyed at all. Only that it has taken positive and negative forms in the universe, the total energy always remaining zero. The same can be said about matter also.
Case 1): Here we will have to rely on the findings of two modern scientific theories e.g. the two theories of relativity. Regarding any scientific theory it is usually said that all theories are provisional. That means any current scientific theory can be superseded by some new theory in future. But if the old theory is a well-established and tested theory, then it can never be totally falsified. Only its limitations will be known to us. Although Newton’s theory of gravity has been replaced by Einstein’s theory of gravity, yet Newton’s theory has still its applicability in limited cases.
We say that the universe had originated from something. That means before the origin of the universe from that something there was nothing else other than that something – no space, no time, no matter and no energy. Space, time, matter and energy came into being after the origin of the universe from that something. Now Einstein’s general theory of relativity has shown that space, time and matter are so interlinked that there cannot be any space and time without matter. Similarly there cannot be any matter without space and time. Again from Einstein’s special theory of relativity we come to know that matter and energy are equivalent. So instead of saying that there cannot be any matter without space and time, we can also say that there cannot be any energy without space and time. Now we have already shown that the initial something was without space and time. But we have also shown that there cannot be any energy without space and time. So the initial something cannot have any energy. Therefore the total energy of the universe originated from that something will also be zero, because it cannot have more energy than the source from which it has originated.
So, if the universe has a beginning, then it is quite immaterial as to whether it has originated from something or from nothing or whether it has been created by God. This is because in all the three cases above it will start with zero energy. So from the mere fact that the total energy of our present universe has been found to be zero, it cannot be concluded that it has actually originated from nothing, because in the other two cases also its total energy would be zero. So zero total energy cannot be the only factor on the basis of which we can conclude that our present universe has actually originated from nothing.
I will begin this post with two postulates:
1) God has created this universe;
2) He has brought man in this universe with some purpose.
I am not claiming here that these two postulates are true, or that I can prove them to be true. But I want to show here that if these two postulates are true, then God will always be the God of the gaps. Anyone who will be reading this post should not forget that there is an “if” clause in the last sentence.
Now I will begin with the supposition that God has created this universe. If God has created this universe, then he could have created it in four different ways:
1) He created it in such a way that there was no necessity for Him to intervene in it after creation;
2) After creation he intervened in it, but these interventions were a bare minimum, that is, he intervened only when these were absolutely necessary. In order to clarify my point here, I will say that he intervened only when he found that without his intervention the universe would come to a standstill;
3) He created the universe in such a way that in order to keep it going he had to make very frequent interventions in it;
4) God’s total intervention after creation.
If it was the purpose of God to keep mankind crippled in every possible way, then he would have adopted either the third or the fourth way while creating the universe. This is because in these two cases mankind, in spite of her having sufficient intelligence and reasoning power, will fail to unveil the secrets of nature, because in almost every phenomenon of nature that she will decide to study she will ultimately find that there always remains an unknown factor, for which she will have no explanation. For her the book of nature will thus remain closed forever. But if it was God’s purpose that mankind be master of his creation, then it is quite natural for him that he would try to keep the book of nature as much open to her as possible, so that with the little intelligence human species has been endowed with she will be able to decipher the language of nature, and with that acquired knowledge she will also be able to improve the material conditions of her life. In that case God will try to adopt the policy of maximum withdrawal from his creation. He will create the universe in such a way that without his intervention the created world will be able to unfold itself. However, that does not mean that he will never intervene. He will definitely intervene when without his intervention the created world would become stagnant. In such a scenario human beings will be able to give an explanation of almost all physical events in scientific language. But in those cases where God has actually intervened, she will fail to do so.
So I think there is no reason for us to be ashamed of the “God of the gaps” argument. Yes, if God has created the universe, and if God’s purpose was that mankind be master of his creation, then he would try to keep as little gap in his creation as possible. But the minimum gap that would be ultimately left can never be bridged by any sort of scientific explanation. God will also reside in that gap. Why should we be ashamed of that?
The whole matter can be seen from another angle. Those who strongly believe that God has created this universe also believe that he created it alone. Now is it reasonable to believe that a God, who is capable of creating such a vast universe alone, is not capable enough to keep a proof of his existence in the created world? So I think it is more reasonable to believe that while creating the universe God has also kept a proof of his existence in something created. This proof is open to us all, but we have not found it, because we have not searched for it. So even if it is the case that God has never intervened in the created world after its creation, still there will be a gap in this natural world, purposefully left by God, for which science will find no explanation. This will be the ultimate gap that can only be filled up by invoking God.
So it is quite logical that a God who will create human beings with a purpose will always prefer to be the God of the gaps. Yes, if we were really created by some God, and if it was not God’s desire that we be some sort of semi-savage beast with no knowledge about how nature works, then it makes quite a good sense if I say that in that case God would try to keep the book of nature as much open to us as possible (policy of maximum withdrawal). In such a case mankind will also be able to explain almost everything of nature without invoking God. But then this “ability to explain almost everything of nature without invoking God” will not prove that there is no God, because it might also be the case that this ability is God’s design, God’s plan.
Let me give one example for making my point clear. Let A be one most obvious fact of nature, and let D be one natural phenomenon that follows from A. Let us also suppose that D does not directly follow from A, but that there are some intermediate steps. A causes B, then B causes C, then C causes D. In order to be more precise here let us say that A means dark clouds gathering in the sky, and that D means lightning. We know very well that lightning does not always take place whenever there are dark clouds in the sky. So we will modify the above chain from A to D in this way: A causes B, but B does not always cause C. Instead of C, it sometimes causes C1. When B causes C1, there is no lightning. But when B causes C, in that case only lightning occurs.
A – B – C – D (Lightning)
A – B – C1– No lightning
Now let us suppose that there is a God, and let us also suppose that after creating the universe he has not intervened in it at all. So, all the processes from A to D will be natural. In that case if man wills, then one day she will be able to understand the whole natural process here. She will understand what lightning is, how and when it occurs, and with that knowledge it can be hoped that one day she will also be able to protect herself and her property from lightning.
Now let us suppose that after creation God has frequently intervened in his creation, but his intervention is not total, but only partial. Let us also suppose that God has chosen the above case of lightning for his intervention. That means lightning can never take place unless he wills. When he decides to punish mankind by sending lightning, then only B can cause C; otherwise in every other case B causes C1. In this case the whole chain from A to D will be broken at B. Human beings will never understand how B can naturally cause C, and so she will never understand how D naturally follows from A. So lightning will forever remain a mystery to her.
Now let us suppose that God’s intervention in this universe is total, that is, behind every natural phenomenon there is the hand of God. In that case mankind will understand nothing of nature, and she will remain as ignorant as a savage. In this world her fate will be no better than birds and beasts, and her condition will remain as miserable and helpless as those birds and beasts in front of natural calamities.
But if God wills that mankind be almost equal to him in the knowledge of things in nature, and if he also wills that she live in this world with some dignity and not like birds and beasts, then he will create the universe in such a way that almost all the phenomena in nature can take place naturally without his intervention. In that case he will adopt the policy of maximum withdrawal. He will intervene only in those cases where his intervention is absolutely necessary. One such case is the genetic code. Genetic code is information code, and those who believe that there is a God try to make a point here.
It is said that information code cannot naturally arise from space, time, force, field, matter and energy. Some intelligence is required, and nature does not possess that intelligence. Only God possesses that intelligence, and therefore only God can generate information code. If what is said is true, then I will say that mankind will never understand how information code can naturally arise from space, time, force, field, matter and energy. It will forever remain a mystery to her.
My thesis presented here has at least one merit. It can successfully explain as to why nature has opened her secrets to mankind, whereas proponents of accidental origin of man cannot give any reason as to why nature has done so. If their theory was correct, then human beings also could have led a life just like other higher primates; chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. That mankind has not done so and that instead she has been able to raise a civilization and lead a life with some dignity and self-respect shows that nature has taken a special care for us and equipped us accordingly.
Scientist Stephen Hawking in his book “The Grand Design” has written that the universe can and will create itself from nothing because there is a law such as gravity. As per him spontaneous creation is the reason as to why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. Therefore he thinks that it is not at all necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.1
That an entire universe can come out of nothing is not a scientifically proven fact, rather it is merely a speculation. This speculation is also based on a logically flawed assumption, the assumption that the void is a real void. Here scientists have assumed that our universe is a Godless universe, and that therefore the void is a real void. But it may be true that this is a Godless universe, or it may not be true. As the believers cannot claim that they know with certainty there is a God, so also neither the scientists can claim that they know with certainty there is no God. However there is a definite way to know with certainty that there is no God. Here I am not claiming that there is a definite way to know with certainty there is a God, but I am only saying that there is a definite way to know with certainty there is no God. And this definite way is the scientific way.
If scientists ultimately become successful in explaining everything in this universe, including its origin also, without invoking God, then we will have no other option but to admit that the universe we live in is a Godless universe. But there is a very big “IF” here, if they become successful. Until they achieve their success here, they do not know whether they will be ultimately successful or not. So until they achieve their success here, they do not know whether it is a Godless universe or not. All their earlier successes cannot give them any assurance that in future also they will be equally successful. If somebody claims that there is no reason as to why they will not be successful, then I will have to bring in Hume here, but I think it will not be necessary. It is like climbing a mountain peak. So long as one is not there at the peak, she does not know whether she will be able to reach there at all. But once she has reached there, she knows with certainty that she has done it. So in order to come to the conclusion that we live in a Godless universe scientists will have to be able to give a scientific explanation for each and every single fact, every single event, or every single phenomenon of this natural world, and not a single fact, single event or single phenomenon should be left unexplained.
If the scientists claim here that they have explained almost everything of this natural world without invoking any kind of god, then I will have to point out to them that the origin of the universe has not yet been explained in a properly logical way. Before proceeding further here I want to quote a single line (or, a part of it) from an essay by Keith M. Parsons, an atheistic philosopher: “…[P]rima facie the most promising location for a Creator would be in the “creation” event itself, the origin of the universe.”2 If the most promising location for a Creator would be in the “creation” event itself, then this Creator must have to be eliminated first from the “creation” event, because that act only can ensure that there is no such Creator.
So until this so-called Creator has been eliminated from the creation event by providing a most plausible, and natural, scientific explanation (A) for it, we cannot have any idea as to whether the void is a real void or not. This is because if there is a creator God, then as per the theists that God is everywhere and therefore the void is no longer a real void. So let A be provided first by the scientists. Then only we can be sure that the void is a real void. Therefore A should always come first, and then only we can conclude that the void is a real void. But in the case under consideration it has already been concluded that the void is a real void without giving a natural explanation for the origin of the universe. And that makes all the difference.
Let me try to make my point more clear. Let e0 be the event zero, the origin/birth/creation of the universe, and let e1 to en be all the events that have so far happened in this universe after its origin. Let ne0 be the natural explanation for event zero, and let ne1 to nen be the natural explanations for events e1 to en respectively. Let us now suppose that scientists have already been able to provide ne1 to nen, but that they have so far failed to provide ne0. Will this situation allow us to conclude that there is no God? No, we cannot come to any such conclusion, because if there is a God then there will definitely be his hand behind the event zero. Yes, we can say this with absolute certainty, because God, if he is really God, and if he is really there, will not be our God at all, and neither will we recognize him as such, if he has no control over our destiny. In other words, if this universe is not his creation.
Therefore in order to establish that there is no God one must have to show that there is no hand of God behind the creation event. All the other natural explanations ne1 to nen put together cannot prove that there is no God. But once ne0 is given, it is firmly established that God does not exist. Therefore so far as the question of the non-existence of God is concerned, we can say that when ne0 has already been given, ne1 to nen will become unnecessary. And when ne0 has not yet been given, ne1 to nen are simply useless. And thus we can say that the necessary and sufficient condition for establishing the non-existence of God is that there will have to be a natural explanation for the origin of the universe (ne0).
Therefore so long as ne0 has not been given, we cannot come to the conclusion that there is no God. And therefore so long as ne0 has not been given, neither can we conclude that the void is a real void. And therefore so long as ne0 has not been given, neither can we say that as virtual particles can appear from out of nothing, so also an entire universe.
Here scientist Victor J. Stenger would perhaps have said that so long as there is no evidence for the existence of God, the default position is that there is no God. So in that case they are fully entitled to treat the void as a real void. But in an article titled “A Critique of the Void”3 I have very clearly shown that this universe even if created by a God may not display any evidence of his existence if it is the case that this God is non-interventionist, that is, if it is the case that he has not intervened at all after the creation of the universe. So from the mere fact that so far there is no evidence for the existence of God, it cannot be concluded that this universe is a Godless universe. In such a case the matter regarding the existence or non-existence of God can only be settled at the creation event itself. So scientists are in no way entitled to treat the void as a real void until it is firmly established that this void is really a void, that is, until the creator God is eliminated from the creation event by providing a natural explanation for it.
Scientists usually say that as there is no evidence for the existence of God, so it is reasonable to believe that there is no God. Here I have very clearly shown that neither is there any evidence that something can actually come out of nothing. On the basis of this lack of evidence we can also say that it is reasonable not to believe that the universe has actually originated from nothing.
- Book: The Grand design, Published by Bantum Books, New York, Ch: The Grand Design, page 282.
- No Creator Need Apply: A Reply to Roy Abraham Varghese (2006), www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_parsons/varghese.html
- Circular Reasoning
In his article ‘The other side of time’ (2000) scientist Victor J. Stenger has written that as per the theory of quantum electrodynamics electron-positron (anti-electron) pairs can appear spontaneously for brief periods of time practically out of nothing, which clearly shows that anything that has a beginning need not have to have a cause of that beginning. Here he was actually rebutting Dr. William Lane Craig’s claim that anything that has a beginning must have a cause. Electron-positron pairs begin to exist, but they have no cause of their beginning, because they appear literally out of nothing.
From here he has concluded that our universe might also have come literally out of nothing due to the quantum fluctuation in a void, and therefore we need not have to imagine that God has done this job.
But is it true that electron-positron pairs are appearing literally out of “nothing”? Are scientists absolutely certain that the so-called void is indeed a real void? Because here there is a counter-claim also: God is there, and that God is everywhere. So actually nothing is coming out of “nothing”, only something is coming out of something. Here they will perhaps say: “As there is no evidence for the existence of God so far, so why should one have to believe that the void here is not a real void?” But even if there is no evidence for the existence of God, still then it can be pointed out that scientists’ claim that the universe has literally come out of nothing is a pure case of circular reasoning. If believers say that the void is not a real void at all, and if scientists still then hold that it is nothing but a void, then this is only because they are absolutely certain that God does not exist, and also because they think that the non-existence of God is so well-established a fact that it needs no further proof for substantiation. But if they are absolutely certain that God does not exist, then they are also absolutely certain that God is not the creator of our universe, because it is quite obvious that a non-existent God cannot be the creator of the universe. So their starting premise is this: God does not exist, and therefore our universe is definitely not the creation of a God. But if they start from the above premise, then will it be very difficult to reach to the same conclusion?
But their approach here could have been somehow different. They could have argued: “Well, regarding void, it is found that there is some controversy. Therefore we will not assume that it is a void, rather we will establish that it is a void”. Then they could have proceeded to give an alternative explanation for the origin of the universe, in which there would be neither any quantum fluctuation in a void, nor any hand of God to be seen anywhere. And their success here could have settled the matter for all time to come.
- “Circular Reasoning” Case Reexamined
There can be basically two types of universe: (1) universe created by God, supposing that there is a God; (2) universe not created by God, supposing that there is no God. Again universe created by God can also be of three types:
(1a) Universe in which God need not have to intervene at all after its creation. This is the best type of universe that can be created by God;
(1b) Universe in which God has actually intervened from time to time, but his intervention is a bare minimum; and
(1c) Universe that cannot function at all without God’s very frequent intervention. This is the worst type of universe that can be created by God.
Therefore we see that there can be four distinct types of universes, and our universe may be any one of the above four types: (1a), (1b), (1c), (2). In case of (1a), scientists will be able to give a natural explanation for each and every physical event that has taken place in the universe after its origin, because after its creation there is no intervention by God at any moment of its functioning. Only giving natural explanation for its coming into existence will be problematic. In case of (1b) also, most of the events will be easily explained away, without imagining that there is any hand of God behind these events. But for those events where God had actually intervened, scientists will never be able to give any natural explanation. Also explaining the origin of the universe will be equally problematic. But in case of (1c), most of the events will remain unexplained, as in this case God had to intervene very frequently. This type of universe will be just like the one as envisaged by Newton: “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.” So we can with confidence say that our universe is not of this type, otherwise scientists could not have found a natural explanation for most of the physical events. In case of type (2) universe, here also there will be a natural explanation for each and every physical event, and there will be a natural explanation for the origin of the universe also. So from the mere fact that scientists have so far been able to give a natural explanation for each and every physical event, it cannot be concluded that our universe is a type (2) universe, because this can be a type (1a) universe as well. The only difference between type (1a) and type (2) universe is this: whereas in case of type (1a) universe no natural explanation will ever be possible for the origin of the universe, it will not be so in case of type (2) universe. Therefore until and unless scientists can give a natural explanation for the origin of the universe, they cannot claim that it is a type (2) universe. And so, until and unless scientists can give this explanation, they can neither claim that the so-called void is a real void. So scientists cannot proceed to give a natural explanation for the origin of the universe with an a priori assumption that the void is a real void, because their failure or success in giving this explanation will only determine as to whether this is a real void or not.