Something from nothing

Is it possible to get something from nothing?

When we hear the story of the creation of the universe we might get that impression.

WMAP image of the (extremely tiny) anisotropie...
WMAP image of the (extremely tiny) anisotropies in the cosmic background radiation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Holy Scriptures we get to read that there was void or a “ Containing of no matter“. There was or was not something with something ” completely lacking”. At first there was a “Having no legal force or validity” but than out of nowhere seemed to come a Voice of Some One Who spoke.

The Bible tells us that every time that One Spoke His Voice brought into being. We do find the principle of something not being there but “God said…” and it was done. The prophet Isaiah quotes the Lord as saying:

I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded (Isaiah 45:12).

So, there was not only The Voice but there where also Hands. Out of nothing we do seem to get Sound, from emptiness creating things. This means that there was a power. This incredible Power we consider to be the Most High Power. It is the Force of bringing to life, or the Force of life.

English: Galaxies are very important fundament...
Galaxies are very important fundamental building blocks of the Universe. Some are simple, while others are very complex in structure. As one of the first steps towards a coherent theory of galaxy evolution, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, developed a classification scheme of galaxies in 1926. Although this scheme, also known as the Hubble tuning fork diagram, is now considered somewhat too simple, the basic ideas still hold… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This creative Power of God is mentioned many other times in the Scriptures, but, as always, the mechanistic details are not supplied. It is hard to imagine, for example, what would have happened if instead of saying let there be light, the Bible had written out Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism. Even if the Bible had given us the formulas explaining the physical details, no one in ages past would have understood them, or if somehow they could have achieved comprehension, they would surely have abused the information!

There was the void or open space which could or could have not a continuity or a break in continuity, a vacate space.

About when and how the universe came into being, science and scripture may come up with the same unambiguous result, namely, in the beginning (Genesis 1:1).

The scientist is not let off the hook, for an eternal universe would also have solved a whole host of scientific problems. According to the model pictured by classical physics, an eternal, everlasting static universe would have been just fine, but these ideas were overturned by the astronomer Hubble in 1929, and still later unambiguously verified by observations made in the mid-1960’s on the universal microwave background.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble, an astronomer working at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Southern California, discovered that all the galaxies in the universe appeared to be moving away from the earth and the further away they were from us the faster their speed of recession. The conclusion was that the universe could not be static but was undergoing dynamic expansion. (See e.g. G. E. Christianson, Edward Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae, (1995) )

Arno Penzias.jpg
Arno Allan Penzias (born 26 April 1933) is an American physicist, radio astronomer and Nobel laureate in physics who is co-discoverer of the cosmic microwave background radiation, which helped establish the Big Bang theory of cosmology.

In 1965, two physicists at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey studying antenna noise discovered that the entire universe appeared to be bathed in a radiation afterglow of a singular event of vast energy taking place in the far distant past. This event has come to be known in popular terms as the “Big Bang”. We will have more to say about this in a later chapter. See: A. Penzias and G. Wilson, A Measurement of Excess Antenna Temperature at 4080Mc/s, ApJ, 142, 419, (1965).

The book of Genesis does not want to present a factual account but in a certain way wants to bring a tale or narrative comprehensible for most people.

Genesis simply and beautifully describes God’s initial creation, as well as His declaration of His creative purpose. It then describes the coming of sin into the world through the choices made by Adam and Eve, and the consequences of those choices for them and their descendants. Then Genesis follows their descendants’ decline into lawless violence — a decline that God brought to an end by sending a great flood, while saving eight people for a new beginning.

Genesis bringing an account from the creation of the world to the death of Joseph in Egypt, we may later find references to the course of events by the New Testament writers, by which John loves to construct his books in the same manner as the Bereshith, talking of the Word spoken and a Word bringing into being. He looks at the Old world and compares the happenings to the New World. He was convinced that in the Garden of Eden the Word spoken by God, the promise made to the first male and female creature of the human line or human tree, had come into existence with the birth of the Nazarene Jeshua from the lineage of king David.

Physics of Sound Sensory System of the Inner E...
Physics of Sound Sensory System of the Inner Ear & Space Time Continuum – By Doctor Emad kayyam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Out of nothingness there was sound. That What had been for ever and is everlasting, has no beginning and no end, has no birth but also no dying or no death, and Which is an incredible Power, a Supreme Being, the Only One capable to create something from nothing. this may be very difficult to believe and is what we consider the only dogma a person of faith has come to take for truth. All other thoughts in our faith are easy to proof and are particularly explained in the Book of books,which we consider the infallible Word of that One and Only One God Who is One.

The question of how to reconcile suboptimal design with special creation is one that has puzzled many Christian groups as well as the Christadelphian community.
While the existence of suboptimal design is not ‘proof’ of evolution, for any special creationist who appeals to design in nature as evidence of special creation, the existence in nature of suboptimal design that directly leads to morbidity and mortality is a problem that is too often ignored.
Too many people want to take the Bible as an minute per minute or literal day to day account, forgetting that one day in the eyes of God is like a thousand years in the eyes of man. And they are also forgetting that perhaps God does not see any reason to have a detailed scientific account of all things when the uneducated also has to understand His Word.
God has given man, created in His image the possibility to see, hear, speak and think, using their brains to make up their minds and to come to conclusions. God has given in nature proof for all things. In it we should come to see how and what and should come to understanding.
In this contemporary world there are still too many Christians who do not want to see what God provided in nature and which treasures He left behind to be discovered by man in time.
The challenge of how to explain the scientific evidence for a very old earth, filled with fossil remains of countless generations of extinct species which are increasingly complex, has been faced by Christadelphians since the earliest days of our community.
Brother Roberts and other early expositors explained this evidence as the product of numerous creations being made and destroyed by God in succession. [1] [2] [3] Later Christadelphian commentators found this solution unsatisfying. Brother Walker objected to it on scientific grounds, pointing out that there was no break in the fossil record providing evidence for the destruction of a previous creation, and that the fossils showed earlier extinct animals had a close physical relationship to modern species which were still alive, indicating a continuity of life rather than a break.[4]
However, a far more challenging problem with which Christadelphian commentators have wrestled, is the issue of sub-optimal features within the creation. Our community has long recognized the imperfections of the human eye, acknowledging it has a blind spot.[5]
We should learn from geology, geographic changes, and take not of the many findings of people who studied several sciences. We not always should accept that they are totally right. Look at some findings, which a few years ago where considered the discovery of the time and the truth which are now considered as outdated and no longer valable and incorrect.
We should not have to expect from the Bible to give a detailed account, but should see the general line. This over the whole line of the canonical Bible Books has been proven to be happened like it is told and should be enough information to be provided for all people to come to understanding the Works of God.
The Book of the Beginnings teaches us much; it speaks of a time and creation on this earth when animal life was not like it is now and people did not look like we recognise other human beings today. Appearance was totally different.
We should not expect the Bible giving us all details of the creatures, how they looked like or how they behaved. It does not want to specify that humans and apes have are missing an enzyme that would allow them to make their own vitamin C, like other animals do.
To come to faith people do not need to know all sub-optimal features of all living elements.

Many creatures may have features which are sub-optimal, and may let people think this would not be the work of an omnipotent and omniscient Designer. In fact brother Matthew’s description of creation was that “the evidence implies problem, failure and imperfect solution”.[6]

There are several people who also do want to believe like Brother Matthew who proposed that the angels were responsible for creation, rather than God and suggested that since angels are less powerful than God, and closer to humans, it should be expected that their characters and work would be subject to weaknesses and limitations similar to those of humans. Because of that we can see so many ‘faults‘ in creation.

But we should know better and follow the Biblical account which explains what went wrong with creation. The Bereshith tells us how the first human beings reposted and went against the wishes of their Maker, resulting them willing to go on their own, God allowing them to be their own master, with all consequences, we having to face so many problems.

We do not believe God left the work to unskilled, uninformed, and largely unsupervised agents who were compelled to learn on the job as they muddled through generation after generation of mistakes. We do know that every high person speaks in the plural form, using the pluralis majestatis or Royal we, to have their words being taken seriously and as important.

When looking at creation we should consider that it all happened over a long period of time, many thousands of years. God was the Only One Maker Who established a natural biological process of speciation, which accounts for the variety of creatures in the fossil record and those we see today. That process followed rules established by God in the beginning, and was not blind, random, or accidental. Man revolting against their Maker choose to go their own way and where allowed to go into their own universe. In their own world they could give plants and animals and everything they created a name. they themselves had to cultivate it and work it out how to survive in the world they chose themselves. However, being a natural process without constant guidance from an intelligent being, its results were imperfect. God has always been prepared to work with a less than perfect creation, and it is a Biblical principle that His glory shines with great brightness when His character is reflected by fallible creatures.

The tendency for the evangelical Christian church to source their information outside of mainstream science [7] tends however to blunt the impact of such scientifically informed Christian warnings both against science denialism and basing first principles on demonstrably false views of the natural world. Deconversion anecdotes such as these, culled from a 2002 TalkOrigins post of the month [8]  are representative of the one-way traffic towards unbelief that often results when science and faith are pitted against each other.

Young earth creationist organisations remain stubbornly wedded to an a priori commitment to a fundamentalist reading of Genesis. Terry Mortenson, a YEC theologian and historian regards adherence to Biblical literalism as important because he regards it as fundamental to his theological world view:

None of us, including any particular scholar (no matter how respected he is), or even the majority of scholars or Christians, can be the final authority for determining truth. God’s Word must be the authority. And it clearly teaches creation in six literal days about six thousand years ago and a global catastrophic Flood at the time of Noah. We must graciously but uncompromisingly contend for the literal historical truth of Genesis 1–11, which is absolutely fundamental to all other doctrines in the Bible. [9]

What Mortenson fails to so convincingly is justify why a Christian must interpret Genesis 1-11 literally or exactly how our salvation depends on recent creation in six days or a literal world-wide flood. Instead he damns respected 19th century Christian scholars such as Torrey, Warfield and Dana as ‘compromisers’ for being willing to follow the scientific evidence where it led them, even if it contradicted with a particular interpretation of the creation narratives.
This refusal to engage with modern science is particularly acute given that the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly against flood geology and recent creationism, and in fact was recognised by conservative Christians well before Darwin. To be blunt, any Christian doctrine that hinges on a literal world-wide flood that laid down the fossils or recent creation in six days has been falsified, and no amount of appeal to a literal reading of Genesis will change observable reality. [10] Mortenson and his colleagues at Answers in Genesis may pride themselves on not compromising on what they believe to be a fundamental principle, but all they are doing is forcing believers to choose between observable reality and dogma, which as the Barna Group has shown is not a strategy for long-term growth of Christianity. More importantly, it is forcing believers to base fundamental doctrines on a description of the natural world that is demonstrably false.

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Notes:

[1] ‘Interested Stranger.—No doubt the earth has gone through changes. Christadelphian. — Have not these changes been in the nature of progress—an advance from a crude to a more perfect state? Interested Stranger.—It has doubtless been so. Christadelphian.—From what sort of a state did this process make its start? Interested Stranger.—That, I think, we cannot ascertain. Christadelphian. — Not in an exact sense perhaps; but are we not justified in saying that if we go far enough back in the record of the earth’s physical history, as written in the rocks, we come to a time when the earth was a molten mass, incapable of sustaining life, either vegetable or animal? Interested Stranger.—That is believed by the geologist; and I do not see that any thing can be said against it.’, Roberts, ‘A Page for the Interested Stranger – No. 2’, The Christadelphian (22.255.405), 1885.
[2] ‘Geology teaches us much; it speaks of a time and creation on this earth when animal life, if not totally, was nearly unknown, and only the lower order of vegetable life covering its face, and this must have existed many thousands of years; and during the whole of that long period, the earth was undergoing wonderful and necessary changes to fit it for a creation of a higher order, and evidently with the creature man in view. There are evidences to show that when this early period had done its work, it was replaced by a creation of a higher order , when animal and vegetable forms of a far more wonderful structure were brought into existence and most admirably adopted to the atmosphere, climate, and peculiarities of that creation; and this, again, must have lasted for many thousands of years, and in its turn been swept away, and a grander creation built on its ruins. And so on, stage after stage.’, Simons, ‘Why Man was not at once made Perfect’, The Christadelphian (21.238.177), 1884.
[3] ‘There can be no reasonable doubt that when the non-fossiliferous rocks were first formed t he heat of the earth’s matter was too intense for vegetable and animal life to exist. There can be no reasonable doubt that it was only in a later age that the lower forms of plant and animal life could exist . And there can be no reasonable doubt that the succeeding ages allowed the creation of still higher and more perfect forms, till we reach the age called the “Tertiary,” and the “Post-pliocene” period of that age, when we are told remains of man are found for the first time. All of this, I say, I do not doubt. The facts of old mother earth’s storehouse are too convincingly inscribed upon her crust to allow me to doubt. At the same time, and amid it all, I have the most implicit faith and unbounded trust in God and His sacred word.’, Welch, ‘Knowledge.- No., 12 Geology’, The Christadelphian (28.329.416), 1891.
[4] ‘If we suppose a sudden and absolute break some 6,000 years ago, or before, resulting in the destruction of all life, and that the creation account of Genesis describes a new creation following, we ought to find some evidence of the break, and we cannot well account for the apparently close relationship that obtains between extinct and existing forms. There are forms becoming extinct in our own day from slow and natural causes. May it not have been so in pre-Adamic times? The professors tell us for instance that some of these ancient birds, whose strides we can see for ourselves from their footprints were from four to six feet long, were like gigantic ostriches.’, Walker, ‘Genesis’, The Christadelphian (47.557.501), 1910.
[6] “So to take the human elements, the frustration, the changes of plan and the solution along with God allowing that process to work its way through, and applying it to a creative environment where the evidence implies problem, failure and imperfect solution.”, Matthew Wigzell, email on his email list “Watchmen“, 17 January, 2013; (brother Matthew has explained this email list was not private, and both he and other members have shared publicly emails by various members of the list.)
[7] Giberson K “Why Evangelicals Are Fooled Into Accepting Pseudoscience” Huffington Post 23rd September 2011
[9] Mortensen T “Exposing a Fundamental Compromise” Answers June 3rd 2010
[10] See for example Alan Hayward’s “Creation and Evolution – The Facts and Fallacies” (Triangle Books, 1985). Although his arguments against evolution were flawed even in the early 1980s, and are utterly dated now, his critique of flood geology and young earth creationism still hold up today.

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Preceding articles:

Scripture about Creation and Creator Deity

The very very beginning 1 Creating Gods

The very very beginning 2 The Word and words

Genesis – Story of creation 1 Genesis 1:1-25 Creation of thing

Genesis 1:26 God said “Let us make”

How Many Persons Created the Heavens and the Earth?

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Please do find to read:

  1. Bible and Science (2): In the Beginning
  2. Nothingness
  3. Suboptimal design and special creation
  4. Understanding God’s Word through His Creation -2
  5. Here is why an increasing number of Christadelphians are accepting evolution
  6. YECS: don’t compare yourself to Galileo. Unlike you, he had evidence on his side.
  7. The “aha” moment – Biblical Scholars Tell Their Stories. Part 5
  8. Andrew Perry shows how not to discuss evolution and creation – 1
  9. Bible and Science: Scientific Facts and Theories
  10. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere?
  11. Cosmogony
  12. Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs
  13. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  14. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  15. Ian Barbour connecting science and religion
  16. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  17. Reconciling Science and Religion
  18. Science and God’s existence
  19. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  20. Challenging claim 2 Inspired by God 1 Simple words
  21. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  22. Interpretation of archaeological data
  23. Science, 2013 word of the year, and Scepticism
  24. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  25. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

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Additional related articles:
  1. Discovering or Destroying the “Recipe for Belief in Creationism”?
  2. Do Evolutionists Believe Darwin’s Ideas about Evolution?
  3. Deep Time Evolution

 

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    +
    The CMB was actually discovered 25 years before Penzias/Wilson “stumbled” across it… In a 1940 paper, Canadian astronomer Andrew McKellar (1910-1960) published “excellent coincidences obtained between the wave lengths of three of the unidentified, sharp, interstellar lines and lines arising from the lowest states of the CH, NaH, and CN molecules” (from spectral analysis). Based on data obtained, McKellar stated that “the maximum ‘effective’ temperature of interstellar space would be 2.7K” — no reference to “ghost radiation” from the “birth of the Universe”… McKellar’s findings have apparently been largely forgotten.

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    010615_PillarsFull_NASA2
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    Dark Universe starts 100 million light years away from Earth. After flying to our own Milky Way Galaxy, visualized using the latest scientific data, and to our own planet, viewers arrive at California’s Mount Wilson Observatory, where Edwin Hubble’s discovery that the universe is expanding gave the first hint of the Big Bang. That initial discovery, and ever more sensitive instruments on the ground and in space, led to other breakthroughs that give astronomers an increasingly detailed and precise picture of how our universe formed and evolved.

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