Why is there something rather than nothing?
by Scott Youngren
This question is by its very nature so nagging that it has no doubt crossed the mind of virtually every thinking person who ever lived. Forget about complex life forms for a moment: More fundamentally, how could any universe, even one devoid of life—but replete with matter and energy—exist at all? Why isn’t there just nothingness?
Two basic answers to this question have been proposed. First there is the view—prominent throughout history and existent in most cultures—that the universe is the creation of an infinite intelligence (read God).
The other proposed answer (endorsed by atheists) is that the universe itself is eternal…without beginning or end, and therefore needs no further explanation. This view is sometimes referred to as “infinite regression.” In a nutshell, infinite regression states that the universe as we know it is just the product of an infinitely long chain of causes. One does not need to explain the beginning because there never was a beginning…the universe is just the result of one cause which was in turn the result of another cause, which in turn resulted from another cause…ad infinitum.
And at face value, this seems like a perfectly plausible explanation. Maybe our demanding an answer to the question of how it all began stems from the fact that people are used to everything having a beginning, when in fact, something that is eternal does not have a beginning. The universe just is and always was.
But a closer examination of infinite regression, coupled with insights from physics which have emerged in the past few decades, begins to paint a different picture:
The first nail-in-the-coffin of infinite regression comes with the emergence of the “Big Bang theory,” which now has virtually universal acceptance amongst physicists. According to the Big Bang theory, which appeared in the 1960’s, the universe (including space, time, energy, and matter) did have a definite beginning.
One can derive enormous entertainment value from observing the contorted mental gymnastics to which atheistic physicists have had to resort in order to avoid the obvious theistic implications of the Big Bang…
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