Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

J. Warner Wallace: making sense out of the creation from nothing

An article from “Cold Case Christianity” author J. Warner Wallace.


Even as an atheist, I understood the challenge offered by the “Standard Cosmological Model” (theBig Bang Theory) when examined from my naturalistic worldview. This model infers a “cosmological singularity” in which all space, time and matter came into existence at a point in the distant past. In others words, “everything” came from “nothing”. I knew this presented a problem for me as a naturalist; if the universe had a beginning, the “principle of causality” inclined me to believe there must have been a cause. But, what could cause something as vast as the universe? Could it have caused itself to come into existence, or must the first cause of all space, time and matter be non-spatial, atemporal and immaterial? How could “everything” come from “nothing”?

One way to navigate this dilemma is simply to redefine the terms we are using. What do we mean when we say “everything” or “nothing”? At first these two terms might seem rather self-explanatory, but it’s important for us to take the time to define the words. By “everything” we mean all space, time and matter. That’s right, space is “something”; empty space is part of “everything” not part of “nothing”. For some of us, that’s an interesting concept that might be hard to grasp, but it’s an important distinction that must be understood. When we say “nothing”, we mean the complete absence of everything; the thorough non-existence of anything at all (including all space time and matter). These two terms, when defined in this way, are consistent with the principles of the Standard Cosmological Model, but demonstrate the dilemma. If everything came from nothing, what caused this to occur? What is the non-spatial, atemporal, immaterial, uncaused, first cause of the universe? A cause of this sort sounds a lot like a supernatural Being, and that’s why I think many naturalists have begun to redefine the terms.

I was just being asked about this by a friend of mine who I sent two copies of Wallace’s book to. (One for non-Christian him, and one for his non-Christian girlfriend, too). He wanted to know what was outside the expansion of space and whether the space would expand forever and what was the space expanding into and would we ever be able to see what was outside of our space. Well, these are all good questions and that’s why Christians need to get used to the standard cosmology. There is nothing at all about that hurts us, but it’s just awful for atheists who think that the universe exists without a cause.

You can click on the link to the article for a  hilarious illustration of how atheists redefine nothing!

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One Response

  1. Steve James says:

    Causality is a feature of things IN the multiverse. There is no a priori reason to think there is a cause OF the multiverse. Having a beginning simply refers to its space time shape.

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