Saturday, 1 October 2011

"If God was content with emptiness, would the Universe exist?"

I came across this question on Yahoo Answers. Normally I don't answer questions, especially questions I find overwhelmingly idiotic, but this one was intellectually interesting, so I submitted this answer:

First, you posit the existence, which is unproven, of an entity called “god”. I would ask you precisely what you mean by this term. Is it the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic YHWH/Lord God/Allah, the one who created the Universe in six days? Is it one of the many gods of cultures all over earth who created the universe in many different ways? Is it perhaps the “gods” of yet other religious traditions, who either had nothing to do with the creation of the Universe or came into existence after it was created (as the deities in the Hindu pantheon, whom the Rig Veda specifically mentions as being younger than the world)?

Assuming you mean the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic “god”; let us for the purposes of this answer set aside the question of its existence and look at the “creation” of the Universe you ask about.

According to modern astrophysical theory, there was no such thing as “emptiness” before the Universe appeared. When the Universe came into existence at the Big Bang, it encompassed not just matter [including stars (as well as pulsars, quasars, and so on), planets (as well as asteroids, satellites, and meteoroids), dark matter, black holes and perhaps things we have not discovered or posited yet] arranged into galaxies, and energies (inclusive of the full spectrum of radiation, gravity and dark energy) – but even space. Space, which is a closed system curved by gravity, came into existence along with the Universe. It is expanding as the Universe is expanding, because it’s part of the same system as the Universe itself.

Ergo, it’s meaningless to ask if your putative “god”, whether or not it created the Universe, might have been content with emptiness. There was no “emptiness” for it to be content with.

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