Thursday, 23 August 2007

Ex nihilo

There's a common-sense aspect to the notion that everything was created out of nothing. After all, when we look as the universe we see that it is mostly nothing, vacuum, emptiness, barrenness (if the sun were scaled down to the size of a golfball the earth would be a speck of dust smaller than the dots in this sentence a few metres away ... and the nearest star would be hundreds of kilometers further off). In other words, the somethingness of the cosmos is a kind of thin crust over a vast cauldron of nothingness. It might be better, rather than saying (for instance) God created the universe out of nothing, to say 'God scratched the edge of nothingness with a sparse culture of something'. Or it might be better to ask: 'If God created something out of nothing, then why did he do such an incomplete job?'

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