God, Nothing and the Beginning of the Universe

Is an invocation of God necessary to explain the universe’s existence? Have scientists already found the answer to the nature of the beginning of the universe?

Let us deal with the religious god first, before moving onto a deistic god.

Does it not raise the slightest suspicion that a version of God has been fabricated time after time leading to a great number of conflicting and contradictory ideas, known as religions?

There are those who say that none of these religions are true, but there are also those who say that all of the religions are correct about at least one thing: there is a God. The former, I submit, are completely rational in saying that none of these religions are true, and the latter can be quickly dismissed if you look at the reasons that religion came about from a psychological or anthropological standpoint, which I shall not go into here. 

With that in mind, as well as other reasons not to believe in the metaphysical claims of religion, we can dismiss the theistic god and move onto a broader definition of god. This includes the deist god. Believers in a deist god may simply be astonished by the universe’s very existence, and think that there must have been some cause as to why the universe exists. Well, in response to these people, science yet again has many plausible ideas when it comes to how the universe came into existence – none of these explanations require a supernatural entity. 

For instance, take Professor Lawrence Krauss’s hypothesis of a universe from nothing, which basically states that our kind of universe was an inevitable result of the laws of quantum mechanics. This is over-simplifying it, but it shall suffice for now. If one has been intelligent and insightful enough to have got as far as asking the question ‘Why/How does the universe exist?’, then one invariably, after hearing scientific explanations, asks where the laws of physics came from. The same could apply to Stephen Hawking’s no boundary proposal.

Well, I had an idea – cosmic natural selection. This could apply to universes, but also to the laws of physics. What if, similar to evolution by natural selection, laws of physics ‘died’ out if they did not have good characteristics, such as producing a universe to operate within.

In the end, this too seems like an unsatisfactory explanation, for people would then want to know WHY there is anything for this cosmic natural selection to choose from in the first place. So, why these laws rather than any other:

1. We could invoke the strong anthropic principle along with the multiverse, and insist that there are different universes with different laws of physics. Well then, where did the multiverse come from? It may be eternal.

2. Perhaps these laws, including the laws of quantum mechanics, simply had to be. They may be eternal.

3. Or, we could recognise that the laws of physics are simply human constructs designed to  describe nature. Perhaps things just happened in this particular way and, as a consequence, we’re here to describe ‘this particular way’. Recall that Heisenberg demonstrated that things are very uncertain, so perhaps ‘this particular way’ was just random and indeterministic.

In any case, physics is most certainly not finished working on the question of the beginning of the universe. Physicists haven’t managed to get a Theory of Everything yet, which brings me to my next point.

One could always invoke a deistic god, but this deistic god would still be unfalsifiable. And what does the falsification principle tell us to do with unfalsifiable claims? Dismiss them. Furthermore, as Isaac Asimov said, ‘to surrender to ignorance and call it god has always been premature, and it remains premature today’. To invoke a deist god would be intellectually lazy, and what good would it do? It’s the equivalent of saying ‘I don’t know’. Moreover, it wouldn’t affect your life in the slightest, for it’s highly unlikely that an Aristotelian-like Prime Mover would care about whether you prayed to him, what days you prayed to him on, which foods you eat, who you look at (Jesus could commit you of facecrime, as described in the New Testament), and what you think. 

In conclusion, we should be patient and wait for the verdict of science, if there is ever going to be a verdict. Even if there isn’t, it doesn’t mean we should use a deist god to explain the universe, never mind a theist god.