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Creation from Nothing

I was just watching a TED talk by Jim Holt, who wrote an imaginary equation: “God + Nothing = Something”. The question in connection with which this equation was formulated is the most fundamental question that a thinking person could ever ask himself: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” The final question, which we may have thoughts about, but which we will never answer.

But, as I pondered this, I suddenly became enlightened: because Nothing, is the Nothing, it not only has no matter and energy, but also has no information, no laws, no numbers, no mathematics, there is no possibility that anything from it, which different from nothing, can ever be created.

And to make it even more interesting, Nothing does not even possess the property of existence, so this question is not good: “Why is Something rather than Nothing?” Only something can exist, nothing cannot! The question is thus correct: “Why is there anything?” or “Why is there anything at all?”. Even the assumption that “There is Nothing” is false. Nothing inherently does not exist, nor can it exist. We cannot make a positive statement about Nothing, because any such statement would treat Nothing as existing, and Nothing does not exist. We can continue along this line of thought: we cannot formulate any statement about Nothing, not even this statement, which I was forced to write down.

The only way we can talk about Nothing is to be silent.

Since we cannot talk about Nothing, only Something can be the focus of our investigations, because we can make both positive and negative statements about it: “Something exists.”, “There is no such thing as Something.” With this last sentence, we almost showed how it is possible to somehow formulate a statement about Nothing, but this is also not a correct statement, since Something that does not exist is actually Nothing! Thus, we once again asserted something about Nothing, and we cannot do this, as we established before.

After that, once we have realized that Nothing does not exist, our equation takes the following form: “God = Something”. So Creation did not start from Nothing, God created our world from Himself. I don’t even understand how the idea of creation from nothing could even arise, since even the Bible clearly states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” There is no question here of creation from nothing, rather separation and shaping is what took place: chaos was shaped into order by inputting information from the Creator, the first representatives of this order were the sky and the earth. The Creator has always been in possession of the information, in other words the Logos, the Word, has always been with him (the Gospel of John is also clear about this). That is why creation was possible with the word: “Let there be light.” This is the projection and imposition of information onto chaos. This is Creation itself.

For many people, the above explanation is not acceptable, there are those who call the idea of Creation or Intelligent Design ridiculous, outdated, and nonsense. They are the atheists who have not yet been able to come up with an explanation that is acceptable to everyone, yet they are arrogant and self-confident when they declare about creation from nothing. Let’s be clear, neither the idea of Creation nor the theory of spontaneous creation from nothing is a scientific explanation, neither stronger nor weaker than the other. The scientific method derives statements from known elements, with assumptions and proofs, which can be verified experimentally, and in the best case, it also comes up with predictions that can later be verified by new measurements. Creation, or creation from nothing, cannot be verified experimentally, and we have no starting assumptions, at least assumptions that everyone could accept. So we have nothing to start from, and we can’t verify either, so I don’t call the teaching of Creation science, nor the theory of creation from nothing in modern physics.

Both the religious and the atheistic part of humanity would do better to accept this and not try to ostensibly move the debate into scientific territory, for creation from nothing, by its very nature cannot be handled by scientific methods. We must see that we all live in the same world, and that we all row in the same boat, and face the same difficulties, when it comes to explaining origins. Here, force, or even violence, impatience, incomprehension of the other camp, authoritarianism and orthodoxy lead nowhere. Unfortunately, the offenses listed here are committed by both fervent religious and fervent atheist thinkers, we are all at the forefront of mistrust and misunderstanding of the other.

What is left for us then? Clear thinking, but it’s not probative. We need to know that we can only produce theories with different probabilities and varying degrees of acceptance regarding the origin of the world, but their general acceptance can always be based on faith. Belief in Intelligent Design is the same belief as atheists’ belief in creation from nothing. We cannot decide between faith and belief with reason.

However, there is a very interesting question that believers and atheists alike can think about and debate with each other, and which may even have an acceptable result for everyone. This question is about the nature and role of Mathematics in the creation and functioning of the world. I wrote it with a capital letter on purpose, as a proper noun, because now it is not included as a field of science, but as a Platonic idea that exists independently of everything.

When we think about whether there was something that existed before the creation of the world, we think about things of a material nature. Naturally, the believers do not understand the existence of God in this, they think of him as existing from eternity. For now, we can’t do anything with time either, we can also imagine a world created together with time, but it doesn’t lead to any contradictions if we accept that time could have existed before the beginning of the Universe. Whether infinite time could have passed until the present moment deserves a separate discussion, but it is certainly conceivable that time could have existed before the creation of the Universe, even if it does not extend infinitely into the past.

God and time can therefore stand as independent entities from the other components of the Universe. But what about Mathematics? Can there be Mathematics independent of the Universe?

When scientists talk about the Multiverse, an endless series of universes, about worlds in which laws are different, matter is different, life is different, they never mention Mathematics. I have never read or heard about something like that the Mathematics is different in some worlds of the Multiverse. Why? Because we can easily imagine multidimensional worlds in which the law of gravity is different, or in which there are interactions of a completely different number and quality, we can even consider completely empty worlds acceptable, but we have not yet tried one thing: to imagine a different Mathematics. It seems that everything that one “discovers” in Mathematics was somehow already a part of our world before, and it was not an exception that previously seemingly useless mathematical tool later turned out to be excellently used by theoretical physics for its own purposes. Even non-Euclidean geometry is part of our world, at least of the Mathematics that exists in our world. So it looks like we can’t imagine a color we haven’t seen before, in the same way we can’t invent mathematics that is different from ours. We are nothing more than explorers wandering in the infinite landscapes of Mathematics.

And what is even more surprising: we can easily imagine Mathematics without the material world! Of course, we could say to this: but if there is no one in whose mind Mathematics can “live”, then how could it actually exist? The truth is that it is enough if one is an idealist and can already imagine Mathematics independent of all material existence.

And we have already received the components of the world: God (Information, Logos, Word), Time, Consciousness, Matter (mass, length, charge, …?), and Mathematics. Four of them could already have existed before the currently known Universe, so the creation actually “only” affects Matter.

To see why Mathematics can stand on its own feet without anything else, it is enough to look at the foundation of number theory starting from the empty set. The empty set is a rather interesting “something”. It is and it is not at the same time. It exists and does not exist at the same time. In addition, there is a potential hidden in it, from which the natural numbers emerge, and from them the entire Mathematics emerges.

If we really want to talk about creation from Nothing, then there is no better example than Mathematics. It is born from the empty set and is infinite both in terms of its elements and its statements, it is inexhaustible and cannot be limited by its own tool, logic, escapes any effort to understand it. Timeless and infinite, it will always contain unverifiable true statements, and we will never be able to prove that it is without contradictions and is complete.

If anything can be really close, it’s God and Mathematics.

We could say that everything that has been discussed so far is completely unnecessary, even meaningless. I think differently, I call all this philosophy, which delights and amuses, sometimes brings you closer to enlightenment, and it is certainly interesting in that you write things that you think at the moment of writing, in this way this activity is completely analogous to creating from nothing. Everything I’m writing about Creation right now is Creation itself. It’s like Escher’s two hands drawing each other as they create each other from Nothing. And that makes you cringe a little. That’s why it’s good to write such things.

But to end with a concrete argument: I would also like to speak briefly about the theory of creation, which is the most popular among atheist scientists today. They present this as a theory of creation from nothing, then they bring up the quantum vacuum and the indeterminacy relation, zero-point energy and virtual particles, and they can continue to consistently talk about creation from nothing, of course without seeing that they did not actually start from nothing, and without providing any verifiable evidence (we have seen that such cannot exist, but atheists are deeply silent about this). This nothingness therefore consists of the following components: time, vacuum (which is not empty), physical laws (indeterminacy relation), mathematics (this is necessary for physics), and wonder. This is necessary for such a virtual bubble to pop out of the vacuum, which does not disappear immediately, but begins to inflate and creates the Universe we know today. Not out of nowhere, I can’t emphasize this enough!

Whether we are from nothing or not, we live here in this world anyway, we are able to think even about abstract concepts like Nothing or Something.

Today, the world again has become somewhat more, information is formed from words, thoughts, which all contribute to the increase in complexity.

Who knows, maybe we are nothing more than the tools of Something, with which we “draw out” the world from Nothing…

Nyíregyháza, June 11, 2018 – July 1, 2018.

English translation: November 8, 2023.

Is the World Endless

I wonder what we can learn about this, probably one of the most fundamental questions facing humanity, if we just use our common sense and call on just a few basic, everyday experiences?

First, we need to clarify in what sense we are examining the infinity of the world. As a first approximation, and this will probably be sufficient, we can consider three types of infinity. Infinity in space, time and events. The latter perhaps needs some further explanation, by historical infinity I mean the number of states of the world, i.e. the inexhaustibility of the world’s phase space, i.e. whether the same thing can happen in the same way again. We will talk more about this later. Of course, the three infinities mentioned are related to each other, as we will see.

Perhaps the simplest is the issue of temporal infinity, and it can certainly be surprising. I myself never thought how simple this question could be handled, until I read the thoughts of an ancient Greek philosopher (I don’t remember who this brilliant philosopher was, only the clarity and simplicity of the thought caught my attention right away). He thought that the world’s past could not be infinite, because infinite time simply could not have passed until the present moment. Infinity is a possibility. If we start counting from one up, it is easy to imagine that we can continue counting to infinity, but we will never reach the last number. Infinity is therefore a possibility that will never be realized, therefore it is infinite. If time is infinite in the past, it is, on the other hand, an embodied infinity, an infinity of which we grasp one end, but the other end is not just a possibility, as in the case of numbers, but a realized infinity. And for this we think that it cannot exist. In fact, the problem with all three infinities is that one can only deal with objects in one’s thoughts that have some kind of equivalent in reality. And infinity is not like that. We have no experience of infinity, we can imagine the possible infinity, but not the actual infinity. Everything in our life has a beginning and an end, but these things with a beginning and an end follow each other in time, seemingly without end, but for us it is a possible infinity and not an actual, experiential infinity, since with our mind being finite in temporal and spatial sense, as well as finite in complexity, we cannot experience infinity.

But I have to admit, now that I’ve tried to explain why it’s clear that infinite time couldn’t have passed until now, I really feel I can’t. I feel it’s simply obvious, but I can’t give a completely exact argument for it. Fortunately, we can list physical arguments against temporal infinity. It looks very much like the Universe is developing in one direction, from hydrogen to helium, from that to carbon and oxygen, and the line ends with iron. Iron is the end of the fusion life of stars, even heavier elements can be created in a supernova explosion, but the fusion era of the Universe will end sooner or later, this requires a finite amount of time, so if the Universe is infinitely old, then there would be no more stars. The world would be filled with black holes, in thermodynamic equilibrium, in the state of heat death, and would actually be in this state for an infinite time, since compared to its infinite past, the finite star age would actually be a flash of time. This is also the problem with the infinite past, that compared to it, any finite duration is actually as if it never happened, compared to infinite time, any finite time shrinks to zero duration.

So let’s accept that the world had a beginning. Unfortunately, we are not helped by this either, because we have no experience of what it is like when nothing exists and the world suddenly pops out of nowhere. Our everyday experiences all show that every consequence has a root cause that precedes it, so we can’t do anything with the image of the world that appears out of nowhere without a cause.

It can therefore be concluded that the more likely answer is that the world has a beginning and is not infinitely old, but we humans cannot be satisfied with this answer either. It can be safely stated that we can have thoughts and opinions about the temporal infinity of the world, but no real reassuring answer to the question can be given.

In fact, we can get to the same point in relation to spatial infinity, the likely answer to this is that the world is not infinite in space, but we cannot be satisfied with this answer either, since we have no experience of what it is like to reach the end of the world and there is no more to go, even though there is nothing to prevent us from doing so. We could accept only one imaginable finite world as it is: in a finite but limitless world, we can never reach the edge of nowhere, on the other hand, if we start in one direction, sooner or later we will return to our starting point without turning around. Although this is very strange, it is conceivable and acceptable. This spatial world is incompatible with temporal infinity, because, for example, the gravitational effect of the mass in it circles the world endlessly, in the same way photons also circle endlessly, which would result in a world multiplying itself infinitely.

Regarding the spatial and temporal infinity of the world, there is a very ancient experience that precludes the world from being infinite both in space and time, and this is none other than the dark night sky. And although our ancestors have always lived under such a dark sky ever since they became conscious as humans, it took a doctor named Olbers to think about this simple fact and to draw far-reaching conclusions from it. If there are an infinite number of stars in space, then no matter which direction we look in the sky, sooner or later our eyes will come across a star. Dust and gas nebulae can hide stars for a while, but what absorbs light sooner or later emits that light, so this cannot cause the darkness of the sky. The world is therefore certainly finite either in space or in time, or if it is infinite in space and time, it cannot contain an infinite number of stars, so the infinite space beyond a limit is already completely empty. At least we can state this much with absolute certainty.

Finally, let’s look at the issue of infinity in events. This is a very important question, because there is a popular misconception that in an infinite universe everything can happen, even an infinite number of times, in other words, there can be an infinite number of copies of us, in an infinite variety of environments, one of us is currently writing Chinese, and the other of us he lives in a Hungary whose borders are washed by three seas. However, the fact that the world is infinite – we have seen that it is probably not – does not mean that all kinds of events take place in it in an infinite number of ways. It is also possible to imagine an infinite world in which only Earth has life, all the other, infinite number of planets are lifeless. And not only is there not an infinite number of human histories, but there is only one, the one that takes place here on this one Earth. Infinite space and time does not necessarily mean infinite variety, although this may provide the basic idea of many sci-fi books or movies, but it is not necessarily true, an infinite world can also be infinitely simple and bleak also.

However, the repetition of events can raise another interesting question, and that is the theme of eternal return, if the Universe reaches a state identical to its previous state, does this mean that everything will repeat itself from then on? If the world is deterministic, then yes. However, many signs point to the fact that quantum mechanics is the guarantee that the world is not deterministic, so the repetition of a previous state does not mean that the entire sequence of events will take place again, as this would result in a Universe that repeats its fate endlessly. According to our current knowledge, the Schrödinger equation, which describes the behavior of the micro world, is not deterministically responsible for the production of measurable macro states, so different outcomes of the same events are possible.

The infinity in events raises another question, which is related to another aspect of infinity, namely the problem of infinite divisibility. If time and space are infinitely divisible, this may raise problems at least as serious as the infinite extent of space and time. Perhaps it is no coincidence that energy cannot be divided into arbitrarily small portions, perhaps the same situation with space and time, it is not continuous, but quantum. Such a world, if it is not infinite in either space or time, and now it seems very likely, it results in a finite state space, i.e. the finitude of events is also ensured, i.e. the Universe can repeat its previous states. It follows from indeterminacy that if you step into the same river once, you will not go through your own fate over and over again, but it is still possible that the same states will repeat themselves over and over again, if not in the same order, i.e. it is possible , that the complexity of the Universe is finite.

Is this world of finite complexity capable of take all of its states, or does it only repeat a small subset of them over and over again, even if the individual events follow each other in different orders?

And is the event when a conscious mind suddenly understands the functioning of the Universe part of the event field of the Universe? Or is this exceptional event part of a subset that the Universe state vector never reaches?

February 2, 2013

English translation: November 7, 2023