Is a Creator necessary for the universe to begin?
Table of Contents for this "Scientific Knowledge is Power" Hub Series
- Does The Big Bang Theory Require Magic?
- Does Abiogenesis Require Magic?
What is nothing?
Well, before we can explain how the universe can come from nothing, we must first define what "nothing" truly is. If you enter an empty room and are asked what is in the room, you would likely respond with "nothing." This is because your eyes are not capable of detecting anything present in the room. However, your basic knowledge and understanding of modern Biology/Chemistry would remind you that there are air particles and microbes also present in the room, despite the fact you cannot observe them with the naked eye. This same situation occurs when laypeople are asked about empty space. Modern Physics tells us that empty space is never truly "empty" at the quantum (atomic/subatomic) level due to the phenomenon of quantum fluctuation.
A Quantum Fluctuation
What are quantum fluctuations?
Quantum fluctuations describe how it is possible for the energy at any point in space to momentarily change (such as the amount of charge an electron appears to possess). This implies that a particle-antiparticle pair of energetic particles can spontaneously appear in empty space. This pair of spontaneous particles often collides quickly after spawning, again forming nothing. Quantum fluctuations are permitted to occur due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which states that it is not possible to determine both the position and the momentum (velocity times mass) of a particle at any one time. Other than just offering an explanation for how empty space isn't truly "empty," quantum fluctuations can also be applied to our understanding of black holes.
Black Hole Anatomy
An Example of Hawking Radiation
The Relevance of Black Holes
Black holes represent an abomination in nature where gravity has gone awry. These are commonly formed when a very large star reaches the end of its life (after it has used up most of its hydrogen fuel and much of the core has turned to iron) and undergoes gravitational collapse. This collapse induces a supernova (a massive explosion that expels much of the outer star material) and the creation of a singularity from the remaining material. A singularity is a place in spacetime that appears to possess infinite density and is where the known laws of nature begin to break down due to our lack of understanding gravity at the quantum level.
A singularity has such a strong gravitational pull that any matter or energy coming within a certain range of it is inexorably drawn into the singularity. The outer limit for the range of this "point of no return" is referred to as the event horizon. These things result in the appearance of a "black hole" in the space surrounding the singularity (to the outer edge of the event horizon), where even light cannot escape. Black holes are occasionally surrounded by a bright accretion disk, consisting of the material the black hole is actively "feeding upon" (with some of the matter spiraling down into the event horizon slowly over time and the rest of the matter being carried away from the black hole in polar, relativistic jets).
Quantum fluctuations occurring just outside of the event horizon result in the black hole simultaneously shrinking and emitting radiation (known as Hawking radiation). This is because the particle that appears is capable of breaking free of the black hole's gravity (in the form of radiation), but the anti-particle is incapable of doing so and is consequently pulled into the event horizon, thus binding with a particle in the singularity and decreasing the mass of the black hole. This phenomenon partially explains why micro black holes are unstable and quickly evaporate (die). So, contrary to popular belief, there is nothing to fear from any micro black holes that might be created in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Black holes were actually the initial inspiration for attaining solid evidence supporting the Big Bang Theory, The same basic concepts and mathematical equations used to explain black holes (how everything can "disappear" down into a singularity) were simply reversed (by Stephen Hawking) to explain the Big Bang (how everything can "appear" from a singularity).
Universe Inflation and Expansion
Black Holes Share Similarities with the Big Bang
How can the whole universe come from nothing on its own?
Now that we've established you can get particles from nothing, we have to explain how things scaled up in size from there. I'm going to focus on the theory of inflation in this discussion, as it is commonly the most accepted theory. The early universe is hypothesized to have been a singularity smaller than the size of a proton (although still a subject of debate, it was likely a product of the quantum fluctuations mentioned earlier). Inflation describes how this singularity can, by random chance, expand to a great size (by a factor of ~10^78; approximately 10 to the 78th power) in a very short time (~10^-32 seconds; approximately 10 to the negative 32nd power).
This was a self-perpetuating process that led to the expansion of the universe beyond the quantum realm and has since slowed down drastically (as the universe is still expanding). Typically, people refer to this initial rapid expansion as "inflation of the universe" and the slow expansion that is still ongoing as "expansion of the universe." Keep in mind that either of these expansion processes can be thought of as a balloon inflating/stretching, as opposed to the universe simply "leaking" into the empty space around it. This means that during expansion processes, all points on the "balloon" become farther apart (unless gravity/momentum is directing the action, otherwise).
Universal expansion can be thought of as a form of increasing entropy (disorder), which follows the known laws of physics. Although the exact mechanism driving inflation is poorly understood, scientists have determined that the chances of inflation occurring at random (to create the known universe) are greater than zero. This means that the random creation of a universe is inevitable, thus supporting the hypothesis that other universes outside of our own may also exist. If one totals up all of the energy/matter and space in our universe, it is found to equal zero. So, the law of conservation of energy still holds true, despite the fact the way the energy is distributed makes it appear otherwise.
Couldn't the Big Bang just be a result of Divine influence?
According to the Hartle-Hawking State, the universe technically had no beginning in space or time, as the concepts of space and time are macroscopic properties (larger than the quantum realm) that did not exist until after the universe formed. This means that the universe could have arisen from quantum fluctuations and randomly expanded via the process of inflation. It is only after this period of inflation that time/space began and the four fundamental forces in the universe formed: the electromagnetic force (encompassing the electric and magnetic fields; also known as the Lorentz force), the gravitational force, and the weak (responsible for radioactive decay) and strong (responsible for binding quarks to form protons and neutrons, as well as binding protons to neutrons) nuclear forces.
Therefore, no time existed for a Creator to create anything. Magic was not required for the universe to simply "pop" into existence via the Big Bang. If you would like to learn more about the Big Bang Theory, please see the Amazon links below for some useful book resources.
Strength of Religious Faith Poll
This hub is intended to educate people ranging from experts to laymen about the Big Bang Theory from a practical perspective. This information contains generalizations and by no means encompasses all exceptions to the most common "rules" presented here. This information comes from my personal experience/knowledge as well as various primary (journal articles) and secondary (books) literature sources (and can be made available upon request). All pictures, unless specifically noted otherwise, are my property and may not be used in any form, to any degree, without my express permission (please send email inquiries to email@example.com).
I wholly believe feedback can be a useful tool for helping make the world a better place, so I welcome any (positive or negative) that you might feel compelled to offer. As far as leaving feedback is concerned, please mention in your positive comments what you thought was done well, and mention in your negative comments how the article can be altered to better suit your needs/expectations. Thank you for reading!
© 2012 Christopher Rex
Tony on February 02, 2020:
I noted that nobody had been bothered to comment on your stupidity for four years.
I am curious to know whether you've since come to life, or whether indeed you were ever alive at all.
Maybe you were just asleep.
Tony on February 02, 2020:
Another blind man leading the blind.
In this instance, the blind man is also a halfwit.
That makes you eligible for the Gutter Monkey's celebrity atheist club.
It seems that, as with most halfwits, you are unable to distinguish between an obviously created universe that requires a creator, and the hijacked use of the word "god" by every mutually exclusive religious organisation, the world has ever known.
CGBG on November 07, 2015:
So basically what is being said here is that space is like the empty room. Although it appears to be empty, it really isn't. Correct?
If space appears empty and really isn't and what fills this space is particles and anti particles..........where did the the initial particles and principles that govern the particles come from?
You see this can go on and on and on down to some infinite micro description that will still not be answering anything only offering beliefs and descriptions which sound like a religion to me.
I will go with God in my short life Amen
Christopher Rex (author) from Durham, NC on June 22, 2015:
Sure thing, James C LeMaster! The only thing I ask is that my name is credited as the image’s author. Thanks for reading! Out of curiosity, what topic were you going to use the image for? I’ve just updated the image to emphasize the back-and-forth nature of such quantum fluctuations to help further understanding, so thanks for bringing it back to my attention!
James C LeMaster on June 20, 2015:
I found the image above where nothing splits into two "somethings" (matter and anti-matter) the best and simplest graphic representation of this theory that I have been able to find on the internet. May I use it for a power point at my church? I lead teenagers and straightforward graphic images are a great help instead of just talking about abstract ideas in words. This would be a great help to me.
Noraida on December 29, 2014:
It depends on the level we are tailkng about. People like Stephen Hawking even think Einstein's Theory of Relativity can be improved upon because it is an approximation and does not meet the observations exactly. There are still questions about the differences between quantum physics and relativity. There are still things in the quantum world that remains mysterious such as entanglement. There are new species being discovered all the time which open a new light into the time period of evolutionary occurrences. And so on. I wouldn't label any of these total failures. More of a narrowing down to the truth.
Insane Mundane from Earth on September 19, 2012:
What's your thoughts on the space-time continuum, space-time distortion and/or do you think space has the ability to curve?
If the big bang created this universe in that particular way, why is the expansion speeding up?
Do you think that dark energy is acting like anti-gravity?
Concerning the multiverse theory, what do you think happens when two universes collide?
If you believe in multiple universes, would it be similar to comparing each universe to an atom featuring mostly empty space?
Massive amounts of matter coming from a proton-sized space, still sounds magical to me; ha!
Christopher Rex (author) from Durham, NC on September 04, 2012:
Well, I’m sorry you feel that some my statements are overly wordy. I have been forced to do that because it is apparent that my “terse and succinct” statements are not well understood by laymen such as you. For example, I find it funny how even though we’ve already briefly discussed the differences between Science, Philosophy, and Religion, you still appear to be having difficulties distinguishing them. That is truly disappointing.
You saying, "As for the madness, I must have studied different types of sciences, but to each their own," was not solely responsible for me bringing up your scientific background. I was simply waiting for an opportune moment to bring it up and that was it. A portion of your very first comment, “In all honesty, I detest this theory of nothingness,” made me begin to question your background, as that was a remark I’d expect from a layman.
Actually, I’m sure I nailed the point about the names and titles thing pretty well. As you seem to lack any names/titles (and detest them greatly), allow me to inform you of the utility in having them. If they represented something that existed purely on paper, then yes, I would agree with you that they held little bearing on anything in the world. This is not, however, the case. People go through the process of acquiring those credentials because, believe it or not, it actually does help expand their knowledge/skill set while honing their abilities in that respective field. Going back to your example, you might be a Chef capable of creating an awesome, tasty cuisine for 10 people, certainly! A degree in Culinary Arts would not only make you an even better cook (with respect to quality and variety), but also teach you how to cook for 200 people in an industrial kitchen while commanding a large staff of other cooks and assistants. Couldn’t you learn all that through experience? Yes, it is possible, but not in such a condensed timeframe (4 years in school could be equivalent to 10 years or more of real-world experience as far as your base of knowledge is concerned). So, just imagine all the things you could actually do, prove, and create with your godly powers being further magnified by possessing a physical name/title! You would be unstoppable!
You also appear to believe that intuition and imagination are somehow at odds with knowledge. They are not opposite ends of the spectrum, as it is possible to have it all. It just takes effort and practice, things that you don’t seem to put enough stock in (you were apparently born awesome and refuse to change or improve otherwise). Although I would agree with you that intelligence and awareness are more important than knowledge, it does not excuse your ignorance on a topic which you claim to be proficient in. I never stated that your opinions were “unworthy” of being posted here due to your lack of a scientific background. You extrapolated that all by yourself since you are self-conscious about such things. I simply said that you possess some misconceptions about Science and fail to understand some of its finer aspects. Like I stated before, just because Science hasn’t discovered the answer to every question, doesn’t mean that you should remain ignorant of current scientific understandings. You must first possess a good deal of raw knowledge before knowing what avenues of research have yet to be explored. Otherwise, you are doomed to prove things that have already been proven and create things that have already been created. Ignorance has the potential to nullify any degree of intelligence/intuition.
Contrary to what you stated, it is actually the people who understand the fine details of life that can truly learn to appreciate the big picture. Paraphrasing Carl Sagan, think about it this way: how can you fully comprehend the beauty of life if you don’t realize that we are all made out of atoms that were formed in the death of a star?
Insane Mundane from Earth on August 26, 2012:
Have you ever heard of the terms "the superfluity of verbiage?"
It would really be nice if you were more terse and succinct, but wait a minute, you already said you wasn't a writer...
No, you botched that all up, as that is not what happened. It all started when I said the following: "As for the madness, I must have studied different types of sciences, but to each their own."
You also missed the point about the names & titles example, that I gave, which doesn't surprise me.
Dang, it sounds like we disagree from opposite ends of the spectrum or something.
Look here, I'd love to play the idiot, ignorant, insane role, as I'd be glad for you to educate me... The title of this Hub is "Does the Big bang Theory require Magic?"
I told you what I thought, but you insist that I must not be science-worthy because I don't agree with such.
Do you remember when I said: "I have plenty of background, especially under mathematics and science, except I'm the reject of the bunch because I'm not an atheist, albeit I'm not into organized religions, either. I think things would move much more smoother, if people wouldn't view science as a religion (without separation), and vice versa. Oh, hell, didn't Einstein have an old saying stating: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
Does any of that make sense now?
I know, I was thinking about it a few moments ago, that the ones looking through the tiny scope will never understand the ones who take things in from a whole.
Hell, I'm about ready to just throw my hands up and ask you what 2 + 2 is, because I have met people that play with integers so much, that they no longer believe it is 4.
Why do you ask or say that I have no excuse to be ignorant of science, when science is often ignorant of its own science?
You left this subject a while back, as I was commenting on your Big Bang Theory Hub and I said a couple of things that made me seem against your science religion (or science hater, as they call it now), and the bottom fell out of our conversation.
If you want to be mighty brain, then realize that intuition and imagination is way more powerful than acquired book smarts (trivial baloney, useless tidbits, etc.) or else nothing would ever get invented!
Basically, in a thumbnail, I detest the use of names & titles and would rather skip over all of that, and lets see what we know or can actually do, prove, create, etc.
I suppose I need a degree in culinary arts to make an awesome, tasty cuisine, as well? LOL!
Lets get with the program and be more germane, for starters... On the other hand, if you just like arguing with me, well, I have several blogs we can meet at, including other websites, but here is fine if that's okay with you...
Christopher Rex (author) from Durham, NC on August 26, 2012:
The questions and examples that I utilize are my efforts to educate you on topics that you appear to be deficient in and to encourage some level of constructive thought/conversation. I apologize if they appear elementary, as I am a mere disseminator of information, not a creative writer.