Could there ever be nothing?


#21

You say, “but nothing is something” but what does that mean? I believe that we humans can’t really comprehend nothingness because we live in a world that is filled with the opposite of nothingness. To answer your question, I would say that in a hypothetical universe where God does not exist, then that too, would lead to an incomprehensible hypothetical realm that would defy any possible kind of description.


#22

Sure can be nothing. Nothing in the bank, nothing to live on, no house or apartment…nothing!


#23

Well actually, there are two major views of the fate of the universe, depending upon the Cosmological Constant. If the Cosmological Constant is positive, it means the universe keeps expanding forever, and as it does all matter and energy degrade until there’s nothing but a diffuse subatomic “fog” as the universe reaches towards (though never quite achieves) complete entropy, and the universe will be almost entirely uniform. This is referred to as the Heat Death of the universe.

If, on the other hand, the Cosmological Constant is negative then, eventually, the Universe’s expansion will slow and reverse itself, and everything will end in the Big Crunch.

Since observations indicate the expansion of the Universe is in fact speeding up, it seems most likely that the Universe is moving towards a Heat Death.

There are other possibilities, but until we understand Dark Energy a lot better than we currently do (and thus can explain what exactly happened during the Inflationary Period early in the universe’s history), these are the strongest possibilities thus far.


#24

I like the Big Crunch because it jives nicely with the Bible saying God will destroy the elements of the universe with fire at the end of time.


#25

I too have pondered it, and it’s pondering can be profitable for the soul!
Nothing is not possible. You cannot imagine pure nothing. You may imagine darkness or space, but this is not nothing.
If a true nothing were, then there would not be anything.
But, starting with the main assumption that nothing is impossible:
A)1: Nothing is impossible
C)1: Something must have always been
C)2: The something that necessarily has always been must be necessary, as nothing is impossible, and thus it is a something that must be
A)2: The Universe has not always been, and is contingent
C)3: The Universe is not necessary
C)4: The Universe is contingent
C)5: The necessary something gave rise to a contingent something
The necessary something, therefore, must be always existing and hold agency to give rise to the contingent, ie, choosing from a realm of possibilities.


#26

This argument wins!


#27

The concept of “nothing” is something. So, for there to be nothing, there cannot even be a concept of nothing. How can the inconceivable be conceived of?


#28

Picture1

This statement will be true or false depending on whether “Nothing” refers to the word itself or to the word’s meaning. If the word itself is the referent, the statement is true (because, as we see, there it is, the word “Nothing” written in stone). If the meaning of the word is the referent, the statement is false (because, as we see, something is written in stone).


#29

If atheists are ok to say ‘dark energy is a mystery that cannot be explained’ then it is also ok for religious people to say ‘God is a mystery that cannot be explained’


#30

I know that with God all things are possible and He is omnipotent, but is it possible the one thing that even He cannot do is will Himself out of existence?


#31

The comedian Jim Gaffigan quipped, “Could God microwave a burrito so hot even He couldn’t eat it?” Now depending on your sense of humor… :wink: Anyways we know God cannot do the illogical such as make a round square so He could also not will Himself out of existence as then He would become an illogical contradiction. :disappointed:


#32

Nothing is the absence of something.
Nothingness is the absence of everything.


#33

I guess we could start with the fact that while we don’t know what dark energy is, we do know something caused a rapid inflation of the universe early in its history, so no, it’s not really the same thing. Dark energy just isn’t invented out of thin air, it’s just that scientists have the confidence to say “we know something inflated the early universe very very very quickly, but what it is we have no idea.”


#34

No.

Nothing is nothing.


#35

Not sure if anyone else said this but “nothing” isn’t a “thing” by its very nature, as it literally means no-thing. One of the problems with our current society is that we get so accustomed to using words as standalone entities that we completely lose their original meaning (see: “maybe”, “nothing”, “pedo”, (not to be confused with pedophile), etc) Similar concepts apply to the “number” 0, and evil. Zero is a placeholder used to describe the absence of numbers, similarly to how “evil” is used to describe the absence of good. Thus, there can’t “be” nothing because nothing isn’t anything. Nothing cannot exist because nothing is the absence of existence, so even in a hypothetical situation where everything is somehow erased, “nothing” can only be used to describe the absence of everything, but it wouldn’t actually be the absence itself, as nothing can neither be beheld nor specified, just like no number cannot be counted.

So in short, the answer is “no”, because of God, however the question itself is flawed because it’s incomprehensible to the human mind due to its very nature. In order to properly understand nonexistence, we’d have to transcend existence itself and simply be or not be, then maybe we’d have a better shot at answering this.


#36

Nah… I think I would make a distinction between entities and concepts.

The real impact of this thought experiment is the question “is it possible for God not to exist”?

That’s one that has my head hurting. No, it’s not possible. If God is truly God, then He cannot, by definition, fail to exist.


#37

The concept of God isn’t just invented out of thin air either, so the conclusions doesn’t follow from the facts stated.


#38

I didn’t say it was. But the fact is we know the early universe went through an inflationary period when it became very cold and expanded very rapidly. In other words, there was some sort of energy involved in that inflation; hence Dark Energy. We don’t know what it is, but we know what it did because the telltales are written on later epochs.

That’s not quite the same thing as the concept of a Prime Mover, which to my mind, is based on the assumption that whatever came before the Universe (if that even makes sense) was bound by the same laws of causality that the Universe we can observe is.

I certainly don’t mean this to become an atheism versus theism sort of thing, but some of this touches on my prime reason for being an atheist. It’s not a rejection of God, not some fist shaken to the heavens in defiance of the Almighty, it’s not so I can have wanton orgies and answer to no higher being. It’s largely because no one has yet convinced me that a Prime Mover is even necessary. It could be that such an entity is, but since we know absolutely nothing about the starting conditions of the Universe (if indeed there was a start in any meaningful definition of the concept), I’d put the assertion that God is necessary in a somewhat different epistemological category than Dark Energy.


#39

I suppose. (You realize that you are making the same argument Kant did in opposition to Anselm’s Ontological proof?)


#40

But we know that reductionist forensics always leads to mystery. So the comparison has to be made between your acceptance of materialist process as the end point, and God as the end point (or beginning).

At the very least, the concept of God recognizes the inadequacy of material processes to sum up existence. By contrast, the concept of dark matter, or whatever other material process can be “peeled back”, can never ultimately satisfy the search for truth.
And if you believe (pun intended) that material processes will ultimately satisfy, then at some point you are unavoidably in league with the quote attributed to Charles Duell:

“Everything that has been discovered has been discovered”.
Which is, after all, foolish.

I’m reminded of the wisdom of children who, in the face of explanations, sequentially ask “why” to every explanation.
Human beings are wired to look for God. Or “mystery” if you prefer.


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