Nothing....Absolutely Nothing


#1

Things exist. If it exists, then it is something.
Something cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.
Either it is (it exists) or it is not (it does not exist). Something cannot come from nothing.

“Nothing” does not exist…in fact, it cannot exist.
Because if it existed, then it would be something.
Non-existence cannot itself exist.

But what about space? A gap…a hole? The void between stars…between galaxies?
The distance between the electrons and the nucleus of the atom?
What about a vacuum? Is that something in itself…or is it a lack of something?
What does a blind person see? What does a deaf person hear?

And what about before creation? What existed before the universe began? (Is that even a valid question?) We say that God created ex nihilo…out of nothing. And we say that as if “nothing” is in fact something that did exist before creation.

Just by the simple fact that we have given it a name, aren’t we in fact making “nothing” into something? Aren’t we attemping to give meaning to something which, by its own very definition, can have no meaning…something which, by its own very definition, can have no definition at all? So wouldn’t that imply that the “nothing” which you’re trying so hard to think about right now is, in fact, something…regardless of whether or not it actually exists?

This whole concept is really driving me crazy. Any help here would be appreciated. :confused:


#2

Actually the space between stars and galaxies is filled with gas, metals and light/energy. Even in the most perfect vacuum you still have spacetime and energy in one form or another which can form particles - thus creating something. I suppose (not being blind or deaf myself) that a blind person sees a darkness, and a deaf person silence.

And what about before creation? What existed before the universe began? (Is that even a valid question?) We say that God created ex nihilo…out of nothing. And we say that as if “nothing” is in fact something that did exist before creation.

Just by the simple fact that we have given it a name, aren’t we in fact making “nothing” into something? Aren’t we attemping to give meaning to something which, by its own very definition, can have no meaning…something which, by its own very definition, can have no definition at all? So wouldn’t that imply that the “nothing” which you’re trying so hard to think about right now is, in fact, something…regardless of whether or not it actually exists?

This whole concept is really driving me crazy. Any help here would be appreciated. :confused:

Personally I consider ex nihilo to mean before spacetime - which I simply cannot imagine being a creature of spacetime and not God. Any visual I get is as imperfect as my visual of God himself. Occasionally thoughts like this come into my head…I just try not to let it bother me and think about something I can comprehend :thumbsup:


#3

My thought along this line simply states that if there is “nothing” after this life, then the word “nothing” is grossly inadequate to describe it.


#4

Too much Jedi/Hindu musings injested that one has.

No, merely because we have the word “nothing” does not imply that nothing is something. Fr’instance, The word “meaningless” describes something that is devoid of meaning.

So, “before” creation, there was no object, thing, substance or anything other than the uncreated God who worked Ex nihilo.

You may now unwrap from your axle.


#5

Wow, man, this is heavy! :confused:


#6

This, however, does not mean the concept of “nothing” can’t exist!

The concept of nothing is something. Even if the object of that concept is ACTUALLY (in act) non-existent.

It can have meaning and a definition: we create each of them!
Here, I’ll define nothing for you:
**Nothing **(nuh-*thing;*noun): the absence of anything.

We are made in Gods image - we can create! We created the concept, and it therefore exists…

This whole concept is really driving me crazy. Any help here would be appreciated. :confused:

Sounds like you have too much time on your hands!

Phil


#7

[quote=Lady Cygnus]Even in the most perfect vacuum you still have spacetime and energy in one form or another which can form particles - thus creating something. I suppose (not being blind or deaf myself) that a blind person sees a darkness, and a deaf person silence.
[/quote]

[quote=JohnPaul0]No, merely because we have the word “nothing” does not imply that nothing is something. Fr’instance, The word “meaningless” describes something that is devoid of meaning.

So, “before” creation, there was no object, thing, substance or anything other than the uncreated God who worked Ex nihilo.
[/quote]

[quote=Philthy]This, however, does not mean the concept of “nothing” can’t exist!

The concept of nothing is something. Even if the object of that concept is ACTUALLY (in act) non-existent.

It can have meaning and a definition: we create each of them!
Here, I’ll define nothing for you:
**Nothing **(nuh-*thing;*noun): the absence of anything.
[/quote]

Alright…I think that made sense. Thanks. :slight_smile:
I really hate it when I start over-analyzing things like that, and it suddenly becomes so difficult to see that the most obvious and simple answer is also probably the most correct one. :o


#8

Space is not nothing. Space may be positively curved, (into a closed sphere), negatively curved, (into an infinite saddle-shape), or flat and infinite, (but not if it contains matter or energy.)

Physicists and cosmologists believe that the presence of matter causes space to curve. As a result, massive objects, such as planets, stars, and galaxies, curve the space around them, forming steep gravity wells.


#9

This reminds me of an item in the spring/summer Contemplative Outreach magazine I read today:

If this makes any sense to you, then I suspect you know about the apophatic tradition of the Church and silent contemplative prayer. :slight_smile:

Alan


#10

What is so apparently obvious yet so altogether is the infinity of space.

I think it hit me in geometry class in high school, something about a line that could be extended infinitely in either direction.

I’m not even concerned with spacetime bending etc. That’s just physics.

People are overwhelmed by the vastness of what they see. I’m overwhelmed by the vastness that is beyond. The universe is expanding, and it is expanding at an every increasing rate (so we think).


#11

[quote=BayCityRickL]What is so apparently obvious yet so altogether is the infinity of space.

I think it hit me in geometry class in high school, something about a line that could be extended infinitely in either direction.

I’m not even concerned with spacetime bending etc. That’s just physics.

People are overwhelmed by the vastness of what they see. I’m overwhelmed by the vastness that is beyond. The universe is expanding, and it is expanding at an every increasing rate (so we think).
[/quote]

You’re very mistaken—space is NOT infinite. I would suggest a little booklet by the physicist and priest FR. Stanley Jaki “Why The Question: Is There A God?” He briefly explains the finiteness of the universe as demonstrated by science. I’m no physicist, but even I was able to understand it!


#12

[quote=Sherlock]You’re very mistaken—space is NOT infinite. I would suggest a little booklet by the physicist and priest FR. Stanley Jaki “Why The Question: Is There A God?” He briefly explains the finiteness of the universe as demonstrated by science. I’m no physicist, but even I was able to understand it!
[/quote]

Then what’s on the other side of the “space boundary?” Isn’t that kinda like “walking off the edge of the earth?”

Seriously though, I know space is still expanding, but I was always curious as to what is on the other side of that line where space “ends”…

Mike


#13

We use the term “infinite” differently when applied to God, than we do when applied to space or material or mathematics. A numerical series of integers, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. . . is an infinite series because you can always add a number to the end; there is never a stopping point. The numerical series of even numbers only, 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. . . is also an infinite series, and is equal to the infinite series of all integers, since each element in the series can be matched up to the other series in a one on one basis.

The infinite series of irrational numbers, such as non-repeating decimals, however, is also an infinity, but it is a *larger * infinity than the above mentioned. Because in any attempted one to one correspondence, you will always end up with an infinite number of irrational numbers left over.

The infinity we apply to God is an infinity of Spirit. Spirit has no parts, and thus there can be no infinite series of pieces, events, or anything else, because God’s infinity consists of completely possessing all of His essence simultaneously in every respect, as His very nature. His existence is his essence.


#14

[quote=masterjedi747]…Something cannot come from nothing…
[/quote]

Actually, something can come from nothing, as long as the corresponding antisomething also comes from nothing. In this way, nothing is conserved.


#15

[quote=maesoph]My thought along this line simply states that if there is “nothing” after this life, then the word “nothing” is grossly inadequate to describe it.
[/quote]

Ah yes! I have so often thought about this. If one ceases to exist after this life as many athiests argue, then who ceases to exist? A person who only existed in the past? Doesn’t this imply the past exists? If the past existS (as opposed to existED) then it would seem a pretty good argument for the concept of eternity.

I was thinking one day about my beloved Grandfather who I adored. He died in 1975 many years ago at age 72. All of his family is now dead. When my brother, sister and I die, it is reasonable to assume nobody on earth will ever think of him again. When all pictures are finally discarded and all thoughts of him are past does this mean he effectively never existed? I’d say not. I’d say anything that ever existED exists. I’m probably doing a terrible job making my point but…it’s my attempt of understanding eternity.

So John Doe dies, does John Doe cease to exist? Who is John Doe, a figment of our imagination? If the athiest is correct the phrase, “John Doe ceases to exist” is meaningless babble. Unless the athiest believes the past exists, which would imply he must hold a certain concept of eternity.

Now it’s my turn to ceease babbling :slight_smile:


#16

[quote=Joseph Bilodeau]Actually, something can come from nothing, as long as the corresponding antisomething also comes from nothing. In this way, nothing is conserved.
[/quote]

^…You want to run that by me one more time? It doesn’t work like that. :confused:
So what caused the something and anti-something to come into existence in the first place? Something had to do it. The nothing, the non-existence itself, cannot bring something into existence. So the very fact that something exists now tells us that something has had to exist for all eternity in order to bring the current something into existence.Thus, nothing never has existed, and never will…and really, it never can.

I can’t believe I just said that… :stuck_out_tongue: Whew!


#17

[quote=masterjedi747]Things exist. If it exists, then it is something.
Something cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.
Either it is (it exists) or it is not (it does not exist). Something cannot come from nothing.

“Nothing” does not exist…in fact, it cannot exist.
Because if it existed, then it would be something.
Non-existence cannot itself exist.
[/quote]

Correct. But the concept of non-existence can exist. but the existence of the concept is not the existence of the thing itself, but rather, an observation.

[quote=masterjedi747]But what about space? A gap…a hole? The void between stars…between galaxies?
The distance between the electrons and the nucleus of the atom?
What about a vacuum? Is that something in itself…or is it a lack of something?
[/quote]

A lack of something. It is a statement about relationship of one thing to another.

[quote=masterjedi747]What does a blind person see? What does a deaf person hear?
[/quote]

That will depend on how you define “seeing” and “hearing”. For example, are we talking about absolute deafness and blindness? Are we talking about someone who was either sighted or hearing at one time and then became completely deaf or blind? If they had heard a Mozart sonata while hearing, and then became completely deaf, is their recall of that music from memory defined as “hearing”, or not?

[quote=masterjedi747]And what about before creation? What existed before the universe began? (Is that even a valid question?) We say that God created ex nihilo…out of nothing. And we say that as if “nothing” is in fact something that did exist before creation.
[/quote]

We believe that God is pure spirit, that God is not a “thing”, but simply “is” (or better, “IS”). “What” did not exist before creation, but “WHO” did.

[quote=masterjedi747]Just by the simple fact that we have given it a name, aren’t we in fact making “nothing” into something? Aren’t we attemping to give meaning to something which, by its own very definition, can have no meaning…something which, by its own very definition, can have no definition at all? So wouldn’t that imply that the “nothing” which you’re trying so hard to think about right now is, in fact, something…regardless of whether or not it actually exists?
[/quote]

You are confusing relationship with a physical thing. “Nothing”, as in “There was nothing between them” is not about a thing betwen the two, but about the two. It is about their relationship with anything else.

[quote=masterjedi747]This whole concept is really driving me crazy. Any help here would be appreciated. :confused:
[/quote]

Relax. Philosophy 101 isn’t as hard as people taking it try to make it.


#18

[quote=otm]Correct. But the concept of non-existence can exist. but the existence of the concept is not the existence of the thing itself, but rather, an observation.
[/quote]

That makes sense. I’m good with that much. :slight_smile:

[quote=otm]That will depend on how you define “seeing” and “hearing”. For example, are we talking about absolute deafness and blindness?
[/quote]

Sure, why not? But then you can’t say that “they see nothing” and “they hear nothing”…because nothing can be neither seen nor heard, since it doesn’t exist. So now how would you best answer the question? Would saying that they “see darkness” and “hear silence”, as suggested earlier, be sufficient? Are “darkness” and “silence” somethings in themself…or are they simlpy a lack of something, namely light and sound?

Can we say that a lack of something is still something?

[quote=otm]A lack of something. It is a statement about relationship of one thing to another.

You are confusing relationship with a physical thing. “Nothing”, as in “There was nothing between them” is not about a thing betwen the two, but about the two. It is about their relationship with anything else.
[/quote]

Could you perhaps explain a little bit more on that?

So you’re saying that space, or a vacuum, would be a lack of something…matter, energy, pressure, etc… How is that different from nothing? Is it that nothing is a lack of anything?

So what if, hypothetically speaking, there was a finite, contained area in the universe that was completely and utterly devoid of both matter and energy? If no identifiable substance of any kind is present there…does it still qualify as a something? What is it? Is it just…space?


#19

So what if, hypothetically speaking, there was a finite, contained area in the universe that was completely and utterly devoid of both matter and energy? If no identifiable substance of any kind is present there…does it still qualify as a something? What is it? Is it just…space?

Space comes from the accidents of distance and position and the like. It is not a substance in and of itself. It is like color, size, etc…it only exists as the abstract product of the accidental relationships between various substances. Space is an “illusion” as it were, created by the relative opposition of the different accidents of place in various substances. It is effected only by various substances having different properties. If one substance has an accident that says “it will take a meter stick to reach that next substance” then the abstract construct of “space” appears between them. This can include effects of curvature etc.

Before creation of what we see as well as the angels, God made Primary Matter. Which is pure passive Potentiality…God himself being pure Act. The potentiality allows things to pass into existence.


#20

No, one does not “hear” silence. “hearing” is a reaction to a sound - the brain ultimately receives signals from the nerves in the ear, which receive physicl stimuli caused by sound waves. So “hearing” means a physical response to something. No “something” (sound waves), no hearing.

I once took my twins to Bend, Oregon, and we walked into a cave, which went quite deep. Eventually we got to a spot where we turned out the light we had; I have never had such an experience. There was no light whatsoever. I did not “see” blackness. I did not see, period.

[quote=masterjedi747]Can we say that a lack of something is still something?
[/quote]

Not as those terms are defined. We may have a concept of a lack of something, but a lack of something menas one has nothing; as the term is understood, it is not a thing but a lack of a thing.

{QUOTE=masterjedi747] you’re saying that space, or a vacuum, would be a lack of something…matter, energy, pressure, etc… How is that different from nothing? Is it that nothing is a lack of anything?Yes.

[quote=masterjedi747]So what if, hypothetically speaking, there was a finite, contained area in the universe that was completely and utterly devoid of both matter and energy? If no identifiable substance of any kind is present there…does it still qualify as a something? What is it? Is it just…space?
[/quote]

You would have defined only the relationship of one of the boundaries (assuming more than one) to the other boundaries; or if there was only one boundary, it’s relationship to itself. The are would qualify as an area, but one could only define it as an area by referring to its boundaries, as there would not be anything else by which to define it. We use the word “space” as a relational term. It has meaning, only in terms of relationship on one thing to another. To talk about space without definging it by relationship to something is not possible meaningfully; the term becomes meaningless.

Have you ever seen an inch? An inch is not part of a ruler; it is defined as a set and accepted relationship between two points.


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