Monday, May 7, 2012

The Argument for Nothing

Imagine going into a furniture store in search of the perfect chair for your living room. After browsing awhile, you find one that is indeed perfect. The most comfortable chair you ever sat in. “Who’s the manufacturer?” you ask the salesperson. “No one manufactured it,” is the response.

“What? What do you mean, no one manufactured it?” “Exactly that. It’s amazing. One day we arrived for work and there was that chair in an empty space we’d had on the floor. No one made it. It just happened.”

Or suppose you visit a famous art gallery and a wonderful painting catches your eye. The colors are like nothing you’ve ever seen; the textures and contrasts are extraordinary; the creativity astounds you.

“Who painted this?” you inquire of the curator. “Nobody.” “Huh? What do you mean, nobody?” “I mean that it had no painter. We had a blank space on the wall here, then one day the painting just appeared.”

Nothing more than a cosmic accident?
Of course such conversations seem ridiculous. You couldn’t have a chair, table, car, camera, or article of clothing without someone that made it. Fine art or music, whether they suit your tastes or not, are created by artists, usually with specific purposes in mind.

Engineers, architects and contractors all know whether it’s a building, a bridge, a skyscraper or a house, someone must conceive, design and build it.

And yet we have a whole realm of science – evolution – that insists to the contrary. This incredible, beautiful, complex, intricate, unpredictable yet wonderfully ordered world we live in, they say, is a byproduct of chance. It wasn’t God, or even some kind of intelligent designer, that made it – it just happened, the result of billions of years that followed the so-called “Big Bang.”

Advocates of evolution declare the evidence is indisputable. Really? Where is there evidence, even one example, that something has ever come out of nothing without some cause, some conditions already in existence for making it occur?

Even the wisdom of the musical, “The Sound of Music,” indirectly disputes such an assertion. In the happy song, “Something Good,” there’s the refrain, “Nothing comes from nothing…nothing ever could.” Makes sense to me.

For those who insist there is no God, or choose to ignore His existence, evolution offers a somewhat plausible alternative explanation. Except for the fact, never disproven by any realm of science, that nothing comes from nothing. Therefore, this world – and the universe surrounding it – could not have “evolved” from absolutely nothing. (There are many other arguments against traditional views of evolution, but flawed reasoning about things and their beginnings provides a good starting point.)

Even though I don’t claim to understand the how’s and why’s of the divine mind, I’m quite comfortable with the Bible’s alternative explanation to evolution: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

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