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Potent Proof Text: Nothin' from Nothin'

13 April 2011 by David

Q. 15. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.

Q. 16. How did God create angels?
A. God created all the angels spirits, immortal, holy, excelling in knowledge, mighty in power, to execute his commandments, and to praise his name, yet subject to change.

Q. 17. How did God create man?
A. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. —Hebrews 11:3

Nothing: it's a big word. Wrapped up in those two syllables is a concept that won't fit into my head (spare me the jokes). But I need to try to get a grip on it, because it's a very important concept, vital, in fact, to my understanding of God. If you were to ask me what it is that convinces me of the existence of God, I would reply, “Nothing.” “Yeah, me too,” says the atheist. But you know I don’t mean that. Let me explain.

In the beginning, everything we see came from somewhere, and was caused by something. Let’s say there is no God. Let’s say the universe is the result of a giant cosmic explosion creatively called the Big Bang. Answer me this: what exploded? Pick your answer, any answer, and then tell me where that came from. You might have an answer, but I’ll only repeat the question, and this could go on interminably. Eventually, we’ll have to get back to a time before that original matter existed, when there was no matter to explode. After all, we’re not stupid. We don’t believe anything could be eternally self-existent.

Billy Preston exhibits his scale
model of the Big Bang
So we’ve got this absence of matter, nothing but wide open space … uh-oh, we’ve got another problem. Where did all this space come from? Space is not nothing. Now you can see my dilemma. If nothing was empty space, I could grasp that. But nothing is nothing, and with nothing, nothing is possible. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing [sing with me] You’ve got to have something if you want to … well, anything.

The only way to get something when there is nothing is for someone to create it. If we go back as close to the beginning as we can get, we must find an uncaused cause which would be, by definition, without beginning and self-existent. It would also have to have the ability to create from less than thin air. It would have to be a who.

The nothing I have described is impossible for the human mind to imagine, but we can and must understand that that was the state of things — that is, the things that were not — before the first creative act took place. Having admitted that, it is simply obtuse to argue that all that is came to be independently. There is a God who created the heavens and the earth, and everyone reading this knows it. He created it out of absolute nothing.

Atheists will, of course, deny it, but that doesn’t bother me (Psalm 53:1). What bothers me is that all this is plainly true, yet some men to whom God has entrusted his truth are too sophisticated to believe that it was done in six days, as God has plainly declared, and have the hubris to teach their improved history to Christ’s flock.