Zero Energy Balance and Universes Popping Into Existence

Magic spark

Naturalistic scientists are latching on to such bizarre ideas

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Perhaps it seems like common sense to you that universes do not create themselves—popping into existence all over the place, but many naturalistic scientists are latching on to such bizarre ideas due to their lack of a naturalistic explanation for the origin of the Universe. Famous atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, said, “Bodies such as stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can…. Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing” (2010, p. 180, emp. added). Is there any empirical evidence suggesting that universes can pop into existence? Absolutely not. Is there evidence that anything can pop into existence from nothing? Nope. We have a law of science that prohibits it—the First Law of Thermodynamics (cf. Miller, 2013). Does the idea that something could pop into existence from nothing remind you of a magician’s trick? Probably. But to many in the scientific community today, naturalism must be true. They will not consider God.  He is not allowed in the discussion. “Creation is unacceptable, but witchcraft? Now that…we’ll consider.”

The Problem for the Naturalist

According to the First Law of Thermodynamics, “energy can be neither created nor destroyed; it can only change forms” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 166). This poses a problem for the atheist, since the energy and matter of the Universe had to come from somewhere. Hawking said:

The idea of inflation could also explain why there is so much matter in the universe. There are something like ten million million million million million million million million million million million million million million (1 with eighty zeros after it) particles in the region of the universe that we can observe. Where did they all come from? The answer is that, in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from (1988, p. 129, emp. added, parenthetical item in orig.).

Evolutionary physicist Victor Stenger, in his book, God: The Failed Hypothesis, said:

[W]here does the energy come from? The law of conservation of energy, also known as the first law of thermodynamicsrequires that energy come from somewhere. In principle, the creation hypothesis could be confirmed by the direct observation or theoretical requirement that conservation of energy was violated 13.7 billion years ago at the start of the big bang (2007, p. 116, ital. in orig., emp. added).

 


The Naturalist’s Response

Hawking believes he has an answer to this problem for the naturalist—one that is in keeping with the First Law:

The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The matter in the universe is made out of positive energy. However, the matter is all attracting itself by gravity…. Thus, in a sense, the gravitational field has negative energy. In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero (1988, p. 129).

Stenger concurs:

The first law allows energy to convert from one type to another as long as the total for a closed system remains fixed. Remarkably, the total energy of the universe appears to be zero (2007, p. 116).

So, in essence, these physicists assert that there would have been zero energy in the Universe before the alleged big bang (a theory which we do not support, cf. Thompson, et al., 2003), and then there would have been zero energy in the Universe after the big bang, since “matter energy” can be considered to be positive and “gravitational energy” can be considered to be negative. According to Hawking and Stenger, these two amounts cancel each other out, leaving zero energy in the Universe—zero energy before the bang, and zero energy after. Sound reasonable to you?

The Evidence from Science and Sense

First of all, notice that Hawking boldly proclaims two significant assumptions that cannot even remotely be verified. (1) The Universe must be “approximately uniform in space”; and (2) The “negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero” (1988, p. 129, emp. added). How, pray tell, could Hawking know such things about this vast and infinitely complex Universe without being omniscient? Not only can he not know such things, but he cannot even claim such things with the meager evidence about the entirety of the Universe he has at his disposal. It is quite a leap to hold to such unverified assumptions. It is a blind faith in a proposition that cannot be established scientifically. The rational man’s beliefs are based on the evidence—not baseless speculation…

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