Something From Nothing? 1

We all love magicians when they pull a rabbit out of a hat or a dove out of their coat pocket or a quarter out of a youngster’s ear. It’s magic, something from nothing. The hat was empty and then there was something, a rabbit. The coat pocket was empty, then there was something, a dove. The youngster’s ear was empty, then there was something, a quarter. But only the hopelessly naive believe it was something from nothing, the rest of us know it was just an illusion. The rabbit was always in the hat, the dove in the pocket, the quarter in the hand of the magician. There never was something from nothing.

Now if you take a block of clay and work it into a beautiful water pitcher you haven’t strictly speaking made something from nothing, but in a looser sense you have in the sense that the pitcher came from a formless block of clay. But something was there to begin with. I’ve read where sculptors who carve out the form of a person in a block of granite saw that person’s image and just chipped away the rock to expose the form. Again, strictly speaking not something from nothing but loosely speaking it was something from a formless block of granite.

In the Western world, whether you are religious or not, the foundation of our mindset is that existence (something) came from nothing. That vast cosmos we peer at in the night sky, which includes the earth—and isn’t it wonderful that we’ve actually seen this earth from photographs taken from space and how colorful it is—and us living on the earth, all (something) coming from nothing. Our idea of something from nothing can generally be divided into two categories; Judeo/Christian and secular (meaning other than Judeo/Christian). In the religious view we begin with an immaterial God who creates from nothing a material world. From a secular view we have a giant ball (I’m assuming it’s giant but it might just be a pinpoint of nothing) creating something through a big bang (and I use the idea of “big bang” because this has been the most popular view for secularists). Both the religious view and the secular view have everything (something) beginning with nothing, or in the Judeo/Christian case God is the beginning and the secular case the pinpoint ball, or blob.

To be continued . . .