Something From Nothing? 2

Why do both the religious and secularists start with something from nothing? If there were this auspicious beginning of something from nothing neither the religious nor the secularists were there, in fact, both didn’t even come onto the scene until much, much later; tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of years later, take your pick, whichever we still weren’t there. But we both—the religious and secularist—set our feet on the ground that there was a “there” there, a something out of nothing. Admittedly there have been both religiously and philosophically held ideas that the material world always was, that there never was a nothing.

Aristotle would completely understand the creations of both the potter and the sculptor and using his Greek technical term, Hypokeimenon, or material substratum; something must always come from something, not nothing. For Aristotle there never was a time of nothing but eternally there was always what he called matter. Now, we moderns understand “matter” as found in this scientific definition: “Matter is the ‘stuff’ that makes up the universe — everything that takes up space and has mass is matter. All matter is made up of atoms, which are in turn made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.” Look at matter as that block of clay or granite. 

But, and we will go deeper into this, there is a conflict with the potter and sculptor because in using them to describe something from something we’ve added into the equation a mind and the result comes about by intelligent design. For the religious person this is correct, but for the secularist they deny intelligent mind having a role in what we see. To understand their perspective let’s look at 227 miles of once flat desert land in Nevada to find that loosely defined something from nothing, the Grand Canyon. I’ve twice had the great fortune of being to the Grand Canyon; an awe-inspiring view that has a maximum depth of 6,000 feet (or 1.4 miles) and depending on where you are a breadth across of between 4 to 18 miles.

There is, we are told, evidence to suggest human presence at the Canyon 10,000 years ago, better evidence that shows people living around the Grand Canyon area 4,000 years ago. It wasn’t until 1540 that “about 13 Spanish soldiers led by García López de Cárdenas, dispatched from the army of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado on its quest to find the fabulous Seven Cities of Gold” came upon the Canyon.” All three of those dates, 1540 AD, 4000 BC, or 10000 BC, didn’t witness the forming of the Grand Canyon, it, supposedly was formed some 5-6 million years before any humans saw it.

In this case the main sculptor in its formation was water, both liquid and solid (ice). The flow of water, that would eventually be known as the Colorado River, eroded the desert land cutting deeper and deeper into the ground until when it stopped leaving twists and turns and jagged edges and smooth shapes that almost look like an artist with hammer and chisel in hand shaped it. But it wasn’t a mind doing this, simply the mindless flow of water over time.

To be continued . . .