A Universe from Nothing? Has Lawrence M. Krauss Missed the Point?

To cut to the chase it is my view that Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss, eminent cosmologist, theoretical physicist, and author of A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing,[1] has missed the point of the argument. Yet, his book is fascinating, and the discoveries he discusses are very significant, perhaps in ways he has not yet considered.

Let me state quite plainly that I accept and respect all the scientific discoveries and theories that Krauss describes. I have neither the skill nor the training to counter them, and nor do I feel a need to do so. I have faith in the integrity and dedication of the scientists who are collecting and analysing the data, and proposing the theories based on mathematical calculation and/or study of the data. If they have it wrong, I know they will correct it, and slowly but surely, the physical scientific realities of the universe will be uncovered. So that is not my focus.

My concern is the philosophical and spiritual interpretation that is derived by scientists from their theories and data, even if it is purely to say that there is no need for God or that what philosophers or theologians might have to say is necessarily of little worth. Accordingly, my mission is to find the middle path reconciling both the scientific and philosophical/spiritual views in a way that is coherent and all-embracing. It is logical to me that there is a theory of everything being uncovered, and that this theory must incorporate science, philosophy, spirituality, religion, and every other body of work and view of the universe, each of course honed to its own accurate and “perfect” set of truths.

Krauss initially changes the question from why there is something rather than nothing, to how there is something rather than nothing. As he points out, using the word why implies purpose, and as a scientist he would rather describe the process of how it is possible for something to derive from nothing.

As with many scientists who see everything as being explained by science, Krauss sees no need for a God or a Creator. Krauss does not consider the possibility that God designed and implemented science’s physical laws in order to create the universe as it is. While I can understand that physical laws need to be coherent and obviously are, there is no reason in my mind why these could not have been designed by a superior Designer to work in just that way. It would appear to me that the how that Krauss insists on discovering is exactly the uncovering of the path that God took to achieve what He (She, It) achieved. In many ways the why question is far more challenging and momentous than the physical and cosmological discoveries under discussion.

Krauss explains three ways in which something can come from nothing. In brief they are (though I accept that my descriptions may not be perfect):

  •  In the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang a period of inflation occurred, where the universe expanded by a factor of more than 1028, and the resulting quantum fluctuations allowed matter to form out of nothing.
  •  A quantum gravity of zero allows, and even initiates, matter (and thus the universe) to be created from nothing. A state of nothing is ultimately unstable.
  • The concept of a multiverse shows that up to 10500 (that is 1 with 500 zeroes) unique universes may exist. Thus by chance our one happens to have the perfect set of physical laws to produce the universe we see.

 Krauss admits that in the first of these three possibilities, the nothing described is empty space storing energy, and allows for the existence of the Laws of Physics. In the second possibility, the need for pre-existing space has been removed. In the third and final way in which something can come from nothing, Krauss takes away the Laws of Physics, in that they become measurements and descriptions of what exists as opposed to needing to pre-exist in order to create the universe we know.

It does not take much to see that we are still not talking about creating a universe from nothing, or answering the question of why there is something rather than nothing. Krauss suspects that at the time of Plato (423-347BC), or even St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), they were defining nothing as empty space, as they considered why there was something rather than nothing. I suspect that this is very far from the truth.

Why is there something instead of nothing? My definition of nothing, and I would have thought, the definition of everybody else except scientists, is that nothing means absolutely and entirely nothing at all. Therefore no space, no time, no physics, no mathematics, no nothing! Krauss complains about people redefining nothing to suit their purposes, but frankly, I believe that is exactly what he has done. To me, nothing means absolutely nothing at all.

So on to my argument. Yes, there could have been nothing at all instead of a universe. There really is no reason why there should be anything. Why bother? And who would there be to bother? Yet clearly we have a universe, as so ably described by Krauss and his fellow scientists. Therefore there can never have been the state of nothing, because if there were nothing, absolutely nothing at all, how would anything ever have got started? There would be no virtual particles to pop in and out of existence as suggested by quantum mechanics, and there would be no space in which they could pop. There would be no source of a multiverse and there would be no conditions to initiate a Big Bang.

It follows that something did pre-exist the Big Bang, and Krauss confirms that today’s thinking is that the Big Bang was a certainty. Great, I am perfectly happy with that, and happy that it happened too, as I am sure you are. It would also seem sensible to suggest that, whatever pre-existed the Big Bang, it has existed eternally, whatever that term might be interpreted to mean. There could never be the time, place or situation where there was nothing at all, as even this pre-existing state could never have got started.

My suggestion is that the eternal, pre-existing state was Consciousness. It could also be called Life or Being. By many people, especially those with religious beliefs and affiliations, It is called God (or their alternative words for God). In my book, whatever Its nature or qualities, that eternal, pre-existing state that enabled there to be something rather than nothing, and got the universe started, is absolutely worthy of the name God, whatever that Ultimate Reality is.

[1] Krauss, L., A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing, Free Press, New York, 2012

God’s Decision to Create the Universe

In my last post I listed a series of different experiences that God-Consciousness might choose to experience. Of course there are billions of others. So what happened next?

With these sorts of experiences and goals in mind, God-Consciousness set about creating the universe exactly as it needed to be to fulfil these ideals. While God-Consciousness would be able to interfere if He needed to, there was no challenge in constantly tweaking this universe when something went wrong. As He could see ahead in time how things would pan out, He could create the universe with a set of rules or Laws that would see it through.

I am certainly not able to list what is needed to create a universe; however, our scientists have figured out some of the requirements, for instance:

  • A stable set of rules or laws
  • Oxygen, water, and carbon to sustain life
  • A particular range of temperatures to support life
  • A particular set of universal constants
  • A supply of energy to make the universe dynamic
  • And so on …

And so it was that God-Consciousness created a universe that met His requirements. While complicated in its details, mind-boggling in fact, it is very simple in its concept. We, as humans, overcomplicate things as far as I can see. The real Truths are essentially very simple.

God-Consciousness created the universe in a Big Bang. He created the Laws that were needed and the building blocks of matter – namely the 94 natural elements in a very simple system we can see today in the Periodic Table of the Elements. He watched through time as 14 billion years passed, developing the rich and bountiful world we have around us today.

Finally, the time came for Man to appear on the scene. Bearing in mind that God-Consciousness is within each person on this Earth – in fact, within each cell of the bodies of each person on this Earth, and is them – He played His trump card.

He introduced The God Franchise.

(This is largely an extract from Chapter 10 of my book, The God Franchise: A Theory of Everything, which is now available to you in paperback from over a dozen major online bookshops)

God’s Motivation for the Creation

Instead of there being one point of God-Consciousness as there was before the Creation, He wanted there to be a universe where He would be able to experience things from every possible perspective:

He could feel how a rock feels warming in the Sun.

He could feel the rain on His petals.

He could feel His fruit being eaten by a bird.

He could taste the fruit like a bird.

He could make love as a badger.

He could make love as an elephant.

He could make love as a man.

He could make love as a woman.

He could see the beauty of the sunrise.

He could be the power and light of the Sun.

He could swim as a fish in the sea.

He could be pushed helplessly as seaweed in the currents.

He could be smashed on the rocks.

He could feel joy as a child.

He could feel the pain of a rejected lover.

He could drink the water.

He could drink the wine.

He could die in the desert.

He could die on an executioner’s cross.

He could experience the flight of the electron in the atom.

He could mystify scientists.

He could be a mystified scientist.

He could make spells.

He could make smells.

He could rot on the ground.

He could enrich the earth with His life-blood.

He could break His leg.

He could heal His leg.

He could be without legs and slither on the ground.

He could be inside the mouth of a lion.

He could be inside the stomach of a whale.

He could smile.

He could cry.

He could live at the depths of the ocean.

He could be a molecule of water at the greatest depths in the ocean.

He could be the next molecule of water to that, rubbing up against it.

He could fly through the air as a beam of light, or as a bird.

He could be the air, the trees, the earth, and the sky.

He could live on Earth or on Mars or on Betelgeuse.

He could use a telephone.

He could design a rocket ship.

He could be inside a turbojet at full power.

He could fling Himself over a waterfall, as a drop of water and as a log.

He could experience the fullness of life in the universe.

You may have the idea by now. God-Consciousness is in everything and is everything. As the Bible says, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28). And it is not just you and me, it is everything that is in Him, that lives in Him, and that moves in Him. I am not saying this from a religious viewpoint. I am saying this from a realist viewpoint.

This is how it is.

(This is an extract from Chapter 10 of my book, The God Franchise, which is now available to you in paperback from a dozen major online bookshops)

The God Franchise: A Theory of Everything is published!

For two weeks I have been quiet on the blog front. However, on the book front I have been very, very busy! Now I can announce to the world that The God Franchise: A Theory of Everything is well and truly published. It is available for purchase on over a dozen international websites, and it is available for viewing on both Amazon.com and on Google Books.

It is also available in a number of brick and mortar bookshops in Auckland. For a full list of stockists, please see http://publishing.lifemagic.co.nz/stockists.htm.

You have had a taste of the book on this blog over the past 3 months so I don’t need to describe it any more. However, I would like to say that all the people who have read it so far and have come back to me, have been extremely complimentary about it. Likewise, every bookshop I took it to in Auckland commented on the quality of the book’s appearance both inside and out.

I am very pleased (and excited) by the result. I would like to acknowledge my two professional assistants in achieving the high quality: Judith Sansweet of Proofread NZ Ltd did a tremendous job of ensuring the grammar, spelling and language of the book was perfect. Likewise, I am deeply indebted to Justine Elliott for her design of the cover and the book interior. The book has turned out absolutely beautiful.

If you should need the services of a proofreader/copyeditor, email judith@proofreadnz.co.nz and if you need a book designer, email mondo@orcon.net.nz (Justine). I didn’t meet them but worked with them using email (and phone a couple of times with Judith), so wherever you are in the world, you can work with these stars. (By the way, Judith is from the US so is fully familiar with US expectations, while happy to work with my NZ/UK requirements).

The God Franchise has been a labour of love, and I have gained a tremendous amount as the truths revealed themselves to me. This is not a book of recording information I already knew, but a journey of discovery which I am able to share with you.

The ball is in your court. In the US the price is $16.95 or less, in the UK £11.99 or less, in Australia $24.95 or less and in New Zealand $37.99 or less. This is a reasonable price in each of those markets.

The value that you get for your money is incalculable. You have been warned!

(If you would like to drop a review into Amazon, Google Books, or your favourite online bookshop, I would greatly appreciate it. As you know, online bookshops are driven by readers’ reviews).

Thank you and bless you. And enjoy the read!


Why Is So Much Wrong with The Creation?

Why is there so much around us that appears to be the exact antithesis of what one would expect God to create? If God is still creating His Creation through us as I said in my last blog, why is there disease, poverty, war, corruption, danger, and death? Philosophers ask how God can be omnibenevolent in the face of all these dreadful occurrences if He is also omniscient and omnipotent. The argument is that if God knows about Evil, as He is omniscient, and is powerful enough to destroy all Evil as he is omnipotent, how can He be omnibenevolent if He allows Evil to occur? This is the so-called Problem of Evil.

Let me say that while God is the creator, His creations are filtered through our physical being, including our Egos. If our Ego is so big that we want to interfere with the creation, or so big that we think we have greater skills than we really have, we are dumbing down the creation. Our Egos can even pervert the creative process so that what starts as a benign discovery (e.g. atomic power, motion pictures) is directed by Ego into being something we can view as being very evil (e.g. nuclear weapons, child pornography).

Over the next few blogs I am going to cover what I see as some of the filters that seem to affect and possibly minimise the on-going creation work of God-Consciousness. We will start by looking at you and me, and the other 6,999,998 people in the world, as most of the trouble starts here. The Ego has a lot to account for!

Despite these unhelpful filters, and despite the apparent “wrong” or evil that we see in the creation, in the universe around us, the reality is that you are looked after by God-Consciousness just by being a perfectly open channel for His creation. All you need will flow to you as well, including money as the current common exchange unit. You are constantly in the presence of creation. It is happening all around you.

So, is there much wrong with this creation? Could you have done a better job? I believe the next few blogs will clarify why things are as they are, and why the universe is in fact the best possible universe, and why everything is “right” just as it is.

I hope you will bow with me in awe to the whole of creation!

(Parts of this blog are quoted from Chapter 14 of my book, The God Franchise)

The Creation Continues …

I used to hold the idea that God had created only the natural world of Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and the stars. God had created the humans, the animals, the plants, and the minerals. God had created the atom, the 94 chemical elements that make up the physical world, and so on. I also believed that Man had created the invented world that we see around us: the buildings, the cars, the space shuttles, the computers, the CDs, DVDs, iPodsTM and iPadsTM, the clothes, the sculptured gardens, the genetic modifications, the hybrids, and essentially the whole modern world.

Of course, everything that Man has invented and created is made out of the materials that God has created: the minerals, the oil, the wood, the plants, and so on. It seemed to me that God gave us the ability to go out and create whatever we wanted to of our own right. I felt, and still feel, there is no limit to what can be invented, designed, and created. No limit whatsoever.

With my realisation of The God Franchise came a subtle shift. What if it is not Man who creates all these new things? What if it is God who creates them through us instead? What if God is the Creator of everything, from the natural world and wonderful modern creations we have around us, to the atom bomb, the gun, the porn movie, and junk food?

God uses you and me as channels for His further creation. In reality, not even as channels. As I have said, God is you and me continuing His Creation through our forms. You and I have this false idea of self, which is effectively just Ego showing up. Ego says I created that or I designed this. Ego says I wrote this wonderful song or I painted this fantastic picture. If we remove Ego, all that is left is God creating.

What if we painted a picture, wrote a poem, or designed a spaceship and just accepted that it was good? Not that I was good, but rather “Look at this wonderful creation that God has created through me.” Let’s use, appreciate, and enjoy the creation, not the Ego that created it. God is the Creator. When we see a great painting, we don’t need to say “Wow, what a brilliant artist!” No, let’s say, “Wow, what a brilliant picture!” Or rather than “aren’t you a great cook,” say “what a great meal!” Or rather than “what a talented musician,” say “what a great piece of music or beautiful song.” The Creator is God in every instance, so thank Him.

 “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”  (Genesis 1:31)  Even God didn’t say, “Behold, I am very good — look how clever I am.”

Of course, many human creators have been humble enough to recognise that it is not themselves as individual Egos who should be credited with their creations. But what about you and me? How often do we think we have just done something marvellous? We don’t need to know about how to create — that is not our job. Our job is to be the best channel we can be for the creation. By learning practical skills (art, music, design, writing, cooking, carpentry, welding, you-name-it), and by leaving the Ego out of it, we are creating the best channel we can for God’s work. Our second job is to appreciate and enjoy what has been created for us, and through us.

(This is an extract from Chapter 14 of my book, The God Franchise)

My First Copy of The God Franchise

I must interrupt my ruminations on God and the universe to say that today I received my first copy of The God Franchise from the printers. It looks brilliant and I am thrilled with how it has turned out. It is a proper book!

I have immediately put in an order for 250 copies so that I can supply my manuscript readers and supporters, and then have some to sell directly myself as well as supply a few selected New Zealand mind-body-spirit bookshops.

Most sales will be through online bookshops worldwide, and these will shortly be updated with the book. Then you can order your copy of The God Franchise :-). Don’t worry, I will keep you posted.

Did I say how lovely the book is? And how proud I am of it?