August 31, 2020 - Avoiding the Infinite Regress

Because science, at least as it is practiced now, allows no place for the divine, particularly a divine creator, it has to come up with some other explanation for how the universe arose. Of course, any theory or formula postulated as the cause would, of course, have to have an explanation as well, which itself would need an explanation and so on and on we go in an infinite regress.

However, there’s one way out. And that is to say that nothing, as is not a thing, created the universe.

“Conceivably,” wrote physicist Alan Guth, “everything can be created out of nothing. And ‘everything’ might include a lot more than we can see. . . it is fair to say that the universe is the ultimate free lunch.”

“If we are to be honest,” wrote Oxford’s Peter Atkins, “then we have to accept that science will be able to claim complete success only it if achieves what many might think impossible: accounting for the emergence of everything from absolutely nothing.”

“Because there is a law such as gravity,” wrote arguably the world’s most famous living scientist Stephen Hawking, “the Universe can and will create itself out of nothing.”

“It seems impossible that you could get something from nothing,” wrote author Bill Bryson, “but the fact that once there was nothing but now there is a universe is evident proof that you can.”

Now, some might find the idea of the universe arising out of “absolutely nothing” a bit farfetched, but it does solve the problem of infinite regress. Nothing needs no explanation because, well, it’s nothing.

There is, however, one other way out of this infinite regress: an eternal God, that is, a God that has always existed, who has always been there, such as the God depicted in the Bible. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). He, too, needs no explanation for how He got there because He was always there; there was never a time when He did not exist. Hence, like nothing, God needs no explanation.

In short, we are left with one of two choices: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). Or, "In the beginning, nothing created the heavens and the earth."

Take your pick.