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When they talk about the beginning of the universe, are Theists and physicists talking about an empty universe or no universe at all?

It is fairly straightforward to imagine an empty Universe - an infinite set of points represented by some set of abstract coordinates with no ``objects'' located at any of the points. Hmmmm, isn't that what mathematics is all about for the first umpty years one studies it?

Note well that (empty or not) we can imagine putting things at those coordinates, using those coordinates to label the things and help to sort them into sets (including disjoint ''identity sets''), just as we can imagine putting things ``into'' the empty set (via the Union operation) and creating a non-empty set.

There is, however, a deeper notion of ''emptiness'', that of ``non-being''. The notion of no box at all.

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    i always thought that physicists tell us that space and time were created at the Big Bang. that there was not a vacuum sitting around and time ticking off before the Big Bang. there was no "before" the BB. – robert bristow-johnson Jan 28 '17 at 3:37
  • well clearly no physical universe, but that needn't be equivalent i guess to its expression in logic ?? @robertbristow-johnson – user6917 Jan 28 '17 at 3:38
  • well, even though i believe in God, i have absolutely no idea what God might have been doing "before" the BB was so willed. i don't even know if God exists in space and time as we do. – robert bristow-johnson Jan 28 '17 at 3:40
  • @robertbristow-johnson yeah, difficult. i always struggled with the logos stuff, esp – user6917 Jan 28 '17 at 3:43
  • Well, the empty set doesn't have any points at all in it. Once you have a set of points, the universe is no longer empty. In math a coordinate space (say the 2-D plane for simplicity) has lots of points, namely all the ordered pairs (a,b) with a and b real numbers. So your mathematical analogy doesn't work. We could add some rules saying what it means for there to "be something at a location," but that's adding even more structure. – user4894 Jan 28 '17 at 4:38

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