I always had a problem with how anything came into being. What I mean is that how come anything exists. Creationists try to solve it by God making stuff, but then where did God come from? Another God that made the first one... But same applies to big bang - something had to appear out of nothing no matter how you go about this... and this goes against logic...

But here's what I realised yesterday... the problem is the assumption that it had to start from nothing... and not from something...

Is there any other literature on or explanation for why people think that something starts with nothing?

  • I suggest you try and understand how the Big Bang theory works before you attack it as "going against logic". Having seen the derivation of the FRW metric (which is casually referred to as the Big Bang theory) I can say, with confidence, that there is no violation of the formal rules of logic anywhere in this derivation. Tell you what, read section 8 of this paper, arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/9712019.pdf If you understand what's going on then you're in a position to judge the logical standing of the Big Bang theory. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 19:09
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    I like your line of thinking! I have a comedian friend who once ended a philosophical sketch with the following untranslatable hebrew punch "אם אין אין אז יש יש!" "eem ein ein az yesh yesh!" eem means if, ein means there is no but it works also as a noun meaning roughly void or nothingness, while yesh means there is and works also as a noun meaning roughly isness or existence — and the whole thing means roughly: "if nothing cannot be, then something must!" or "something exists since nothing cannot!".
    – nir
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 19:27
  • @Bridgeburners I urge you to post your comment as an answer—maybe elaborate a bit more. It bothers me to no end when people claim to know enough about the Big Bang theory to judge its logical basis. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 13:40
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    Actually, there is a long tradition of humans thinking the opposite, that nothing comes from nothing. It was articulated already by Parmenides in 6th century BC, promoted by Aristotle, and coined into a Latin phrase, ex nihilo nihil fit. Moreover, Big Bang as something from nothing is just a popular misconception about the theory. General relativity does not apply close to the Big Bang singularity, so we can not tell yet where it "came from", and there are plenty of proposals where it is not from "nothing".
    – Conifold
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 17:58
  • Topical - thegwpf.com/… Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 8:07

8 Answers 8


This is one of Kant's Antinomies. We cannot shake the notion that things that exist, came to be. Nor can we accept that before the first thing that came to be there really was nothing.

People like Hawking are still trying really hard to remove the apparent discontinuity in the math of the Big Bang -- going to such extremes as making time itself two-dimensional.

He places the blame on the impossibility of perfectly adapting pure categories of thought to human experience. Our thinking just has permanent holes in it, that cannot be closed, by our nature as a species.

  • "going to such extremes as adding dimensions to time" do you have any sources on why this is extreme? It seems like it's something that people have been doing as long as they've been doing math.
    – Not_Here
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 22:27
  • @Not_Here I think maybe what I meant to reference got lost. I edited the description,and made it a link. It is pretty clear that time as a complex number is pretty extreme, and does not go back to the advent of math.
    – user9166
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 15:21
  • Yes I think that's clearer. "Add dimensions to time" was ambiguous and I read it as you rejecting that time could have any dimensions, like its a concept that can't be talked about with a dimension.
    – Not_Here
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 15:39

We actually don't think so, because it doesn't make sense. Because of that, some of the greatest theologians such Saint Thomas Aquinas, Avicenna, and others, building on top of Aristotle's work, came to the conclusion that God must be a transcendental being: a being that transcends time and space and that is therefore not bound to such, which means the notion of precedence does not apply to Him. That's why God is called a necessary being: it is not contingent on anything causing (creating) it, so it is called a necessary (as opposed to contingent) being. Other religions, even polytheistic religions, came to the same conclusion as well (Avicenna was Muslim).

Another way of putting it is simply: it doesn't make sense to think about something coming out of nothing or about infinite causal chains. Everything must have a cause. Therefore, there must be a first cause from which our universe and with it time and space came to be; a cause that was itself not caused, meaning not created, by anything else. This first cause is what we call God.

The most clear and concise explanation I have seen is in a book called Apologetic by Rev. Paul Glenn. You can also find these arguments here: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/popular-articles-does-god-exist

Please note that Aquinas didn't claimed he had proved the existence of God, which he deemed an unknowable being. Instead, this type of argument should be taken as making a reasonable case that can be made for the existence of God as the creator of everything. Kant claimed that reason tends to extrapolate from its domain, which is limited by our possible experiences, and that any extrapolation is subject to (at best) the possibility of being completely off. In which case we cannot answer the question "where did everything come from", but we all know that it could not have been from nothing.

  • But where did God came from? Another God, and who made him... = infinite regression... Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 2:34
  • By definition it doesn't make sense for God to have come from somewhere because God is Himself the end of the causal chain, instead just one more existence out there like mine, yours, or Zeus'. Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 4:58

What you are referring to is the notion of "creation ex nihilo" or creation "out of" nothing. This can have two meanings:

1) An entity comes into existence with no cause, caused by "nothing"

2) An entity comes into existence without any change involving a preexisting matter.

The first notion is an absurdity. "From nothing, nothing comes." "Nothing" is the absence of an entity. It is a logical negation, which is an act of the mind that does not correspond to a "real entity" that is external to the mind. It "exists" only in a logical mode, not a real mode. So nothing can come into being "from nothing"

If we try to claim that this is a merely grammatical point, and that are merely denying that the coming-into-being of a thing has a cause, we run into an insurmountable problem, and that is we are claiming that a thing can be both in potency and in act in the same way at the same time. Specifically we are claiming that a being can exist potentially but at the same time can be the act of its own existence. This is equivalent to saying that it gives itself being, but as the Medieval dictum goes, "nothing gives what it doesn't have." We are also attempt to attribute an act or an event as if it can exist in itself -- that is, we are claiming that an act can exist without an actor. This is what is known in analytic philosophy as a "category error," mixing ontological apples with oranges.

Despite the use of sleight-of-hand reasoning by physicists such as Lawrence Krauss, there is no coherent theory in physics that makes the claim of "something coming into being out of nothing." In fact, if anyone were to make such a claim, it wouldn't be a physics theory at all, but an incoherent philosophical claim. The Big Bang theory does not make such a claim, and neither does quantum cosmology, which does posit an entity that acts as a cause of the matter of the universe.

The second notion of creation ex nihilo is the one embraced by Christians, Jews, and Muslims. It involves an ontologically infinite and non-contingent being, which is called "God," that causes the existence of everything else, which are all finite entities whose existence is contingent upon God. God is defined as a being whose essence and existence are the same thing -- that is, it is the nature of God to exist, and therefore he requires no creator. The only such being would be one that could be said to be "being itself," that is, an ontologically infinite being that is not restricted in any way, because if it were, it would not be "being itself" but would simply be "a being" among other beings. God, therefore, is ontologially infinite and exists essentially rather than contingently, and he is the necessary cause of all finite (and therefore contingent) beings. Given that God causes every finite thing to exist, including matter, he does not create things out of a pre-existing matter. In this sense, God creates "out of nothing" (out of no pre-existing matter).


Before I answer, I want to state what I think about this: To do that I want to go back on how we see time. Through history time was often been defined as linear. But there are some concepts here and there that everything that happens, happens at the same time. This means there is no need for time because creation and destruction of things and thoughts happen in every moment.

If you go from there neither does something start from something nor does something start from nothing, but instead:

There is no end and no start of existence, because existence is totally separate from time.

Everything exists and doesn't because everything exists and doesn't.

But to the question why humans think there is a beginning, a start, a crescendo, a bad to good, a zero to infinity and finally nothing to something or even nothing to everything is because humans try to develop. They try to overcome themselves. They are a product of evolution and they try to be that evolution and to think in an evolutionary way.

Everything is a process, a step forward and a development. Everything we archive (achievements are also something evolutionary) is something new in our eyes. Because new is good, we symbolize creation and change as something new, because we differentiate young and old and young is from many viewpoints better.

So the culture we have developed through evolution is now the solid ground of knowledge that contains the following:

  • Time is linear. Everything that was is old. Everything that replaces the old in any way is new. Everything gets only better as we develop, because our thinking is evolutionary.
  • If we are great today, we will be greater tomorrow.
  • Because everything gets better, there was once a beginning of things where things were nothing.

This is a more scientific answer, but BBC has a (relatively) digestible piece on exactly this question here. Essentially, gravity and matter cancel each other out perfectly, meaning that the universe has always been nothing...

Where did the universe get all this energy? Bizarrely, it may not have had to get any. That's because every object in the universe creates gravity, pulling other objects toward it. This balances the energy needed to create the matter in the first place.

It's a bit like an old-fashioned measuring scale. You can put a heavy weight on one side, so long as it is balanced by an equal weight on the other. In the case of the universe, the matter goes on one side of the scale, and has to be balanced by gravity.

Physicists have calculated that in a flat universe the energy of matter is exactly balanced by the energy of the gravity the mass creates.


Why do humans think that something starts with nothing?

They (whom you called humans) may not have heard about other literatures that say contrary statement. Actually all humans do not think so.

Those who know the contrary statement ignore 'the real thinker' while they think of nothingness. In other words, humans don't 'use' himself while thinking so. Since it is the limit of knowledge normally most humans can't reach there...though it is here.

There is 'literature' that was created by self-realized persons. Actually they lead to the same Truth; but in different words. Eg: In some Indian Philosophies nothingness have no meaning when the Ultimate truth is considered. This is one example only.

"Something starts with nothing." This statement is completely illogical. Something can't start with nothing.

An explanation of a verse from the Bagavad Gita.

You can find here whether this philosophy agrees with nothingness.

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    Maybe it is the late hour but I can make no sense of the Gita verse as it is translated in your reference. Here is a more readable translation by Easwaran: "The impermanent has no reality; reality lies in the eternal. Those who have seen the boundary between these two have attained the end of all knowledge." By impermanent he is referring to the world of phenomena, though I don't know what he means by boundary, since I believe it is customary to view the two (the impermanent and the eternal) paradoxically as inseparable — non-dual.
    – nir
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 19:11

https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9609002 and https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0604064, on relational quantum mechanics, is a good place to start for understanding actuality without the need for either 'something' or 'nothing'.

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://philpapers.org/archive/CAPIOQ-2.PDF&ved=0ahUKEwiFnKfg0NjUAhUILlAKHfzHD3AQFggcMAA&usg=AFQjCNHCwMPZagzcHJxaJMnTe3u9czKmtQ and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mūlamadhyamakakārikā for the philosophical link (Buddhist relational ontology, using Western terms).

And not 'nothing', but 'no thing' - the first is a concept proposing the absence of concepts (still 'something'), the second is the absence of concepts.


God's work is a mystery. It's his mystery how the earth was formed. God did the Big Bang and created the world.

God has always existed. In the beginning was God, and the word was with God. God is a spirit. God created the earth by 'magic' which he uses a lot of.

It's a mystery. No man is supposed to know how God started everything. That would make man equal to God, by being all knowing. Our brains cannot comprehend the works of God, and he knows this. So all we have to go on for now for normal humans to sort of understand is a story book (the bible). That's about where the level of our knowledge starts and ends pertaining to the beginning of time.

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