In our current state of affairs it is safe and reasonable to assume something exists - be it a universe, pure conciousness, illusion or other designations. If some readers nevertheless claim something does not exist right now, then this question effectively becomes meaningless to them but for us "cogito ergo sum" should suffice.

So, let us (justifiably) assume right now something exists.

Therefore, when this something (as a whole) cannot come from nothing, then something must have always existed and cannot have a beginning. Is that entity the Universe or the Creator, is a different topic and a different question.

However, when this something can come from nothing, then this something (the whole of reality) might not have always existed and thus can have a beginning. Is that entity the Universe or something else, is also a different topic and a different question.

And here lies the apparent contradiction: between the widely-accepted axiom that something cannot come from nothing and between the present scientific view that whatever there is, it must have had some kind of an absolute beginning.

Why is it a contradiction? Well, when something cannot come from nothing, then where did our reality come from? If it can't come from nothing, then either (the fundamental) reality itself is eternal, or it emerged from something eternal. The only way for our present reality to have an ultimate beginning is when something can in fact come from nothing. Otherwise everything requires something else prior to it, thus mandating that something must have always existed.

So, which way is it? Can something come out of nothing or not?

  • Just thinking out loud here. I formalize "something can come from nothing" as ∃x∄y(x COMES FROM y), or "there is some thing x such that there is no thing y that x comes from. The negation is ∀x∃y(x comes from y).
    – David H
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 15:23
  • 2
    It's not clear what the notions of "appearing" and "beginning" are in this context. When you write "something just might have appeared into existence and can have a beginning", it seems you are presupposing an existence in which that something wasn't there. If you think carefully about this, you'll see that, assuming "something coming from nothing" is coherent, that something cannot "appear" nor have a "beginning". After all, for such a something, there would no time when it didn't exist. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 15:41
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    If there was the same amount of matter and antimatter in the Universe so that they could mutually annihilate together into absolutely nothing (this may require anti-energy, but let's pretend that's possible). Would you consider there is something in the Universe or just nothing unevenly distributed?
    – Trylks
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 21:19
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    @Saul No, as always the burden is on you to establish why it is reasonable to assume something exists, with a precise definition of 'exists', which you have not given and will not give because you can't coherently give one because modern physics doesn't know what the fundamental building blocks of our universe are yet.
    – Alec Rhea
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 22:21
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    @Saul - You cannot talk about existence and not define it. If you do, your words will amount to nothing and a discussion becomes impossible. .
    – user20253
    Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 12:36

16 Answers 16


One argument is that time itself has a beginning. And thus the universe can be eternal, in the sense of being existant at all times. One could also argue that time must have a beginning, for how can an infinite amount of time elapse for it to be now (this is one half of a pair of arguments by Kant - his antinomies - with which he argues that a certain concept is beyond human reason to establish).

This still leaves begging the question what 'happened' before time began. Although naively this question looks nonsensical since we no longer have time - for then what can before mean - it still has sense in a speculative & imaginative sense. The only rational sense it seems that one can pose such questions.

In fact, certain speculative cosmologies of the Big Bang implicitly allow something to be exist before the big bang. For example, the universe began as a quantum fluctuation; one must ask in what sense physical laws exist before there is a space & time as traditionally understood. For the assertion to make sense at least this much must be true.

The argument that something cannot come out of nothing is a metaphysical one that goes back to at least Parmenides, if not earlier. In fact in the phenomenal world things always have beginnings and endings. For example, I have my hand open & then I close it: a fist has appeared and an open palm has disappeared, but of course what has remained constant between this, is my hand.

If something comes out of nothing then by what agency has it happened? from whence did it come from? If we postulate some fundamental physical law that allows something to come out of nothing, then nothing+physical laws, is not in fact nothing.

  • Are we not then forced to conclude that something must have always existed or in other words, there is something eternal?
    – Saul
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 16:33
  • 2
    well, that was Parmenides conclusion. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 17:05
  • How about Kant? Did he refute what Parmenides concluded?
    – Saul
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 17:28
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    In simple terms, he said that it was reasonable to say both that time had a beginning and that it did not. Thus being contradictory - or what he calls an antinomy - he says that the question is beyond our capacity to actually answer. On the whole, his project was to describe the limits of reason, and the conditions that made knowledge possible in a profound sense; he made consciousness complicit in our understanding of time and space, these are conditions which allow us to make sense of the world. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 18:16
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    Much of the arguments surrouding the big bang do not argue there was "nothing" before the big bang, but that anything before the big bang is unmeasurable. (and even that has trouble)
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 3:48

There is a scientific axiom that says 'proof lies in the assertion'. You are asking to prove a negation. Your question is asking why cannot - your asking for a proof of the negation, not an assertion. The question should be 'How can something come out of nothing' not 'Why cannot something come out of nothing'. Stephen Hawkings has recently argued as to how the universe can come out of nothing, but to my mind his argument is rather circular and it's not provable.

The Hindu scriptures say that the universe is eternal; there never was a time when it was not, nor will there be a time when it will not be. Rather they say that there are 'cycles' - the universe kind of ebbs and flows like the tides so to speak. The scriptures say there is a periods of expansion and periods of contraction, one following the other. At the end of a cycle, the universe almost completely contracts into Brahman where it rests in potentiality before expanding again. (Brahman which is by definition neither existence nor nonexistence). The current scientific theories as to a big bang, point to a beginning of the universe as we perceive it now, most people in the West get the scientific big bang theory confused with their Judeo-Christian beliefs that was taught them when they were young and lingers in all their analysis. They confuse 'beginning' with 'creation'. There is an assumption that before there was the big bang, there wasn't anything, that the universe thus came out of nothing - thus a creation. The big bang theory doesn't address what happened before; laymen assume there was nothing. Cosmologists don't know and we can never know by scientific means what came before. There are cosmologists that are now addressing that there are many universes; that we can only perceive our own. We are one verse in the mulitverse. In the Hindu scriptures it is said that our universe is like a small bubble on the ocean of Brahman, and there are many bubbles. Joseph Campbell does an excellent summary of this in the first chapter (chapter titled Eternity and Time) of the book "Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization" by Heinrich Zimmer, edited by Joseph Campbell.

For some 'thing' to come out of no 'thing' is not logical.


I believe the current theory of Quantum Mechanics is that some particles pop into and out of existence all of the time. I think they call that a "quantum fluctuation".

I have heard it postulated that the Big Bang was a sorta helluva quantum fluctuation. Very improbable to happen, but if you can wait around for eternity, I guess anything can happen.

Skeptic magazine founder Michael Shermer was asked about this and he said something sorta intriguing: "Perhaps something is more stable than nothing."

If nothing is a state, then all possible states that this can transition to is either the same nothing (which might be virtually 100% likely, but not exactly 100%) or many zillion possible states of something. But once we've transitioned from nothing to something (despite the unlikelihood, but eventually even the unlikely will happen as long as it is possible) then, when the state is something the likelihood to transition back to a state of nothing (amidst the zillion of other something states) is also tremendously unlikely.

Nothing is a state sorta like perfectly balancing a pencil on its tip. Theoretically, if you get it to balance perfectly and if there are no disturbing forces, the pencil should stay balanced on its tip. But if, for whatever reason, including randomness, it were to tilt slightly in any direction, that unstable state of balanced on its tip will transition to a far more stable state of lying on its side in some a priori unknown direction. I think this is sorta what Shermer means when he says that the union of a zillion different states of something is far more stable than the singular state of nothing.


See the Principle of Sufficient Reason (SEP):

The Principle of Sufficient Reason is a powerful and controversial philosophical principle stipulating that everything must have a reason or cause.

Science is founded upon the idea that effects have causes which can be rationally investigated and characterized. To posit that there is no reason for something is as anathema as to say "God did it" and leave it at that. It's not clear that we could ever know that something came from nothing. Scientists often say that quantum fluctuations (our universe could be an exmaple of this) are random, but that's not a causal explanation. What we can say is that quantum fluctuations arise from a 'place' that has certain rules. But once you say that certain rules apply to that 'place' (the vacuum), is it any longer 'nothing'?

Another way to go about this is to try to construct a chain of causes, starting from 'nothing'. You essentially have two options:

  1. Anything can come from nothing.
  2. Only certain things can come from nothing.

Option #1 doesn't explain anything. Option #2 explains everything up to the set of boundary conditions. It doesn't explain the origin of the laws, but we can at least rule out the vast majority of logical possibility space, which is what science does according to Karl Popper. But does #2 really make semantic sense? How can 'nothing' have properties?

  • Everything with a beginning or just everything? Stating things that eternal have causes seems foolish to me. How can a thing that has never not existed have a cause?
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 10:10
  • @NeilMeyer I specifically avoided that quagmire. :-p I'm not sure that science has a good track record of talking about things which have always existed, though.
    – labreuer
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 17:34
  • @labreuer: Another problem is that the limits of human existence cannot let us assert that anything has always existed, only that something has existed within certain bounds. The observable universe has left evidence that it has meaningfully existed for ~14 billion years, and that at that time it was so fundamentally different in many respects to how it appears today. So, barring some extremely mind-bending breakthroughs in physics and cosmology, the 'Big Bang' event is probably as far back as we can possibly go, putting a hard upper limit on how well we can know that anything has existed.
    – Dave B
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 19:51
  • Physics does not postulate that every event has a cause. All it postulates is that every event is caused by all events in its past Cauchy Horizon. This does not exclude the possibility of events that have nothing in their past Cauchy Horizon. For example, the Friedmann Robertson Walker metric (the metric of the Big Bang) is a valid solution to General Relativity (GR has the Cauchy Horizon constraint), and yet it has an event - the singularity, i.e. the "beginning" - that has no past Cauchy Horizon. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 20:36
  • @Bridgeburners: And yet, we have people like Lawrence Krauss working on explanations of how our universe is a fluctuation of something, a something which can be conflated with nothing when in its ground state. It is not clear that science will ever truly rest on uncaused phenomena. Or if this happens increasingly, it may start looking like 'religion'.
    – labreuer
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 19:10

We have never observed "nothing". Actually, we will never and cannot ever be able to observe "nothing", because this would imply that we exist and therefore there isn't "nothing".

In physics, we observe things (sometimes by making experiments and observing the results), and then we create theories about laws of physics which would hopefully be consistent with our observations. We then design often clever experiments that would let us observe things inconsistent with the theory if the theory is wrong, to get more confidence with the theory. If we are reasonably sure that the theory matches reality as far as observed, we accept it.

Since we can never observe "nothing", we cannot use this method to create theories in physics describing what would happen when there is "nothing".

We also have mathematics. Many physical theories can be matched with mathematical models. Actually, all physical theories that I know of can. But we can create mathematical models without having a theory. So we could create mathematical models that would describe what happens if there is "nothing".

The two simplest such model will say that if we have "nothing", we will have "nothing" forever. Or that if we have "nothing", we don't even have time, so we will have "nothing" (not forever, because there is no time).

Now we observe that there isn't "nothing" now. And we can postulate that there was always something, but we could also postulate that at some point there was "nothing". Which means that "something" has come from "nothing". We don't know. Since we cannot observe back in time infinitely far, we don't have physical theories for that postulate either.

We can then try to create mathematical models: Mathematical models that describe how there was always something, or mathematical models that describe how something came from nothing. If one model is significantly simpler (or we can only find a model for one case), we might declare this model as likely correct. But really, at that point we are only guessing.

  • As I already pointed out, the main goal of this question was not to speculate anything but to investigate the apparent contradiction between "something cannot come from nothing" and "everything must have a beginning". The thing is, either something can in fact come from nothing or otherwise something must have always existed. It is one or the other, but not both. The question was, which way is it. That's all. To that question, Mozibur Ullah has provided both an excellent answer and an excellent commentary also. I recommend reading it, it is very accessible.
    – Saul
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:46
  • Where is my answer speculating about anything? It takes your question, re-phrases it in a meaningful way, analyses it, and tells what we can and what we cannot say about an answer.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 11:03
  • Thank you for the clarification. I simply referred to your choice of arguments and the concluding remark of your answer. One of the reasons I asked my question in terms of metaphysics and ontology and not physics or mathematics was precisely that gaining knowledge through direct observation or mathematical models is sometimes not possible. However, that doesn't mean truth in such matters can't be discovered. It can, through logic and metaphysical proofs by contradiction. That is why I am objecting here. A question of ontology is not a question of physics. The path it treads is a bit different.
    – Saul
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 14:06
  • I think you are correct that if we have nothing that means nothing forever (by definition), because if we ever have something then we never have nothing. So we can unequivocally say there was always something. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 13:24

The problem is caused by the assumption that anything fundamentally, metaphysically or independently exists. Clearly many things seem to exist but what exactly do we mean by 'exists'. We usually mean 'appears to exist'. A common metaphysical view would be that nothing really exists and this changes the nature of the question being asked here.

The problem goes away if we adopt a certain view of existence. It will continue to plague us while we do not adopt this view. The Perennial philosophy deals with all such problems but for some reason this is not enough to make it plausible to most of those who cannot solve them.

  • Well.. I think you're collating existential experience with a purely logical deduction. You can observe something. That's a fact. The question, however, wasn't about existential experience which is already a given. The question is about what can be deduced from it. The term "assume" functions simply as a placeholder for the fact of observation, it's not there in any speculative capacity. I recommend reading the (accepted) answer Mozibur provided. It's quite excellent.
    – Saul
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 15:08
  • @Saul. I see. So you think it is a good approach to using your reason to deduce the truth about existence to start by taking existence as a given rather than examining it? Descartes must be turning in his grave. I wonder what you mean by 'existence'. It is not difficult to deduce that nothing really exists for if it did the paradox you're trying to solve would arise, as you are discovering.
    – user20253
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 19:13
  • I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be a good approach. Cognition requires both a subject and an object, hence at least something indeed exists (Q.E.D.) So yes, I think the approach is quite solid. By existence I mean the object of "cogito", whichever it may be. As you argue, one could simply declare that nothing really exists and find the question meaningless but that particular view doesn't explain any of the observations I've highlighted in the question. In contrast, the limits to reason as described by Kant explain them quite succinctly.
    – Saul
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 22:28
  • 1
    Kant was a good philosopher and did not make the mistake of taking anything for granted. The fact that cognition requires a subject and object tells us nothing about what exists. Kant concluded that existence outruns cognition. , You have thrown out this possibility without examination. Where assumptions give rise to a intractable problem it's a good idea to investigate whether dropping the assumption solves the problem.
    – user20253
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 11:17
  • I must say, you're strangely insistent about a question that (according to your view) doesn't really exist. Existence might indeed outrun cognition and probably does but that doesn't make cognition invalid within its limits. Nor would I say that undecidability is a sign of a problem. Undecidability is a sign of a limit. I understand that you want to reframe the question here but as far as I can see, there's no reason for it. If you want to answer a different question, you can just create it and continue your thought over there. The question on this page is already written, and answered.
    – Saul
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 15:52

Their seems to be a certain amount of confusing the issues here. Asking if something can come out of nothing is not the same asking if their is no cause. It is entirely possible than their was nothing until a transcendent causal agent came along and decided to create something.

It seems the popular intuition that something cannot come from nothing is at odds with the current scientific view that whatever there is, it must have had some kind of a beginning.

I do not think this is really true. Einsteins era of physicist where convinced of an eternal universe. Why anyone would claim that everything has a beginning is beyond me. Why would exclude things from being eternal?

However, when something can come from nothing then something may not have existed always and can have a beginning. Is that entity the Universe or something else, is also another question.

This seem right to me. Asserting that a thing has some type of cause to its existence does seem to remove the quality of being eternal from it.

Can something come out of nothing or not? Why?

Yes because a all powerful transcendent cause willed it to be.

  • In this context, a transcendent causal agent is also something and not separate from it. The above question in essence inquired whether it is logically and also empirically reasonable to say there is something eternal or not. As Mozibur Ullah pointed out in the commentary to his answer, Immanuel Kant investigated this question also and concluded it constituted an antinomy - according to Kant, it is reasonable to say both that there is something eternal and that there is not.
    – Saul
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 14:15
  • Yes, this would be Nagarjuna's answer as well. Nondualism is a dual-aspect theory for which, as Lao Tsu says, 'true words seem paradoxical'. It's a bit like saying that an electron is a wave and a particle or neither, where these are aspects. For Kant's view to make sense we need Nagarjuna's 'Two Worlds' doctrine, the idea that there are two levels of analysis. the the conventional and the ultimate, thus 'Two Truths'. Kant almost got there but we have to take up where he left off.
    – user20253
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 14:42
               Can something come from nothing?

Recently a very intelligent question has been raised by a famous American atheist: how can a non-thing have any attributes? Atheists do not believe in the existence of God. So, as per them God is a non-thing, and therefore this non-existent God, or this non-thing, cannot have any attributes at all. But here I will show that even if God does not exists, still then this non-existent God (non-thing) can actually have many attributes.

For this purpose I will take the case of a stone that does not exist, and I will ask the question: can we destroy a non-existent stone? The answer is very simple indeed: no, we cannot. A non-existent stone cannot be destroyed, simply because it does not exist at all. So we can say that a non-existent stone is indestructible. This is one attribute that the non-existent stone can have. Similarly it can be shown that this non-existent stone can have many other attributes also.

The non-existent stone is not within any space, because it does not exist, and therefore it cannot have any space at all. Therefore it is spaceless.

The non-existent stone is not within any time, because it does not exist, and therefore it cannot have any time at all. Therefore it is timeless.

As the non-existent stone is neither in space nor in time, so the non-existent stone cannot change at all. This is because change can occur either in space, or in time. So the non-existent stone does not get any chance to change at all, and thus the non-existent stone is changeless.

A non-existent stone can never cease to be, because ceasing to be is also some sort of change. And we have already seen that no change can ever occur for the non-existent stone, because the necessary condition for the occurrence of any sort of change in it does not exist at all. So the non-existent stone will never cease to be. But what does it mean that the non-existent stone will never cease to be? It means that the non-existent stone will forever remain a non-existent stone.

Similarly it can be shown that the non-existent stone will always be unborn, uncreated, without any beginning and without an end. This is because it has already been made very clear that no change can ever occur for the non-existent stone. But to be born is some sort of change. Being created is also some sort of change. Having a beginning is also some sort of change. Coming to an end is also some sort of change. As the non-existent stone can never change at all, therefore it will always be unborn, uncreated, without any beginning and without an end.

But what does it mean that the non-existent stone is without any beginning and without an end? It means that the non-existent stone is everlasting. But if the non-existent stone is everlasting, then the next question will be: is it everlasting in its existence? Or, is it everlasting in its non-existence? As the stone does not exist, so here we will have to say that it is everlasting in its non-existence. But if it is everlasting in its non-existence, then we can also say that it is everlastingly non-existent. But if it is everlastingly non-existent, then that will mean that it can never come into existence from its everlasting non-existence. It will forever remain into its everlasting non-existence. This will further imply that something can come from something only, and that something can never come from nothing.

  • 1
    Who is that famous atheist you're mentioning? Your answer could use some sources or references.
    – iphigenie
    Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 11:42
  • "For this purpose I will take the case of a stone that does not exist" - You posit something that does not exist. Then you attribute to that concept positive judgements in the form of negations (non-temporal, non-spacial, etc). Isn't this a mistake? Because what you are describing is not simply "a non-existent stone", but non-existence itself. You can replace the stone with apple, orange, man, vehicle, etc but don't need to change the logic. What would the answer be if I ask if your non-existing stone is rough or smooth? What colour is it?
    – nakiya
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 8:13

"Can something come out of nothing or not? Why?"

Our "laws of physics" are actually just observations of the world as we currently experience it. One of them is "Nothing can come from nothing".

If there is nothing, then there are also no 'laws of physics' - meaning the statement "nothing can come of nothing" has no meaning, and so in those circumstances, all our humanly assumptions are null.

  • Thank you for the answer. The word "assume" in the question is meant in a different sense -- in the sense of taking existence for granted and justifiably so. The goal was to investigate the apparent contradiction between "nothing can come from nothing" and "everything must have a beginning". The thing is, either something can in fact come from nothing or otherwise something must have always existed. The question was, which way is it. That's all. To that question, Mozibur Ullah has provided both an excellent answer and an excellent commentary also. I recommend reading it, it is very accessible.
    – Saul
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:42

"Can something come out of nothing"? It certainly is a possibility for the Creator, since that is one of His powers.

However, even the Creator did not "abuse" His powers and created "something from nothing." He created the Universe from His "essence".

Since the Universe was created from His essence, it is eternal. Only the form of the Universe had a beginning. Just like ice, even though its form has a beginning, it is still the same water molecules that existed before becoming ice.

In conclusion - no, something can not come out of nothing!

  • Thank you. The thing is, my question addresses Creation and its Creator as a single unified whole. So, I am not sure if conclusions that pre-suppose a fundamental separation between the two can answer such an inquiry. Nevertheless, you are welcome to continue and improve on your initial thought, in case you feel like it. Cheers!
    – Saul
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 22:30
  • @Saul: From my perspective, I am addressing the Creation and its Creator as a "unified whole." The best way to explain this is that since infinity + 1 is still infinity, like wise the Creator + the Creation is still the Creator. This is a direct consequence of the Creator being eternal.
    – Guill
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 5:00
  • Yes, but that does not really answer the question. You're simply postulating that something (the Creator) is eternal. That, however, gives us very little information as to why such a postulate is correct or useful to adopt in the first place. If you happen to be interested in expanding your current thoughts even more, you might want to re-visit the question -- it has been clarified and (hopefully) improved since the time you posted your original answer.
    – Saul
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 8:47
  • Saul, I reviewed your clarified statements and I come essentially to the same conclusions. It is precisely because "something" can not come from "nothing," that one thing (a Creator) that exists eternally, is required! Your statement, "The only way for our present reality to have an ultimate beginning is when something can in fact come from nothing," is in fact not true. Scientist use the term "vacuum" when referring to "nothing," philosophers use the term "nothing" when referring to the absence of every thing (including a Creator)!
    – Guill
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 4:13
  • Continuing with my comment, it is not the same thing to say "our universe was created by/from a vacuum fluctuation" as to say, "our universe was created from nothing."
    – Guill
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 4:26

The problem of your question is the idea of "nothing".

It is neither nothing nor any particular thing.

What is nothing? Is it some blankness?

Where does that come from and from whence does this order come from?

The only answer to your question is to posit a Quantum Sea of Unknowability.

Consider it like heat or Hiesenberg's Uncertainty.

Or, you can view it like S in physics describing Boltzmann's Entropy where S = k log W, where W is the number of states.

The universe is probably something like infinity, but you also don't know the base of the log, and k (the Boltzmann constant) is a bias in present science in favor of the atomic model of matter.

So, in the end, you can't actually quantify it.

Get it?

  • 1
    You are not answering the original question and you are ignoring the labels the question has -- it is not possible to argue against a question of metaphysics and ontology using arguments of physics. To have some sense what this discussion is about you can start with considering an object that has no properties whatsoever -- no mass, no charge, no awareness and no position. A complete and absolute ontological zero instead of whatever there is at the moment. The question is about the contradiction between "ex nihilo nihil fit" and the rather undeservedly famous "Big Bang".
    – Saul
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:31
  • @Saul: No you are wrong. You cannot consider an "object that has no properties at all", because that is a logical impossibility.
    – Marxos
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 14:39
  • 1
    That is the whole point. If such an object could exist then it would have properties which is the opposite of our premise. Nothing does not exist. Nothing "does" the opposite of existing. However, the above question is about something else. Please stay on topic and find some way to contribute useful information. If you don't like the question then please do find another one as this question already has its topic and limits in place and they are not going to change.
    – Saul
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 18:58
  • @Saul: okay, i've edited my answer. I still reference physics, but only analogically.
    – Marxos
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 21:20

Nothing in the context of universe and creation, need not be assumed to be indeed nothing like having no property or no physical law etc. We just need to understand how the universe came into being and then what was before it came into being. Science has proved that nothing is unstable and there is a quantum fluctuation that creates pair(s) of particle and antiparticle which may or may not annihilate each other. Overall particle and antiparticle can be said to represent positive and negative with net equal to zero or nothing. The total mass and energy in the universe are exactly zero. Gravity is considered to be negative energy. At the time of big bang, the time as we understand, need to be understood in different way. The events were quantum events and were mixed in 3-dimensional space so that it becomes meaningless to define what is "before" and what is "after". Before big bang, there was nothing that was giving rise to particle-antiparticle pair(s), possibly for infinite time, if we insist to define time in that context. There must be nothing "outside" of our universe, in which the universe is expanding. In this sense, nothing can be considered as a kind of space. So to summarise, something, if we accept one of the form of the same as the particle-antiparticle pairs, can come out of nothing and this nothing can have properties like dimensions of space and can be said to obey the physical laws.


We might say that something exists if it has at least one measurable property. Therefore ‘nothing’ has no measurable properties. If ‘nothing’ is capable of producing ’something’ then that might reasonably be considered to be a property, although it’s unclear how it would be measured. Therefore it follows that ‘nothing’ is incapable of producing ‘something’.


No, "something" cannot come out of "nothing", IMHO. But, in order to ever get a satisfying answer to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?", we're going to have to address the possibility that there could have been "nothing", but now there is "something".  Doing that, assume there was "nothing"; how do you get to "something"? An idea is below.

  Before beginning, it's very important to distinguish between the mind's conception of "nothing" and "nothing" itself, in which the mind would not be there.  When I use the term "nothing", I'm talking about "nothing" itself.  While one can't visualize this directly, it's important to try and get close and then extrapolate to what it might be like if the mind were not there.

If this supposed "nothing” before the "something" was truly the lack of

all existent entities, there would be no mechanism present to change, or transform, this “nothingness” into the “something” that is here now. But, because we can see that “something” is here now, the only possible choice if we start with "nothing" is that the supposed “nothing” we were thinking of was not in fact the lack of all existent entities, or absolute “nothing” but was in fact a "something".  Another way to say this is that if you start with a 0 (e.g., "nothing") and end up with a 1 (e.g., "something"), you can't do this unless somehow the 0 isn't really a 0 but is actually a 1 in disguise, even though it looks like 0 on the surface.  That is, in one way of thinking "nothing" just looks like "nothing".  But, if we think about "nothing" in a different way, we can see through its disguise and see that it's a "something". This then gets back around to the idea that "something" has always been here except now there's a reason why: because even what we think of as "nothing" is a "something".

    How can "nothing" be a "something"?  I think it's first important to try and figure out why any “normal” thing (like a book, or a set) can exist and be a “something”. I propose that a thing exists if it is a grouping. A grouping ties stuff together into a unit whole and, in so doing, defines what is contained within that new unit whole.  This grouping together of what is contained within provides a surface, or boundary, that defines what is contained within, that we can see and touch as the surface of the thing and that gives "substance" and existence to the thing as a new unit whole that's a different existent entity than any components contained within considered individually.  This leads to the idea that a thing only exists where and when the grouping exists.  For instance, groupings can exist inside a person's mind or outside the mind.  For outside-the-mind groupings, like a book, the grouping is physically present and visually seen as an edge, boundary, or enclosing surface that defines this unit whole/existent entity. For inside-the-mind groupings, like the concept of a car (also, fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, etc.), the grouping may be better thought of as the top-level label the mind gives to the mental construct that groups together other constructs into a new unit whole (i.e., the mental construct labeled “car” groups together the constructs of engine, car chassis, tires, use for transportation, etc.).  This idea of a unit whole or a unity as being related to why things exist isn't new.

Next, when you get rid of all matter, energy, space/volume, time, abstract

concepts, laws or constructs of physics/math/logic, possible worlds/possibilities, properties, consciousness, and finally minds, including the mind of the person trying to imagine this supposed lack of all, we think that this is the lack of all existent entities, or "absolute nothing" But, once everything is gone and the mind is gone, this situation, this "absolute nothing", would, by its very nature, define the situation completely. This "nothing" would be it; it would be the all. It would be the entirety, or whole amount, of all that is present. Is there anything else besides that "absolute nothing"? No. It is "nothing", and it is the all. An entirety/defined completely/whole amount/"the all" is a grouping, which means that the situation we previously considered to be "absolute nothing" is itself an existent entity. It's only once all things, including all minds, are gone does “nothing” become "the all" and a new unit whole that we can then, after the fact, see from the outside as a whole unit. One might object and say that being a grouping is a property so how can it be there in "nothing"? The answer is that the property of being a grouping (e.g., the all grouping) only appears after all else, including all properties and the mind of the person trying to imagine this, is gone. In other words, the very lack of all existent entities is itself what allows this new property of being the all grouping to appear.

Three important points are:

  1. The words "was" (i.e., "was nothing") and "then"/"now" (i.e., "then something") in the above imply a temporal change, time would not exist until there was "something", so I don't use these words in a time sense. Instead, I suggest that the two different words, “nothing” and “something”, describe the same situation (e.g., "the lack of all"), and that the human mind can view the switching between the two different words, or ways of visualizing "the lack of all", as a temporal change from "was" to "now".

  2. Because  the mind's conception of "nothing" and "nothing" itself are two different things, our talking about "nothing" itself (which is derived from the mind's conception of "nothing") doesn't reify "nothing" itself.  Our talking about it has nothing to do with whether or not "nothing" itself exists or not.

  3. It's very important to distinguish between the mind's conception of "nothing" and "nothing" itself, in which no minds would be there. These are two different things. In visualizing "nothing" one has to try to imagine what it's like when no minds are there.  Of course, this is impossible, but we can try to extrapolate.

    Anyways, that's my view. There are more details at:

https://philpapers.org/rec/GRAPST-4 and at my website at: https://sites.google.com/site/ralphthewebsite/

Sorry for the long response.  Thanks.
  • can "clever now-living-animal" be "honest"? (and what could that mean?? ..and how many words would it take?;)
    – xerx593
    Commented Jan 11 at 10:37

Physically, something cannot arise from nothing. Normally, nothing is meant to be empty spacetime. The modern vacuum is not empty though and something can get realized, like real matter from the virtual matter near the big bang.

Spacetime was strongly negatively curved before the big bang took off and entropic time came into being. This time can't be extrapolated back to zero as the onset of time itself needs a preceding time. The only time physically present near the big bang was the clock time as seen in the presence of virtual particle states, which had no direction yet, as entropic time has.

The entropic time is proof of a beginning of itself. If the universe was eternal without beginning, we couldn't have an ordered universe as we perceive nowadays. A beginning is necessary and clock time offers a mechanism for entropic time to start.

But what provides the cause to kick the butt of clock time to kick entropic time? Answer: a preceding universe, or better, two universes being each other's mirror image. Here matter and there antimatter (although the basic matter fields in both contain the same matter and antimatter particles).

So every big bang has a time origin by necessity. This goes back to an infinite time in the past. So the universe is eternal, but with local time origins.

But where does the infinite 4D substrate space come from? If the 3D universes on it are appearing periodically with no beginning? Where did the eternal and infinite universe come from? Can this something have appeared from nothing? No. God transcends spacetime and could have created it with his logos only. "Let there be..." and "Bang", there it was. Could have been a bubble he blew in his magic chewing-gum.


If something cannot come from nothing then metaphysics intrudes. Turtles all the way down, as it were. Assuming that metaphysics is rejected, we cannot conclude that something cannot come from nothing. So something came into existence which had not existed before. Immediately, there are questions about time. If the universe came into existence by necessity and decision, then time was part of the package. So in principle, I do not see why something could not come out of nothing.

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