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This week’s challenge: critique this. Where does she go wrong? We’ll hear Brett’s response on Thursday.
The flaw to this logic is that creation from nothing does not mean the creator doesn’t exist. It means the substance he creates from doesn’t exist. Saying you can walk into you empty house and bring something out doesn’t mean you don’t exist.
There is one bit of truth at the end of this video. Sometimes the flaws are so obvious we overlook them.
She goes wrong right from the beginning. She’s just WAY too serious.
She also confuses the statement “Something comes from nothing” with the statement, “Something is nothing.” Obviously, calling nothing ‘something’ is a contradiction, but there’s no contradiction in the claim that something comes from nothing.
And, like Doug said, she conflates material causes with efficient causes by saying that if the universe were created out of nothing, then not even God could’ve been around to create it. The doctrine of creation ex-nihilo is that God brought the universe into existence without the use of pre-existing material. It’s not the doctrine that God himself wasn’t even there.
Finally, she’s confused about the principle that something cannot come from nothing. Obviously, something cannot come from nothing spontaneously and without a cause, but there’s no reason to think God couldn’t have created something without the use of pre-existing material.
If Adonai is Supreme, then He can create the materials he needs for his universe. She’s limiting the powers and abilities of Adonai to her own human understanding. Then again, modern science says we’re mostly space, so who’s to say maybe God made a small amount of matter and distributed it ever so nicely?
I agree with Doug that just because the material doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean the creator isn’t there. If the piano doesn’t exist, does that mean that piano players and music don’t exist, either? Just because Louis Armstrong didn’t play the trumpet in grade school didn’t mean he lacked the talent for it(he didn’t play the cornet until twelve years of age, according to http://www.holeintheweb.com/drp/bhd/Satchmo1-6.htm).Sam hits the dot, too, on how she confuses the phrases associated with the classical belief of creation.
She also confuses the concept of a First Cause, of which we attribute to Adonai. We eventually need to stop and say that there can’t be infinitely many dominoes, and there has to be one domino to cause the (fun)collision.
I’d also like to put a spin on that math equation:
0 + 0 = 0
0 + 0 = (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) + ……
if we do a little regrouping -> 0 + 0 = 1 + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + ….
thus, 0 + 0 = 1
Is that something from nothing, or is there a flaw in my work?
“0 + 0 = (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) + ……
if we do a little regrouping -> 0 + 0 = 1 + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + ….”
The flaw in the math is what lies beyond the elipsis. If you write it as this:
0 + 0 = (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) + ……+(1 – 1)
and regroup: 0 + 0 = 1 + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + ….+ (-1 + 1) -1
You now see that 0 + 0 = 0
It’s a classical category error. She conflates the substance of God with the substance of the universe. When we say that God created the universe out of “nothing”, we don’t mean that not even God was in existence. Nobody argues that. She’s just being pedantic about the word, “nothing.”
You all have mentioned many great issues. However, I think she has a more fundamental problem. Her definition of “god”. She identifies “god” as requiring creation. This is a panentheistic god; not the God of Christianity. The Christian God exists without creation and with creation; therefore, creation is not necessary for the Christian God’s existence.
Her point about god not being able to exist prior to creation is valid and independent of all the other critiques offered here. So she HAS given a proof for god’s impossibility. Ironically, we can all stand side-by-side with her in stating that the god she wishes to prove does not exist, in fact, DOES NOT EXIST…But a panentheisitic god is NOT the one who’s existence Christians affirm. She has not even attempted to address the existence of the Christian God.
My first question came up when she defined God simply as “creator.” She moved from that to saying that if he is the Creator, then his only purpose was to create. Then she went on to get boxed in by her other “something from nothing” assertions. My question is this: why does she limit God and his essence to only creation? Just because we credit him as creating us (and that’s a big deal for us and the world) who’s to say that he doesn’t have other attributes that are separate and different from creation? We are here at this pleasure, but his existence isn’t predicated on OUR existence. Not sure if I’m on the right track, but that was the first question that came up for me. And if she gets off track that early, the rest is irrelevant.
Who is she to limit what God can and cannot do?
marvelous argument–she clearly shows that nothing exists for it never could have come to be.
I thought this kind of silliness went out with Zeno.
Bravo, Bert. I haven’t bothered to go to her site to see how she thinks everything came to be without a creator. Maybe that’s my next stop. I think it will be something about how you can have a big bang without a big banger….
She is begging the question. Her argument is essentially this:
I know you cannot create something from nothing.
Bible teaches that something was created from nothing
Therefore, the Bible is not true.
This is begging the question, she is already assuming the Bible is wrong in an attempt to prove it. Also, notice, she is arguing from the nature of human beings to the nature of God. What I mean by that is even though it is impossible for human beings to create something out of nothing, it does not follow that it is impossible for God to create something out of nothing. If what the Bible says about God is true, then it is certainly not a problem for him to create something out of nothing.
Very nice, Mark. I would have never thought of the Columbo tactic.
Actually, I wasn’t thinking the STR favorite, Columbo, but God: Job 38:4, NLT: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.”
After a short exchange with Lynn Atwater (who came up with this argument) in the comment section of the video on youtube, I decided to write a more thorough critique of the video. In case anybody is interested, it’s on my blog.
Excellent job on your blog post, Sam. (So that’s what you were writing last night!) Very logical and well-thought-out. I thought this was a great clarification: “But this dictionary definition is not using the is of identity. Rather, it’s using the is of predication. That God created the universe is not an essential attribute of God.”
Much agreed, Amy. Nice job, Sam.
Sam, thanks for the posting that blog. You did an incredible job. It will be tweeted and posted on the Faithful Thinkers FB page shortly. 🙂 Awesome stuff!