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Yellowdog's avatar

Why does anything exist at all?

Asked by Yellowdog (6940points) 5 days ago

The best we can imagine of ‘nothingness’ is probably a dark, empty, infinite and pitch-black void of emptiness.

But even THAT is something: empty space, the passage of time, infinite eternal darkness.

So seeing nothingness is more like what we see through our toes when our shoes are on, rather than what we see with our eyes closed. So how did anything ever get started? Even the Big Bang requires gravity and some form of energy just to get the space/time continuum started.

And, some will say, its because God created it all. Yes, I understand that God is the creator of time and space, and that God didn’t come from anywhere or have an origin, because God created time and God created every place that God could come from. But how, or why, then, does God exist?

In this vein of thought, did God just ‘happen’ to exist? Couldn’t God, therefore, just as easily never existed ? Couldn’t ANY first cause just as easily have never existed—and there could have just as easily never been anything at all?

Can we even contemplate ‘nothingness’ ?

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28 Answers

MrGrimm888's avatar

I would opine that, as the OP wonders, humans probably cannot really contemplate nothingness or many other machinations of time and space.

kritiper's avatar

Everything exists because it just does. There is no reason.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why shouldn’t it?

Unless you feel that the solar system is completely unformed and void (Genesis), then there has to be something.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’m almost certain that this is the single question responsible for the invention of God. It was (and pretty much remains) the easy way out for explanations on existence.

Jeruba's avatar

How do you know it does?

mazingerz88's avatar

I can only submit the explanation given in the film The Matrix. It does make a lot of sense.

flutherother's avatar

Nothingness can’t exist on its own.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think. Therefore you are?

kritiper's avatar

@stanleybmanly ‘s comment (two back) is the most logical deduction, really.

JLeslie's avatar

Who knows. There is no answer. Why bother worrying about it?

LostInParadise's avatar

Why bother with God? Why can’t there just be scientific laws that exist outside of time that can create space and time? Assuming the existence of God just replaces one mystery with a bigger one.

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise Are you asking me? I didn’t say don’t bother with God. I don’t see the difference if someone believes in God or not when it comes to this question. We aren’t going to no why in my opinion. If someone believes in God, maybe they believe they will know why everything or anything existed when they die and join Him.

I don’t think knowing why we exist is the question we need to ask. We might want to know how we exist, which can be answered scientifically or with God, I don’t personally worry about that question either. We can also want to know how to make the best of our time here.

LostInParadise's avatar

@JLeslie , I should have said I was addressing the question to @Yellowdog . It seems to me that giving God as the reason for why things exist is just personifying our ignorance.

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise Ok, I wasn’t sure since I had just used the word “bother” myself.

Yellowdog's avatar

It matters, then, because, if God is indeed the creator of time and space, and can be explained as never having an origin or place to come from, or that there ever was time before the creation of time… couldn’t God, if indeed the creator of all space and time, just as easily NOT existed and there never would have been anything… including eternal emptiness.

If the first cause, or origin of all that is here, including time and space, never happened, there wouldn’t even be an empty eternal void with nothing to contemplate it,

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Yellowdog your first paragraph is self-referential mumbo jumbo. Can you write it more clearly? I got list around the first ellipsis.

I sort of think you said that existence gives god a place to be master over, and if there was no existence there would be no god. Is that what you were saying?

Yellowdog's avatar

If God, or any first cause, never existed—including the energy of the big bang, then there never would have been anything—not even an empty and eternally dark void.

Its hard to imagine even the empty , eternal black void never existing,

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Yellowdog's avatar

Its also interesting to think that the vast universe, even as it currently is, to exist but without life that is developed enough to see or comprehend or contemplate it.

An intricate universe—with nothing with any brain ever seeing it or existing in it

But this question is regarding even the void itself—even if only eternal emptiness and dark, never even existing.

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MikeHammelton's avatar

Everything exists because it exists and the point!)

LostInParadise's avatar

If God, or any first cause, never existed
So we do not need God as the first cause.

Yellowdog's avatar

ANYTHING that is the first cause—might just as likely NOT been there, and nothing would have ever happened.

Its kind of hard to imagine NOTHING ever coming into existence, not even time or empty, dark space.

LostInParadise's avatar

I agree. Scientists have no answer and it does not seem as if there ever could be.

kritiper's avatar

Or “God,” for that matter…
So much easier to imagine that whatever exists, always was, in one form or another. No “creation” of anything required.

gondwanalon's avatar

Think about what it was like before you were born. Contemplate on that.

Pinguidchance's avatar

Sartre being Sartre said it best, as he does now and will forever, when he said nothing.

Zaku's avatar

1. Why would anyone expect there to be an answer to this sort of framing of a “why” question?

2. Given that the current observable situation for humans is “here we are, there those things are”, why do we keep framing this question as if it’s surprising that things exist?

3. Why would the starting situation for a universe ever be assumed to be “in the beginning, there was nothing”? (Except that, of course, many human religions say so… interesting that they all do…) But what if there “was always” something in whatever the universe and time are? It seems to me there needs to pre-exist some context in which a universe can be created into, if one needs to frame the idea that way.

4. God creating a universe is a metaphor, not a literal thing, in every religion, when understood at the level of its philosophical intent for people who understand it. “There was an actual God, and he made stuff” is just something to say to get unsophisticated people to stop asking questions. God is a metaphor for the universe in its totality. God made the universe and has a plan for every atom… because “God” includes the entire universe and everything about it… God is not a dude with a beard somewhere, or even that sort of thing, at all.

5. If you ask how God came to exist, you’re asking how the universe came to exist, but universe is a universal concept, so it’s a pretty self-referential question from the literal point of view the question seems to be asking from.

6. A related (or possibly the same question), is why your consciousness exists, and why its attention is on the person and time it is on.

7. Many religions at their mystic/guru level lead to a relationship to the universe as an illusion, and the higher level of reality being a god consciousness which is the consciousness we all experience and is the only thing that actually exists.

8. Some philosophy and physics and mysticism suggest that there may be a multiverse or even a continuous infinity of universes with different natures and timelines. What that even is, and what might exist conceptually above that at even more levels, it seems to me, is in a context outside what we think of as “the universe”, and we don’t know what that is, but it seems like it might be necessary to answer “why” or “how” the universe came to exist.

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