Saturday, June 30, 2012

What do you mean by 'create'?

Yesterday I was poking around youtube and stumbled across this video which prompted a blog post. There are some apologetics which refer to things being created and it addresses mundane things being created as well as the universe being created. As pointed out by the video, the creation of something like a table, and the creation of the universe are very different things, and not just because of the scale.

Let's look at what happens when you create a table? At first, there is no table, but you have a pile of materials, you have wood, glue, screws, or whatever. When you put the materials together you have 'created' the table. There was no table and now there is. What you have really done is reorganize some matter that was already there and we have a particular name for the configuration that you ended with. This is true for everything that we can create, be it a car, a house, or a person. With a person you don't have a 'pile of materials', but you are reorganizing materials just the same.

Now, consider the creation of the universe. The claim is that there was nothing, then God created the universe. God created all of the matter that there is out of nothing. He did not take some stuff and turn it into the universe, he started with no stuff, and then blinked the universe into existence.

Notice that we are really using the word 'create' in 2 very different ways. In one way, we are taking matter and rearranging it, in the other way, God is starting with nothing and making matter appear. These are very different things and we probably shouldn't even be using the same word for it. At the very least, I would argue that any intuition we have about things that we can create should have no bearing on the creation of the universe from nothing.

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