The Bible plainly denies the notion that anyone can honestly consider the universe and conclude that there is no God, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). In other words, the Bible claims that the universe testifies so clearly to God’s existence that every human being (yes, even those who deny He exists) knows He exists, and are, therefore, “without excuse” for rebelling against Him.
Lawrence Krauss, however, claims that this is simply not the case. In fact, he argues exactly the opposite, namely, that the universe clearly testifies that the universe could exist entirely apart from God. As result, he claims to have answered the age-old question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” How, then, does the universe explain away the need for a Creator? How has science finally done away with the need for God?
Answer: Quantum mechanics.
You may be asking, “What is quantum mechanics?” In short, quantum mechanics is the theory that what we call “nothing” is actually something. “Nothing,” according to Krauss, is, “a boiling, bubbling brew of virtual particles that pop in and out of existence in a time scale so short that you can’t even measure them” (Interview on NPR). Further explaining his theory, Krauss says:
You take space, get rid of all the particles, all the radiation, and it actually carries energy, and that notion that in fact empty space – once you allow gravity into the game, what seems impossible is possible. It sounds like it would violate the conservation of energy for you to start with nothing and end up with lots of stuff, but the great thing about gravity is it’s a little trickier.
Gravity allows positive energy and negative energy, and out of nothing you can create positive energy particles, and as long as a gravitational attraction produces enough negative energy, the sum of their energy can be zero. And in fact when we look out at the universe and try and measure its total energy, we come up with zero.
“Once you allow gravity into the game?” Doesn’t this beg the questions, “Who allowed gravity into the game?”, and, “Where did gravity originate?” Krauss seems to take for granted the existence of the factor upon which the entire system apparently lives or dies: gravity. If this is the case, then quantum mechanics has not answered the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”, but has merely pushed it back a degree, shifting its focus from the material (i.e., matter) to the immaterial (i.e., gravity). As result, the question becomes, “Why is there gravity, or “negative energy,” rather than nothing?”
William Lane Craig has written an article that provides a much more thorough response to quantum theory than I have, and provides what I believe is a particularly helpful perspective on the failure of quantum mechanics to answer the ultimate question of origins. He writes:
The recent use of . . . vacuum fluctuations is highly misleading. For virtual particles do not literally come into existence spontaneously out of nothing. Rather the energy locked up in a vacuum fluctuates spontaneously in such a way as to convert into evanescent particles that return almost immediately to the vacuum. As John Barrow and Frank Tipler comment, “. . . the modern picture of the quantum vacuum differs radically from the classical and everyday meaning of a vacuum– nothing. . . . The quantum vacuum (or vacuua, as there can exist many) states . . . are defined simply as local, or global, energy minima (1986, p. 440). The microstructure of the quantum vacuum is a sea of continually forming and dissolving particles which borrow energy from the vacuum for their brief existence. A quantum vacuum is thus far from nothing, and vacuum fluctuations do not constitute an exception to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause.
In the end, I am more amazed at the trustworthiness of the words of the prophet Isaiah, who reminded us that, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Is. 40:8). Amen!