Did the Laws of Science Apply in the Beginning?
It is relatively easy for the rational man to disprove the idea that matter can spontaneously generate. Of course, even intuition does not back spontaneous generation. Recall Richard Dawkins’ commentary on the matter: “Of course it’s counterintuitive that you can get something from nothing. Of course common sense doesn’t allow you to get something from nothing” (Dawkins and Pell, 2012, emp. added). It matters not how long you sit in your chair and stare at an empty desk. A pencil will not eventually materialize on the desk before you. Things—no matter how simplistic—do not pop into existence from nothing.
The idea, that structured, law-abiding, physical matter (i.e., like that which we see all around us in the created order) could come into being from nothing, is even more far-fetched. Beyond intuition, this matter is laid to rest when we consider the implications of the First Law of Thermodynamics and the Law of Conservation of Matter (see Miller, 2013c). To paraphrase, the amount of energy and matter in a system will remain constant unless there is input from some outside source. In other words, it does not matter how long you stare at the desk; unless someone comes by your desk and puts an already existing pencil on it, or you put the pencil on it yourself, or the pencil falls on the desk from some other place, a pencil will not appear on the desk. This idea, applied to the origin of the Universe, indicates that the Universe has either always existed (an idea which violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics—see Miller, 2013c), or Someone put it here.
Naturalists do not take such news sitting down. Scientists like Stephen Hawking claim that in the beginning, at the alleged Big Bang, “the laws of science…would break down” (1988, p. 88). Theoretical physicist Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology in Egypt highlighted the Big Bang singularity as a devastating deficiency of the Big Bang Theory: “The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there” (as quoted in Zyga, 2015). So, in other words, according to naturalists, one cannot use the laws of physics to disprove the spontaneous origin of the cosmic egg, because those laws could not apply to the cosmic egg at the beginning.
To what are the naturalists referring when they claim that the laws of nature “break down” at the cosmic egg that gave birth to the Universe—that the laws did not apply then? One of the first concepts taught in a study of calculus is that of a “limit.” A “limit” is a way to solve what will be the end result of an equation if its variable(s) was allowed to move to its ultimate destination. For example, imagine a bottle full of water with a leak at its base. As the water leaks from the bottle, the water level, ℎ, gets smaller. A limit equation seeks to determine what the end result will be of such a scenario. The “limit” of “ℎ” in the bottle over time, ℎ(t), as the water leaks from the bottle, will be zero—the final height of the water when it has all drained from the bottle . Now imagine trying to find the limit of the same equation, but with the ℎ(t) term in the denominator of the function . Over time, the height of the water in the bottle, ℎ(t), still moves to zero, which results in a situation where one must find the limit of an equation with a one divided by a zero. You do not have to know much about math to know that dividing one by zero is a problem. Such a scenario does not fit the rules. The usual laws do not work. We call it a “singularity,” and something similar happens when cosmologists attempt to work out the equations that explain what would occur at the beginning of the hypothetical Big Bang. This is why Stephen Hawking said, “The beginning of real time would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down” (n.d.).
In response, first notice that there is a reason that physicists consider the singularity a “problem.” Arguing that a singularity must have occurred at the beginning of the Big Bang admits that the laws of nature do not work in the way they are supposed to in the Big Bang model. The Big Bang requires the singularity, and yet the laws of nature do not work with singularities (i.e., when one is divided by zero). So, by definition, the Big Bang event is not scientific. It is not natural. It is supernatural—and therefore, the Big Bang naturalist must give up on being a naturalist, or remain in a self-contradictory position. Either the laws of science “break down,” proving a supernatural occurrence at the beginning, or the laws of science did not actually break down, and naturalists just do not yet understand how the Big Bang could happen within the confines of the laws of science. That option, however, would concede that the laws of science did apply in the beginning, granting our original argument (i.e., that the First Law of Thermodynamics prohibits the spontaneous generation of the Universe).
One physicist contacted me at Apologetics Press and went further in trying to get around the Universal origin problem. Paraphrasing, he said, “The laws of nature involve the interaction of matter and energy. The laws wouldn’t work in a situation where you don’t have matter and energy—like at the very beginning, before the cosmic egg appeared. So the laws wouldn’t be violated if matter and energy popped into existence from nothing, because there wouldn’t be any interaction for the laws to govern. So, no law would be able to stop matter/energy from popping into existence.” Is his statement true that the laws of physics only involve the interaction of matter and energy?
No. In thermodynamics, for example, we often work problems, specifically First Law of Thermodynamics problems, where you begin with a system with nothing in it, and then energy or matter moves into the system from outside of the system. So the problems involve a system bearing the interaction of nothing with energy/matter, and this is the precise scenario that poses a problem for the origin of the cosmic egg.
Still, the naturalistic scientist “usually assumes that the current laws of physics did not apply then” (Linde, 1994, emp. added). Granted—certain assumptions are often necessary in science. Granted—no one was around to make scientific observations about the origin of matter. But wait…that’s the point. No one was there to observe the beginning. So we have to be very careful in making assumptions. If we wish to be rational and not hold to a blind “faith,” we have to look at evidence available to us and only draw those conclusions that are warranted by that evidence. But naturalists throw out the current evidence, since it does not provide them with a naturalistic answer to the origin question that they seek, and proceed to engage in wild speculation. How is it scientific to throw aside solid science—making the assumption that there were no such things as laws of science in the beginning—with no evidence to support such a claim? This, naturalists do, even when all empirical evidence that has ever been observed by scientists leads to the conclusion that the laws of physics are, always have been, and always will be immutable (i.e., until they are destroyed along with the physical Universe on the Day of Judgment—2 Peter 3:7-10)—that they do not “break down.” Recall Stephen Hawking’s words regarding the laws of nature: “But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe. Unlike laws made by humans, the laws of nature cannot ever be broken. That’s why they are so powerful…. [T]he laws of nature are fixed” (“Curiosity…,” 2011). In spite of such bold assertions, this same Hawking irrationally contradicted himself in claiming that in the Big Bang model, which he subscribes to, “the laws of science…break down” (1988, p. 88). If we behave rationally—drawing conclusions based on the evidence—a naturalist would have to conclude that the laws did not “break down” at the beginning. But if they did not break down, then naturalism has been falsified—and such a truth cannot be swallowed by naturalists.
Ironically, evolutionists take great pains to prove the immutability of certain scientific assertions, at least when it suits their agenda. For instance, creationists point out that the dating techniques utilized by evolutionary geologists are based on certain assumptions which are far from reasonable when all of the evidence is considered—like the assertion that physical constants used in dating methods have, in fact, remained constant throughout time. Mark Isaak of “The TalkOrigins Archive” attempts to respond to this criticism by describing certain constants which have purportedly remained constant for billions of years (Isaak, 2007). Creationists have no problem with the idea that certain constants could have remained essentially the same over long periods of time (though we do not believe that the Universe has existed for billions of years). However, scientific evidence indicates that not all physical constants have remained unchanged forever—like constants that are used in evolutionary dating techniques (cf. Stober, 2010; Miller, 2013b; Butt, 2010b; Reucroft and Swain, 2009; Gardner, 2010). For instance, catastrophic phenomena, such as volcanoes (cf. Akahane, et al., 2004), can significantly accelerate the rate of processes generally thought to take millions of years. The conclusion: dating techniques that make unscientific assumptions are flawed (cf. Miller, 2013b). But scientific laws, by definition, are without exception.
Notice again that, on one hand, naturalists do not want to grant that the laws of science have always been constant, although all scientific evidence indicates that they have; but they do want to make erroneous claims about physical constants that have been shown to be in contradiction with the scientific evidence, since it suits their agenda. And further notice that the evolutionist’s dilemma is not improved upon even if we grant the possibility that the laws of science were inapplicable at the beginning. Would evolutionists have us to believe that in the beginning, not only matter, but the physical laws that govern that matter popped into existence with the matter as well (see Miller, 2012b)? How can there be a law without a law maker? How is such an assertion scientific? And how is such an assertion allowed to go unchallenged by many scientists? The bias of those in the evolutionary community against accepting the rational and scientific alternative to their faulty theories is profound.
After Stephen Hawking admits on his Web site that “the laws of physics would have broken down” at the singularity, in the next sentence he contradicts himself, saying, “Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics” (n.d.). The naturalist wishes to have his cake and eat it, too. One cannot sidestep the thrust of the First Law of Thermodynamics by trying to say the laws did not apply in the beginning, and then simultaneously claim that natural law—namely quantum law—would bring about the Universe, which is precisely what naturalists wish to do (see Miller, 2013a). If you acknowledge that the natural laws cannot work in your model, you must acknowledge that your model is a supernatural model—not a naturalistic model. If the evolutionist cannot use science and its laws to bring about the Universe, then he has, in reality, given up on naturalism and become a believer in supernaturalism. In other words, if the laws of nature did not apply in the beginning, by implication, only supernatural phenomena could have existed to bring about the Universe (see Miller, 2012a). The next step is only to decide which supernatural entity is the true Creator—God, with His supporting evidences; or magic, with its lack thereof. [NOTE: The fact that naturalists must believe in supernatural phenomena illustrates that naturalistic theories amount to religion. Consistency, therefore, would dictate that those schools that do not allow the Creation model to be taught in their science classes should eliminate naturalistic theories as well. However, this author believes that the correct solution would be to teach the evidence from science, wherever it leads. Truth is the goal. The scientific evidence detailed in this book points to a Creator. So it should be taught. Any theory which contradicts the evidence should be removed from scientific discussion. See Houts, 2007, for more on the idea that evolution is religion, not science.]
Although assumptions are often necessary in science, scientific assumptions must carry the quality of being reasonable in order for them to be permissible in scientific discussion (See Miller, 2013b for a discussion on scientific assumptions.). What scientific evidence could be cited to back such a grandiose claim that there was a time that the laws of nature did not hold? The only way the claim that the laws of science did not apply in the beginning can be made and considered to be reasonable is if the person has made another equally unscientific assumption upon which that claim is based. The person would have to assume that there was no One here at the beginning that organized matter in keeping with the Laws which that Being set in motion. The Creation model in no way contradicts the laws of physics. On the other hand, the atheistic evolutionary model contradicts the laws of physics in a myriad of ways. Yet, oddly, creationists are the ones who are branded as unscientific.
Akahane, Hisatada, Takeshi Furuno, Hiroshi Miyajima, Toshiyuki Yoshikawa, and Shigeru Yamamoto (2004), “Rapid Wood Silicification in Hot Spring Water: An Explanation of Silicification of Wood During the Earth’s History,” Sedimentary Geology, 169[3-4]:219-228, July 15.
Butt, Kyle (2010b), “New Findings Show Flaws in Old-Earth Dating Methods,” /APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3770.
“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
Dawkins, Richard and George Pell (2012), “Religion and Atheism,” ABC Australia, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/quanda/txt/s3469101.htm, April 9.
Gardner, Elizabeth (2010), “Purdue-Stanford Team Finds Radioactive Decay Rates Vary With the Sun’s Rotation,” Purdue University News Service, http: //www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100830FischbachJenkinsDec.html.
Hawking, Stephen (1988), A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam).
Hawking, Stephen (n.d.), “The Beginning of Time,” Stephen Hawking: The Official Web Site, March 1, 2016.
Houts, Michael G. (2007), “Evolution is Religion—Not Science [Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 27:81-87, November, /pub_rar/27_11/0711.pdf.
Isaak, Mark (2007), “Claim CE410,” The TalkOrigins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy, http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CE/CE410.html.
Linde, Andrei (1994), “The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, 271:48, November.
Miller, Jeff (2012a), “The Atheistic Naturalist’s Self-Contradiction,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=4225.
Miller, Jeff (2012b), “The Laws of Science –by God,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=4545.
Miller, Jeff (2013a), “Can Quantum Mechanics Produce a Universe from Nothing?” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4584&topic=57.
Miller, Jeff (2013b), “Don’t Assume Too Much: Not All Assumptions in Science Are Bad,” Reason & Revelation, 33:62-64,69-70, June, https://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1122&article=2153.
Miller, Jeff (2013c), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=2786.
Reucroft, Steve and J. Swain (2009), “Ultrasonic Cavitation of Water Speeds Up Thorium Decay,” CERN Courier, June 8, http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/39158.
Stober, David (2010), “The Strange Case of Solar Flares and Radioactive Elements,” http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/breaking/2010/08/23/the-strange-case-of-solar-flares-and-radioactive-elements/.
Zyga, Lisa (2015), “No Big Bang? Quantum Equation Predicts Universe Has No Beginning,” Phys.Org, February 9, http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html.
[Article Revised 2021]
REPRODUCTION & DISCLAIMERS: We are happy to grant permission for this article to be reproduced in part or in its entirety, as long as our stipulations are observed.