"Why is there something rather than nothing?" This is the ultimate question. So ultimate'y, it shouldn't be viewed as a question, because questions imply answers.
I prefer, "There is something rather than nothing."
Leave out the "why." Embrace the stark, unarguable reality of existence. Forget God. Something must exist or God couldn't exist. So my awe is directed toward existence, not God.
Existence is everlasting, eternal, omnipresent, unfathomable. Wild! If I want to feel a tingle up my psyche's spine before I fall into sleep, I ponder there is something rather than nothing as I doze off.
Last week a fresh New Scientist issue arrived in the mail. Glancing at the cover I was excited to read:
The Existential Issue
The staggering mysteries of being
(and how to cope with them)
Appropriately, the first mystery tackled in the existential issue was "Why is there something rather than nothing?" After all, without something, there'd be no other mysteries.
I liked the mixture of science and philosophy in the article by Amanda Gefter. In less than three minutes you can get the gist of how modern cosmology looks upon this question in the following New Scientist video.
(My favorite part: "something and nothing may well be the same thing." The universe is just a form of nothing. Ooh! So Zen!
Still, this doesn't really answer the question of why anything exists at all. Gefter acknowledges the untouched mystery of existence in her final paragraph.
None of this really gets us off the hook, however. Our understanding of creation relies on the validity of the laws of physics, particularly quantum uncertainty.
But that implies that the laws of physics were somehow encoded into the fabric of our universe before it existed. How can physical laws exist outside of space and time and without a cause of their own?
Or, to put it another way, why is there something rather than nothing?
Religious believers will seize upon this admission of science's inability to peek behind the curtain of why existence exists and exclaim, "God is the only answer!" To which I reply, "Wrong!"
God, whether viewed as a personal or impersonal power, fills precisely the same role in theology as do the laws of physics in science.
That is, a given. Something for which no cause is offered. A brute fact, wihout which no other facts are possible.
OK. To me, it's a tie. Both religion and science are clueless about the ultimate question: why is there something rather than nothing? Each offers up an answer that doesn't satisfy.
"God created the universe." Fine. So tell me, what created God?
"The universe was created by a quantum fluctuation." Fine. So tell me, what created the quantum fluctuation?
What is simply is. There is something rather than nothing. I find this eminently satisfying. More than that, actually, much more. It's awesome. Mindblowing. Astoundingly meaningful.
Why? LIke existence itself, there's no why.