Sunday, October 07, 2012

Schaeffer on Nothing

We are considering existence, the fact that something is there. Remember Jean-Paul Sartre's statement that the basic philosophic question is that something is there rather than nothing being there. The first basic answer is that everything that exists has come out of absolutely nothing. In other words, you begin with nothing. Now, to hold this view, it must be absolutely nothing. It must be what I call nothing nothing. It cannot be nothing something or something nothing. If one is to accept this answer, it must be nothing nothing, which means there must be no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.

My description of nothing nothing runs like this. Suppose we had a very black blackboard which had never been used. On this blackboard we drew a circle, and inside that circle there was everything that was -- and there was nothing within the circle. Then we erase the circle. This is nothing nothing. You must not let anybody say he is giving an answer beginning with nothing and then really begin with something: energy, mass, motion, or personality. That would be something, and something is not nothing.

The truth is I have never heard this argument sustained, for it is unthinkable that all that now is has come out of utter nothing. But theoretically, that is the first possible answer.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Ch. 1)


Tim said...

Paging Lawrence Krauss ... Schaeffer's critique is more or less in line with what David Albert said in his blistering review of Krauss here. It is interesting to see Schaeffer anticipating Krauss's blunder.

g0thamite said...

How significantly relevant to the recent Lawrence Krauss/Stephen Hawking discussion.

Thank you for bringing this quotation to light!