Why is there something rather than nothing? The Stoics provide an answer.

Our scientifically estimated 13.6 billion year old universe could have come from nothing as bizarre as that is to conceive in our minds.  How could something come from nothing?  This question never seemed to bother the ancient Greco-Roman philosophers as much as it did later Medieval philosophers.  God created the universe ex nihilo according to the Medieval interpretation of the Bible so it was thought that there was nothing in the beginning.  If an atheist during the Dark Ages had dared to question the existence of God, she would’ve been met with the question, “well, then how could something come from nothing?”

The ancient Greek and Roman philosophers never cared too much about the issue of how could something come from nothing because they just assumed something had been around since eternity so there was never a nothing.  The Stoics, for example, just assumed the universe had always been.  It, like a fire, sets off, sustains itself, and then extinguishes itself only to be set off again and this process goes on forever.  In fact, the universe is always dying and being reborn and everything that happened in all the previous universes happens in this universe.

The ancient Greco-Roman philosophers tended to have a cyclic vision of time that the universe would be born, sustain itself, die, be reborn and repeat ad infinitum.  This didn’t just happen cosmically but microcosmically.  Civilizations would be born, sustain themselves, and then die, only to have new civilizations be born from those civilizations.  It really wasn’t until Christianity that Western Civilization got the concept of linear time that began at some certain point, say, 4004 BC and terminates on Judgment Day say 2000-something when Jesus is supposed to return.

Anyway, it’s still possible the Stoics are right.  Maybe even though our universe had a beginning, our universe was just born from another universe that is part of an infinite multiverse that has always existed and will never die.  If our universe came from another universe, then it came from something, and if the multiverse is always there, then we never have to deal with the question, “how did something come from nothing?” because something has always been forever and ever.

Before the universe began, it might’ve been a singularity that went unstable.  While mathematically singularities are difficult to describe and physics breaks down, it’s possible that that singularity could’ve been eternally existing, thereby making it never needn’t of an explanation for where it came from.  The singularity had always just been, eternally existing.  Therefore, something never did come from nothing.

This is all just speculation but it makes you wonder how old things really are.  While our universe appears to be 13.6 billion years old.  How old was the singularity before it?  How old is everything outside our universe IF there is an OUTSIDE.

The Stoics had their answer so what is yours?

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Four Different Universes

Four different universes, take your pick.

1. Dawkin’s universe. It’s not a very benevolent universe. It can care less about you. It’s blind and pitiless but it did give you genes that use you as a host to spread themselves. Nature is red in tooth and claw but just be happy you’re not a lion’s lunch.

2. Spinoza’s universe. It doesn’t play dice. It unfolds due do its own plans. It’s both intelligent and material. The more you understand it, the more you will live in harmony with it and love it. It doesn’t give you free will though.

3. Zeno’s Universe. It is benevolent and reasoning. It gave humans reason and the ability to have virtue and find happiness. It also allows for free will.

4. Alfred North Whitehead’s Universe. It is a very creative and spontaneous universe. It cares very deeply about sentient life. It’s very sentient and caring. Prayer can actually influence it but not compel it. So don’t be surprised if all your prayers aren’t answered. Not only is there free will but there’s libertarian free will.

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