People often ask each other what our favourite Disney film is. Peter Pan is always my answer. I was always fascinated by the idea of Peter Pan and Neverland, growing up. It seemed, to the naive mind of a child, that J.M Barrie had managed to capture the essence of wonder of childhood, and anchored that essence forever, full of mythical creatures and beautiful islands and lagoons (I adore that word) and pirates and lost boys and I remember being five or six years old and closing my eyes, thinking happy thoughts, and wondering if I’d start to fly. It seemed like a heavenly place to me as a child. Incidentally my happy thought was the idea of being able to fly. I’m not sure if the paradox there was the reason I never achieved human flight, either way, I didn’t, and I slowly realised that Neverland may just be fictional and may not actually exist anywhere in reality.
In Neverland, time comes to a halt. You stop aging. It obviously isn’t supposed to be a scientific explanation for anything – merely a children’s tale – but the idea that aging stops divorces the aging process from time itself. Events still take place in Neverland. Events that have consequences, in other words, causation, which requires time, still exists. Neverland has a complete revamping of the characteristics of time. In reality, without time, nothing exists, not even causation. The two are entwined.
I briefly touched on this subject in my article on the Cosmological Argument, but I thought I’d expand on my thoughts below. I am quite certain that the existence of time is evidence against the existence of a divine creator.
Hamza Tzortzis on his blog says:
“Science cannot explain the past or the origins of things. For instance questions such as, what was before the Big Bang?…. are technically outside the realm of the scientific method.”
– Apart from being an entirely false premise, the sentence presumes that there ever was a “before the Big Bang”. This is a false presumption, and not only is it a false presumption because it lacks any kind of evidence relying instead on flimsy guess work, but it also ignores evidence to the contrary. The phrase “before the Big Bang” gives one the sense that time itself preceded the Big Bang, and whilst that’s up for debate on the level of science, this isn’t what Hamza was getting at. He’s suggesting and arguing for divine creation.
The word “before” denotes the context of time. Time is woven into the fabric of the universe. Therefore “before”, is an absurd term to use for the question posed. For, causation itself can only exist within the context of of time. There cannot be a time before time and so the context of the word “before” begins at the point that time itself began. To suggest otherwise not only represents a manipulation of language, but also commits the fallacy of composition. A new concept of causation based not on time is required from creationists to come anywhere close to saving their Neverland. Causation of the universe, they must separate from causation in the universe. Good luck with that.
Stephen Hawking, in a lecture on the beginning of time says:
“Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang.”
Discounting the theory of chaotic inflation, or the big bounce concept, or the idea that endless black holes create endless infinite universes (an intriguing idea, well worth reading up on, and perpetuated by Vahe Gurzadyan among others) for one second – because all of those theories will still lead believers to ask “what came before? Who started it all? Infinity is impossible!!”, they aren’t looking for scientific theories, they’re automatically suggesting a creator – and so I’ll be focusing on the premise that the Big Bang was the beginning of everything.
As we know it, time & space began at the moment of the Big Bang. Therefore, time and space are precluded from “before” the Big Bang, in fact, the word “before” is precluded from before the Big Bang… or to be a little more in keeping with the point of this article… There is no “before” time. Indeed, this is not a faith based guess. It falls therefore on the believer to provide any sort of verifiable evidence that a being can exist outside of time and space, that there existed a separate realm in which a creator had the ability to kick start the universe as we know it, and what the characteristics of that realm are. All of which can only ever be taken on guesswork, fantasy, and are entirely self defeating. This should not be progressed as a serious inquiry into origins. It is creationism and nothing more.
Indeed, if a creator existed in a realm of time and space prior to the beginning of the universe, then that time and space must have different properties to what we understand of time and space, it must also have preceded the existence of the creator within it, therefore, it is a higher realm than the creator, and the creator cannot be called a creator at all. Certainly not the God of the omni’s.
The existence of time and its beginning renders the idea of a creator either obsolete, or creates a sort of Neverland realm, in which the creator dwells – which again, suggests the realm preceded the existence of the creator – a realm in which time doesn’t exist, but events are still able to occur, which in turn suggests a version of time does actually exist in this divine realm; at that point, believers tend not to give any evidence nor characteristics of this magical land.
And so if this divine realm exists before “time” (again, impossible, because existence requires time), did the creator create it also? If the creator created this divine realm also….. how did it do so? In what realm of time and space was it able to exist in order to create this new fantasy realm required before the universe was created?
In other words, if there was a “before” the beginning of time, this would have required another realm for causation to exist – which as I pointed out earlier is a product of time – which then leads to a “before” that realm, which in turn needs a “before” that realm and so on… The chain is endless. And so if you’re suggesting a “before time” – as a synonym for “before everything” – and placing your particular God in that new realm that you’ve just created – out of nothing, ironically – you’ve opened up a whole bag of new questions that you must answer before the question “What came before the Big Bang?” is taken seriously.
Is this Neverland completely timeless? If so, how do events occur?
If it is timeless, do you have any such verifiable evidence that something can exist outside of time and space?
If your creator exists, you must therefore believe existence, and cause and effect do not require time or space? What then, do they require?
Or does this realm have another version of time? Do you have evidence for the existence of more than one version of time?
Or does this realm include our understanding of time, that was simply extended to the universe at the Big Bang? In which case, where did your creator exist in order to create it? How did your creator exist before existence was possible?
If you conceive of a “before time”, you have created Neverland. A place where time doesn’t exist, but causation exists. You have divorced causation from time, you have divorced time from the universe. I see no reason to accept this as a reasonable proposition, rather than a completely absurd and illogical proposition. Especially when you provide no evidence for such an extraordinary revision of all known physical laws.
If a creator created everything – which encompasses itself – including the time and space required to ‘create’ the universe, it must have done so in another realm of time and space. Suddenly “everything” doesn’t encompass itself any more, and the creator is no longer the creator, because this new realm preceded it. Arguing the existence of a creator of the universe does nothing but lead to complete absurdity and eventually defeats itself. He created time, whilst in time. Or he created time, without time existing, despite creation requiring time in order to happen. Absurd. The believer essentially creates an endless stream of divine Neverlands, whilst both changing the nature of existence and time and through it all, offering no evidence whatsoever for the existence or characteristics of any of those wonderful Neverlands, or even the ability for any to actually exist. It is fantasy dressed up as viable, and credible inquiry.
The evidence is clear; if there is no time and space, there is no existence. Existence requires time. Causation requires time. All characteristics of the universe. Therefore, not only does God not exist…. He isn’t required to exist, and actually cannot possibly exist. It is logical impossible.
That the universe – time, space, matter, energy – came into existence doesn’t suggest a creator. Quite the opposite. It negates the need for a creator, and entirely precludes His existence.
Just like a child slowly coming to the realisation that J.M Barrie’s Neverland does not exist anywhere in reality, what we understand of the universe, of time, and of space necessarily leads us to a point in which we do not abandon the search for truth, but we recognise there is not – and cannot possibly be – a God… Except of course, within the absurd and contradictory, self defeating realm of a hopeless divine Neverland.