“This is what our culture has been missing for far too long—a creation story for young atheistic materialists.” (Joe Carter)
Where did we come from? How did we get here? What is my purpose in life? How do I define what is right and wrong? What happens after death?
These are big questions that nag at the mind. They play with the physical and metaphysical. They demand an answer from one’s worldview, even if you refuse to give an answer or prefer to not give an answer. The questions poke and prod you to define one’s core identity based upon a coherent, non-whimsical belief system. Sometimes, the questions bring other people along to help push you to answer and substantiate your worldview so that you will pay attention to the questions instead of distracting yourself with all of life’s shiny busyness.
It is no coincidence that the big questions often lead a person back to the beginning. To the beginning of time and space. To the beginning of everything. Why? Because in the story of creation, whatever story you may purport to hold, lays the foundation from which the big questions, even those pesky non-scientific metaphysical questions (like morality), find their answers.
Whether we realize or not, when one tells their creation story, they are laying out a snapshot of their identity and rational for their life decisions. In the humorous and insightful story, When Nothing Created Everything, Joe Carter takes the oft dry-sounding creation story of non-theistic materialist and makes it into “a purportedly accurate, though mythic, narrative” fit for children. The story is excellent in that even addresses the metaphysical of the worldview, that the big questions are being built on, as atheist Bertrand Russell penned, “the firm foundation of unyielding despair.”
By Joe Carter
Throughout history people have been awed and thrilled by retellings of their culture’s creation story.
Aztecs would tell of the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes, Phoenicians about the Zophashamin, and Jews and Christians about the one true God—Yahweh. But there is one unfortunate group—the children of atheistic materialists—that has no creation myth to call its own. When an inquisitive tyke asks who created the sun, the animals, and mankind, their materialist parents can only tell them to read a book by Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins.
But what sort of story are they likely to find? Should they be told, as famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking claims in his book The Grand Design, that “the universe . . . create[d] itself from nothing”?
Since Hawking’s explanation is a bit too drab and not specific enough for bedtime reading, I’ve decided to take the elements of materialism and shape them into a purportedly accurate, though mythic, narrative. This is what our culture has been missing for far too long—a creation story for young atheistic materialists.
For no particular Reason—for Reason is rarely particular—Time and Chance took a liking to this little, wet, blue rock and decided to stick around to see what adventures they might have. While the pair found the Earth to be intriguing and pretty, they also found it a bit too quiet, too static. They fixed upon an idea to change Everything (just a little) by creating a special Something. Time and Chance roamed the planet, splashing through the oceans and sloshing through the mud, in search of materials. But though they looked Everywhere, there was a missing ingredient they needed in order to make a Something that could create more of the same Somethings.
They called to their friend Everything to help. Since Everything had been Everywhere she would no doubt be able to find the missing ingredient. And indeed she did. Hidden away in a small alcove called Somewhere, Everything found what Time and Chance had needed all along: Information. Everything put Information on a piece of ice and rock that happened to be passing by the former planet Pluto and sent it back to her friends on Earth.
Along Come the Otherthings
Now that they had Information, Time and Chance were finally able to create a self-replicating Something they called Life. Once they created Life they found that it not only grew into more Somethings, but began to become Otherthings, too! The Somethings and the Otherthings began to fill the Earth—from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the sky. Their creation, which began as a single Something, eventually became millions and billions of Otherthings.
Time and Chance, though, were the bickering sort and constantly feuding over which of them was the most powerful. One day they began to argue over who had been more responsible for creating Life. Everything (who was forever eavesdropping) overheard the spat and suggested that they settle by putting their creative skills to work on a new creature called Man. They all thought is was a splendid plan—for Man was a dull, hairy beast who would indeed provide a suitable challenge—and began to boast about who could create an ability, which they called Consciousness, that would allow Man to be aware of Chance, Time, Everything, and Nothing.
How Man Got His Beliefs
Chance, always a bit of a dawdler, got off to a slow start, so Time, who never rested, completed the task first. Time rushed around, filling the gooey matter inside each Man’s head with Consciousness. But as he was gloating over his victory he noticed a strange reaction. When Man saw that Everything had been created by Time, Chance, and Nothing, his Consciousness filled with Despair.
Chance immediately saw a solution to the problem and took the remaining materials she was using to make Consciousness to create Beliefs. When Chance mixed Beliefs into the gray goo, Man stopped filling with Despair and started creating Illusions. These Illusions took various forms—God, Purpose, Meaning—and were almost always effective in preventing Man from filling up with Despair.
Nothing, who tended to be rather forgetful, remembered her creation and decided to take a look around Everything. When she saw what Time and Chance had done on planet Earth she was mildly amused, but forbade them to fill any more creatures with Consciousness or Beliefs (which is why Man is the only Something that has both). But Nothing took a fancy to Man and told Time and Chance that when each one’s Life ran out, she would take him or her and make them into Nothing too.
And that is why, children, when Man loses his Life he goes from being a Something created by Time and Chance into becoming like his creator—Nothing.