Explaining the origin of the universe is an enormous challenge for those seeking to deny their Creator: How could a universe come from nothing? The challenge is so great that some have argued that the universe simply did not even have a beginning, but has existed eternally. However, because most professing atheists have accepted the big bang model of the universe, they have accepted the premise that our universe did indeed have a beginning. Hence, they have a need to explain that beginning.

Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss presented in a recent book his claim that the laws of physics could have created the universe from nothing.1 Likewise, other physicists offer similar arguments.

They appeal to the well-known phenomena of “virtual particle” creation and annihilation. The spontaneous (but short-lived) appearance of subatomic particles from a vacuum is called aquantum fluctuation. These subatomic particles appear and then disappear over such short time intervals that they cannot be directly observed. However, the effects of these virtual particles can be detected; they are, for instance, responsible for a very subtle effect on the spectrum of the hydrogen atom called the “Lamb shift.” The short lifetimes of these virtual particles are governed by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP), which says that a short-lived state cannot have a well-defined energy.

The HUP places a limit on the time that a quantum fluctuation can persist. The greater the energy of the fluctuation, the shorter the time that it may last. It is for this reason that virtual particles appear and then disappear after very short intervals….

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