Play-doh Nostalgia


Did you play with play-doh as a kid? I used it a lot at home. We had one of those play-doh presses where you could put the play-doh into the top, push the press, and it would come out the bottom in a shape. There were loads of shapes you could make too. The press had a plastic filter that you could adjust to create the various cuts of play-doh you wanted.

However, what’s interesting about play-doh is if you do nothing to shape the dough it will not change shape. That’s not interesting I guess. In fact, that’s what you would expect from something right? Things don’t change unless they’re acted on by an outside force. This idea was summed up by Edward Newton in his 1st law.

A second scientific law that speaks to this idea is the Law of Conservation of Mass. This law states that matter is never created nor destroyed. Neither this law, nor Newton’s laws are disputed at all.

Let’s look again at play-doh. In the same way that my play-doh will not change shape without my acting on it, things don’t just pop into existence out of nothing without some sort of outside force acting upon it. If they could, they would continue to pop into being today; that clearly doesn’t happen. There is a simple philosophical argument for this idea: “Everything that begins to exist must have a cause.”

“Ex nihilo nihil fit” Latin for out of nothing, nothing comes

We see that the universe, and everything in it, began to exist at one point. This is proved by an observed by Edwin Hubble. Hubble noticed in 1929 that distance in space could be measured on a color spectrum, often called the “red shift”. What’s fascinating about this discovery is that the universe is ever expanding away from a central point: the Milky Way Galaxy.

In light of this discovery and pairing it with Newton’s laws of motion and the law of conservation of mass we’re able to glean a two observations about the universe. 1) The universe is expanding away from an original center point (hubble’s red shift). 2) Because it is moving at all it has to have had some outside force act upon it (newton’s 1st law).

In light of these two observations, by moving retroactively through time (using whatever time table you’d like) at some point the universe must have began to exist. Philosophically we understand that whatever begins to exist must have a cause. Just like me changing the shape of my play-doh, something outside the boundaries of whatever begins to exist has to act on that entity. The play-doh cannot change itself into something else regardless of the amount of time it’s given.

The Big Bang Theory is widely accepted as the beginning of the universe; I’m not disputing this point. What the Big Bang Theory fails to account for is the origin for the source material that created the Bang. Whatever begins to exist must have a cause, things don’t just come from nothing. How could there have been nothing before the bang and then suddenly something just appeared; that doesn’t happen.

There is a term for this in Latin “ex nihilo nihil fit”. It translates “out of nothing, nothing comes”. If there were nothing before the existence of the universe, there would be nothing now. Again, in order for something to come into existence, there must exist something beyond the boundaries of that entity. Time, Space, Light, etc. all came into existence at some point. So what could it be that can exist outside of all of these things?

The book of Genesis speaks of creation in this manner. In chapter one and verse one these words are written: “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep…”

In the beginning: At the start of everything that has come into existence. God: the bible indicates that before anything existed God was. He exists outside the boundaries of time and space, thus making him an excellent fit as a cause for bringing something into existence. This also makes him an eligible candidate to be the force that will act on an object at rest to send it in motion. Created the heavens and the earth: God started creation with both the heavens and the earth. This creates a central point in the universe for things to expand out from.

The creation account listed in the bible fits very nicely with the things we know to be true of the universe. And just like I can make shapes out of play-doh, there has to exist some entity that could create everything that exists today. Why can’t that entity be God?


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