Darwin Bedford wearing a T-shirt depicting the international symbol for a wastes container with a religious cross in place of the wastes.

"Everything said in the context of a god being real is mere nonsense."

Darwin Bedford,
Atheists.net author 

Some of this content is intended for those of you who are still religious and some of this content is for those of you who are already non-religious.


Follow DarwinBedford on Twitter

List of sites by Darwin Bedford: 

Darwin Bedford


The Simplicity of Existence

by Darwin Bedford

In the beginning
There was no beginning
Because if there was nothing
Something could not have begun

Imagine a void universe—nothing but empty space reaching out forever. And pretend that only you are in it. Place something into your imagined universe—something simple such as a steel ball. This is easy to imagine, but if you had to make this item to get it into your universe, where would you get the materials for it? Could you just pop them into being? The creation of something from nothing can happen in one's mind, but can it happen really?

  • Why do you and I live?
  • Why are we here in this universe?
  • How did the universe come into being?
  • What makes the universe behave as it does?

In order to explain "creation" we must accept at least something as given. If a god or an "all creator" placed everything into the universe then we are accepting this god as a being already given. This still does not answer our question of how everything else came to be. Surely, such a god could not have obtained the material within the universe from nowhere. The idea of a "creator being" leaves us with more questions to answer than we started with. For example: Where did this god come from? What is he, her, or it made of? Did he have a beginning? Why does he exist. These are the same questions we are asking about the universe itself. All we have done is transfer our questions regarding the universe to questions regarding a creator-god. Since we are not answering the questions we started out to with the concept of a god, we may as well include the god as just another entity to be explained along with all the rest of the universe.

When I use the word "universe" I really mean the totality of existence. This includes beyond the observable universe in distance and in other limitations of observation. It includes the three spatial dimensions, the dimension of time and any other proposed dimensions. This includes other "time universes" and all that's on the "other side" of black holes. Also included are energy, gods, spirits, souls, ghosts, empty space, and everything imaginable or real. I will elaborate on the imaginable later, but, for now lets include everything.


If the entire universe was once nothing but empty space then there would have been nothing else either—no waves, no fields, no spirits, no beings, no anything. This must be true—empty space cannot possibly interact with empty space. There is nothing there to interact with!

A wave, for instance, must be generated from or associated with something that exists that is other than empty space. The other-than-empty-space that is involved in generating a wave must either exist or have had to exist to enable the wave's creation. If it no longer exist (and the wave does) then the wave must also travel in a medium other than empty space.

The same applies to the imagined. Without there being an entity doing the imagining, the imagined cannot even be imagined.

I would like us to start with a completely empty universe. From this point I would like to compile a list of qualities or principals (that logically we are draw to conclude by relying on our power to reason) that comprise an explanation of the totality of existence and its behavior. This list would be the minimum qualities or principles of the universe that we would just have to accept as given. Obviously we have to accept something as given because the universe is not nothing but empty space.

Let me further describe our starting point—a blank universe. Nothing at all exist in it, not even us—but somehow we are watching. This imagined universe is dark (totally without light), totally without energy and contains no particles of any size or nature. It is a vacuum to the extreme meaning of the word, and without walls. It has no "coexisting universe" that contain something. This definition of "nothingness" is actually empty space extending from whatever observation point we choose, to infinity is Euclidean straight lines in all directions.

During this explanation I wish to leave nothing assumed without stating so. An axiom is "a self-evident proposition accepted as true without proof". Here is our first axiom.


Space is an inescapable principle of the universe. If the totality of existence were for not, then there would still be empty space reaching out in every direction to infinity.

This axiom must be true even with consideration of dimensions other than the three dimensions of space. This forces us to deal with the universe as one physical volume of space. The space axiom is the most ontological element of reason and its distinction is necessary to begin to discuss the totality of existence.

Now we can start to add the given ingredients of the universe. We are starting with an empty universe and we are going to add the necessary ingredients until we can explain all else (to a satisfactory level) about everything that exists.

The first and most obvious difference with our imagined universe and the real universe is that the real universe has a whole lot of stuff in it. The first dilemma we have is that we don't have anywhere to get any stuff. Therefore we have a choice of concluding that the stuff of the real universe has always been there, or that there was a time when nothing at all existed then suddenly something came into existence out of nowhere.

Both choices are difficult to accept. The first choice forces us to accept that existence never had a start. That is to say that there was never a time when the material of the universe did not exist.

The second choice leads us to further options. Perhaps all of the stuff came into existence as a one time happening. Or perhaps stuff is continuously coming into existence. It may have come into existence in intervals; or upon certain conditions; or gradually at a constant rate. In summary though, underlying all these further options with this choice, we are forced to accept that something can come from absolutely nothing.

Personally, I prefer to accept that "something" of the universe has always existed rather than accept that something came from absolute nothing. For now I will refer to this "something" of the universe as the "true essence" of the universe. You may prefer to accept that something can come into existence from nowhere. However for the remainder of this book I have taken the path that the true essence of the universe has always been there. This is a fundamental point and the remaining discussion depends upon this point being true. I will state this point as a postulate—defined by my dictionary as "a proposition taken for granted as true and made the starting point in a chain of reasoning."


The true essence of the universe was not created; and cannot increase in amount.

The Postulate of Universal Essence has many corollaries. A corollary is "a proposition following so obviously from another that it requires little or no proof."

Since one cannot make something from nothing then it stands to reason that one cannot make something go to nothing. If in your universe you have a steel ball then where can the material of the ball go to? The ball can be separated into very small particles and the particles can be spread out into space forever, but within your totality of existence you still have all the material that made up the steel ball. This leads us to conclude that the amount of true essence of the universe is finite.


Since the true essence of the universe was not created and cannot increase or decrease in amount, then it must be finite in amount. The true essence of the universe may be inconceivable in volume but is finite within the infinite universe of space.

Since the true essence of the universe could not have been created then of course it must have always existed. Or, there was not a beginning to its existence. Since it cannot decrease in amount then it will always exist. Thus we have the corollary of eternal essence.


The finite amount of true essence within the universe has always existed and will always exist.

Could the finite amount of true essence consist as one particle? If it is one particle then it must be manifesting itself as you and me, my desk, and everything; all seemingly simultaneously. This would mean that one particle is madly flying about making up an entire universe which is full of separate entities. We know that some of the separate entities are very small—this proposed single particle would have to be them all. To do this it would have to be cycling through a path at an incomprehensible speed—changing its path to appear as each seemingly separate entity there is. But, this proposed single particle could not bump into itself because it could not truly be in two places at the same instant. If the universe only consisted of one particle then I could poke my finger through my desk (for instance). When I try, particles must be bumping into one another, and more importantly the true essence of the universe must exist as many particles.


The finite amount of the true essence of the universe exists as separate entities or particles.

Particles of what? What does this true essence look like? Matter consist of atoms which in turn consist of sub-atomic particles which in turn consist of further sub-atomic particles. Where does this breakdown stop? What are sub-atomic particles made of? Are these particles made of different elementary substances or are they made of the same substance but having different shapes and sizes? Or are they made of still smaller particles? If so, then what are these smaller particles made of? We now have a logical loop of which the only escape is to conclude that eventually we will reach the smallest particles and the most elementary substances.

But is it possible that there be more than one elementary substance? Imagine a sphere that has no empty space within it. This sphere would completely displace empty space with, I suppose, full space. This sphere would have to be one particle or be made up of parts that fit together exactly so as to leave no empty space between the parts. Can you imagine another sphere that contains no empty space but is made of a substance other than "full-space?" I cannot. This leaves us with a universe made of two substances - empty space and full-space; or if you like, a universe of one substance (full-space) within empty-space.

What shall we call this "full-space?" My dictionary defines "stuff" as "the fundamental element or basic material of the anything". So I may refer to "full-space" as stuff or the true essence of the universe. Here is the discussion on substances stated as a postulate.


Only two truly elementary substances exist. They are, space that is not occupied by anything and space that is fully occupied. Where "fully occupied space" is an amount of space of which within its surface there is no empty space.

Of course there is also partly occupied space, which is an amount of space of which within its surface is both empty-space and full-space - but keep in mind that this partly occupied space is made up of the two elementary substances. Partly occupied space can take on many appearances and be filled to different degrees. It could be that these different appearances are in fact different substances.

We can combine the conclusions—that the universe is made of particles, and that there is only one kind of true essence within the universe besides empty space—to state another postulate.


The route essence of what the universe is made, is elementary particles. These particles consist of at least some fully occupied space.

It is time to remind you that in our attempt to explain the universe we must accept a certain number of given qualities. The smaller the list is then the more easily understood the explanation would be. We have already concluded that saying that a god did it no longer works for us. So far we have accepted the following:

1. The universe (totality of existence) has existed forever.

2. A finite amount of stuff exists within it.

3. The stuff exists as particles consisting of some fully occupied space.

In summary - the universe is made up of particles of fully-occupied-space whose total of empty-space displacement is finite and eternal.

One reason why this list of given properties or phenomena is incomplete is that in reality these stuff particles are full of motion. They do not remain equidistant to one another from one time to the next. We therefore must accept at least another given quality to explain their behavior. Something is forcing these particles to move. "Force", that is it! We must accept a given force. Let us explore the possibility of a single elementary force.

Imagine the universe as only consisting of one particle that is not in motion. What kinds of motion could we give it? We can make it rotate on an axis in either of two possible directions, and we can make the axis continuously change position within the particle. Thus we could have a force making the particle spin or wobble.

We could also have a force that moves the particle from point "A" in space to point "B", but this would be inconsequential since our imagined universe (for this exercise) has no other particles to relate distance with. If we introduce another particle then we would have at least a couple of more options. We could have a force that causes the particles to move away from one another or one that causes the particles to move toward one another. Or we could have a more complex force that alternates the direction of motion; or one that wants the particles to be a specific distance or position from one another and acts accordingly. Again, the simpler the description of the force the easier it is to accept.

Since in reality particles are constantly changing distance with respect to one another then there must be at least one force acting upon them. If there were a force that causes particles to move away from one another then the particles would spread out endlessly into the infinite empty space. If there were a force that caused particles to move toward one another then particles would be colliding with one another.

Remember that we are not creating a force out of nothing—we are saying that we have been given an eternal force.

Gravitation appears to be this force. In fact, gravitation—the attraction of all matter to all matter, is a universal observation. What is behind this force (or how this force works) has not yet been satisfactorily explained. This could be because gravitation may not be explainable and must just be accepted as being given.

Another imagination exercise will help illustrate the behavior of this force. Imagine the empty universe again. Now place a sphere of full-space in it. If every part of the sphere is trying to get closer to every other part of the sphere, then it would appear that the sphere is trying to shrink into non-existence. This is as if the occupancy of space by "full-space" is an intrusion upon empty-space, and that there is pressure on the surface of the sphere where the full-space meets the empty-space. The larger the sphere the greater the intrusion, and the stronger the squeeze force.

If two spheres were close to each other then together they would be considered an intrusion upon empty-space; and empty-space would appear to squeeze them toward one another. If there were many spheres then collectively they would be considered an intrusion upon empty space and it would appear that the surrounding empty space is trying to squeeze them all into taking up as little space as possible. Here is this squeeze force stated as a given principle of the universe.


A squeezing force is acting on the eternal substance, full-space, in such a manner as to eliminate its existence.

This is a very abstract way of stating...


All of the stuff within the universe is being forced to exist within the least amount of space and every portion of full-space is being forced to occupy less space.

Thus we have a force that is directly related and proportionate to the true essence of the universe (full-space). Since full-space displaces empty-space then we have a force that could be described as the reaction to the displacing of empty-space. This concept is appealing because it gives reason to the force's being.


The total amount of squeeze force in the universe is finite because it is proportionate to the true essence of the universe which itself is finite in amount.

You might be wondering why there are still stars light-years away from one another. Since the universe has existed forever, all the particles should be pushed up against one another by now.

Perhaps when the squeeze force causes them to move, their motion (which is something) comes into existence and has to be conserved. Imagine a void universe again. This time with two solid (full-space) spheres moving toward one another. What happens when they collide? Would they not rebound from one another so that their energy (motion ) is conserved? When two cars collide head-on their motion toward one another stops but there is to friction and their motion is absorbed as heat. In other words the motion of the whole body is transferred to motion of the particles making up the body. And we can conclude that the motion or energy of full-space particles is transferable from one particle to another.


The total amount of motion related to the totality of stuff particles cannot increase or decrease in amount.

The motion of stuff particles could also be referred to as energy. We cannot have motion or energy with their being an association to something that occupies space. As demonstrated earlier, energy cannot exist in the universe by itself.

The law of conservation of motion is also the law of conservation of energy. The amount of full-space of a particle combined with its amount of motion is the "mass" of the particle. Thus we have established a relationship with full-space in motion (mass) and energy.


The energy of the totality of stuff particles is finite because it is a result of the squeeze force acting upon a finite amount of stuff.


The mass associated with the finite totality of stuff particles is finite because the total motion of the particles is finite.

There are several questions that come to mind regarding the squeeze force (not to mention the questions regarding further description of the stuff particles themselves).

What about the strength of the squeeze force? Must we also regard it as a given attribute of the universe. If the force was infinite in strength then the particles would move toward one another instantaneously (with infinite speed). Since this does not happen we must assume that the force is finite in strength. This would result in there being a limit to the speed in which the particles can reach. The limit of speed of particles generally appears to relate to the particle size.

A factor of speed is time. We have not yet discussed time as a principle of the universe. For a completely empty universe, time would be a meaningless attribute. It could be argued that time does not exist in this case because there are no events to describe chronologically. Let me present my view of time.


Time is not a physical aspect of the existence of the universe. Time exists by definition or concept only. In physical reality there is only the now.

Time can be used to describe the behavior of stuff particles by describing their position in terms of what-use-to-be or what-will-be. Time can only be given units of measure when related to the motion of stuff particles. And this is because their motion is controlled by a force acting on them that has a definite strength.

I am not going to further investigate the nature of the elementary stuff particles. There is still many unanswered questions regarding their description. Such as:

  • Do they vary in size or are they uniform in size?
  • Are they completely solid or do they contain some empty space within their surface?
  • What is the shape of their surface?
  • If they are spherical in shape, do they contain bubbles of empty space?
  • Are there classes or different types of particles or are they all unique from one another?
  • Are they all similar in shape but have different sizes?
  • If they do contain empty space within their surface, does their density vary from each other?
  • What about their center of gravity?
  • Can they be broken into smaller particles upon collision?
  • Can two or more merge to become one particle?

Clearly the possibilities are endless. I wish I could answer these questions. However, even without these details we can derive other universal laws with the information that we have arrived at so far.

We can combine the concept of gravitation and the concept of conservation of energy to make another observation of the universe.


All the stuff of the universe is trying to exist within the smallest amount of space, but at the same time must conserve energy. The compromise is the equilibrium state. Since the universe has existed forever then this state is either unattainable or has been reached.


For any given volume of space containing stuff particles, the particles behave in such a manner as to occupy the least space as possible while they are conserving energy. This is their theoretical equilibrium state. This state can only be reached when there is no exterior events that apply forces on the said volume of space.


For any sub-grouping of stuff particles; as a result of the equilibrium effort, higher and higher orders of equilibrium may be attained as time passes. As the stuff particles find more efficient arrangements, higher levels of order may be attained. It could be said that these higher orders evolve—thus we have an evolutionary process.

Sub-atomic particles are an ordering of stuff particles. Atoms are an ordering of sub-atomic particles. Molecules are an ordering of atoms. The simplest of life forms are an ordering of molecules.

Life may be the result of the physical law of evolutionary process. What is life? When is a collection of stuff particles considered to be "alive"? Is it when they can duplicate themselves?

If life is yet another (higher) level of the arrangement of stuff particles then would that not explain the reason of its existence. The ability of a collection of sub-collections (of sub-collections, etc.) of particles to duplicate definitely satisfies the nature of the Paradoxical Equilibrium Law.

It fits right in. It certainly speeds up the process placing particles into a closer and harmonious arrangement.

So does the development of higher life forms. What makes a life form a "higher" life form? Is it a more complex composition of parts? Is it a life form that lives longer?


—30— for the time being, (I started writing this when I was 17 years old. I revisit it every decade or so.)



Let's debate, and build!
E-Mail:  darwin@atheists.net


If you would like to advance the world to be deity-free, then may I recommend donating to the
Voters Without Religion Association.
Donate with PayPal button

Help dereligionize the world. Click on the above button to donate.

Darwin Bedford—active on the internet since 1996
Last updated on secure site: February 2, 2020
You are welcome to copy and disseminate the contents of this site.