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Something must be eternal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 269 times Debate No: 94017
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
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Relatively short debate only 3,000 characters per.
Arguments are allowed in round one.
I am arguing that something has to be eternal.
It might be God or it might be something else but in the end something has to have existed forever.
My argument is one of cause and effect. If the world exists then something must have created it. This thing had to either be created by something else or it has to be eternal. If the creator was created then that either had to be created by something else or it has to be eternal. We can follow this logic back to a point where something is eternal. If there is nothing eternal than nothing would exist. There would be a big nothing (or a small nothing because nothing does not have dimensions.) Since we know that something exists then there has to be something that has existed forever. I hope this makes sense. Thanks for accepting and good luck in the rest of the debate.


Before we begin, I'd like to state that the burden of proof is on the opponent. In other words, to win I simply have to demonstrate that there exists the possibility that "nothing is eternal". I do not need to specifically prove that nothing is eternal, since I am not burdened to do so.

Here, I will be demonstrating that not only is there a possibility that nothing is eternal, but that the possibility is actually significant.

Argument 1

Eternal means "lasting forever; without beginning or end". Notably, the term "eternal" only makes sense in the context of time. Without time, there cannot be an "eternal", since the term "forever" has no real meaning without time. Applying the term eternal to a system in which time does not exist is like applying the adjective "brown" to the idea of "thought". Thought cannot be brown, since brown is a word that directly describes a physical attribute, whereas thought only exist in an abstract sense.

We know that the universe isn't eternal; it's only about 14 billion years old. [1] Physicists know that the universe didn't spring into existence in its current state, but rather began expanding from a single point during the "Big Bang".

Importantly, space and time only exist inside a universe, since time is a physical quality. (It is representative of physical change.) Before the universe existed, there was no physical space, thus meaning there was no time. As such, it cannot be said that this "nothinginess" was eternal, since the nothingness was not physical, meaning that "time" couldn't be applied.

Given this, we know that it is entirely possible that "nothing is eternal", given the finitely existent current universe and the "pre-universe" in which time did not exist.

Argument 2

Even if the opponent proved that "time" could be applied to this "pre-universe", it still would not prove that "something must be eternal".

This is easily seen by the fact that the pre-universe ended, thus definitionally disqualifying it from being eternal. An eternal object must neither end nor begin. If an object doesn't begin, but does end, then it cannot be considered eternal. Thus, the "pre-universe" is not eternal.

Because the "pre-universe" shared no qualities with our current universe, the two cannot be considered the same object. As such, the "current universe" had a definite beginning. Because it began, it cannot be called "eternal".


We've demonstrated that the "pre universe" didn't have any meaningful physical existence (it wasn't just empty space -- space literally didn't exist), meaning you could not apply the word "time" and thus "eternal" to it.

We also demonsrated that, even if you could, it still wouldn't be considered eternal -- since the "preuniverse" had a definite end and the current universe had a definite beginning.

I look forward to the next round.


1 -;
Debate Round No. 1


In this speech, I plan to refute some of my opponent's arguments.

First of all, my opponent's argument about the definition of eternal is a sneaky but invalid point.
To begin with, if something is outside of time (something that I didn't claim) then it had no beginning nor will it have an end. Therefore, it is eternal anyway. Regardless of this, we have to look at eternity from our point of view because that is the only one we have. When someone says that something is indescribable, it would be technically correct to say that that is impossible because the person just described the object. But what the person means is that there are no OTHER descriptions of it. If we quibble over words like this we can have no thoughtful discussions at all. From our perspective (which is the only one that matters) something that exists outside of time is eternal. Imagine that everyone in the world sees in black and white. Because of this, we can have no understanding of color and have no words to describe it. I then say that I see something white. My opponent would claim that it is not white and is something else which neither of us can describe. I call it white because I don't have anything else to call it. While this entity may not technically be eternal from our perspective it is and I must call it so because I don't have any words to describe what he is talking about.

On to his second point.
I don't understand what you mean when you say pre-universe so I will leave that alone until you explain to me what it is.
I want to now discuss my argument because you didn't address it.
To show that there isn't anything eternal then you must say that there was a point at which literally nothing existed. If this is not true then existence is eternal. Now imagine that there was a point in which nothing existed. No molecules, no spirits, no nothing. It is logically impossible for anything to simply pop into existence. Therefore if there was ever a point in which nothing existed then there would still be nothing and nothing could ever exist. Since we know that something exists then we know that there can never have been a point where nothing existed. I hope you understand my meaning as I have explained it two different ways now and I hope that my opponent can give an answer to this dilemma instead of beating around the bush as he has done so far.

Back to my opponent's pre-universe argument which I don"t understand, it either was or wasn"t something. If it was something then existence is eternal. If it wasn"t something then the universe could not have popped into existence.
Again I hope you understand now what I mean.
Thank you for your time.


I'll first address the opponent's mentioned argument, then defend my own. I didn't mean to "beat around the bush", and I'd like to address that straight away.

The opponent argues that "to show that there isn't anything eternal then you must say that there was a point at which literally nothing existed...It is logically impossible for anything to simply pop into existence."

It is an odd notion that something might pop into existence where there was nothing before, but that's the currently accepted physical model of how our universe began. [1] There existed nothing, not even time and space -- then the big bang happened, at which point our universe began to expand from a singular point.

Importantly, we absolutely know that physics didn't "work properly" very near the big bang. In other words, when the universe was very young, the current laws of physics didn't work, resulting in a universe that behaved in very unintuitive, illogical ways. This is the current accepted physical theory, which certainly indicates it is possible that it is true.

Since it is possible that the theory is true and that nothing existed at one point in time, the opponent fails to uphold the resolution. In order to win, he must prove that the current physical model of the universe is impossible. (His burden of proof demands he show that something must be eternal.)

Argument 1

The opponent makes an interesting point, but I believe it's misleading. He claims that "if something is outside of time...then it had no beginning nor will it have end". And this is true. However, it doesn't take into consideration the entire definition, namely the part about "lasting forever", which implies that the thing has to have actual existence.

My pet unicorn neither had a beginning nor end, but we cannot call it eternal since it does not have the initial quality of "existence". Similarly, we cannot say the "nothingness" before the big bang was eternal. More importantly, that "nothingness" definitely came to an end, as is demonstrated by the fact that we are here.

The important part here is that we can't even apply descriptors regarding time to this "nothingness", since the lack of existence makes it impossible to use words describing physical qualities, like time. Because we can't use time to describe the nothing before the big bang, we cannot say it is eternal.

Argument 2

To clarify for my opponent, the "pre-universe" just refers to the "nothingness" before the big bang.

This argument can be simplified:

a) Before the big bang, there was literally nothing.
b) After the big bang, there was something.
c) The nothingness cannot be eternal, since it ended.
d) The somethingness cannot be eternal, since it began.


I addressed the opponent's argument, then defended my own.

I look forward to the final round.

1 -;
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his clarifications as I now have a much better understanding of his arguments. However, his reasoning is invalid.

He claims that just because a majority of people think that something came out of nothing that it is possible for it to be true. This is an appeal to the people fallacy and should be disregarded. If the majority of people think that 2+2=5 it does not make it possible for this to be true. 2+2 will always equal 4 no matter how many people think otherwise. It is not possible for something to come out of nothing, no matter how many people think it is possible. Also, how do we know that physics didn"t work properly at that big bang? What makes you say that? Were there physics before the big bang? If there were then physics is eternal.

About my burden of proof. You say that because it is possible that something existed I have not fulfilled my burden. But this is ridiculous. I do not have to prove conclusively that I am right, I merely need to prove without a reasonable doubt that I am right. For example how can you prove that vegetables are good for you? You might run scientific tests and determine that the enzymes in vegetables are good for us or that people who eat vegetables are more likely to live longer. But how do you know that those tests are accurate? What if there were other variables that we don"t know about? You cannot prove conclusively that vegetables are good for you. As a result I can"t prove anything conclusively. The burden of proof means that I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The doubts that my opponent has come up with are not reasonable therefore I have fulfilled my burden of proof.

My opponent says that not only does something have to have no beginning and no end to be eternal but it also has to exist. I agree, but I am arguing about something that does exist and has no beginning and no end. Even if there is no time such a substance is eternal. Even if this is not the case, then saying that it is eternal is the only way that I can describe it.
Again, something cannot come from nothing. It is logically impossible. If I want to eat a donut I do not sit around and hope that a donut will appear out of nowhere so that I can eat it. My opponent would have us believe that this is possible. If there was nothing that exists, then there can be no processes that result in something else. There can be no chemical reactions or forces that make something else. There are no chemicals or forces. Explain to me how it is possible for something to pop into existence from nothing. You can"t do that because it isn"t possible. There cannot have been a time where there was nothing, therefore existence is eternal. I have fulfilled my burden of proof because it is logically impossible for there to be something that popped into existence from nothing. I appreciate my opponent"s time and I thank the judges for theirs as well.


We'll look at the opponent's argument, then move onto my own case.

Opponent's Arguments

The opponent correctly notes that just because many people believe something is true, doesn't actually make it true. This would be an argumentum ad populum. However, I was not making the claim that "this model of the universe is true because people believe it to be" so much as I was making the claim that "this model of the universe has some credibility since many scientists have looked at the evidence and come to this conclusion".

The opponent has asserted multiple times that "something can't come from nothing", even though leading cosmologists believe, given the evidence, that the universe did come from nothing. The voters do not have a difficult choice here -- do you go with the person making a baseless assumption or the many cosmologists whose evidence based analysis has led to the claim that "something" can come from "nothing". (Or more accurately stated, that the universe erupted from a one-dimensional singularity.)


Regarding burden of proof, I do agree that the opponent doesn't need to absolutely prove that "something must be eternal", but must "prove [it] without a reasonable doubt". This is fairly standard of the burden of proof, since at a certain philosophical level nothing can be absolutely proven.

The opponent fails to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt, considering that the currently accepted cosmological model provides ample doubt to his assertion.


The opponent says, "[he is] arguing about something that does exist and has no beginning and end", but despite this claim -- he hasn't even zeroed in on what that "thing" even is.

His entire argument is essentially a logical syllogism that says:

Premise: Something can't come from nothing.
Premise: There's always been something.
Conclusion: Therefore, something must be eternal.

But this argument is thrown into doubt by the very fact that scientists have come to the evidence based conclusion that both of the premises are incorrect. Something can come from nothing, according to science, and there needn't always have been something, according to science.

The opponent wants you to believe that "it is logically impossible" for something to come from nothing, but he has failed to actually prove that. When it comes to the crazy physics that dictated the beginning of the universe, intuition does not hold.

Argument 1

This argument holds since the opponent has failed to prove that time existed before the universe. I demonstrated that time could not have existed, since time is a physical property.

Argument 2

This argument was never really countered. I argued that the "pre-big bang" nothingness was different in every respect from the current universe. Since it was completely different, it clearly isn't the same as the current universe, meaning it ended and this universe began.

Out of space, but I think you get my point. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by vi_spex 3 months ago
Posted by dmessy 3 months ago
Hopefully with my second argument you understand
Posted by vi_spex 3 months ago
yes i agree
Posted by Faithisbad 3 months ago
The proposition appears to be that the world must have been created by a god who is eternal not that something must be eternal. Could claim be clarified so that it can be responded to relevantly.
Posted by vi_spex 3 months ago
the world exists son
Posted by vi_spex 3 months ago
you said it is created
Posted by dmessy 3 months ago
That's my point vi spex something must not have been created.
Posted by vi_spex 3 months ago
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