Atomism’s Opposition To Biblical Creationism
Published: January 2, 2010

According to the theory of Atomism, the universe has always existed; it was not created by a God or gods. It explains that the universe is made up of countless self- moving atoms whose ever-shifting arrangement in the void space of the universe is the ultimate reality behind all appearances, or natural phenomena. “Atoms”, it tells us “are the smallest particles of matter that can exist; the ultimate and smallest division of matter.” Since it is impossible for atoms to come into existence out of nothing (the non- existent), they are uncreated. They have existed from eternity, gravitationally interacting in the void and causing all the difference phenomena in nature. As the ancient Greek Atomist Democritus explained, “Nothing exists but atoms and empty space; everything else is merely thought.”1 Therefore, everything that exists in the universe is made of atoms and void, ourselves included. Atoms move randomly; therefore, there are no God or gods controlling them. They, and the void, are the only ultimate realities. They cannot create, but they eternally form and transform the bodies in the universe.

By now, you probably realize that the theory of Atomism opposes belief in Biblical Creationism, the belief that the universe, including all living things, was created by God in the exact manner described in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Many believers in Biblical Creationism call it the intelligent design theory” or “abrupt appearance theory.” They argue that Genesis is the “Word of God.” I argue that if this is true, Genesis would have “zero defects.” I also argue that the existence of a God cannot be proved; therefore the claim that Genesis is the Word of God cannot be proved. I will repeat: if Genesis is the Word of God, it would have “zero defects.” By this standard, I will show that the Genesis account of God’s creation of the world contains several defects that make it clear that the account is a myth.

  1. Genesis says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
  2. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon
  3. the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
  4. And God said, “Let there be light;” and there was light.
  5. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
  6. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning one day.
  7. And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let separate the waters from the waters.”
  8. And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so.
  9. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning a second day.
  10. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
  11. And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fault in which is their seed, each according to its kinds, upon the earth.” And it was so.
  12. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
  13. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
  14. And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years,
  15. and let their be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give lights upon the earth.” And it was so.
  16. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.
  17. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth,
  18. To rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
  19. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
  20. And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.”
  21. So God created the great sea monster and every living creature that moves, with the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
  22. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
  23. And there was evening and there was morning a fifth day.
  24. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living, creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.
  25. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
  26. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
  27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
  28. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
  29. And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.
  30. And to every beast of the earth, and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life. I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
  31. And God saw everything that he made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

Chapter 2

  1. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
  2. And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work he had done.
  3. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rest from all his work he had done in creation. (Genesis 1:1-31; 2:1-3) After the mythmaker of Gensis finished describing his God’s order of the creation, he wrote a myth describing the length time his God took to create the world.
  4. These are the generation of the heavens and of the earth when they were created in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
  5. And every plant of the field it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
  6. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
  7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
  8. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he formed.
  9. And out of the ground made the Lord God every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the mist of the garden and tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  10. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
  11. The name of the first is Pison that is: that is Which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, Where there is gold;
  12. And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium at and the onyx stone.
  13. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
  14. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
  15. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.
  16. And the Lord God commanded the man, Saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
  17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou shalt surely die.
  18. And the Lord God said. It is not good that man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him.
  19. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
  20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help for him.
  21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. And he slept: and he took one of his ribs. And closed up the flesh instead thereof.
  22. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
  23. And Adam said. This is now bone of my bones. And flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.
  24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
  25. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Being an Atomist, I reject the very first assertion of the above myth: “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth…” I believe that atoms and the void are the only ultimate realities. God is nothing but a product of human imagination and is, therefore, unreal. Humans cannot confirm the existence of a God by their senses. They cannot prove the existence of a God by their reason, or intellect. They can only assume the existence of a God by faith. It makes no sense to claim that the world was created by something that cannot be proved to exist.

Notice that the mythmaker of Genesis claimed that the earth was created before the sun. He made there to have been three days and three nights, evenings and morning, before there was a sun; even though it is the presence or absence of the sun that is the cause of day and night.(1:1-5)

Another mistake made by the mythmaker of Genesis is that he believed in a solid firmament that was the floor of Jehovah’s house. He believed that the waters had been divided, and that rain came from above the firmament. He did not understand the cycle of evaporation and condensation. He did not know that the rain came from the water on the earth. (1:3-8)

Now we know that there is no firmament, and we know that the waters are not divided by a firmament. Here, I will point out two contradictory claims made by the mythmaker of the Genesis myth of creation. In the first myth we are told that that humans were created after the other animals (1: 25-27), but in the second myth we are told that humans were created before the other Animals (2:18-19). In the first myth we are told that the first man and woman were created simultaneously (1:27), but in the second myth we are told that the man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man’s rib (2:18-22). Let it be understood that contradictory claims cannot both be true, but they can both be false.

Notice that neither of the two myths gives a numerical date for the creation. However, a seventeenth – century Irish bishop named James Ussher, calculating from the birth of Christ backward to Adam, the first man, set the date for creation on October 23, 4004 B.C., about six thousand years ago. This age of the universe makes me immediately think of the Big Bang myth, which claims that the universe is 10 billion to 20 billion years old. The generally accepted age for the Earth and the rest of the Solar system is about 4.5 billion years. The oldest rocks which have been found so far on the Earth date to about 3.8 to 3.9 billion years ago. A team of scientists found 570- million year old fossils of sea floor creatures known as ediacarans or ediacara in Newfoundland. Most interesting to me is that on November 16, 1997 fossilized skulls of modern humans were discovered in Ethiopia, dating back 160,000 years.

Now, if there are people who still believe in Biblical Creationism after learning about its defects and the evidence that I have shown against it, as an Atomist, I can only say that it’s their credulously prerogative to do so. Perhaps, the following argument against it given by the great 19th century American agnostic and foremost leader of Freethinkers Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899), who became an Atomist, will help solve the problem:

“We are told”, explains Ingersoll, “that the universe was designed and created, and it is absurd to suppose that matter has existed from eternity, but that it is perfectly self-evident that a god has." “If a god”, argues Ingersoll, “created the universe, then, there must have been a time when he commenced to create. Back of that time there must have been an eternity, during which there had existed nothing− absolutely nothing− except this supposed god. According to this theory, this god spent an eternity, so to speak, in an infinite vacuum, and in perfect idleness. Admitting that a god did create the universe, the question then arises, of what did he create it? It certainly was not made of nothing. Nothing considered in the light of a raw material is a most decided failure. It follows, then, that the god must have made the universe out of himself, he being the only existence. The universe is material and if it was of god, the god must have been material. With this very thought in his mind. Anaximander of Miletus said: “Creation is the decomposition of the infinite.”

It has been demonstrated that the earth would fall to the sun, only for the fact, that it is attracted worlds, and those worlds must be attracted by other worlds still beyond them, and so on, without end. This proves the material universe to be infinite. If an infinite universe has been made out of an infinite god, how much of the god is left?

The idea of a creative deity is gradually being abandoned, and nearly all truly scientific minds admit that matter must have existed form eternity. It is indestructible, and the indestructible cannot be created. It is the crowning glory of our century to have demonstrated the indestructibility and the eternal persistence of force. Neither matter nor force can be increased nor diminished. Force cannot exist apart from matter. Matter exists only in connection with force, and consequently, a force apart from matter, and superior to nature, is a demonstrated impossibility.

Force, then, must have also existed from eternity, and could not have been created. Matter in its countless forms, from dead earth to the eyes of those we love, and force, in all its manifestations, from simple motion to the grandest thought, deny creation and defy control. Thought is a form of force. We walk with the same force with which we think. Man is an organism, that changes several form of force into thought – force. Man is a machine into which we put what we call food, and produce what we call eating. Therefore, if the god thinks, he must eat, that is to say, he must of necessity have some means of supplying the force with which to think. It is impossible to conceive of a being who can eternally impart force to matter, and yet have no means of supplying the force thus imparted.
If neither matter nor force were created, what evidence have we, then, of the existence of a power superior to nature? The theologian will probably reply, “We have law and order, cause and effect, and beside all this, matter could not put itself in motion”

Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that is no being superior to nature and that matter and force have existed from eternity. Now suppose that two atoms should come together, would there be an affect? Yes. Suppose they came in exactly opposite directions with equal force, they would be stopped, to say the least.

This would be an effect. If this is so, then you have matter, force and effect without a being superior to nature. Now suppose that two other atoms, just like the first two, should come together under precisely the same circumstances, would not the effect be exactly the same? Yes. Like causes, producing like effects, is what we mean a being superior to nature. Now we know that every effect must also be a cause, and that every cause must be an effect. The atoms coming together did produce an effect, and as every effect must also be a cause, the effect produced by the collision of the atoms, must as to something else have been a cause. Then we have matter, force, law, order, cause and effect without a being superior to nature. Nothing is left for the supernatural but empty space. His throne is a void, and his boasted realm is without matter, Without force, without law, without cause, and without effect.

But what put all this matter in motion? If matter and force have existed from eternity, then matter must have always been in motion.

There can be no force without motion. Force is forever active, and there is, and there can be no cessation. If, then, matter and force have existed from eternity, so has motion. In the whole universe there is not even one atom in a state of rest. A deity outside of nature exists in nothing, and is nothing. Nature embraces with infinite arms all matter and all force. That which is beyond her grasp is destitute of both, and can hardly be worth the worship and adoration even of a man.

Then is but one way to demonstrate the existence of a power independent of and superior to nature, and that is by breaking, if only for one moment, the continuity of cause and effect. Pluck from the endless chain of existence one little link; stop for one instant the grand procession, and you have shown beyond all contradiction that nature has a master. Change the fact, just for one second, that matter attracts matter, and a god appears.” (Vol. I, pp. 45-50).

In addition to the above argument against Biblical Creationism, which he viewed as nothing more than a human theory, Ingersoll says: “If we have a theory, we must have facts for the foundation. We must have corner-stones. We must not build on guesses, fancies, analogies or inferences. The structure must have a basement.

I have a theory and I have four corner-stones. The first stone is that matter− substance− cannot be destroyed, cannot be annihilated.

The third stone is that matter and force cannot exist apart− no matter without force− no force without matter.

The fourth stone is that that which cannot be destroyed could not have been created; that the indestructible is the uncreatable.

If these corner-stones are facts, it follows as a necessity that matter and force are from and to eternity; that they can neither be increased nor diminished.

It follows that nothing has been or can be created; that there never has been or can be a creator.

It follows that there could not have been any intelligence, any design back of matter and force.” (Vol.1V., pp. 497-498)

Any intelligent person can easily see that Ingersoll’s Atomistic argument against Biblical Creationism clearly establishes the fact that, as he explains, “If matter and force are from and to eternity, it followers as a necessity that no God exists; that no God created or governs the universe.” (Vol. 1V., p. 498)

  1. The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, Authorized King James Version (Cleveland and New York; The World Publishing Company, 1965), pp.1-3
  2. 2- Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol.4 (Dresden, New York: Dresden Publishing Company, 1901).