Document Type


Publication Date

June 2012

Journal or Book Title

Journal of the American Academy of Religion






Until very recently, the creation myth of secular modernity has been the hot big bang hypothesis: the explosion of our single universe out of a single point. Physicists concede that in its traditional form, this story performs an uncanny recapitulation of Christian creation theology: the universe bursts forth suddenly, in a flood of light, out of nothing. As many contemporary thinkers have argued, however, the “nothing” of Christian orthodoxy is neither scripturally nor doctrinally self-evident; rather, it is the product of ontopolitical efforts to secure the sovereignty of God. This article traces the twinned concepts of sovereignty and nothingness through theological and astrophysical sources, arguing that even rabidly atheistic appeals to the ex nihilo end up enshrining a figure of absolute power. Ultimately, it suggests that far from support- ing an absolute beginning, quantum and multiverse cosmologies undermine the logic of nothingness and sovereignty by means of chaos and entanglement.