so where did the energy come from to form the vacuum?

Paul, perhaps you are short of time and are only skimming this thread. I find it difficult to believe that someone of your apparent perception would have missed the bit about the cosmos being infinite (eternal).

Something must be eternal or we would not be here discussing this. It might be God, it might be the eternal cosmos; they might be one and the same, but if there had ever been a time when there was nothing, there would still be nothing now.

you must first have a cosmos in order for there to be a dimensionality of the cosmos.

You must first have a creator in order for there to be a creation.

There never was nothing.