The Case for the Existence of God
Throughout the history of man the question of why the universe exists remains the ultimate mystery. No question is more perplexing than why there is a Universe; why there is anything rather than nothing. The fact that anything exists at all anywhere in any way, shape or form is the ultimate universal mystery. It is the great unknown. It is the fundamental question of all human thought. And yet there is something. The simple answer is: “There has to be something. because we are here to ask the question.” Then mankind eventually comes face-to-face with another question; “what could be the cause of all that we know?”
One such answer to our initial question is given by the following argument:
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore the universe has a cause.
The first premise should be uncontroversial. If something begins to exist, it needs a cause of its existence. The second premise draws upon the findings of science in the last century. We have Einstein’s theory of relativity dictating a beginning to space, time, and matter. We have enormous evidence for an event science calls the “Big Bang,” which is the moment scientists believe the universe exploded into existence about 13. 8 billion years ago. We also have the second law of thermodynamics, which says that the amount of energy available for work is decreasing in the universe – a universe that is decaying cannot be infinitely old because it would have run out of usable energy by now.
In summary, science seems to have shown that the universe did indeed have a beginning. Science holds that all of time, space, and matter came into existence approximately 13.8 billion years ago. If that is the case, then the universe needs a cause, and that cause cannot be a part of the universe, because nothing can cause itself to exist.
So what kind of cause are we talking about? Based on the cosmological argument, we can deduce that this cause of the universe has the following properties: self-existence, timelessness, nonspatiality, immateriality, unimaginable power, and personhood. Self-existence because whatever is the cause of the universe must ultimately be uncaused. If it is not, then the argument just moves back one step. There has to be a first uncaused cause. This cause cannot exist in the time/space/material universe because then it would exist within the very universe it created. That is impossible.
The cause must be incredibly powerful to have created the entire universe and all of its physical laws.
Since we are here, how do we account for the cosmos and everything in it? Why and how did something emerge from nothing? The existence of this cosmos requires an explanation.
The most basic principle of rationality is that out of nothing, nothing comes; and yet in the case of the universe, out of nothing something came. There must be a sufficient cause for the universe to come into being, and that requires that something existed external to the universe.
Given that whatever caused space, time, and matter to begin to exist cannot itself be spatial, temporal, or material, we are limited to two possible causes of the universe: abstract objects, or an unembodied mind.
Credible scientists and the secular world are willing to subscribe to the idea of abstract objects defined by means of a scientific concept called Quantum Mechanics. Something always existed eternally as some unknown force. They believe this force is somehow related to gravity.
Theists view this quantum mechanical theory as causally impotent, so by definition, this cannot be the cause of the universe, and thus are unlikely to be that which has always existed. That leaves us theists with an unembodied mind as the eternal reality. This makes sense. But just because we are not personally acquainted with the idea of an unembodied mind does not mean an unembodied mind does not, or cannot exist. Neither does it constitute good grounds on which to reject the evidence being presented for the existence of such a mind. The cosmological argument provides warrant for believing in something we may not have thought probable otherwise.
Second, even if we are not personally familiar with unembodied minds, we are very familiar with the concept of mind (each of us has one), and its causal powers. In other words, even if the specific form of the mind in question is unfamiliar to us, the function of a mind is very familiar to us: minds exercise causal agency. And I see no reason to think this capacity is dependent on our mind being embodied. The property of causal agency belongs to the mind, not the body, so there is no reason to think an unembodied mind is too abstract a concept to be the cause of our universe.
One might respond that it would be impossible for an unembodied mind (immaterial) to cause effects in the physical realm. This must be false. Why? Because our minds cause effects in the physical realm all the time, and our minds are an immaterial entity (it may stand in a causal relationship with the brain, but it cannot be reduced to the brain/physicality). The only difference between our minds and an unembodied mind is embodiment, but I fail to see how embodiment is significant. The fact remains that human minds, as well as a Divine mind, are immaterial in nature, and a source of causation which produces effects in the physical world.
A case could even be made that human minds do not have to be embodied, and indeed, become disembodied upon death. I am thinking in particular of empirical studies into near-death experiences. While many of the experiences are unverifiable, a small minority appear to be. And in these instances, there are examples of continued consciousness, even after brain death. In fact, in some cases the person is conscious of things happening outside of the room where their body lies (things they could not have possibly known, even if their body were functioning normally). So I don't think the idea of an unembodied mind is abstract, or that we are not acquainted with this. Even if most of us are unacquainted with it experientially, we are acquainted with the concept, and there is nothing incoherent about the concept. Strange, maybe, but incoherent, no.
Finally, those who wish to reject both abstract objects and an unembodied mind as the cause of the universe need to offer an alternative. Given the criteria, I cannot fathom what that could be. If no other alternative is possible, then they must either reject the causal principle and say the universe popped into existence uncaused, or else embrace an eternal universe. Given the fact that the causal principle is one of our strongest metaphysical intuitions and enjoys undisputed empirical confirmation, and given the fact that the scientific evidence and philosophical arguments against an eternal universe are more than compelling, neither is a good option. We have good reason, then, to think the cause of the universe was a powerful, intelligent, immaterial, non-spatial, eternal mind. This is an apt description of what most theists have traditionally meant by the term "God."
Since an eternal, non-spatial, immaterial, intelligent mind is what most mean by "God," we cannot help but conclude that God is that which has always existed. He is a necessary being, who contains within Himself the sufficient cause for His own existence, as well as the existence of everything else.
Theists believe if anything is, God is. Without Him nothing would be that is, and nothing would live that is alive, and nothing could move that does move. There couldn’t be change without the power of changing, there couldn’t be anything changing without the power of being to make some being in the process of changing. If anything exists, then there must be pure Being, because without the power of being nothing could be. And something must exist necessarily, that is, it must have the power of being within itself, or nothing could be. Even if there was a time when there was nothing, absolutely nothing, no being of any kind, no becoming only non-being, what could there possibly be then, but nothing. If there was a time when there was nothing there couldn’t possibly be anything now. As already stated: For if there is anything there is this inexorable law of rationality, it is the law “out of nothing, nothing comes.” Why? Because there is nothing to produce it. It has nothing, it can do nothing, it is not.
For there to be anything, somewhere, somehow, or sometime, there must be something, or someone, that has the power of being within itself. And that is what the Apostle Paul is declaring to the Philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, that all other beings or becomings, creatures, are derived from this One Who has the power of Being Himself eternally. Who long has the credentials to match the job description for Creation. The cause of the universe must be personal in order to have a temporal effect produced by an eternal cause. This confirms the biblical doctrine of “Creation from nothing.”
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: “(Rom. 1:18-20)
Since the beginning of time, man has been without excuse for denying the God of the universe. The Bible makes the audacious claim that God has revealed Himself to ALL mankind from the beginning of creation; so much so, that no one will be able to stand before Him and proclaim, "I never knew you". God has provided an immeasurable amount of evidence that cannot be ignored. Try as you might, there is too much to completely discount.
What the Scientific World Says about Origins
The present model states that the universe was until rather recently a meaningless collection of particles in random motion, and obeying predetermined rules that were mysterious in their origin. They presented the universe as a watch that somehow wound itself and that, allowing for a degree of quantum randomness, will unwind in a semi-predictable way. The overarching problem involves life, since its initial arising is still a scientifically unknown process, even if the way it then changed forms can be understood under the guise of Darwin’s theory.
When it comes to explaining the fundamentals of our universe. Scientists claim the universe sprang out of nothingness nearly 14 billion years ago, in an explosive event presently labeled as the Big Bang. The Big Bang is merely, at best, the partial description of a single event.
That being said, virtually everyone now concludes: This really doesn’t work. This doesn’t explain anything fundamental, not really. Attempts to create a catch-all theory of everything have now stretched for decades, with very little success except as a way of financially facilitating the careers of theoreticians and graduate students.In recent years one notes there is a basic paradox in the scientific explanation for the formation of the universe. Why are the laws of physics exactly balanced for human life to exist? Scientists have constructed hundreds of fundamental constants within the solar system and universe so exact that it strains the imagination to propose that they are random. These constants are not predicted by any theory. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the secular bias allowing for the existence of life and consciousness. So much for scientific integrity.
When it comes right down to it, today’s science is amazingly good at figuring out how the parts work. What eludes them is the big picture. They are great at providing interim answers creating exquisite new technologies from their ever-expanding knowledge of physical processes. However, they are deficient in just one area, which unfortunately encompasses all the bottom-line issues: Why is there something rather than nothing, and if there is something how did it come about?
Any honest summary of the current state of scientifically explaining the universe as a whole is a dog’s breakfast of ideas. Stephen Hawking(more later) insists that a Theory of Everything is just around the corner, and then we’ll essentially know it all. Any day now. It hasn’t happened, and only exists as a dream.One important aspect in the overall scheme of things is the inability of science to understand the intricacies of the human mind, not a small item. It is not like anything else. How did inert, random bits of organic material ever evolve into humankind? The nature of humankind even though extremely important,is at the bottom of scientific endeavor, because it is almost impossible to fathom within the boundaries of present scientific inquiry.
Yet the world appears to be designed expressly for life, not just at the atomic level, but at the level of the universe itself. Scientists have discovered that the universe has a long list of traits that make it appear as if everything it contains, from atoms to stars, was tailor-made just for us. If the Big Bang had been one part in a million more powerful, it would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and life to develop. Result: no us. If the strong nuclear force were decreased two percent, atomic nuclei wouldn’t hold together, and hydrogen gas would be the only kind of atom in the universe. If the gravitational force were decreased by a hair, stars, including the sun, would not ignite. In fact, all of the universe’s forces and constants are perfectly set up for atomic interactions, the existence of atoms and elements, planets, liquid water and life. Tweak any of them and you never existed. The cosmos is not “too this” or “too that,” but rather “just right” for life. A good reason to believe isn’t it?
At the moment, there are only about four aspects to this mystery. One is to argue for incredible coincidence or chance. Second, to accept the fact that since we are here we know there is something rather than nothing. The third option attempts to explain how the universe is affected by the presence of life itself. The final option which is anathema to all scientific endeavor says, “God did it!!”
In 1917 Albert Einstein(a widely touted genius) tried his hand at a solution to the origin of the universe. Although never coming to belief in a personal God, he recognized the impossibility of a non-created universe. The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: "Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in "Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists." This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: "I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details." Einstein's famous epithet on the "uncertainty principle" was "God does not play dice" - and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
To his dismay, Einstein found that his theory of relativity would not permit a static model of the universe i.e an eternal universe, unless he introduced into his gravitational field equations a certain "fudge factor" in order to counterbalance the gravitational effect of matter. He wasn’t satisfied with the idea that the universe had a beginning. Einstein's universe was balanced on a razor's edge, however, and the least perturbation would cause the universe either to implode or to expand. Then, in 1920, after contemplating Einstein’s model, Alexander Friedman and Georges Lemaitre came up with a theory which predicted an expanding universe.
The Friedman-Lemaitre model of an expanding universe had never before been considered by scientists. Up to that time the universe was regarded as fixed and immutable and the idea that it might actually be changing was inconceivable. However, if the Friedman-Lemaitre model proved correct, the universe could no longer be adequately treated as a static entity that had always existed. It would mean that the universe had a beginning.
Then in 1929 Edwin Hubble's experiments dealing with the red-shift in the optical spectra of light from distant galaxies, gave confirmation to the Friedman-Lemaitre model. Hubble had discovered the isotropic expansion of the universe as predicted by Friedman and Lemaitre. This experimental discovery marked a veritable turning point in the history of science. This discovery implies that as one reverses the expansion and extrapolates back in time, one finally arrives at a singular point of beginning. The universe became a reality when this singular point exploded in a singular BIG BANG!! In 1950 astronomer Fred Hoyle coined the term “Big Bang” as a term of derision, while Sir Arthur Eddington, a British cosmologist, said, “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning to the present order of Nature is repugnant…I(like Einstein) should like to find a genuine loophole.”
As we have already seen, the Big Bang theory, is based on those earlier speculations, and stated to be confirmed by astronomers in the 1960s, that the universe began as a minuscule fireball of extreme density and temperature and that it has been expanding and cooling ever since. But the theory said nothing about what came before or even during the split second when everything went bang.
They say the classic big bang theory is great at describing what happened after the bang. Yet until recently, particle physicists and cosmologists were stuck on many questions that the big bang theory couldn't answer, including: what made the big bang BANG in the first place? If matter can neither be created nor destroyed, how could so much matter arise from nothing at all? Why can we only see a minute part of the mega-universe?
To say that everything came from the Big Bang is like saying babies come from maternity wards—true in a narrow sense, but it hardly goes back far enough. Where did the stuff that went "bang" come from? What was it? Why did it bang?
The Scientific world and Creation by Chance
Along comes Alan Guth, a particle physicist then at Stanford, who in 1979 came up with a new scientific guess for creation call the Inflation Theory which resides on the premise of a FALSE VACUUM. The big bang alone, he said, “doesn’t tell us what banged, why it banged or what may have happened before it banged.” Guth’s inflation theory attempts to describe the bang itself. He believes it’s all a matter of chance.
Chance is the focal point of atheistic cosmology and evolution. Chance is invoked to explain how life and the universe could have come about if not by the purposeful act of a creator-God. Chance is used in such a way as to convey the idea of by accident or having no purpose. Does life really exist without ultimate purpose? Could the universe have simply happened by chance?
From a strictly scientific perspective, everything has a cause. There is no such thing as an effect without a cause. Even granting what appears to be the operation of chance in quantum mechanics, cause and effect is not a concept that is quickly or easily abandoned.
Chance, defined as possibility, has to do with the ability of an event to occur. Meanwhile, probability has to do with the likelihood of an event to occur. Chance, defined as possibility, would say that the universe came into being because it was possible. Yet possibility is neither a guarantee nor a proof of actuality. Possibilities and probabilities cannot be determined. Because science is confined to studying this particular universe, and in reality chance doesn't exist. It’s nothing. Chance is just a word used to explain something else. But chance isn't anything. It's not a force. But in modern evolution theory, it’s been transformed into a force of causal power. It's been elevated from being nothing to being everything. Chance makes things happen. Chance is the myth that serves to undergird the chaos view of reality.How do you get the initial matter upon which chance operates? Where does that come from? You would have to say, "Well, chance made it appear." This is the undergirding philosophy behind evolution. It is completely incoherent and irrational. But the new evolutionary paradigm is chance. And it's the opposite of logic.
You see, when you abandon logic and logic says, "Oh, there's a universe. Somebody made it." What else could logic say? "There's a bridge, somebody made it. There's a refrigerator, somebody made it. There's a universe, more complex than a bridge, infinitely more complex than a refrigerator, somebody, who is very powerful and very intelligent made it." The secularist says, "No, chance made it." Get real, that's rational stupidity, that's not logical. When you discard logic it leaves you with myth.
Guth's theory states that before the big bang, there was a period of hyper-rapid "inflation" that got the big bang started. Inflation modifies our picture of only the first small fraction of a second in the history of the universe, and then it joins onto the standard big bang theory, preserving all of the successes of the older theory.
Inflation theory’s largest implication, is that the whole universe may be "a free lunch." The primordial "stuff" of inflation, Guth and other cosmologists contend, is very likely a spontaneous creation, a no-strings gift that boiled out of absolutely nowhere (his “False Vacuum”) by means of an utterly random but nonetheless scientifically possible process. Now that inflation theory is approaching dogma among the secular world, they believe, on faith. Then, about 20 years after Guth, along comes Stephen Hawking, a British theoretician, and a sickly invalid, who says he agrees with Guth. I point out Hawking’s physical condition, because it fits right in with the atheistic argument of why there is evil and suffering in the world. It may be that Hawking in abject despair, has given up hope and wonders why he was singled out to live a life of suffering. He is asking, “if there is a God why doesn’t he help me?” His answer comes through loud and clear when he says, “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” Hawking, a dyed-in-the-wool self- proclaimed atheist who died in 2018, spent his entire life trying to disprove the necessity of God as the creator of everything, but in his heart he knew this was an exercise in futility.
After nearly a lifetime of contemplating the origin of the universe, Hawking concluded: “Despite having had some successes, not everything is solved.” He goes on, :”We are getting close to answering the age old questions, Why are we here? Where did we come from?”
In his book titled The Grand Design, Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” Fellow scientists consider Hawking a man of genius, and one to be listened to. These days, many famous scientists are strong proponents of atheism.
Hawking found another god in preference to the creator God of theism, and that god is a thing science can’t comprehend called gravity. So, what is gravity? The truth is that at its most fundamental level, no one really knows. And, until (if ever) we really know what gravity is, it is ludicrous to speculate as Hawking does, that spontaneous creation is the result of gravity.
The law of gravity on which Hawking bases his conclusion of spontaneous creation was first formulated by a man named Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Newton is widely believed to be the greatest genius who ever lived, so if this is the criteria on which science rests they would be wise not to discount neither Newton nor Einstein’s belief in God.
Another Country Heard From
When I thought I had reached the pinnacle of scientific thought in regard to the origin of the cosmos and life itself, along comes a man named Robert Lanza who his mentors describe as a “genius,” a “renegade” thinker, even likening him to “Einstein.”
Lanza came to prominence in the scientific community and the world in 2007 when The American Scholar published his essay titled “A New Theory of the Universe” where he suggests that biology surpasses all other fields of science. Then in 2009 he published his own book titled “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the Universe.”
I found him interesting because here is a man considered by his peers to have impeccable credentials presenting a new theory that sets out to replace the current accepted model of the universe.In his book Lanza provides a summary of science’s current state of knowledge in regard to those classic questions pertinent to the understanding of the cosmos and life itself:
How did the Big Bang happen? A: Unknown
What if anything existed before the Big Bang? A: Unknown
How did life arise? A: Unknown
What is the nature of consciousness? A: Unknown
Why are the forces & constants the way they are? A: Unknown
Is life experienced after one’s body dies? A: Unknown
So Lanza concludes that those who ask science for ultimate answers, or to explain the fundamentals of existence, are looking in the wrong place. Similarly, he proceeds to summarize western religion’s answers to several basic questions:
How did God arise? A: Unknown
Is God eternal? A: Yes
What came before the Big Bang? A: Not relevant (God created everything)
What is the nature of consciousness? A: Not discussed; unknown
Is life experienced after one’s body dies? A: Yes
Lanza then proceeds to supply his own answer to those basic questions:
What created the Big Bang? A: No ‘dead’ universe ever existed outside of mind (“Nothingness” is a meaningless concept)
Which came first, rocks or life? A: Time is a form of animal intuition
What is this universe? A: An active life-based process
He theorizes there is no separate physical universe outside of life and consciousness. Nothing is real that isn’t perceived. There was never a time when an external, dumb, physical universe existed, or that life sprang randomly from it at a later date. Space and time exist only as constructs of the mind. Experiments in which the observer influences the outcome are easily explainable by the interrelatedness of consciousness and the physical universe. Neither nature nor mind are unreal, both are correlative. No position is taken regarding God.This is reflected in his seven principles of biocentrism:
1st Principle: What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness.
2nd Principle: Our external and internal perceptions are inextricably intertwined. They are different sides of the same coin and can’t be divorced from one another.
3rd Principle: The behavior of matter is inextricably linked to the presence of an observer.
4th Principle: Without consciousness, “matter” dwells in an undetermined state of probability.
5th Principle: The structure of the universe is explainable only through biocentrism. It’s fine-tuned for life; life creates the universe, not the other way around.
6th Principle: Time doesn’t have a real existence outside of animal intuition.
7th Principle: Space, like time, isn’t an object or thing that has an independent reality.
Foss: Physicalism is the word that is used to state the position of the scientific and secular world that says only physical things exist – as its most basic principle. They have answers for most physical things within the universe and how they came into being, but there has been no convincing alternative explanation forthcoming on the subject of consciousness. The mystery of conscious awareness goes deeper than a purely science can explain.
Lanza theorizes life is not an accident(i.e.chance) byproduct of the laws of physics. He suggests the possibility that life is fundamentally immortal, and I believe Lanza is closer to the truth than he himself realizes. The problem for Lanza, he is trying add life to the equation without acknowledging God as the creator of life and conscience. Like his peers, he has left God out of the equation; even so he appears to be sitting on the fence.
Many Scientists are Believers
In the past, and even today, many other famous scientists believe that God exists and is responsible for the origin of the universe. The following is a small sampling of noted scientists who made major contributions to science while believing in God. These famous scientists, and still others alive today, believe because of the evidence.
Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543);Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627);Johannes Kepler (1571-1630);Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) ;Rene Descartes (1596-1650);Robert Boyle (1791-1867);Michael Faraday (1791-1867);Gregor Mendel (1822-1884);William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907);Max Planck (1858-1947). Planck made many contributions to physics, but is best known for quantum theory which revolutionized our understanding of the atomic and sub-atomic worlds. There is a tad of irony here, because Planck(a known believer in God), the author of quantum theory, which is the fundamental basis of origins cited by the secular world.
Today physicists continue to busily fiddle with theory after theory concerning origins. Roughly 50 forms of inflation have been proposed, named, and studied, including double, triple, and hybrid inflation, tilted hybrid inflation, hyperextended inflation, and inflation that is "warm," "soft," "tepid," and "natural.” etc. ,etc.!!! Another of the most recent theories has been advanced in an article in the February 2004 issue of Discover magazine, titled, “Before the Big Bang.” The question the article by Michael D. Lemonick asks is: ‘What triggered the Big Bang?’ The new theory Lemonick presents is the brainchild of ‘maverick cosmologists’ Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok. According to this new theory, our universe crashed into another three-dimensional world hidden in higher dimensions.’ The bottom line is that the universe as we know it is ‘simply part of an infinite cycle of titanic collisions between our universe and a parallel world.
The Big Bang theory has been assumed by physicists for some time to be a satisfactory explanation for the existence and/or structure (not origin) of the universe. Recently, some Christians called ‘theistic evolutionists” acknowledge the possibility that the Big Bang theory may contain some description of the means of God’s creating the universe, other Christians reject this evolutionary theory as unnecessary, purely wrong, or even demonic. I for one, as a scientist by profession, do not object to the theory, but I do not wholeheartedly embrace it either, but find little problem with it since I know God created all that is and so the means of creating, how it looks to science, is merely a detail.
Most scientists refuse to deal with the issue of the origin of the ‘singularity’, that incredibly dense point of matter, that exploded to produce all the matter and energy that we know of—as propounded by the Big Bang theory. Christian apologists, who have accepted the theory of the Big Bang, have forcefully brought up the issue of origins since it seems obvious that Someone had to have created all that highly concentrated matter and energy in the first place. This has been a problem to those who recoil at the idea of a God at all, any kind of God, but especially, of course, the Creator God we find in the Bible.
What is a big deal-the biggest deal of all-is how you get something out of nothing. Don't let the scientists try to kid you on this one. They haven’t got a clue either-despite the fact that they are doing a pretty good job of convincing themselves and others that this is really not a problem.
"In the beginning," they will say, "there was nothing-no time, space, matter or energy. Then there was a quantum fluctuation and the presence of gravity from which..." Wake up! Stop right there. You see what I mean? First there is nothing then there is something. And the scientists try to bridge the two with a quantum flutter, a tremor of uncertainty that sparks it all off. Then they are away and before you know it, they have pulled a hundred billion galaxies out of their quantum hats.
I don't have a problem with this scenario from the quantum fluctuation and the presence of gravity onward. It is only normal that human beings build a theory of how the Universe evolved from a simple to a complex state if they have even a smidgen of experimental evidence. But there is a very real problem in explaining how and when it got started in the first place.
You cannot fudge this by appealing to quantum mechanics and gravity Either there is nothing to begin with, in which case there is no quantum vacuum, no pre-geometric dust, no time in which anything can happen, no physical laws that can effect a change from nothingness into somethingness; or there is something, in which case that needs explaining.
What was the Big Bang and When Did it Happen?
Science can’t answer those questions with certitude, and God doesn’t provide a clear cut answer either. Most scientific extrapolations hold that the “Big Bang” occurred by chance about 13.8 billion years ago, and the earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. For theists the time and details of God’s act of creation are based on the early chapters of Genesis.
Within the Christian community there is an ongoing debate concerning the correct interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis and God’s act of creation. The Christian debate over origins is complicated by the fact that both sides of the debate agree as to the veracity of Genesis being the inspired Word of God, with no wiggle room for error. Both parties are adamant that their position is the only biblical interpretation of Genesis. I am reminded of the old adage “for the pot calling the kettle black.” Personally, I do not feel it is productive to become engaged in a debate about the age of the Earth with fellow Christians. As for myself I remain adamant that Genesis is the Word of God and if God said it we are to believe it. But it is so easy to misinterpret His words to fit one’s viewpoint, and for this I remind you of Satan’s presence.
Is there common ground between God’s creation and evolution? Whether the world was created by God or evolved by chance without cause has been debated since Darwin. But all Christians believe God merely spoke, and the cosmos came into being. Well, God spoke again another time, and the Bible came into being. The Bible is God’s Word – God spoke, and the Bible is what He said. In 2 Timothy 3:16, it says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” The phrase “given by inspiration of God,” is one word in the Greek text. It is the word theopneustos, which means "God-breathed." Theopneustos is a compound word, with theo the Greek word for God, attached to the word pneustos which means “wind, or spirit, or breath.” As a Christian, you either believe the Bible or you don't. Either you believe the book of Genesis or you don't. How it is interpreted is another thing.
It is important to distinguish between what the Bible actually says and what we think it says. At one time learned Christians claimed that the Bible declared that the Earth was at the center of our Solar System and universe (the position of the Roman Catholic Church through the 16th century). The Roman Catholic Church cited scripture to "prove" that the Earth was the center of the Solar System and universe. We (Christians) look back at these scriptural "proofs" as merely interpretations of scripture that were not valid. In fact, the Bible says that the earth is controlled by the heavens and not the other way around (Job 38:33). Likewise, we must be cautious not to make our interpretations of scripture the equivalent of scripture. They aren't. I am not going to claim that my interpretation is the only possible valid interpretation or that I am above being wrong in my interpretation. However, as a trained scientist I feel confident in evaluating the evidence of most science related to determining the age of the earth and the cosmos.
I cannot bring myself to discount scientific research that is beyond reproach. This has nothing to do with Scripture itself—it is pure science. Multiple independent evidences seem to confirm an ancient earth, including 40 different methods of radiometric dating and numerous non-radiometric measurements: Ice core samples from Antarctica and Greenland provide an unbroken record of annual ice layers spanning the past 800,000 years. Annual tree ring records provide a continuous record of the past 15,000 years. Coral reefs record long ages of growth (Eniwetok Reef 140,000 years, and the Grand Bahama Reef 790,000 years). Ancient annual lake varve sediments provide evidence of earth’s history dating back 15 to 20 million years. Most of these scientific observations and conclusions are subject to revision as new evidence is uncovered. However, until such time, this is the scientific evidence as it exists to date. That is science independent of theology.
Augustine presciently wrote, “In matters that are obscure and far beyond our vision, even in such as we may find treated in Holy Scripture, different interpretations are sometimes possible without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such a case, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.” Copernicus and Galileo were castigated by the Roman Church for advocating the cosmological theory of heliocentrism (earth revolving around the sun), which the Church deemed contrary to their geocentric understanding of Scripture (Psalm 93:1, Psalm 104:5, Ecclesiastes 1:5). Ultimately scientific discovery helped clarify Scripture and prompted corrections of faulty interpretations.
I find it interesting how the Genesis timeline for the origin of species appears to be compatible to the timeline of biological evolution. Consider the timeline beginning with Genesis1:11 “And God said let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth.” 20 “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life(the answer to Darwin’s spontaneous generation in a pool of water). “and fowl that may fly above the earth.” 21 “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind.” 24 and “let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind.”26 “And God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
An argument from first cause, or the causal argument. Many physicists take very seriously, and believe, that there are causal chains that just appear from nowhere. Quantum physics, and the big bang cosmology takes very seriously the idea that the laws of physics allow events to occur without any prior causes. The Big Bang, for example. Standard Big Bang cosmology says that the Big Bang isn't the first event in time, it's the beginning of time. As Stephen Hawking puts it, asking what's before the Big Bang, what's earlier than the Big Bang? There is no valid scientific answer. The question doesn't make sense. The Big Bang is governed by physical laws, but science can find no earlier events. So if Big Bang cosmology is true, every causal chain in the universe is linear, but finite. There comes a point beyond which you simply can't appeal to earlier events. So infinite linear chains and finite linear chains, both pose the same problems, where does the information come from?. But again, the question where it all comes from, has no answer. So events that are among their own causes, information seemingly generated from nothing, is very very counter-intuitive. But in the end science has no proven explanation for something to come from nothing.
WHAT IS LIFE?
I believe God created all life, because that is what Genesis teaches. Exactly what it is and how this was accomplished was not revealed. How this squares with scientific evolution remains at an impasse. When did the first ancient biological cell become a living entity? Abiogenesis is a scientific term used to describe the natural process of life arising from non-living matter. The mechanism by which life began on Earth is unknown to science. Science offers no unequivocal definition of life. There is no current scientific consensus as to how life originated. It remains a challenge for scientists and philosophers to define life.
Science has no credible answer for the origin of life, but they appear to have a credible theory as it pertains to the origin of species as God-given living organisms. Darwin recognized that spontaneous generation was important to the coherence of his theory, but that is as far as it has ever gone and it has never been resolved.
Go to George’s Theology page on this website for a more comprehensive discussion on the question “What is life?”
To this point in our Treatise we have established that God was the cause for the creation of the universe and all it contains—THAT CHANCE IS NOT AN OPTION. This answers the question why there is something rather than nothing. The next important question to be addressed is why and how God created man.
If anyone wishes to comment or correspond, my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
End of Chapter 1