In The Beginning
Lets Start At The Beginning: When thinking about origins there are only two serious options on the table; we are either here as a result of mindless, undirected forces which just happened to result in thinking, rational, moral beings like you and me or; we are here as the result of purpose and meaning, caused to be here deliberately by an act or will.
One popular version of the ‘Big Bang Theory’ explained to me, postulates that all the matter in the universe was condensed in something infinitely small known as a singularity. The rational for this idea is based on the fact that the universe appears to be expanding. If the universe appears to be expanding then it follows that in the past it must have been smaller. Extrapolating back with the rewind button it is believed that some 14.3 billion years ago there was no universe. Not only was there no universe there was no light, no time, no space, no physical laws, just absolutely nothing…….. The problem really is that big because one cannot even say that this singularity/nothingness (which went bang) happened in a particular place or time since all time and space only came into being when nothing went bang. There really was no such thing as; time, space, light etc – All those things came into existence at the point of creation.
Many scientists who believed in the ‘Steady State Theory’ (i.e. that matter is eternal) in the 1950’s were forced to concede by shear weight of evidence that this belief was floored. There are many scientific, logical and philosophical reasons why the universe cannot have been here for eternity. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which suggests there is less usable energy in the universe because things wind down over time. Heat will always dissipate to cold areas etc meaning there is less available heat energy to use. Some believe that in the far distant future the universe will grind down to a dormant state of heat death rather like a clock winding down (a gloomy future indeed). All this begs the question that; if the clock is winding down – who or what wound it up? Surely it can’t have been eternally winding down or it would have already run down. No stars would be still churning out energy and we would not be here. One example from a philosophical perspective is: That it would be impossible to cross infinity to reach where we are today. Every day that passes is another addition to time (one day of time) but you cannot add to something that is infinite. You may be able to hypothesise infinities theoretically with things like mathematics but you cannot do it in practice in the real world. I might postulate an infinite number of books but you could never physically place them on a bookshelf or read them all. Big Bang idea’s, (whilst held on to by atheists) are in fact no friend to atheism. Precisely because; it is far easier to reconcile a ‘Point of Origin’ with a Biblical (i.e. Genesis 1: 1) rational rather than with naturalistic atheism which tried desperately to avoid that conclusion.
Actually, the ‘Big Bang’ hypothesis is losing favour rapidly in some scientific quarters simply because the data just doesn’t add up. This will however never mean that those with a priori commitment to naturalism will abandon the idea. All that will happen is the arbitrary insertion of fudge factors like ‘Inflation Theory’ ‘Dark Matter’ ‘Dark Energy’ etc etc etc…. Eventually it will simply morph into another theory, which ever happens to be the most popular on offer at the time. Those popular in recent times are the ‘Multi Verse Theory’ or the ‘Rebounding Universe Theory’ all these theories are in my humble opinion, simply mind games meant to kick the difficult and obvious conclusions into the long grass where they will never need to be addressed.
The bottom line is: You either believe that nothing created everything from nothing ‘OR’ Something created everything from nothing. Now in all our experience nothing happens for no reason. We live in a universe of ‘cause and effect’ and this truth is the basis upon which all science is based. The so called ‘scientific method’ is based on evidence born out by experimentation, using logic and reason, being able to verify results by repeated experiments, cross checking data against known laws and peer reviews etc. Put simply; there could be no science if ’stuff’ happened for no reason and there could be no science if stuff didn’t happen when it was ‘caused’ to happen. One of the fundamental laws of nature says Ex nihilo, nihil fit (‘Out of nothing, nothing comes’). Therefore ‘cause and effect’ are absolutes when speaking about operational science or when using science in a philosophical world view. For atheists to simply say there is no ‘Why’ question when in comes to explaining why we are here or why is there a creation at all is to commit high treason against all scientific disciplines, so (for me at least) it could hardly be called a ’scientific position’.
When Christian people say that the universe has a ‘Supernatural’ cause – they are saying that the Universe is caused by something that is ‘outside of’ nature (that is what ‘super-natural’ means) something which is itself not part of the created order. You would not therefore; expect God to be made of ’stuff’ He created – no more than you would expect the person who designed the devise you are reading this blog on to be a component in the devise or the architect of the building you’re sat in to be a piece of the plaster, brick or wood etc from which it’s built. This is not just logical it is absolutely essential if we are not going to believe in absurdities. When a Russian cosmonaut returned from space and reported that he had not found God, C. S. Lewis responded that this was like Hamlet going into the attic of his castle and looking for Shakespeare.”
Which ever line of thinking the naturalist takes, let me repeat: There is to my mind a glaringly obvious conclusion: What ever belief one might have regarding the cause of the universe, one thing must be true, that being; the cause is ‘Super Natural’ (outside of nature). This must be true simply because nature did not exist to cause anything, no scientific laws existed etc etc….. You cannot appeal to that which does not exist to account for the existence of all things existing. Therefore the atheist is forced (though you rarely hear the admission) into accepting a ’Super Natural’ (outside of nature) cause. The only thing that cannot be tolerated is the idea that; ‘The God who reveals Himself in the Bible’ is the cause. Even though logic demands that the cause must be exactly as the ‘God Of The Bible’ describes Himself i.e. Invisible, (non-material Spirit) Infinite, Eternal (not limited by the dimension of time), Omnipotent (all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing) Omnipresent (present everywhere) …………. God is simply not confined by any thing or any part of His creation.
Whether admitted or not it turns out that we are all ‘Super Naturalists’ at heart. Big Bang scientists have actually painted themselves into a corner, concluding that ever star, planet, galaxy etc trace their origin to a single point of miraculous, creative wonder. By the way this is not Biblical creationism but it is heading somewhere in the general direction. Biblical creation did not happen in a single creative event. There were actually six periodic, punctuated creation events and not all were ‘Ex nihilo (out of nothing) human beings for instance were created out of elements you find in the ground (dust). This is true of animals as well though we are not told that specifically in the creation account in Genesis but in Ecclesiastes 3: 19-20.
The bottom line is: I simply do not have enough faith to be an atheist. As a young man I remember coming to terms with my own bankrupt atheist philosophy. One area seemed particularly contradictory. I had been searching for meaning and purpose in I universe which I believed had neither…… I can only apologise for not remembering the author of the book which seemed to sum up my difficulties when describing Atheistic Humanism:
“Humanism will fail because it is, like Marxism, an intellectual creed that does not correspond to the experience of ordinary people and does not give any answers that satisfy them to the great questions of good and evil, health and sickness, life and death. It can dissolve the bonds that hold society together, but it cannot put them together again. It tells people outraged by crime that it is a psychological sickness that can be healed. It tells those who have no hope in this life that there is no hope after it; it tells those who live in dread of death that there is no life beyond death. It tells those who see design in nature that there is no designer, that, contrary to all human experience, order arose out of chaos. Above all, it teaches men and women, who were born to worship, that there is no God. So it cleans the house of the old, long-accepted religion, but leaves it open for the first new religion that comes along to enter and take possession.”
When I say that Atheism is a blind faith I have my own self in mind prior to my conversion. How could I be sure there was no creator? I was so adamant, so dogmatic, so assertive but how could I (or anyone else) possibly know anything at all about the beginning. I often say to people that if a person does not believe in God as creator, it is not that they are void of belief and don’t believe anything – It is rather, that they will believe ‘absolutely anything’ as long as the Praise and Glory are not given to God. To my thinking it is a master stroke of deception that millions of intelligent people believe (largely unquestioningly) that the whole universe with all it’s exquisitely fine tuned laws and mind boggling complexity, just popped into existence from no where, for no reason, from nothing. To put it bluntly this is an arbitrary position of faith! Please understand when talking origins that it is not a battle between ‘belief and non-belief’ it is a battle between two competing religious/worldview faith/belief positions, one of which is unreasonable by definition. The fictional ‘Alice’ might find it easy to believe six impossible things before breakfast but just this one, enormous, gigantic impossible thing is to much for me to swallow before breakfast or any other meal.
I was quite rightly, brought to task by a dear friend from our church when I responded to a comment about this blog page. I suggested that any hint or illusion to me sounding intellectual was just ‘smoke and mirrors’ (please refer to my disclaimer in the first blog). This was a jovial comment but I was so thankful for the kind and gentle rebuke which asserted that ’smoke & mirrors’ aught not to be a part of Christian apologetics. This is so true!! The truth aught to be the goal, there is far to much ‘smoke and mirrors’ practiced by people desperate for others to follow their particular theory. The truth will always be a faith issue. The only way we could ever know the truth is if we had all knowledge of all things from all time and beyond but that position could only belong to God. As finite creatures we will all have to believe something! The truth is; the only way we could ever know the ‘Truth’ is if the God who created us was gracious enough to make the truth known – which is what He’s done in His Word ‘The Bible’.