Does God exist? This is one of the most important questions a person can consider. Your belief in the existence of God has enormous implications on your views of life, humanity, morality, and destiny. In this article, I offer three arguments demonstrating the reasonableness of believing that God exists.
- The Cosmological argument- That the universe had a beginning
- The Teleological argument – That the universe is designed
- The moral argument – The necessity of an objective moral standard
I’ll be covering only the cosmological argument in this article and will go over the others in later articles so please try to keep up. If you miss any article, as always you’ll be able to find by just typing “The Colossal Faith of Atheists” in the blog search engine.
The Cosmological Argument
Firstly, there has been so much resistance to the BIG BANG THEORY by many people, mostly religious people, understandably so, if all evidence for it has not been considered. As a Christian and a scholar of science my view is that the BIG BANG did occur, in the words of Frank Turek-“I just know who BANGED it”! The evidence for the Big Bang is very solid and it shows that time and the universe had a beginning. Hence, anything that has a beginning has a cause, the universe began to exist therefore it has a cause. Even some of the greatest scientists of our time agree with this;
“Almost everyone now believes that the universe and time itself had a beginning at the Big Bang”- Stephen Hawking
“With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is now no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning”- Alexander Vilenkin a Russian cosmologist.
The cosmological argument goes this way;
- Anything that had a beginning has a cause
- The universe had a beginning
- Hence, the universe has a cause
‘Premise 1’ we know to be true from experiential evidence. Nothing ever comes into existence in and of itself and without a cause.
Unto ‘Premise 2’, I will be using the acronym SURGE to explain the main evidences for the universe having a beginning, in lame-man terms where I can. The acronym SURGE;
S– Second law of Thermodynamics
U– Universe is expanding
R – Radiation afterglow
G– Great galaxy seeds
E– Einstein’s general relativity
1.) A formal definition of the second law of thermodynamics is “In any closed system, a process proceeds in a direction such that the unavailable energy (the entropy) increases.” In other words, in any closed system, the amount of disorder always increases with time. Things progress naturally from order to disorder or from an available energy state to one where energy is more unavailable. A good example: a hot cup of coffee cools off in an insulated room. The total amount energy in the room remains the same (which satisfies the first law of thermodynamics). Energy is not lost; it is simply transferred (in the form of heat) from the hot coffee to the cool air, warming up the air slightly. When the coffee is hot, there is available energy because of the temperature difference between the coffee and the air. As the coffee cools down, the available energy is slowly turned to unavailable energy. At last, when the coffee reaches room temperature, there is no temperature difference between the coffee and the air, i.e. the energy is all in an unavailable state. The closed system (consisting of the room and the coffee) has suffered what is technically called a “heat death.” The system is “dead” because no further work can be done since there is no more available energy. The second law of thermodynamics says that the reverse cannot occur! Room temperature coffee will not get hot all by itself as convenient as that would be, because this would require turning unavailable energy into available energy.
Now consider the entire universe as one giant closed system. Stars e.g. the sun, are hot, just like the cup of coffee, and are cooling down, losing energy into space. The hot stars in cooler space represent a state of available energy, just like the hot coffee in the room. However, the second law of thermodynamics requires that this available energy is constantly changing to unavailable energy. In another analogy, the entire universe is winding down like a giant wind-up clock, ticking down and losing available energy. Since energy is continually changing from available to unavailable energy, someone or at least something had to give it available energy in the beginning! (I.e. someone had to wind up the clock of the universe at the beginning.) Who or what could have produced energy in an available state in the first place? As time goes forward (assuming things continue as they are), the available energy in the universe will eventually turn into unavailable energy. At this point, the universe will be said to have suffered a heat death, just like the coffee in the room. The present universe, as we know it, cannot last forever. Furthermore, imagine going backwards in time. Since the energy of the universe is constantly changing from a state of availability to one of less availability, the further back in time one goes, the more available the energy of the universe. Using the clock analogy again, the further back in time, the more wound up the clock. Far enough back in time, the clock was completely wound up. The universe therefore cannot be infinitely old. One can only conclude that the universe had a beginning, and that beginning had to have been caused by someone or something operating outside of the known laws of thermodynamics.
2.) The expansion of the universe was one of the most important intellectual discoveries of the 20th century, or of any century. It transformed the debate about whether the universe had a beginning. Edwin Hubble began to make observations with a hundred-inch telescope on Mount Wilson, in the 1920s. Hubble found that stars are not uniformly distributed throughout space, but are gathered together in vast collections called galaxies. By measuring the light from galaxies, Hubble could determine their velocities. He was expecting that as many galaxies would be moving towards us as were moving away. This is what one would have in a universe that didn’t change with time. But to his surprise, Hubble found that nearly all the galaxies were moving away from us. Moreover, the further galaxies were from us, the faster they were moving away. The universe was not unchanging with time as everyone had thought previously. It was expanding. The distance between distant galaxies was increasing with time. Therefore, if galaxies are moving apart now, they must have been closer together in the past. If their speed had been constant, they would all have been on top of one another about 15 billion years ago, and eventually nothing. Now the question, what is nothing? Was answered pretty well by Aristotle as “what rocks think about”. This leads to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning hence a BEGINNER.
3.) The radiation afterglow was discovered by astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilsons working in New Jersey. It is the remnant heat from the fireball of the big bang in which the Universe was born 13.7 billion years ago. This provides a unique insight into our Universe’s infancy – a ‘baby photo’. This discovery was described somewhat dramatically by Stephen Hawking as ‘the discovery of the century, if not of all time’ and by experimentalist and Nobel Prize winner George Smoot as ‘like seeing the face of God’. When this discovery was made, an AGNOSTIC astronomer Robert Jastrow (Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute of space studies) who doesn’t know if there’s a God or not said that all evidence now supports the theory that the universe has a beginning and this put the nail in the coffin of the steady-state theory that suggested the idea about the universe being static and unchanging.
Arno Penzias who discovered the radiation afterglow also said;
“The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the psalms and the Bible as a whole”.
4.) After the discovery of the radiation afterglow, scientists decided that if the discovery was accurate there had to be fine temperature variations in the afterglow. They realized they couldn’t measure these temperature variations from earth due to too much atmospheric interference. So they designed a satellite called the Challenger to attach to a space shuttle in 1980, but in 1986 it exploded of the launching pad so the space shuttle program was cancelled for a while. They then redesigned the satellite and made it half the original size and launched it off on a French Titan rocket into orbit in 1989. For 3 years this satellite circled the earth to make sure they got the exact and accurate readings. They had to wait 3 years because these temperature variations were very fine. In 1992 they announced their results, what they found shocked the world of science. The leader of the expedition George Smoot said “we found the machining marks of the creator”. They found temperature variations down to 1in100000. These temperature variations allowed the galaxies to form so we could be here, they were so specific that if they were changed by an unperceivable small amount about we wouldn’t be here. The Big Bang wasn’t a chaotic explosion with junk flying in random directions, it was a very precise, controlled and shepherded creation.
5.) Einstein’s theory of relativity shows that space, time and matter are coexistent. That you can’t have one without the other and all 3 of them came into existence at the same time. So once, there was no matter and then it leapt into existence out of nothing (no-thing)! Actually Einstein when he first discovered this he didn’t like it, because it meant an introduction of the God element. In its simplest form, general relativity predicted that the universe must either expand or contract. Einstein thought the universe was static, so he added this new constant to stop the expansion. Einstein was one who didn’t accept the Big Bang theory because of not one but two errors he made. Einstein pursued an approach to the secret of the universe by mathematics. According to Robert Jastrow, Einstein made a school boy error in algebra. What Einstein did was divide by zero during his calculations, a no, no, in math. Einstein wasn’t pleased when a Russian mathematician, Alexander Friedman, sent a letter pointing out his mistake. Einstein simply ignored Friedman’s letter. He wrote a follow up letter to the scientific journal with other calculations, proving Friedman was wrong. Friedman wrote another letter to Einstein pointing out that he had made a second mistake in his recalculations. Friedman added: “In the case that you find my calculations to be correct, you will perhaps submit a correction.” In a 1923 issue of the scientific journal in which Friedman had first published his findings, Einstein finally acknowledged the two errors he had made when Hubble’s study of nearby galaxies showed that the universe was in fact expanding, Einstein regretted modifying his elegant theory and viewed the cosmological constant term as his “greatest mistake” and said “the universe did have a beginning all I am interested in now is finding the mind of God the rest are details”. Einstein was not a Christian and he denied being an atheist and a pantheist (the worship or tolerance of many gods). However, his theory shows that the universe had a spaceless, timeless beginning hence a spaceless, timeless, immaterial beginner. Robert Jastrow, who was an AGNOSTIC and died at the age of 82(clearly a seasoned scientist) said in his book titled, God and the Astronomers that;
“…astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world… the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same”.
Here we have a guy who doesn’t believe in God but is saying that the story told in the first chapter of the Bible in Genesis is consistent with the scientific evidence. Why would a guy who doesn’t believe in God say that the world was created by a supernatural force and not nature? Well, because there was no nature when it was created!
Therefore if we conclude that the universe had a spaceless, timeless beginning then it had to have had a spaceless, timeless, immaterial BEGINNER and that is exactly who we refer to as God.
“Certainly there was something that set it all off… I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe but to match Genesis”. – Robert Wilson (Co-discoverer of the radiation afterglow and Nobel Prize winner)
There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing. – George Smoot (Leader of expedition for discovery of the great galaxy seeds and Nobel Prize winner).