Image by Leandro De Carvalho from Pixabay

I came across an article on space.com that makes three common errors skeptics and atheists may make when you have conversations about the existence of God. The first is we can’t trust our own judgment because we have been wired for survival, not necessarily to have an accurate understanding of reality. The second is ‘what if…’ stories. Some may suggest alternative options or reasons for something by asking you, “What if this or that was true?” Most of these ‘what if’ questions have no foundation in scientific facts. The third mistake is a misunderstanding of how Christians view God, an eternal, all-powerful being who created not only space and matter but time itself. They often ask, “If God made the universe, then who made God?” This just pushes back the initial cause of the universe, when we as Christians view God as the Alpha and Omega. Let’s look at each one briefly. 

The first is we can’t trust our intellect, our judgment, or instincts. In an article on cosmology or the beginnings of the universe, Mike Wall wrote, “Our universe could have popped into existence 13.7 billion years ago without any divine help whatsoever, researchers say…That may run counter to our instincts, which recoil at the thought of something coming from nothing. But we shouldn’t necessarily trust our instincts, for they were honed to help us survive on the African savannah 150,000 years ago, not understand the inner workings of the universe. Instead, scientists say, we should trust the laws of physics.” 1

Wall does not recognize the inherent contradiction in what he suggested. We can’t trust our instincts or our understanding of how things work, but we should trust the laws of physics? I would ask, how did we come to understand the laws of physics? By our instincts, our senses, and our reason. That in turn, enables us to draw natural conclusions on how the world works, which includes physics. How is it we can’t trust our senses and reason, but we can trust physics, which we have come to understand via our senses and reason? Yes, that confuses me too. 

In other words, don’t believe everything you read, but you should read and believe this… It is a self-defeating statement. 

We function every day having to trust what we have learned from the world around us. Don’t smoke near gasoline. Don’t stand in the middle of a busy highway. Sharp knives can cut you, loaded guns can kill you, and mullet haircuts make you look stupid. Ok, maybe the last one is subjective, but you get my drift. Not only do we trust our instincts and senses, but we also have to function daily, relying on them, that is if you want to survive. Funny how survival and a proper understanding of reality go hand in hand.  

Further on in the article, the ‘what if’ stories come into play, which is a 2nd error Christians let others get away with. You have heard them. The skeptic or atheist spins a tail and asks you to consider a view that has no foundation in reality. They come in several forms, and when you pay attention, you will begin to spot them in a conversation or article. Here are a few that will probably sound familiar. 

  • What if…
  • You could say…
  • Imagine if…
  • It could be… and if that is true…
  • If you could say… then you might…

The above ‘what if’ claims are hollow and do not offer any hard evidence or science to back them up. Frankly, they are simply a waste of time because we can ‘what if’ each other all day and make zero progress in an intelligent and thoughtful discussion. See if you can recognize any in the paragraph from the article below.

“If you would just, in this room, just twist time and space the right way, you might create an entirely new universe.” 2

Or how about this one from the same article. “So it could be that this universe is merely the science fair project of a kid in another universe,” Shostak added. “I don’t know how that affects your theological leanings, but it is something to consider.” 1

They are easy to spot when you know what to look for. When someone spins a ‘what if’ tail or story, you should have a question for them. And the evidence for that is?  How did you come to that conclusion?  Can you share with me the research that supports that suggestion? What if stories are just that, stories. Anyone can spin a story, and some can spin a tale that sounds thoughtful and reasonable but is not backed by any science or facts. 

Finally, Wall addresses the question ‘If God made the universe, then who made God?’ This question shows he clearly doesn’t understand what we mean when we say God. He writes, “The question, then, is, ‘Why are there laws of physics?’ And you could say, Well, that required a divine creator, who created these laws of physics and the spark that led from the laws of physics to these universes, maybe more than one. But that answer just continues to kick the can down the road, because you still need to explain where the divine creator came from. The process leads to a never-ending chain that always leaves you short of the ultimate answer…” 1

Has God been created? Is that what scripture teaches? Not at all. Isaiah 40:28, Psalm 90:2, Hebrews 3:4, and Hebrews 13:8 are just a few examples. God has always existed, and He began creation (space, time, matter). Science supports a beginning moment for all creation. If time did not have a beginning, then we could never have reached this moment in time. 

William Lane Craig explains it this way, “When we say that God is infinite, we mean, for example, that God is uncaused: he doesn’t depend on anyone or anything for his existence. Rather everything else depends on him. He is utterly distinct from his creation: we are creatures; he is Creator. We also mean that God is eternal: he never began to exist and will never cease to exist…as the evidence suggests, time and space began to exist in the Big Bang, then God transcends time and space in the sense that he existed without time and space and then brought them into being at the moment to creation.” 3

Melissa Travis in her book ‘Science and the Mind of the Maker‘ points out that a Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali was one of the first to lean against the idea of an eternal universe. Al-Ghazali recognized that many of his contemporaries began to adopt a Greek or Aristotelian view that the universe always existed, which undermined the need of a creator. 4

In his book ‘On Guard‘ William Lane Craig formulated this syllogism. 

  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause outside of its self.
  2. The universe began to exist. 
  3. Therefore the universe has a cause outside of its self. 5

We call that cause God, who has no cause. When someone asks who caused God, they assume He has a beginning; we know He does not. 

The Christian faith is on solid ground. Those willing to do the homework will not only find historical grounds for their faith, but scientific reasons also. 


What if… by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Sources:
  1. Wall, Mike. “The Big Bang Didn’t Need God.” Space, space.com, 24 June 2012, https://www.space.com/16281-big-bang-god-intervention-science.html[][][]
  2. Wall, Mike. “The Big Bang Didn’t Need God.” Space, space.com, 24 June 2012, https://www.space.com/16281-big-bang-god-intervention-science.html[]
  3. Craig, William Lane. “How to Know God as a Personal Reality in your Life” On Guard For Students, Colorado Springs, David C. Cook, 2015, pg. 275[]
  4. Travis, Melissa. “The Origin and Structure of the Cosmos: Finite and Finely Tuned” Science and the Mind of the Maker, Harvest House Publishers, 2018, pgs 53-57[]
  5. Craig, William Lane. “Why Does Anything At All Exist” On Guard For Students, Colorado Springs, David C. Cook, 2015, pg. 33[]
%d bloggers like this: