Is it possible to conclude based on nothing more than human reason that there is a god who created the universe and everything in it, including every man and woman who ever has or ever will live, but without becoming a believing Christian?
Yes, it’s quite possible actually, but there is a huge string attached: You still won’t know the whys (No pun intended). And if you can’t get to the whys, it’s like knowing the cruise ship is sailing for paradise but not having a clue about where or how to get on board.
So, what’s the reasoning that demonstrates there is a god? It’s what philosophers of all stripes call the Cosmological Argument and it goes like this: Everything with a beginning has a cause. The universe had a beginning. Therefore, the universe must have a cause.
In their superb book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, Frank Turek and Norm Geisler point out that the first premise of the Cosmological Argument – everything with a beginning had a cause – “is the Law of Causality, which is the fundamental principle of science. Without the Law of Causality, science is impossible.”
Turek and Geisler note that the Law of Causality is so fundamentally sound that even the rascally old atheist/political philosopher David Hume insisted that he “never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause.”
We can thank the Big Bang that the second premise in the Cosmological Argument – the universe had a beginning – is just as solid as the Law of Causality. Turek and Geisler lay out five reasons for the widespread acceptance in the science community for the Big Bang, which they denote in the acronym SURGE.
The S stands for the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says the universe will someday run out of energy. That means there is a finite amount of energy (the First Law of Thermodynamics), which in turn means the universe must have had a beginning.
The U stands for the universe is expanding. Einstein predicted that with his theory of relativity but it was astronomer Edwin Hubble who found the physical evidence of expansion in the Red Shift. Without getting too technical, the Red Shift says visible light waves grow longer as they move further away. Ergo, the universe must be expanding.
The R is for the radiation discovered in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson of Bell Labs. They won the Nobel Prize for determining that cosmic background radiation is, according to Turek and Geisler, light “that is no longer visible because its wavelength has been stretched by the expanding universe to wavelengths slightly shorter than those produced by a microwave.” In other words, the light and heat in the background radiation is the afterglow of the Big Bang.
The G — meaning Great Galaxy Seeds — may be the strangest of the five, being ripples in the heat of the cosmic background radiation. The ripples were confirmed and measured by COBE, a NASA satellite, in 1989. As Turek and Geisler explain, “the infrared pictures taken by COBE point to the existence of matter from the very early universe that would ultimately form into galaxies and clusters of galaxies.”
Finally, there’s the E, returning us to Einstein and his theory. It provided the foundation for predictions and ultimately confirmations of the expanding universe, cosmic background radiation and the seeds. Add the thermodynamics and the second premise stands.
As does the conclusion that the universe has a cause. But not just any cause, the First Cause. In order to create the universe, this First Cause must be infinite, powerful beyond measure, smart beyond our expressible comprehension and, finally, willful.
To be willful requires purposefulness. Now comes that string. Logic gets us to the First Cause, or God, but it can’t disclose His purpose(s) for creating the universe and everything in it, including people. Only He can explain Himself. Guess where He did that!
But can the Bible be trusted? That’s an issue for another day.
(To Be Continued).
Mark Tapscott is executive editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation and chief of its Investigative Group. Follow Mark on Twitter.