The argument from the origin of the universe, or the Cosmological Argument dates back to the beginning of apologetics. If you are interested in the history, Google it. I plan on skipping ahead to the modern version of the argument sometimes called the Kalam cosmological argument.
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
- The Universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the Universe had a cause.
It is one of those rare cases that a scientific discovery seemingly hurt the atheistic position. It is hard to argue that the universe did not begin to exist after the Big Bang Theory. Luckily, there are still multiple avenues of rebuttal.
- There is no evidence that there is a God, eternal or otherwise, other than the universe’s existence. (If you consider the other arguments that apologists pose as further evidence, stay tuned, I will take them on in future posts.) The idea of a willful, intelligent, universally powerful entity is an extraordinary claim--which, according to Carl Sagan who I happen to agree with, requires extraordinary evidence. At best, God is a hypothesis that can’t be tested, makes no predictions, and contributes little to explaining how we came to be.
- There are other ideas in theoretical physics that could account for the cause of the Big Bang. For example, the theory of Loop Quantum Gravity says that our universe was preceded by an identical, reversed universe that contracted into the singularity that expanded into our universe. There are multiple theories involving the notion of a multiverse, including one where ours is just a bubble universe that emerged from quantum foam. Actually, the word “quantum” comes up a lot, which is a hard concept to sell to someone who believes the much simpler idea of a creator. None of these theories have much hard evidence behind them, but the fact that we have found elementary particles that pop in and out of existence and can possibly travel through time, makes them all stand on a better foundation of reality than a supreme being existing outside of space and time.
- God would have to exist outside space and time and we have no evidence that there is such a place. The downside of the updated Kalam cosmological argument is the same as it’s advantage--taking into account the Big Bang. The Big Bang did not only explode out matter and energy, but also space and time. It’s not accurate to think of “before the Big Bang” because chronologically “before” didn’t exist. To be an atheist, you only need to accept that the universe either didn’t have a cause, was self-caused, or has a natural cause that we don’t yet understand. To be a theist, you need to accept a variety of magical concepts.
- To posit God is explaining one mystery with another mystery. To most believer’s the buck stops at God, there is no point in trying to understand anything further, because we can’t know the Mind of God. As a proponent of science, I prefer to increase humanity’s collective knowledge and learn more about reality. It is the drive that got us to the moon, split the atom and, like it or not, is making the world more secular. Stopping with God gets us the dark ages. If you insist in believing God did all this, don’t sit on your laurels, find some way to prove it. If you don’t, science will prove you wrong.