IS THERE A GOD? (part 1)

How do you know there is a God? Over the next three weeks, I’ll lay out three arguments in this column that are fairly easy to understand, easy to remember, and powerfully convincing: Origins, Design, and Goodness (= ODG or… GOD!). This week: ORIGINS.

For as long as Christians have engaged their critics, they have pointed to the existence of the universe as clear evidence for God. The Bible itself claims that the creation confirms the existence of a Creator: “God’s invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20).

The argument is clear: a watch testifies to the existence of a watchmaker. A creation testifies to the existence of a Creator. It’s a matter of simple cause and effect: every effect or result had to have some cause. It’s one of the foundations of scientific inquiry: events have causation. Things don’t just appear on their own. Every effect has a cause, and once you get all the way back to God, you’ve reached the ultimate Uncaused Cause.

For centuries, non-theistic philosophers and scientists argued the same way about the universe. From Aristotle to Einstein, secular men and women believed that the universe simply had no beginning and thus needed no cause—sort of a pantheistic “universe-as-god” view that actually does work philosophically. Christians say about God, “No one created Him. He’s self-existent.” Atheists say about the universe, “No one created it. It’s self-existent.” The argument might seem unlikely, but at least it’s not illogical.

But then, in the Twentieth Century, several scientific developments disproved the notion that the universe has always existed as an Uncaused Cause. Advancements and tools like Einstein’s theory of relativity and the Hubble Telescope proved beyond reasonable doubt that the universe actually had a beginning. Even atheistic scientists now acknowledge that the universe had an origin. It didn’t always exist on its own. Something happened to bring it about.

The very fact that the universe had an origin implies that something began it. Granted, this “something” does not necessarily have to be the God of the Bible. But the origin of the universe is at least a very important clue that someone like God does exist.

So here are some questions we might ask our atheist friends: How, in your understanding, did the universe come into being? What prompted the Big Bang? Why is there something rather than nothing?