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DOES GOD EXIST?
By Eric V. Snow
Can we prove God to exist by human reason alone, and without faith? Let's consider the following argument, stated first in a short form. Then let’s explain it in detail and then cover two standard objections to it.
1. Either the universe has always existed, or God has.
2. But, as shown by the second law of thermodynamics, the universe hasn't always existed.
3. Therefore, God exists.
1. The point here is that something has always existed because self-creation
is impossible. Something can never come from nothing. A vacuum can't spontaneously create matter by itself. Why? This is because the law of cause and effect is based on the fact that what a thing DOES is based on what it IS. Causation involves the expression over a period of time of the law of non-contradiction in entities. Hence, a basketball when dropped on the floor of necessity must act differently from a bowing ball dropped on the same floor, all other things being equal. Hence, if something doesn't exist (i.e., a vacuum exists), it can't do or be anything on its own, except remain empty because it has no identity or essence. This is why the "steady state" theory of the universe's origin devised by the astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle was absurd: It said hydrogen atoms were popping out of nothing! How can a nothing do anything?! Since self-creation is impossible, then something had to always exist. So now--was it the material universe? Or was it some other unseen, unsensed Entity outside the material world?
2. The second law of thermodynamics maintains that-the total amount of useful energy in a closed system must always decline. "Useful energy" is energy that does work while flowing from a place of higher concentration to that of a lower concentration. "A closed system' is a place where no new energy is flowing in or out of it.
The universe, physically, is a closed system because no new matter or energy is being added to it. The first law of thermodynamics confirms this, since it says no matter or energy is being created or destroyed. Hence, eventually all the stars would have burned out if the universe had always existed. A state of "heat death" would have long ago existed, in which the levels of energy throughout each part of the universe would be uniform. A state of maximum entropy (i.e., useless, non-working energy) would have been reached. But since the stars have not burned out, the universe had a beginning.
In this regard, the universe is like a car with a full tank of gas, but which has a stuck gas cap. If the car had always been constantly driven (i.e., had always existed), it would have long ago run out of fuel. But the fact it still has gas (i.e., useful energy) left in it proves the car hasn't been constantly driven from the infinite past. The stuck gas cap makes-the-car in this example a "closed system" because no more energy can be added to make the car move. "Heat-death' occurs when the car runs out of gas, as it inevitably must, since no more can-be added to-it. Likewise, the universe then is like a wind-up toy or watch that has been slowly unwinding down: At some point “something” must have wound it up.
1. "Who created God then?" The point of the first premise was to show something had to have always existed. At that point, we didn't know what it was—or who it was. But if the universe hasn't always existed, then something else--God--has.
2. "The second law of thermodynamics doesn't apply to every part of the universe, or else won't apply to it in the future." This statement is pure prejudice, because there is no scientific evidence anywhere that the second law of thermodynamics doesn't apply. And this law won't change in the future because the fundamental essence (nature) of the things that make up the physical universe aren't changing, so nature's laws wouldn't change in the future. That is, unless God intervenes through miracles (i.e., “violates” nature’s laws). So a skeptic can’t turn around and say there are places (or times) in the universe where nature’s laws don’t apply which no human has ever investigates or been to. And to know whether the second law of thermodynamics is inapplicable somewhere in the universe, the doubter ironically would have to be “God,” i.e., know everything about everywhere else. So to escape this argument for God’s existence, the skeptic then has to place his faith in an unknown, unseen, unsensed exception to the second law of thermodynamics. It’s better then to place faith in the unseen Almighty God of the Bible instead! Plainly, nature cannot always explain nature: Something—or Someone--to which the second law of thermodynamics is inapplicable (i.e., in the spirit world) created the material universe.
In this context, it’s worth spending some time dealing with the “big bang theory” of cosmology, since it violates both the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Cosmology is much more shaky conceptually than any other branch of astronomy; it is much more akin to philosophy. Geoffrey Burbridge, “Why only One Big Bang?” Scientific American (February 1992), p. 120, made these concessions: “Big Bang cosmology is probably as widely believed as has been any theory of the universe in the history of Western Civilization. It rests, however, on many untested, and in some cases untestable, assumptions. Indeed, big ban cosmology has become a bandwagon of thought that reflects faith as much as objective truth. . . . . This situation is particularly worrisome because there are good reasons to think that the big bang model is seriously flawed.” A major reason, for this viewpoint, is that the standard laws of physics are no more applicable to what occurred before the “big bang” than they are before the first day of (re)creation in Genesis 1.
The biggest problem, from a philosophical viewpoint for materialistic atheism, is that the big bang implies the universe had a beginning, instead of its having an infinite existence. Metaphysically and ontologically, this is an enormous concession to the theist’s viewpoint, as professing agnostic Robert Jastrow observed (Los Angeles Times, June 25, 1978, part VI, pp. 1, 6). “Astronomers are curiously upset by . . . proof that the universe had a beginning [as the Big Bang theory implies]. Their reactions provide an interesting demonstration of the response of the scientific mind--supposedly a very objective mind--when evidence uncovered by science itself leads to a conflict with the articles of faith in their profession. . . . There is a kind of religion in science; a faith that . . . every event can be explained as the product of some previous event. . . . This conviction is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid. . . . the scientist has lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized. As usual, when the mind is face with trauma, it reacts by ignoring the implications.” Therefore, the theological implications to obvious questions, “What happened before the big bang? What caused the big bang?,” have to be avoided by cosmologists and astronomers.
The claim that something can come from nothing, which contradicts the most ancient beliefs of pagan Greek philosophy from the time of Thales, remains simply unprovable and simply impossible, based on the ontological nature of the law of cause and effect., as already explained above. That is, what a thing DOES is based on what it IS, to allude to the philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand’s refutation of David Hume’s attacks on the basis of the law of cause and effect. It is simply “A is A over time.” A thing is itself over time, or manifests its identity through how it acts through time. So a nothing or void simply can’t do anything or make anything by its very nature (or lack of an identity). It doesn’t matter what the sub-atomic particle of matter that supposedly caused the big bang is labeled by quantum mechanics; the same metaphysical objection remains. So then, some evolutionists perceive the problem with getting something out of nothing, which is implied by the big bang theory when it has no supernatural explanation. For example, David Darling, “On Creating Something from Nothing,” New Scientist, vol. 151, September 14, 1996, p. 49, is refreshingly and colorfully candid: “What is a big deal—the biggest deal of all—is how you get something out of nothing. Don’t let the cosmologists try to kid you on this one. They have not got a clue either—despite the fact that they are doing a pretty good job of convincing themselves and others that this is really not a problem. ‘In the beginning,’ they will say, ‘thre was nothing—no time, space, matter or energy. Then there was a quantum fluctuation from which . . . ‘ Whoa! Stop right there. You see what I mean. First there is nothing, then there is something. And the cosomologists try to bridge the two with a quantum flutter, a tremor of uncertainty that sparks it all off. Then they are away and before you know it, they have pulled a hundred billion galaxies out of their quantum hats. . . . You cannot fudge this by appealing to quantum mechanics. Either there is nothing to begin with, in which case there is no quantum vacuum, no pre-geometric dust, no time in which anything can happen, no physical laws that can effect from nothingness to somethingness; or there is something, in which case that needs explaining.” So regardless of whatever quantum mechanics may call its subatomic particles, they are still “something,” which clearly didn’t come out of nothing.
For some time, the big bang cosmology was a rival to the “steady state” model of the universe, which absurdly asserted that hydrogen atoms continuously popped out of nothingness. It’s worth remembering in this context that the first law of thermodynamics proclaims that matter/energy can never be destroyed, but it only changes form. The “big bang” theory has the same problem with contradicting the first law of thermodynamics, only it claims all what became matter got created at one point in time, instead of continuously. Decades ago, Herbert Dingle in “Science and Modern Cosmology”, Science, vol. 120, October 1, 1954, pp. 515, perceived the problem with this kind of reasoning: “We are told that matter is being continuously created, but in such a way that the process is imperceptible—that is, the statement cannot be disproved. When we ask why we should believe this, the answer is that the “perfect cosmological principle” requires it. And when we ask why we should accept this ‘principle,’ the answer is that the fundamental axiom of science requires it. This we have seen to be false, and the only other answer that one can gather is that the ‘principle’ must be true because it seems fitting to the people who assert it. With all respect, I find this inadequate.” It’s nearly 70 years later, but the situation hasn’t improved any for evolutionists, since this is a matter of philosophy, not scientific evidence, which can’t “prove” any of this. Both theories contradict the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
Alan H. Guth, “Cooking Up a Cosmos,” Astronomy, vol. 25 (September 1997), pp. 54, made this acute observation about a key philosophical weakness with the big bang cosmology: “Since the big bang theory implies that the entire observed universe can evolve from a tiny speck, it’s tempting to ask whether a universe can in principle be created in a laboratory. Given what we know of the laws of physics, would it be possible for an extraordinarily advanced civilization to create new universes at will?” He colorfully castigates the idea that something can come from nothing by concluding, “So, in the inflationary theory the universe evolves from essentially nothing at all, which is why I frequently refer to it as the ultimate free lunch.” So then, if a universe can be created out of nothing, why aren’t more of them being made all the time? Why aren’t “big bangs” happening continuously? Why was it a “once-for-all” event that supposedly occurred billions of years ago, but never was repeated? After all, isn’t this what the evolutionists castigate the creationists for believing in, events that can’t be experimentally reproduced or predicted based on scientifically unverifiable causes in the pre-historic past?
Andre Linde, “The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, vol. 271 (November 1994), p. 48, didn’t blow off the problem of how something came from nothing: “The first, and main, problem is the very existence of the big bang. One may wonder, Why came before? If space-time did not exist then, how could everything appear from nothing? What arose first: the universe or the laws determining its evolution? Explaining this initial singularity—where and when it all began—still remains the most intractable problem of modern cosmology.”
Jayant Narlikar, “Challenge for the Big Bang,” New Scientist, vol. 138 (June 19, 1993), pp. 28-29, details the violations of the laws of physics involved in making a big bang: “There are three major problems with the big ban model. First, as a theory of physics, it breaks a cardinal rule by violating the law of conservation of matter and energy. At the instant of the big bang the entire Universe is created in what is known as a singular event, or ‘singularlity,’ Physics is believed to apply only after this instant.” Well, why is that the case? Isn’t it just the faith of atheists and agnostics that something can come from nothing when our direct experience and all real science indicate otherwise? Since the big bang theory contradicts the first and second laws of thermodynamics, it should be rejected as well, unless it is considered to have a supernatural cause.
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