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Existence or Non-Existence?

Four Miracles of Atheism*

four-miraclesNo atheist dares to believe in miracles.  Miracles simply do not occur, according to atheists.  Miracles are impossible.  They go against the natural order.  They irrevocably break nature’s laws—shattering them to pieces.  Miracles are an unscientific way to explain an event.

According to the atheist mythos, science someday will be able to explain every miracle according to rational, scientific processes.  (Reminder:  For the atheist, “rational” is a synonym for “material” or “physical.”)  But the atheist belief system will not work unless you accept four miracles, that is, four events or processes that are not scientific and that go against the observed laws of nature.

Clayton Kraby writes in his blog “Reasonable Theology” (http://reasonabletheology.org) .

Each of these examples [the four miracles] go against the natural order and could be labeled as miracles.  . . .  For the purposes of this discussion, we will define a miracle as an event which occurs outside of the natural order and cannot be repeated or explained by the scientific process.

The four “miracles” required by the atheist mythos are as follows:

  1. Existence from Non-existence
  2. Living Organisms from Dead Matter
  3. Order from Chaos
  4. The Immaterial (Transcendent Categories) from Materialism

This essay discusses the miracle of existence from non-existence.

1.   Existence from Non-existence

eternal-universeWhere did it come from?  The universe, I mean.  Atheists once believed the material of the universe is eternal.  This belief stretches as far back as the pre-Socratic atheists Democritus and Leucippus.  The material of the universe is eternal, they said.  Atheists today want to continue to believe this.  Why?  The eternity of matter fits their world view.  If matter is finite and temporal, then atheism must face some hard, logical questions that are unanswerable by their materialistic world-view.

So, what’s the problem?  To begin, only infinity and eternity continue forever.  Every finite, temporal thing had a starting point.  Existence does not come from non-existence.  If the universe is temporal and finite, what brought it into existence?

This is an important question.  Is the matter in the universe eternal?  If not, how did it come into existence?  What evidence do we have that the universe is not eternal—that it was caused to come into existence?  Our evidence is from two sources: science and philosophy.

Here Is the Evidence

The scientific evidence comes in the form of a scientific theory called the Big Bang Theory.

What is the Big Bang Theory?  It’s a scientific theory explaining the origin of our universe.  According to this theory, our universe started out as a singularity called the initial singularity.  This singularity contained all the matter of the universe.  The gravity produced by its mass was unimaginable, causing all of the mass to be compressed into a very small bundle.  Its density was infinite, scientists say.  Space and time did not exist within this singularity, nor did the many of the laws of physics.  Then, around 13.8 billion years ago, this singularity exploded and expanded to create our universe as it is today.

What problem do atheists have with the Big Bang?  They wonder about the origin of the initial singularity.  Things simply do not begin exist.  Either the initial singularity existed forever or it was caused to exist.  It is eternal or it was created.  The only third option is that it popped into existence from nothing.  Science established the Big Bang theory.  Our universe came into existence due to the initial singularity around fourteen billion years ago.  Was the singularity created or was it the product of an eternal process?

Atheists struggle to come up with eternal process theories.  One of the earliest theories spoke of repetitive contractions and expansions of the universe.  The theory states the most recent Big Bang was one of an infinite series of Big Bangs.  From all eternity our universe has expanded and contracted again and again.  However, other scientists soon proved our universe has expanded to a point where it no longer can contract and eventually produce another Big Bang.  The dispersion of energy from that Big Bang has been too great.  Repetitive contraction theories died.

The universe began with a bang

The universe began with a bang

Other theories quickly took its place.  Multiple universe theories abound along with theories about such things as cosmic foam.  But these theories themselves are unscientific.  Although the math for some of these theories is quite impressive, the theories cannot be tested.  These theories are little more than science fiction.

Science provides evidence that our universe is not eternal.  But science can speculate only as far back as 13.8 billion years.  Science is not equipped to make theories prior to the Big Bang.  Do the atheists have a loophole?  Is matter eternal?  Nope.  Matter is not eternal.  The evidence comes from science.  The proof is provided by philosophy.

Here Is the Proof

Atheists do not like philosophy.  For the last five hundred years they have tried their best to discredit it.  Why?  Here are a few reasons.

First, atheism is mired down in materialism.  Atheists believe the only reality is physical.  At least, that’s true for most atheists.  It applies especially to the great philosophers of atheism such as Nietzsche, Sartre, and Russell.  Atheists believe there is no soul or spirit.  Consciousness is a totally physical phenomenon exhibited by higher brains.  Emotions are caused by chemicals.  Everything is material.  There is no truth.  Philosophy is one person’s opinion against another’s.

But there is a problem with materialism as a world-view.  G. K. Chesterton wrote in his book Orthodoxy:

As an explanation of the world, materialism has a sort of insane simplicity. It has just the quality of the madman’s argument; we have at once the sense of it covering everything and the sense of it leaving everything out… His [the materialist’s] cosmos may be complete in every rivet and cogwheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world.

Materialism is dead and empty

Materialism is dead and empty

Materialism is a small, cold, dark world.  There is no love, no beauty, no justification for kindness or goodness.  Why does anyone want to live there?

Second, philosophy deals with proof and certainty.  What do I mean by “certainty?”  Certainty is defined as “a fact about which there is no doubt.”  Certainty goes beyond the information we receive from our senses.  Certainty dwells in the regions of belief and logic.

Atheists do not like certainty.  Certainty statements are too much like absolutes.  Certainty also interferes with the skeptic’s ability to doubt.  According to Ludwig Wittgenstein:

“If you tried to doubt everything you would not get as far as doubting anything. The game of doubting itself presupposes certainty” On Certainty #115

Certainty also can establish the existence of God.

One problem with certainty is there are few statements that have certainty.  For example, the statement “the sun will rise in the morning” does not have certainty.  If the earth suddenly ceases to turn, the sun will not rise in the morning.  The statement “everything that begins to exist was caused to exist” is a statement with certainty.  Another statement with certainty is “nothing comes from nothing.”

What can you do with certainty statements?  You can link them together logically to produce new statements—some new statements also will have certainty.  For example, consider the following syllogism.  It’s called the Kalām Argument:

  1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;
  2. The universe has a beginning of its existence; Therefore:
  3.  The universe has a cause of its existence.

The Kalām argument was developed over several centuries by Muslim, Christian, and Jewish philosophers.  The first proposition is common sense. Everything that began to exist had to be caused by something.  Things do not just “Pop” into existence.  There must be a cause for everything that begins to exist.  If the universe began to exist, something or someone caused it to exist.  This is one example where philosophy proves the existence of God with certainty.

Atheists are wrong.  The universe did not come from nothing.  Something caused the universe to come into existence.  Something caused that singularity.  That something is God.

Philosophy also can show that the universe is not eternal.  Using logic, philosophy is able to agree with science.  Philosophy asks, “How could our universe possibly be eternal?  Our universe is made of space and time.  Eternity is much bigger than space and time.

Eternity and infinity cannot fit within the boundaries of space and time.”  Why?  Because it is impossible for space to stretch from one end of infinity to the other.  There will never be enough time to fill eternity.  How can this be?  What is the logic that places eternity and infinity beyond space and time?

Let’s begin with infinity.  Imagine an ocean with infinite drops of water.  How big would that ocean be?  Where could we put it?  First, let’s put the infinite ocean on the earth.  Whoops!  The ocean fills the entire earth but the drops of water are not yet infinite.  Let’s fill the earth and all of the space from here to the moon with our ocean.  Do we have an infinite ocean now?  Nope, not yet!

Let’s fill our entire solar system with water.  Our ocean extends beyond the orbit of Pluto.  It’s a light year deep.  Water, water everywhere but still not an infinity of drops.  If we fill the entire universe with water, the number of drops still does not even approach infinity.  Our universe is too small to contain an infinity of water droplets.

What about eternity?  In our dimension of time and space, time progresses only in one direction.  How far back do we need to go to find the beginning of eternity?  Science says we can go back 13.8 billion years.  That’s when our space/time universe began.  But eternity does not stop there.  In continues on, beyond the reach of time.

Let’s look at this from another viewpoint.  Measurement in space and time begins from a fixed point.  So let’s choose a fixed point.  Our measurement of space and time will begin at this point and expand in all directions at the speed of light.  Eventually, starting from our fixed point, our measurement of space and time will reach eternity and infinity.  Right?  Let’s see.

Can We Reach Infinity from Here?

Can We Reach Infinity from Here?

We start measuring.  But how can we measure our progress?  Let’s say we get into the fastest starship possible.  This baby can cruise forever at the speed of light.  Starting from our fixed point we travel as fast as we can.  We travel for one hundred years.  Have we reached eternity and infinity?  Nope.  Not yet.  We travel a hundred light years but we still can travel farther.  The hundred years that passed is not even a grain of sand in the desert of eternity.

So we travel an additional thousand years.  Have we reached eternity and infinity?  Nope.  Not yet.  We travelled eleven hundred light years but we still can travel farther.  The thousand plus a hundred years that passed still is less than a grain of sand in the desert.

How far must we travel before we reach eternity and infinity?  A million years?  A billion years?  I hope you are starting to realize that we cannot reach infinity or eternity within the boundaries of space and time.

Is this difficult to understand?  Even King Solomon, the wisest man ever to live could not figure it out.  He wrote in Ecclesiastes 3: 11:

He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (NIV)

We can understand the general concept of eternity and infinity but nothing more than that.  Infinity and eternity are beyond our ability to comprehend.  But we are able to understand that our universe of space and time is not eternal or infinite.  It must have come into existence.  This is simple logic as expressed in the following argument.

  1. Neither eternity nor infinity can exist in space and time.
  2. Our universe exists in space and time.
  3. Our universe is neither eternal nor infinite.
  4. Our universe has a beginning of its existence.

Follow this with the Kalām Argument:

  1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;
  2. The universe has a beginning of its existence; Therefore:
  3.  The universe has a cause of its existence.

We recognize that cause as the eternal, infinite God.

Conclusion

How did the universe come into existence?  Either it came into existence from nothing or it was caused to exist.

Atheists still believe in this miracle of existence from non-existence.  Philosophy and logic do not support it.  Neither does science.bright-lights

 

 

 

 

*This essay is adopted from http://reasonabletheology.org/four-miracles-athiesm/ by Clayton Kraby, “a believer with a desire to help other Christ-followers understand and build their faith.”

 

According to Mr. Kraby, “By sharing this information with others we can help to demonstrate that even an atheistic worldview takes portions of its belief system on faith. It can be particularly helpful when needing to deflect undue criticism that Christianity requires its adherents to hold to blind faith despite evidence to the contrary.”

 

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