The Cosmological Argument (for the existence of God): Over the last five years I have noticed an increasingly militant atheism rising on the internet. Belief in God is simply not tolerated by atheists these days. Strident posters disparage people of faith in the most vulgar manner imaginable. Invariably, those who believe in God are accused by the militant atheists of being “anti-science”. I therefore set forth to you what is known as the Cosmological Argument for the existence of a theistic universe. It is based solely on scientific laws and reason.
This set of scientific proofs (yes, that’s right, I said proofs) is called the Cosmological Argument from the Greek word “cosmos”, which means “universe”. If the universe had a beginning, then the universe had a cause. Expressed as a logical proposition, the argument goes like this:
1. Everything that had a beginning had a cause.
2. The universe had a beginning.
3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.
Premise one, which states that everything that had a beginning had a cause, is true. This is known as the Law of Causality, which is the FUNDAMENTAL principle of science. Notice I said “law”. Causality is a physical law of our material universe, not a mere theory. Science is nothing more than a search for causes. To deny the Law of Causality is to deny rationality itself.
Is premise two true? Currently there are five lines of scientific evidence that give a resounding “yes” in answer to this question. These five lines can be remembered by the acronym S.U.R.G.E.
The “S” in S.U.R.G.E. stands for the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This is also known as the Law of Entropy. Again, notice that we are relying on established scientific laws, not scripture. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in the universe is constant. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of usable energy. Stated another way, the Law of Entropy holds that in nature, things always go from a state of order to a state of disorder. With each passing moment, the amount of usable energy in the universe grows smaller, leading scientists to the obvious conclusion that one day billions of years from now all the energy in the universe will be gone and the universe will go dark. This law is the reason why perpetual motion machines cannot ever work: In every reaction, a measurable amount of usable energy is lost. On the galactic scale, stars only have so much hydrogen in them to burn, and although they are super-massive structures that will burn for billions of years, eventually each star will run out of hydrogen.
What does this have to do with God? Simple: It means the universe must have had a beginning. If the universe is constantly running out of usable energy, then logic dictates that the universe MUST have had a beginning, and the universe cannot be eternal. If the universe were eternal, it would have already run out of energy. Since the lights are still on, we know that the universe has only been in existence for a finite number of days. Therefore, it must have had a beginning.
The “U” in S.U.R.G.E. stands for the Universe is Expanding. The expansion of the universe is a proven scientific fact discovered by Edwin Hubble (whom the space telescope was named after) in 1927 at California’s Mount Wilson Observatory. Hubble discovered that no matter where he aimed his telescope in the sky, he observed a “red shift” in the light from every other star and galaxy. This red shift in light from other stars is caused from their movement away from us.
What does the expansion of the universe have to do with God? Simple. It means that the universe must have had a beginning. If the universe is constantly expanding, this means that if you were to follow all the trajectories of all the galaxies in the universe back to their point of origin, you would discover that they all originate from the same point in time and space. In other words, if you could view a video recording of the history of the universe, and run it in reverse, you would see all matter in the universe leads back to a single point in space and time. A single point not the size of a star, or a planet, or even a basketball or a grape, but mathematically and logically to a point that is nothing.
In other words, once there was nothing, and then BANG the entire universe exploded into being. This is popularly known today as the “Big Bang”.
The “R” in S.U.R.G.E. refers to the Radiation from the Big Bang. We know that the Big Bang actually happened, because we can still observe the radiation left over from this stupendous explosion. It was discovered by accident in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, working at Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey. Known as Cosmic Background Radiation, this radiation is what is left over from the afterglow of the Big Bang explosion. The afterglow is left over light and heat, no longer observable by the naked eye because its wavelengths have been stretched by the expanding universe to wavelengths similar to those produced by microwaves. Penzias and Wilson won a Nobel Prize in astrophysics for their discovery.
This is relevant to our scientific proofs for a theistic universe because the cosmic background radiation confirms that the universe exploded into being out of nothing. For the theist, the scientific evidence conforms to the belief that God created the universe. The atheist, meanwhile, is stuck having to believe that something as large as the entire universe came out of nothing, for no reason and for no cause. Applied to anything else, we know this violates the Law of Causality and the atheist would be laughed out of the room in an instant. But for some reason the atheist has been getting away with claiming the mantle of science, while there is nothing in science that supports the atheistic view of the universe.
The “G” in S.U.R.G.E. stands for Galaxies. After finding the predicted expanding universe and the cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang, scientists turned their attention to another prediction that would confirm the Big Bang. If the Big Bang occurred, scientists believed that we should see slight variations, or ripples, in the temperature of the cosmic background radiation discovered by Penzias and Wilson. These temperature ripples were theorized to have allowed matter to congregate by gravitational attraction into stars, allowing galaxies to form.
In 1989 NASA launched the COBE satellite, which stood for COsmic Background Explorer. The $200 million satellite carried extremely sensitive instruments designed to find and measure the predicted ripples in the cosmic background radiation. COBE took infrared pictures of the ripples from distant objects. Because of the length of time light takes to reach us, these were literally pictures from the distant past, at the creation of the universe. These were actual physical observations, not conjectures or theories.
COBE not only succeeded in finding the predicted temperature ripples in the cosmic background radiation, but found that the ripples were incredibly precise. If these variations were even 1 one hundred thousandth of a degree different either way, then either the universe would have collapsed back in on itself, or matter would never have been able to congregate to form galaxies.
When the project leader, George Smoot, announced COBE’s findings in 1992, he was quoted as saying the ripples were “the machining marks from the creation of the universe” and the “fingerprints of the maker”.
The “E” in S.U.R.G.E. refers to Einstein, and his theory of General Relativity. General Relativity, a theorem that has been confirmed to five decimal places, predicted an expanding universe, cosmic background radiation, and the ripples in the cosmic background radiation. General Relativity demands an absolute beginning for time, space, and matter. It shows that time, space, and matter are co-relative. That is, they are interdependent. You can’t have one without the others.
So, we know that both premise one and two of the cosmological argument are true. Therefore, premise three is also true. The universe must have had a cause.
What was the cause of the universe? Again, relying only on scientific evidence, and logical deduction, we can conclude a lot about this “First Cause”:
A) The First Cause must be self-existent, non-spatial, and immaterial. This must be so because the First Cause created time, space, and matter and therefore cannot be part of it. It is therefore, by definition, Supernatural. Think about that: Our entire physical universe is the product of a supernatural cause, a supernatural cause which is beyond the laws of nature. In other words, the creation of the universe was a miracle; something out of nothing.
B) The First Cause must be unimaginably powerful, to create the entire universe out of nothing. It is, for all practical purposes, a power that is infinite and without limits.
C) The First Cause must be supremely intelligent, to design the universe with such incredible precision (referring to the COBE observations). This conclusion also relies on the Anthropic Principle. While I don’t have the space to go into detail concerning the Anthropic Principle, suffice it to say here that there are over 100 ways in which the universe is precisely tweaked to exist, and to allow life as we know it to exist.
D) The First Cause must be personal, to choose to convert a state of nothingness into the time-space-material universe we live in. An impersonal force has no ability to make choices.
Now, at this point you are probably realizing that these characteristics of the First Cause, which we can deduce from what would be required to cause the universe, sound awfully close to those characteristics that theologians have attributed to the God of the bible. You would be right.
In light of the evidence, we are only left with two options: Either no one created something out of nothing, or else someone created something out of nothing. It is not reasonable to believe that nothing created something. It is against the scientific evidence and all reason. That is why those of us who believe in God do not have enough faith to be an atheist!