Window View thanks Fred Heeren for his permission to present this excerpt from his book (see details and web link at the end of this page).
QUESTION: How do we explain the universe?
By Fred Heeren
The following is excerpted with this understanding: Fred Heeren is a science journalist who covers breaking science stories with the following goals: to get as close to the evidence as possible, to report it clearly, and to infect his readers with the joy of discovery. Heeren's writing has sometimes touched upon the dialogue between people of science and people of faith, showing that science and religion are separate realms. However, Heeren encourages people of faith to take the dates and data of science seriously. Heeren believes that people of faith should not try to scientifically prove God. After all, if science had such a power, what worth would faith have? Heeren says that science is powerless to coerce either belief or unbelief. But the sense of wonder it excites in people of all beliefs may inspire them to further investigations beyond science, in philosophical or religious realms.
Logic Demands a Cause for Every Effect
This is not rocket science. This is common sense, and no one has ever observed an exception. Even Julie Andrews sings about it: ''Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could.''
That every effect must have a cause is a self-evident truth, not only for those who have been trained in logic, but for thinking people everywhere. The cosmological argument for God is founded upon the old Latin axiom, Ex nihilo nihil fit: From nothing, nothing comes.
The Universe Is in Effect Which Demands a Very Great Cause.
No big bang theory or oscillating universe theory or static universe theory (all to be discussed later) has gotten around the need for an ultimate cause. A series of causes cannot be infinite. There must have been a first cause, which is uncaused.
The existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger aptly posed the question common to every atheist who has ever stopped to consider how the universe came to be: ''Why is there any Being at allwhy not far rather Nothing?'' ''How extraordinary that anything should exist,'' echoes philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Isaiah directed us to lift our eyes to the heavens and ask the universal question, ''Who created all these?'' (Isaiah 40: 26). David wrote, ''The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge'' (Psalm 19: 1-2).
And Paul said, ''...what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualitiesHis eternal power and divine naturehave been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse'' (Romans 1:19-20).
The Bible says that when we look into the heavens, we find a self-evident truth there, as obvious as if we could hear it in words (Psalm 19:4), available to people of every language, to every part of the Earth, and we're without excuse if we don't believe it.
This self evident truth is the simple, rational deduction that all we see is an effect which demands a very great, supernatural Cause. The sun and the stars, the moon and this Earth could not have come from nothing. That's irrationalnot just the Western mind, but to the human mind. Every phenomenon in the universe can be explained in terms of something else that caused it. But when the phenomenon in question is the existence of the universe itself, there is nothing in the universe to explain it. No natural explanation.
Even if a scientist feels he can explain the evolution of life, even if he can explain the evolution of the universe from the tiniest fraction of a second after the big bang, science has no natural explanation for how matter and energy could have emerged from nothing before thatand then continued for many ages right up until the present (as opposed to the appearance and disappearance of quantum particles, to be explained in the next chapter). After thousands of years of thought, humankind is limited to the same explanation it has had from the beginning: a supernatural explanation. Something outside the universe, outside nature. Something that fits the biblical concept of God.
Skeptics may at first counter, ''Then who created God? Your argument begs the question.'' But if the original question is, ''What caused the universe?'' then to answer simply that the universe has no cause clearly begs the question. But when we answer, ''A limitless Being from outside of time and space,'' we are not only answering the question more directly than the atheist, but we're giving the necessary answerbecause nothing that is already a part of the universe could have created it. The fact that we time-bound creatures can't picture how the Creator can live outside of time, without a beginning, does not remove the need for Him.
Again, when we say, 'Something can't come from nothing,'' the atheist may counter: ''But you say that God came from nothing.'' This is not true. Bible believers do not say that God came from nothing. According to the Bible, there was never a time before God, when there was nothing (Psalm 90:2). God always existed. The atheist may say: ''Well then, there's just as much reason to believe that the universe always existed.'' Again, untrue. We have no reason to believe that the universe always existed. The universe cannot explain itself. It has no reason for being in itself. The IIP1 God, however (who calls Himself I AM in the Bible), has specifically defined Himself from ancient times as a self-existing entity. He lives eternally, depending on nothing outside of Himself.
Now that the 20th-century science has supplied us with ample evidence that our universe and time itself had a beginning (to be discussed in Chapters 5 and 6), we know that time is not infinite; its beginning requirees an explanation. Nothing that is confined to time could cause the universe. Time, by definition, is that province where cause-and-effect events happen, where every effect must have its cause. God, by the Bible's ancient definition, is not confined to time. Thus, while events in time certainly require a cause, an entity outside of time may not.
1 IIP: Independent, Infinite, Personal
Window View Note: Of course one good question begets another... Fred Heeren's next topic following the text quoted above (from his Chapter 3) is... ''But How Do We Know That This First Cause Is Anything Like the IIP God?'' And to follow on, we recommend you pick up his book and read further!
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With the help of today's foremost astronomers and cosmologists, Fred Heeren examines how their discoveries affect the big questions about creation, the fine-tuning of he universe, the likelihood of extraterrestrials, why we're here, and the nature of God...
This is a selected text from Mr. Heeren's book, Show Me God - What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God. Wonders Volume 1. Excerpt is from Chapter 3. pp 88 to 89. Fifth printing © 2000
Fred Heeren's Internet site: www.fredheeren.com