by Rob Lundberg
Sometimes someone who will not listen to your gospel presentation using Scripture, and referencing chapter and verse, will seek to shut the conversation down. They might respond, “That’s true for you but not for me!” or something worse. When talking to the local pop atheists, I do not start with the Bible, but start where they least expect. That is with the question of the beginning of the universe. If the universe’s beginning had its beginning from a source outside of itself, then we can assume the plausibility of God’s existence.
But it was the astronomer Carl Sagan that posited the idea of an infinite universe when he used to say, “The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.” According to Sagan, the cosmos, vis-a-vis the universe had no beginning, and that it needed no Beginner, and that it will never end. Of course we know that Sagan’s view contrasts the very first verses of the book of Genesis, which describes and teaches that the cosmos (universe) began and is the result of a personal Creator: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
It is here that I wish to present three arguments that will help us understand that the universe does have a beginning and that the steady state theory of the universe is no longer a plausible idea.
Argument #1: The Kalam Argument: The kalam argument for God’s existence is an argument from creation and is based upon the assumption that the universe had a beginning. It was first developed by a Medieval Islamic philosopher names Al Ghazali in the 1100’s and it is now used by Dr. William Lane Craig in the debate halls. The Kalam Cosmological Argument goes as follows:
Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
Conclusion: Therefore the universe has a cause of its existence.
In order to understand how this can be an argument for the existence of God from the creation of the universe, we need to explain this argument a little. Starting with the first Premise 1, we see that the premise affirms the undeniable law of causality. But what about Premise 2?
Looking at the second premise (Premise 2) we need to consider two arguments: one is philosophical and the second scientific which will demonstrate that the universe is not eternal but began to exist a finite (limited) time ago. First, the philosophical argument:
Premise (1): if an infinite number of moments occurred before today, then the today would never had come because it’s impossible to pass through an infinite number of moments.
Premise (2): Today has come.
Conclusion: Therefore, there must have been only a finite number of moments before today, thus showing that the universe had a beginning.
Argument #2: The Second Law of Thermodynamics: The second law of thermodynamics states that that amount of usable energy in a closed system is running down (becoming more disordered). But if the universe it both eternal and “running down,” this leads to the contradiction that the universe has been in a constant state of running down, and yet, has not done so. If the universe is getting more and more disordered, it cannot be eternal, or it would be completely disordered by now. But we see that it is not. Therefore the universe must be finite in duration.
Argument #3: A Display of the Expansion of the Galaxies: There is plenty of scientific evidence that shows us that the universe is not in a state of flux or a holding pattern. It is not static but but is showing itself to be expanding outward from a central punctiliar point. This leads us to a conclusion that the universe began to exist and it began from a single point in history.
The field of astrophysics confirms that the universe came from nothing. Christian theologians and philosophers call this creation ex nihilo, out of nothing. This means that prior to the beginning of universe that we know, there was nothing, and then there was something. It was the first century BC Roman philosopher who coined the most basic question of all, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” In other words, why did the universe begin to exist and that beginning is evidence by the expansion (illustrated in the red shift)?
The universe must have a cause. Its beginning from nothing had to come about by means of something or Someone outside of the universe (transcendent infinite Being). That transcendent infinite being must be spaceless, timeless, because space and time began with the beginning of the universe. Furthermore that First Cause must be eternal and without cause itself because an infinite series of causes is impossible. The universe itself cannot be its own cause because it’s temporal, changing, finite and had a beginning. It would seem that this spaceless, timeless, eternal cause draws right back to the Book of the Beginnings to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God. . .”
Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and to communicate the message of the gospel to a confused culture in a chaotic, “brave new world.”
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