How Do We Explain the Origin of the Universe?

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In the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and of our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, “How did it all begin?”, science answers, “Probably by an accident.” To the question, “How will it all end?”, science answers, “Probably by an accident.” And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living.
– Neil Postman

A proponent of the big bang theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the matter of the universe came from nothing and by nothing.
– Anthony Kenny

Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.
– Robert Jastrow

The Big-Bang actually creates a tremendous problem for the atheist. If nothing at all existed prior to the Big-Bang, then what exploded? Moreover, the atheistic view, that the universe is all there is, requires that the universe, for no reason, just came into existence out of nothing. But again, this seems absurd. If the Christian had postulated such a proposition, he or she would have been laughed out of court.
– Mike Licona

It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.
– G. K. Chesterton

To say something created itself is to postulate something so incomprehensibly bizarre that it renders belief in miracles mere chicken-feed by comparison.
– Bō Jinn

Some have spoken of the universe spontaneously creating itself: the whole cosmos propped up by nothing, absolutely nothing. As miracles go, this would be unparalleled. Everything from nothing? Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, but this would mean the virgin birth of the cosmos. In fact, it’s the virgin birth of the cosmos but without a virgin, without anything. Here would be the greatest conjuring trick every pulled: nothing up the sleeve, no sleeve, not even a magician. Just pure magic, out of nowhere.
– Glen Scrivener

Whatever be our conception of the universe we must, it is obvious, start somehow; we must begin with something; and the something with which we begin, from the very fact that we do begin with it, must itself be without explanation, since, if something else were invoked to explain it, then the “something else” must needs be logically prior to that which it is invoked to explain. Thus the “something” being explained by a logically prior “something else” could not have been ultimate.
– C. E. M. Joad

The beginning of the universe seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.
– Sir Arthur Eddington

My contention is that the nature of the universe we observe is more consistent with a deliberately created world than with one that has formed accidentally.
– David Siegrist

How Do We Explain Something From Nothing?

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According to Jean-Paul Sartre . . . the basic philosophic question is that something is there, rather than that nothing is there. The first basic answer is that everything that exists has come out of absolutely nothing. In other words, you begin with nothing. Now, to hold this view, it must be absolutely nothing. It must be what I call nothing-nothing. It cannot be nothing-something or something-nothing. If one is going to accept this answer, it must be nothing-nothing, which means there must be no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.

My description of nothing-nothing runs like this. Suppose we had a very black blackboard that had never been used. On this blackboard we drew a circle, and inside that circle there was every- thing that was—and there was nothing within the circle. Then we erase the circle. This is nothing-nothing. You must not let anybody say he is giving an answer beginning with nothing and then really begin with something: energy, mass, motion, or personality. That would be something, and something is not nothing.

The truth is, I have never heard this argument sustained, for it is unthinkable that all that now is has come out of utter nothing.

–Francis Schaeffer,
He Is There and He Is Not Silent

The Virgin Birth

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Some have spoken of the universe spontaneously creating itself: the whole cosmos propped up by nothing, absolutely nothing. As miracles go, this would be unparalleled. Everything from nothing? Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, but this would mean the virgin birth of the cosmos. In fact, it’s the virgin birth of the cosmos but without a virgin, without anything. Here would be the greatest conjuring trick every pulled: nothing up the sleeve, no sleeve, not even a magician. Just pure magic, out of nowhere.

– Glen Scrivener

Inconceivable

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For me, the idea of a creation is not conceivable without
invoking the necessity of design. One cannot be exposed
to the law and order of the universe without concluding
that there must be design and purpose behind it all.

-Wernher von Braun,
Aerospace engineer, and space architect.
The leading figure in the development of rocket technology

The Modern Dilemma

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Remember Jean-Paul Sartre’s statement that the basic philosophical question is that everything that exists has come out of absolutely nothing. In other words, you begin with nothing. Now, to hold this view, it must be absolutely nothing. It must be what I call nothing-something or nothing-nothing. If one is going to accept this answer, it must be nothing-nothing, which means there must be no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.

. . . You must not let anybody say he is giving an answer beginning with nothing and then really begin with something: energy, mass, motion, or personality. That would be something, and something is not nothing.

The truth is, I have never heard this argument sustained, for it is unthinkable that all that now is has come out of utter nothing.

zerl 1. . . The dilemma of modern man is simple: he does not know why man has any meaning. He is lost. Man remains a zero. This is the damnation of our generation, the heart of modern man’s problem. But if we begin with a personal beginning and this is the origin of all else, then the personal does have meaning, and man and his aspirations are not meaningless . . .

It is the Christian who has the answer at this point—a titanic answer! . . . Man’s damnation today is that he can find no meaning for man, but if we begin with the personal beginning we have an absolutely opposite situation. We have the reality of the fact that personality does have meaning because it is not alienated from what has always been, and what is, and what always will be. This is our answer, and with this we have a solution to the problem of existence—of bare being and its complexity—but also for man’s being different, with a personality which distinguishes him from non man.

60325008-lake-malvaglia-on-blenio-valley-on-swiss-alpsWe man use an illustration of two valleys. Often in the Swiss Alps, there is a valley filled with water and an adjacent valley without water. Surprisingly enough, sometimes the mountain springs leaks, and suddenly the second valley begins to fill up with water. As long as the level of water in the second valley does not rise higher than the level of water in the first valley, everyone concludes that there is a real possibility that the second lake came from the first. However, if the water in the second valley goes thirty feet higher than the water in the first valley, nobody gives that answer. If we begin with a personal beginning to all things, then we can understand that man’s aspiration for personality has a possible answer.

If we begin with less than personality, we must finally reduce personality to the impersonal. The modern scientific world does this in its reductionism, in which the word “personality” is only the impersonal plus complexity. In the naturalistic scientific world, whether social, psychological, or natural science, a man is reduced to the impersonal plus complexity. There is not real, intrinsic difference.

–Francis Schaeffer,
He Is There and He Is Not Silent

Without God Dawkins Would be Out of a Job

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Creation “out of nothing” is not testimony to how devilishly clever God is, dispensing as he can with even the most rudimentary raw materials, but to the fact that the world is not the inevitable culmination of some prior process, the upshot of some inexorable chain of cause and effect. Any such preceding chain of causality would have to be part of the world, and so could not count as the origin of it. Because there is no necessity about the cosmos, we cannot deduce the laws which govern it from a priori principles, but instead have to look at how it actually works. This is the task of science. There is thus a curious connection between the doctrine of creation out of nothing and the professional life of Richard Dawkins. Without God, Dawkins would be out of a job. It is thus particularly churlish of him to call the existence of his employer into question.

–Terry Eagleton,
Reason, Faith, and Revolution