Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask
- Monday, October 18, 2010
Before completely landing on this conclusion, let's look at an objection to it. My friend Chad Meister, who has his doctorate in philosophy and teaches philosophy of religion at the graduate level, told me a story about what happened to him awhile back at a dinner with his wife and others from the company where she was an accountant. The firm was celebrating the end of tax season and had invited the employees and their spouses for a nice dinner at a five-star restaurant. Chad happened to sit next to a pilot for a major airline. As they ate, the conversation eventually came around to spiritual matters, and the pilot said he didn't believe in God—which is not a very good position to take when you're having dinner with the likes of Dr. Meister!
Chad brought up this cosmological evidence from the Hubble telescope, and the pilot responded, "Yes, but how do you know it is God who created the universe? Maybe an alien did the creating!" Chad replied, "Maybe so! But let's keep in mind that our alien, whom we can call Bob, is timeless (that is, outside of time), nonspatial (outside of the spatial dimension), immaterial (not made up of any matter), and does not consist of physical energy, yet was powerful enough to create the entire universe—all the billions and billions of galaxies, each of which has billions and billions of stars. In light of that information, you can call him Bob, but I call him Yahweh! This is the transcendent God beyond space and time in whom Christians have believed for two thousand years."
Can you see how powerful this information is—even when people try to escape it with clever stories about things like aliens or elves? Even Richard Dawkins, probably the most prominent proponent for atheism of our times, admitted in an article in Time magazine that "there could be something incredibly grand and incomprehensible and beyond our present understanding." When challenged with "That's God!" he replied, "Yes. But it could be any of a billion Gods. It could be God of the Martians or of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri. The chance of its being a particular God, Yahweh, the God of Jesus, is vanishingly small."
Against that kind of a diversion we can say, "You can call him what you want, but the evidence from the origin of the universe tells us a lot about what he is like—and the description sounds amazingly similar to what the Bible tells us about one particular God, who actually is called Yahweh, the God of Jesus, the Creator of the world."
It's worth noting that the initial reaction of some Christians to the very idea of the Big Bang at the beginning of the universe is negative—but I don't think this is necessary. Yes, many scientists hold that this event was completely natural, unaided by any outside force or intelligence (such as God). But as we've seen, the evidence is against them. The event itself calls for a cause outside of the universe—one that is wise and powerful enough to be able to pull it off. That's why Einstein and many other thinkers in his day and since then have resisted the idea of the Big Bang—they didn't like the theological implications that came with it. But from a Christian point of view, the Big Bang sounds like an awfully compelling scientific description of the biblical doctrine of creation ex nihilo—"out of nothing."
One other objection that frequently comes up is this: "Well, if everything needs a cause, then who caused God?" But this is a misunderstanding of the argument itself, which does not say that everything needs a cause—just everything that has a beginning needs a cause! Science shows, through Einstein's calculations and Hubble's telescope, among other things, that the universe had a beginning—therefore the universe needs a cause. And that cause is the immaterial, eternal God of the universe, who had no beginning and who therefore does not have or need a cause.
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