FAITH

HAVE YOU WONDERED? Does God exist?

Russ Whitten
Russ Whitten

Mortimer Adler, the co-editor of Encyclopedia Britannica, once suggested, “More consequences for thought and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God than from answering any other question.” In my next few articles, I will present three basic arguments traditionally used for reasons to believe in the existence of God.

Reason #1 — Whatever begins to exist must have a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe must have a cause.

When we consider the origin of the universe, we are left with three possible options:

• The universe is eternal.

• The universe just popped into existence, uncreated, uncaused, out of nothing.

• The universe was created.

What evidence do we have that the universe is not eternal?

A. The Expanding Universe

Up until the 1920’s, the prevailing view of most astronomers was that the universe had always existed and was static (neither expanding nor contracting). All this dramatically changed, when the American astronomer Edwin Hubble (1883-1953) discovered that the farther out in space you go, the faster things are moving away from us. His analysis led to the first observational support that the universe actually did have an explosive beginning.

Science teachers will often draw several dots on a balloon and blow it up to illustrate our expanding universe and the way galaxies continually move away from each other. The fact that our universe is expanding in this way suggests that if you could “rewind a video” of the history of our universe, you would see the galaxies getting closer and closer to one another until finally they converged at a central point of origin — a very dense initial state that astronomers would later call a singularity. The implications of this discovery were staggering. Would not a central point of origin suggest that the universe definitely had a beginning? Furthermore, wouldn’t a beginning suggest a Beginner or a Creator?

B. Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

In 1965, Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias were testing an ultra-sensitive microwave radiation detector and noticed that no matter where they pointed it into space, they continued to pick up an irritating low-grade “hum.”

Penzias and Wilson then learned that for several years astronomers had been working on the theory that microwave background radiation would be expected if an explosion was the beginning point of the universe. Could it be, it was eventually proposed, that the antenna is not malfunctioning after all, but is actually picking up low-level thermal radiation “after glow” left over from some past cosmic catastrophe or explosion? As it turned out, in 1978, Penzias and Wilson were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their accidental discovery of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation which provided significant proof that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning. After winning the Nobel Prize, Arno Penzias would later say, “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

If science has now firmly established that the universe had a beginning, this begs the question: “What caused it to suddenly spring into existence?”

Is it more plausible to believe that the universe was caused or uncaused? Common sense and human experience tell us — “Things don’t just pop into existence, uncreated, uncaused, out of nothing.”

The first sentence in the Bible says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This explanation of how the universe began is not only backed up by the recent scientific discoveries mentioned above, but simply makes the most sense and requires significantly less faith than the idea that, “In the beginning, Nothing went boom and then there was Everything.”

If everything that has a beginning in our world came from something, why in the world would we believe that the world came from nothing?

The Bible puts it this way:

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)

Russ Whitten is minister of Destin Church of Christ. He can be reached at russwhitten@gmail.com.