Can’t a guy get a break? (Or “The Undeniable Rationale for a Creator”)

At the beginning of June my whole family went away on holiday to France.  This was a huge undertaking since we have three kids and had to pack the car and make it to the ferry port by four in the morning.  The kids were barely even awake when their seat belts embraced them in a nice little cuddle to keep them safe while their coffee-driven patriarch drove them through the pre-dawn greyness to catch a ferry from Dover to Calais.

When we arrived I met the owner of the gite (that is evidently the French word for a sort of run down, poorly maintained property half-hidden by grass which has not been cut for months).  He was a nice enough man named Robert.  His calm demeanour became important when we realised the hot water was not working and every time we turned on the boiler all of the lights in the house would go off.  We did eventually get hot water but not before going to bed for a few nights without having had a shower.

Upon meeting Robert he uttered the name of Christ in a disrespectful way several times within the first five minutes we had ever been acquainted.  In an indirect way of confronting this I told him I was a minister and so was my father-in-law, who was coming to join us the following day.  Robert then apologised and tried his best not to be rude like that again.

And then he put me to work.  He said, “I am a professor of philosophy and physics at [some French university which I cannot pronounce].”  He had bought the farmhouse in order to have a place to write a book about philosophy and physics.  One thing led to another – as it can do with me – and we had a long conversation about God.  We were to have another long conversation about God later in our stay.  Together these two conversations took up abou five hours of my time.

I enjoyed them!

After departing, Robert is still a committed atheist and I am still a committed Christian.  Did either of us “win?”  No.

Still, I was able to bring out the best rationale for the existence of a Creator I have ever found and was pleased to note that his answers were totally insufficient.  I will reproduce it for you here and then add in a few of his objections and how I addressed them.

The Undeniable Rationale for a Creator

  1. Everything which begins to exist has a cause for its beginning.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause for its beginning.

I am amazed at how often I come back to this simple rationale for believing, quite logically, in the existence of a Creator.  Please allow me to explain a couple of the above points before I move on to the objections.

You will find it helpful to emphasise the word begins in the first point.  Scientists are affirming over and over again that the universe has a beginning.  No theory has been put forward which can adequately explain a universe which does not have a beginning.  Of course you will have someone who points out to you that the Big Bang Theory explains the beginning of the universe.  Please simply ask them this question:

“Where did the stuff that went Bang come from?”

The third statement above is also very necessary and how you speak about it is important. The Law of Causality requires every material effect to have a sufficient cause.  Thus the universe, as a material effect, must have a cause which is sufficient to produce such a huge creation.  The effect cannot precede the cause and so the universe cannot create itself.  And the effects must be present in the cause and so if the universe is orderly then the cause must be orderly.

So that is “The Undeniable Rationale for a Creator.”  What are the objections?

  • “What made God then?”  This is a non-question and I often say so quite bluntly.  As I just mentioned, every material effect must have a cause.  Since God is not a material effect He does not have a cause nor does He need one.
  • “So there is a cause but who says this cause is God?”  The sufficiency of the cause needed to produce a universe points people in the right direction.  The universe is monstrously huge.  The universe is staggeringly complex.  The universe is outrageously beautiful.  The cause of the universe must be all of these things and more.
  • “Quantum mechanics has non-caused [insert a whatever right here]…”  This is a simple red herring and a poor understanding of both quantum mechanics and the sort of argument we are looking at.  While it is true to say that certain particles seem to spring in and out of existence in ways which baffle physicists and currently seem to be non-caused, it is not true to say that these particles could spring into existence on their own in the absence of anything else.  While they may seem non-caused they are still contingent (that is, they rely on something else to explain their origin).

After spending five hours talking with a Frenchman this line of reasoning still stands strong and tall.  Thus this becomes “The Undeniable Rationale for a Creator.”


4 thoughts on “Can’t a guy get a break? (Or “The Undeniable Rationale for a Creator”)

Add yours

  1. I have come across this argument many times and I am surprised how often it is used, considering how little it proves. After all, even if (and this is a big if) you assume God created the universe, this doesn’t mean a word of Christianity is right. It doesn’t mean there is a Heaven or a Hell or that God loves us or answers prayers or even knows of our existence. In fact God may have created the universe but no longer exist. It doesn’t mean there is a Jesus or he did for our sins or was resurrected or that any of the Churches are in any way correct. God may have created the universe and that would not mean a word of the Bible was true.

    When you think about, who or how the universe was created is a question that tells us very little about religion.

    1. You are correct in thinking that this argument does not prove Christianity. Yet in its full form it says am awful lot about the nature of God.

      You should read more about from William Lane Craig himself.

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