Category Archives: Existence of God

Does a Multiverse Explain the Fine Tuning of Our Universe? Part 2

We continue with J. Warner Wallace’s analysis of multiverse theories in his new book God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe.

The second reason multiverse theories fail to explain the origin of fine tuning is that rather than explaining the origin of fine tuning, the multiverse theory requires fine tuning to first exist.

If there is a multiverse vacuum capable of such creative activity, it would be reasonable for us to ask how the physics of such an environment could be so fine-tuned to create a life-permitting universe. As Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne observed, any proposed multiverse mechanism “needs to have a certain form rather than innumerable possible other forms, and probably constants too that need fine-tuning in the narrow sense … if that diversity of universes is to result.” Eternal inflation, for example, requires a precise relationship between cosmological constants of gravity and the other forces of quantum physics. In other words, the vacuums proposed in multiverse models are equally fine-tuned.

Third, multiverse theories rely on speculative notions of time.

Theorists who propose a preexisting vacuum must account for the nature of time in this setting. All descriptions of this vacuum describe it as temporal (with bubble universes emerging or quantum events occurring over time). But the Standard Cosmological Model (as we described it in the prior chapter) indicates time, as we know it, began with our universe. Multiverse explanations must provide an account for the temporal nature of the vacuum lying at the core of their theory.

Fourth, multiverse theories result in absurdities.

Like string theory models, multiverse proposals result in a number of interesting (and disturbing) absurdities. If there are an infinite number of universes in the multiverse collection, and there exists a remote chance one of them could have a set of laws like ours (and a history similar to our own), we must accept (given the infinite size of the multiverse) an infinite number of universes resembling ours. In fact, if there’s a small chance any of these similar universes might have precisely the same history as our own (with someone exactly like you reading this book at this very moment), there are an infinite number of universes precisely the same as ours in every possible way.

The absurdity of this proposal has been noted by a number of physicists and philosophers. Multiverse models describe an ensemble of universes both identical and slightly different from our own. As Alan Guth admitted, “There is a universe where Elvis is still alive.” The incredulity of such a proposal seems a high price to pay to accommodate a theory yet unproven by the evidence. As Paul Davies said, “The very notion that there could be not just one, but an infinity of identical copies of you, leading identical lives (and infinitely many others leading similar but not identical lives) is deeply unsettling.”

Worse yet, if the multiverse model is true, we may not even be living in a “real” universe at all. If there is even a small chance our universe is simply a Matrix-like simulation (and this possibility certainly exists), the infinite number of universes assures there are also an infinite number of such “computer simulation” universes. While this probably seems absurd (and it ought to), it is the zany, inevitable consequence of multiverse theories.

While multiverse theories fail to explain fine tuning, one thing they concede is that the fine tuning in our universe must have been caused by something outside of our universe. There is nothing inside our universe that could have done the job, and this is a major concession. As Christian theists, we agree that something or Someone outside the universe is the cause of its fine tuning.

Does a Multiverse Explain the Fine Tuning of Our Universe? Part 1

J. Warner Wallace, in his new book God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe, investigates the causes of the fine tuning of our universe. One of the most popular explanations is that there exists multiple universes (the multiverse) and ours is just lucky enough to have the fine tuning that permits life.

Wallace presents the multiverse theory as an explanation for fine tuning as follows:

Multiverse explanations, however, point once again to an external causal agent: a mechanism capable of creating an incredibly large number of universes, each with its own set of physical laws. Most of these universes in the multiverse collection are incapable of permitting life. Our universe, however, through “a series of cosmic accidents,” just happens to support our existence.

Multiverse theories overcome the incredible odds against life (and explain the appearance of fine-tuning) by increasing the chances of such a life-permitting universe. Multiverse theorists have proposed the creation of multiverses through a number of mechanisms, most commonly by way of “eternal inflation,” or “quantum tunneling.” Some physicists suggest the existence of an eternal, primordial vacuum (as we discussed in the last chapter).

According to proponents of eternal inflation models, if an infinitely old vacuum has been experiencing inflation, and the tiny bubble universes we described have emerged, each bubble universe might have its own characteristics and physical laws. Other physicists (such as Alex Vilenkin) propose “quantum tunneling from nothing” to explain the existence of an ensemble of universes without eternal inflation. In these quantum tunneling models, diverse universes pop into existence, because in “quantum mechanics the behavior of physical objects is inherently unpredictable and some quantum processes have no cause at all.”

In both eternal inflation and quantum tunneling models, the universes (some older than others) emerging from the vacuum coexist within the larger multiverse. In each of these proposals (eternal inflation, quantum tunneling, and even string theory models), the existence of a vast array of universes makes one like ours an inevitability.

Given a vast array of universes, one of them was bound to support life, goes the argument. The different forms of the multiverse theory each attempt to describe the mechanism for the creation of all these universes, but the outcome is the same: a massive number of universes.

But do these multiverse theories truly explain the fine tuning of our universe? Wallace thinks not. First, he argues that the multiverse theory lacks evidential confirmation.

Like string theory or M-theory proposals, multiverse models lack observational or experimental evidence. Scientists can’t access other universes in the multiverse because they are separated within the vacuum by too great a distance (and according to these theories, this distance is growing).  As a result, many scientists, especially string theorists, are suspicious about the existence of a multiverse. Some call it a “fantasy”; others call it “intellectually bankrupt” or a “cheap way out.” Lacking evidential support, many physicists see the multiverse theory as deficient when compared to efforts to find unity within the laws of physics.

But eternal inflation models face an even greater barrier. Our expert witness Alexander Vilenkin has already testified (along with Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Audrey Mithani) against the possibility of an eternal, uncaused, expanding vacuum. According to these experts, if inflation (expansion) has been occurring in this vacuum, it must have had a beginning and therefore cannot be eternal.

In part 2, we will look at 3 more reasons multiverse theories fail to adequately explain the origins of fine tuning.

Why Would You Expect to See a Painter in His Painting?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

A common complaint of religious skeptics is that they don’t have enough evidence that God exists. If God created the world, then we should be able to see him clearly and unequivocally with our eyes, and hear him with our ears, and touch him with our hands, etc.

This demand has never made sense to me, given who the God of Christianity is. Philosopher Ed Feser gives an apt analogy of the situation in this blog post:

Suppose you’re looking at a painting of a crowd of people, and you remark upon the painter’s intentions in producing the work. Someone standing next to you looking at the same painting — let’s call him Skeptic — begins to scoff. “Painter? Oh please, there’s no evidence of any painter! I’ve been studying this canvas for years. I’ve gone over every square inch. I’ve studied each figure in detail — facial expressions, posture, clothing, etc. I’ve found plumbers, doctors, dancers, hot dog vendors, dogs, cats, birds, lamp posts, and all kinds of other things. But I’ve never found this painter of yours anywhere in it. No doubt you’ll tell me that I need to look again until I find him. But really, how long do we have to keep looking without success until people like you finally admit that there just is no painter?”

Feser then comments on why Skeptic has completely missed the boat:

Needless to say, Skeptic, despite his brash confidence, will have entirely misunderstood the nature of the dispute between you and him. He would be making the crudest of category mistakes. He fundamentally misunderstands both what it means to say that there is a painter, and fundamentally misunderstands the reasons for saying there is one.

What are the mistakes that Skeptic is making?

[H]e’s treating the painter as if he were essentially some part of the picture, albeit a part that is hard to see directly. . . . [H]e’s supposing that settling the question of whether the painter exists has something to do with focusing on unusual or complex or hard-to-see elements of the painting — when, of course, that has nothing essentially to do with it at all.

In fact, of course, even the most trivial, plain, and simple painting would require a painter just as much as a complicated picture of a crowd of people would.  And in fact, the painter is not himself a part of the picture, and therefore, looking obsessively within the picture itself at various minute details of it is precisely where you won’t find him.

Why can’t we definitively find God with scientific observation? Why can’t we settle the question of God once and for all with our scientific instruments and methods?

Although scientific observation can certainly point us toward God, and even strongly toward a very powerful and intelligent Creator, at the end of the day, one has to do metaphysics to close the deal. Feser summarizes:

It is not a question of natural science — which, given the methods that define it in the modern period, can in principle only ever get you from one part of the world to another part of it, and never outside the world — but rather a question for metaphysics, which is not limited by its methods to the this-worldly.

This is why I have explained to my skeptical friends over and over and over again that their skepticism is usually rooted in their metaphysics, and they need to start there before bothering with anything else.

What Is the Argument from Desire?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

I don’t expect this argument will work with a science-worshiping atheist, but I do think it will work for people who are into the New Age or  Buddhism, or who otherwise are aware of the transcendent qualities of the world around them. I just finished the Steve Jobs biography, and I actually believe that Jobs may have resonated with this argument.

So what is the argument from desire? Nobody explains it better than philosopher Peter Kreeft. Here is Kreeft from his blog post on the argument from desire, first giving the two premises and conclusion of the argument:

1. Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.

2. But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.

3. Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.

Kreeft then defends the first premise:

The first premise implies a distinction of desires into two kinds: innate and externally conditioned, or natural and artificial. We naturally desire things like food, drink, sex, sleep, knowledge, friendship and beauty; and we naturally shun things like starvation, loneliness, ignorance and ugliness. We also desire (but not innately or naturally) things like sports cars, political office, flying through the air like Superman, the land of Oz and a Red Sox world championship.

Now there are differences between these two kinds of desires. We do not, for example, for the most part, recognize corresponding states of deprivation for the second, the artificial, desires, as we do for the first. There is no word like “Ozlessness” parallel to “sleeplessness.” But more importantly, the natural desires come from within, from our nature, while the artificial ones come from without, from society, advertising or fiction. This second difference is the reason for a third difference: the natural desires are found in all of us, but the artificial ones vary from person to person.

The existence of the artificial desires does not necessarily mean that the desired objects exist. Some do; some don’t. Sports cars do; Oz does not. But the existence of natural desires does, in every discoverable case, mean that the objects desired exist. No one has ever found one case of an innate desire for a nonexistent object.

Kreeft defends the second premise:

The second premise requires only honest introspection. If someone defies it and says, “I am perfectly happy playing with mud pies, or sports cars, or money, or sex, or power,” we can only ask, “Are you, really?”

But we can only appeal, we cannot compel. And we can refer such a person to the nearly universal testimony of human history in all its great literature. Even the atheist Jean-Paul Sartre admitted that “there comes a time when one asks, even of Shakespeare, even of Beethoven, ‘Is that all there is?'”

Finally, the conclusion:

The conclusion of the argument is not that everything the Bible tells us about God and life with God is really so. What it proves is an unknown X, but an unknown whose direction, so to speak, is known. This X is more: more beauty, more desirability, more awesomeness, more joy. This X is to great beauty as, for example, great beauty is to small beauty or to a mixture of beauty and ugliness. And the same is true of other perfections.

But the “more” is infinitely more, for we are not satisfied with the finite and partial. Thus the analogy (X is to great beauty as great beauty is to small beauty) is not proportionate. Twenty is to ten as ten is to five, but infinity is not to twenty as twenty is to ten. The argument points down an infinite corridor in a definite direction. Its conclusion is not “God” as already conceived or defined, but a moving and mysterious X which pulls us to itself and pulls all our images and concepts out of themselves.

In other words, the only concept of God in this argument is the concept of that which transcends concepts, something “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived” (1 Cor 2:9). In other words, this is the real God.

As usual, C. S Lewis summarizes in a way only he can:

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. (Mere Christianity, Bk. III, chap. 10, “Hope”)

Can Atheists Avoid a Cause of the Universe?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

That is exactly what Sean Carroll attempted to do in his recent debate with William Lane Craig. Here is what Carroll said:

Why should we expect that there are causes or explanations or a reason why in the universe in which we live? It’s because the physical world inside of which we’re embedded has two important features.

There are unbreakable patterns, laws of physics — things don’t just happen, they obey the laws — and there is an arrow of time stretching from the past to the future. The entropy was lower in the past and increases towards the future. Therefore, when you find some event or state of affairs B today, we can very often trace it back in time to one or a couple of possible predecessor events that we therefore call the cause of that, which leads to B according to the laws of physics.

But crucially, both of these features of the universe that allow us to speak the language of causes and effects are completely absent when we talk about the universe as a whole.  We don’t think that our universe is part of a bigger ensemble that obeys laws.  Even if it’s part of the multiverse, the multiverse is not part of a bigger ensemble that obeys laws.  Therefore, nothing gives us the right to demand some kind of external cause.

If Carroll’s argument works, then atheists have discovered a clever way to avoid any form of the cosmological argument for God’s existence. But does his argument really work? According to philosopher Ed Feser (in this blog post), it does not, at least not if Carroll is arguing against classical Christian theology.

Feser takes up Carroll’s argument:

Now in fact it is Carroll who has said absolutely nothing to establish his right to dismiss the demand for a cause as confidently as he does. For he has simply begged all the important questions and completely missed the point of the main traditional classical theistic arguments . . . .

One problem here is that, like so many physicists, Carroll has taken what is really just one species of causation (the sort which involves a causal relation between temporally separated events) and identified it with causation as such. But in fact, the Aristotelian argues, event causation is not only not the only kind of causation but is parasitic on substance causation.

Feser continues:

But put that aside, because the deeper problem is that Carroll supposes that causation is to be explained in terms of laws of nature, whereas the Aristotelian view is that this has things precisely backwards. Since a “law of nature” is just a shorthand description of the ways a thing will operate — that is to say, what sorts of effects it will tend to have — given its nature or substantial form, in fact the notion of “laws of nature” metaphysically presupposes causation.

So what does causation look like if it is not essentially about tracing a series of events backwards in time?

On the Aristotelian-Scholastic analysis, questions about causation are raised wherever we have potentialities that need actualization, or a thing’s being metaphysically composite and thus in need of a principle that accounts for the composition of its parts, or there being a distinction in a thing between its essence or nature on the one and its existence on the other, or a thing’s being contingent.

The universe, however physics and scientific cosmology end up describing it — even if it turned out to be a universe without a temporal beginning, even if it is a four-dimensional block universe, even if Hawking’s closed universe model turned out to be correct, even if we should really think in terms of a multiverse rather than a single universe — will, the Aristotelian argues, necessarily exhibit just these features (potentialities needing actualization, composition, contingency, etc.). And thus it will, as a matter of metaphysical necessity, require a cause outside it.

Thus the universe requires a cause outside it. As Feser explains, only that

which is pure actuality devoid of potentiality, only what is utterly simple or non-composite, only something whose essence or nature just is existence itself, only what is therefore in no way contingent but utterly necessary — only that, the classical theist maintains, could in principle be the ultimate terminus of explanation, whatever the specific scientific details turn out to be.

In the end, Carroll has simply not addressed the arguments from classical Christian theology and philosophy. He has not, therefore, successfully avoided the need for the universe to have a cause.

Why Do We See Causality All Around Us?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, describes the concept of intentional causality. According to Kahneman,

Your mind is ready and even eager to identify agents, assign them personality traits and specific intentions, and view their actions as expressing individual propensities. Here again, the evidence is that we are born prepared to make intentional attributions: infants under one year old identify bullies and victims, and expect a pursuer to follow the most direct path in attempting to catch whatever it is chasing.

Intentional causality is contrasted with physical causality. Physical causality is perceived when we see physical objects interacting with each other, such as one billiard ball hitting another and causing it to move.

Kahneman assigns the ability of human beings to see both kinds of causality to System 1 and believes there might be an evolutionary reason for why System 1 is so ready and adept at seeing both intentional and physical causality in the world around us.

The experience of freely willed action is quite separate from physical causality. Although it is your hand that picks up the salt , you do not think of the event in terms of a chain of physical causation. You experience it as caused by a decision that a disembodied you made, because you wanted to add salt to your food. Many people find it natural to describe their soul as the source and the cause of their actions.

The psychologist Paul Bloom, writing in The Atlantic in 2005, presented the provocative claim that our inborn readiness to separate physical and intentional causality explains the near universality of religious beliefs. He observes that “we perceive the world of objects as essentially separate from the world of minds, making it possible for us to envision soulless bodies and bodiless souls.”

The two modes of causation that we are set to perceive make it natural for us to accept the two central beliefs of many religions: an immaterial divinity is the ultimate cause of the physical world, and immortal souls temporarily control our bodies while we live and leave them behind as we die. In Bloom’s view, the two concepts of causality were shaped separately by evolutionary forces, building the origins of religion into the structure of System 1.

These two kinds of causality are important to understand, for they stand in the center of the battle between two major worldviews: atheism and theism. Atheists affirm physical causality, but deny intentional causality (they claim it is just an illusion and that only physical causality is really operating). Theists affirm both physical and intentional causality.

Almost every debate about the origin of the universe, or the fine-tuning of the physical constants in the universe, or the design of biological organisms, comes down to whether you believe that intentional causality is real or illusory. There is no doubt that most human beings believe that both are real, and that this belief is hard-wired into us, but that doesn’t settle the debate.

For those who want to claim that the concept of intentional causality is not real because it is produced by evolution, that argument doesn’t fly. Where the ability to see intentional causality came from is not directly relevant to whether there really are intentional causes.  Pressing this claim would be a case of the genetic fallacy. The source of an idea cannot tell you whether an idea is true or false.

And besides, if you believe evolution caused human beings to see intentional causality, then you must also believe that evolution caused human beings to see physical causality, and almost nobody wants to say that physical causality is unreal.

#10 Post of 2013 – How Do We Know the Universe Hasn’t Existed Eternally?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

For those of you who look to science to answer every question, cosmologists are pretty unanimous in agreeing that our universe is not eternal, and in fact begun about 14 billion years ago. You may not like this answer, and so go running toward alternative cosmologies to escape the standard big bang model of the universe. Unfortunately, there is no salvation there either.

As summarized nicely on the Wintery Knight blog, “The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin [theorem] shows that every universe that expands must have a space-time boundary in the past. That means that no expanding universe, no matter what the model, can be eternal into the past. Even speculative alternative cosmologies do not escape the need for a beginning.”

So it would appear that science is no help to those who want to desperately cling to an eternal universe. What about philosophy?

The dominant ancient metaphysical traditions have also demonstrated why the physical universe cannot be eternal. Here we quote from Edward Feser in an article he wrote for First Things:

In general, classical philosophical theology argues for the existence of a first cause of the world—a cause that does not merely happen not to have a cause of its own but that (unlike everything else that exists) in principle does not require one. Nothing else can provide an ultimate explanation of the world.

For Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, for example, things in the world can change only if there is something that changes or actualizes everything else without the need (or indeed even the possibility) of its being actualized itself, precisely because it is already “pure actuality.” Change requires an unchangeable changer or unmovable mover.

Feser goes on to consider other great thinkers of the past:

For Neoplatonists, everything made up of parts can be explained only by reference to something that combines the parts. Accordingly, the ultimate explanation of things must be utterly simple and therefore without the need or even the possibility of being assembled into being by something else. Plotinus called this “the One.” For Leibniz, the existence of anything that is in any way contingent can be explained only by its origin in an absolutely necessary being.

But why can’t the first cause, the necessary being, “the One,” be the universe itself instead of God? What is the difference between an eternal Creator and an eternal universe?

The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.

So, positing the universe as an eternally existing thing that is the cause of everything else both collides with modern science and with classical metaphysics. I happen to think the metaphysical arguments are stronger, but maybe you prefer the science. Either way, it don’t look good for an eternal universe.

What Explains the Laws of Logic and Mathematics?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

The laws of thought and mathematics are absolutely true.  The law of non-contradiction, the law of identity, and the law of the excluded middle – the three fundamental principles of thought, otherwise known as the laws of logic – are all undeniable.  To deny them is to assume they are true.

They are true regardless of time, place, or who is thinking about them.  There is no possible world where they could not be true.  Likewise with mathematics.  2+3=5, and this is true regardless of time, place, or who is thinking about it.  There is no possible world where 2+3 does not equal 5.

So, any worldview which claims to explain all of reality had better have a good explanation of how this could be true.

How does atheistic naturalism explain the laws of thought and mathematics?  Since everything, on naturalism, must be reduced to physical matter, an explanation for the laws of thought and mathematics will be hard to come by, for these laws are clearly not made out of matter.

Naturalists take a couple different routes.  First, some of them say that there is no explanation for these laws; they just exist and that’s it; they are brute facts of the universe.  But surely these laws that transcend time, space, and matter, that existed before humans ever came on the scene, and will still exist after humans are extinct, are uncomfortable bedfellows with electrons, skin cells, and hydrogen atoms – the things of physical science.

How will the scientific methods of physics, chemistry, and biology explain the laws of thought and mathematics when they are built on them and rely on them? It’s like trying to explain the cinder block foundation of a house by appealing to a second-story window.

A second explanation is the following: some naturalists deny that these laws actually transcend time, space, and matter.  They claim that these are merely human conventions, laws that human beings have simply invented.  But this claim seems incredible.  Are we to really accept that 2+3 does not equal 5 unless human beings say it does?

I feel quite confident that even Klingons would agree that 2+3=5.  Can you imagine there being any dispute between a human and a Klingon over math? Of course not. The idea is absurd. This explanation just won’t fly because these laws are absolute; it doesn’t matter one bit whether any one of us ever discovered these laws, as they would still be true.  You can’t imagine a time or place where these laws aren’t true.

How does Christian theism explain the laws of thought and mathematics?  Instead of denying that these laws are transcendent, Christian theism affirms our basic intuitions that they are.  Christians identify the source of the laws of thought and mathematics with God, who is timeless, spaceless, and has always existed.

These laws are a part of God’s eternally existent nature.  They are built into God, in a matter of speaking.  So Christian theism not only provides an explanation for these laws, it also provides an explanation that makes sense of the absolute and transcendent nature of these laws.  They have always existed because God has always existed.

What Explains the Existence of the Physical Universe?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that the physical universe exists. I think we can safely ignore anyone who believes that the universe is just an illusion or that we are in the “matrix.”

But if the universe exists, what explains it? Why does it exist? Any worldview worth considering needs an answer to this question. Let’s look at how Christian theism and atheistic naturalism attempt to answer this question and see which worldview offers a better explanation.

Atheistic naturalism has commonly offered a few responses to this question, all of which I believe are unsatisfactory.  First, some naturalists will answer that the question itself is meaningless.  They say that it is a nonsense question that has no answer.  The universe just is and there is no explanation for it.  As an explanation, however, this is no explanation at all.  Everyone but the naturalist seems to know what the question means, so we can safely assume the naturalist simply doesn’t want to answer the question because their worldview has no answer.

Second, naturalists have answered that the universe is self-existent, and that it has always existed.  The problem with this explanation is that is has been soundly refuted by modern cosmology, by one of the very sciences that naturalists claim to be the arbiters of reality.  There is also a philosophical problem with this explanation.  Every physical object we observe in the universe is caused to exist by something else, so how can it be that the whole universe can be uncaused if everything in it is caused?

Here is an analogy.  Let’s say you see a perfectly smooth, 1-foot diameter, glass globe sitting in the grass.  You would conclude, without much thought, that something or someone caused that glass ball to come into existence.  Now take that glass ball, blow it up, and make it the size of Jupiter.  The Jupiter-sized glass ball still needs a cause, doesn’t it?

Now make the glass ball the size of the observable universe.  Wouldn’t you agree that the universe-size glass ball even more obviously needs a cause than the 1-foot ball or the Jupiter-sized ball?  Likewise, to say that even though everything smaller than the universe needs a cause, but the universe doesn’t need a cause, is simply implausible.

A third explanation is that our universe is merely one of an infinite sea of universes that exist.

How is this an answer that naturalists can offer?  Naturalists claim that only what the physical sciences can observe and describe constitutes reality.  But no universe except our own has ever been observed.  In addition, even if there were an infinite sea of universes, the question of what caused all those universes needs to be answered.  Instead of offering a cause of our one universe, the naturalist has multiplied by infinity the number of effects that need a cause, and thus makes the problem infinitely worse.

What is the answer from Christian theism?  Christians answer that the universe exists because a self-existent first cause (God) has brought it into existence and is continuing to hold it in existence.  Why is this a better explanation than what atheistic naturalists offer?

It seems obvious that physical objects in the universe need a cause to bring them into existence.  A thing cannot cause its own existence.  But, in order to avoid an infinite regress of causes, we need a first, uncaused cause.

Here is an analogy from movement.  We can say that a stone is moved by a stick, which is moved by a hand, which is moved by an arm, which is moved by a brain, and so forth and so on.  But eventually the explanations have to stop at something that is not in need of being moved. We need an unmoved mover, and that is God.

Christians recognize that the universe simply cannot be the cause of itself.  The cause must transcend the universe and it must be able to exist on its own, with no need of an outside cause for its own existence.  This cause we call God.

Are Knowing Facts about God Enough?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

Since I write an apologetics blog where we frequently discuss theology, doctrine, philosophy, science, and reasoning, it may seem like my view is that all a person needs is the facts about God, and that is all. Let me straighten this misconception out: I believe facts are not enough.

God, as a personal being, as THE personal being, is not satisfied with someone who knows a bunch of facts about him. That’s nice, but more is needed. If your spouse knew several important facts about you, but didn’t love you, would you be satisfied with that relationship?

David Baggett and Jerry Walls describe Paul Moser’s insightful views on this subject:

God both reveals and hides himself, and Moser argues, consistent with Christian theology, that the reason for this is that God’s purposes aren’t just to generate propositional knowledge of his existence, but a more deeply personal sort of knowledge. God is a loving Father who, in his filial love, speaks to us all but in different ways and at different times, in an effort to invite us into a loving personal relationship with himself.

Moser argues that a relational God of love is not content merely to provide discursive evidence of his existence in order to elicit cognitive assent or function as the conclusion of an argument; rather, God desires to be known for nothing less than this robust end: fellowship and morally perfect love between him and human beings.

So what are the implications for a person who believes that mere facts or evidence should suffice in their search for God?

Moser . . . suggests that evidence for God cannot be mere spectator evidence, but something both more authoritative and volitional than that. God, on Moser’s view, hides from those who do not desire a relationship or life-changing knowledge of him. God conceals himself from those who do not recognize the existential implications of belief in God, whereas he does reveal himself to those who recognize and desire to live with the implications of knowing God.

Baggett and Walls add:

A theistic conception of reality fundamentally alters everything. For if God is the ultimate reality, our quest for wisdom is a quest for him, a personal being, not just principles or platitudes. And if the context in which we find ourselves involves God drawing us into loving relationship with him, then a logic of relations more than a logic of propositions reigns.

As C. S. Lewis put it, “If human life is in fact ordered by a beneficent being whose knowledge of our real needs and of the way in which they can be satisfied infinitely exceeds our own, we must expect a priori that His operations will often appear to us far from beneficent and far from wise, and that it will be our highest prudence to give Him our confidence in spite of this.”

Your search for God must not only include facts about him, but a relationship. At the very least, while you’re collecting facts about God, you must be genuinely open to having a relationship with him. God will reveal himself to you if that is your approach. If not, he may stay hidden.