In the Beginning…Irritating, For Some

“Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”

—ALBERT EINSTEIN

“IRRITATING” FACTS

It was 1916 and Albert Einstein didn’t like where his calculations were leading him. If his theory of General Relativity was true, it meant that the universe was not eternal but had a beginning. Einstein’s calculations indeed were revealing a definite beginning to all time, all matter, and all space. This flew in the face of his belief that the universe was static and eternal.
Einstein later called his discovery “irritating.” He wanted the universe to be self-existent—not reliant on any outside cause—but the universe appeared to be one giant effect. In fact, Einstein so disliked the implications of General Relativity—a theory that is now proven accurate to five decimal places—that he introduced a cosmological constant (which some have since called a “fudge factor”) into his equations in order to show that the universe is static and to avoid an absolute beginning.

But Einstein’s fudge factor didn’t fudge for long. In 1919, British cosmologist Arthur Eddington conducted an experiment during a solar eclipse which confirmed that General Relativity was indeed true—the universe wasn’t static but had a beginning. Like Einstein, Eddington wasn’t happy with the implications. He later wrote, “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of nature is repugnant to me. . . . I should like to find a genuine loophole.”

By 1922, Russian mathematician Alexander Friedmann had officially exposed Einstein’s fudge factor as an algebraic error. (Incredibly, in his quest “to avoid a beginning, the great Einstein had divided by zero—something even schoolchildren know is a no-no!) Meanwhile, Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter had found that General Relativity required the universe to be expanding. And in 1927, the expanding of the universe was actually observed by astronomer Edwin Hubble (namesake of the space telescope).

Looking through the 100-inch telescope at California’s Mount Wilson Observatory, Hubble discovered a “red shift” in the light from every observable galaxy, which meant that those galaxies were moving away from us. In other words, General Relativity was again confirmed—the universe appears to be expanding from a single point in the distant past.

In 1929 Einstein made a pilgrimage to Mount Wilson to look through Hubble’s telescope for himself. What he saw was irrefutable. The observational evidence showed that the universe was indeed expanding as General Relativity had predicted. With his cosmological constant now completely crushed by the weight of the evidence against it, Einstein could no longer support his wish for an eternal universe. He subsequently described the cosmological constant as “the greatest blunder of my life,” and he redirected his efforts to find the box top to the puzzle of life. Einstein said that he wanted “to know how God created the world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thought, the rest are details.”

Although Einstein said that he believed in a pantheistic God (a god that is the universe), his comments admitting creation and divine thought better describe a theistic God. And as “irritating” as it may be, his theory of General Relativity stands today as one of the strongest lines of evidence for a theistic God. Indeed, General Relativity supports what is one of the oldest formal arguments for the existence of a theistic God—the Cosmological Argument.

THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT—THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR ATHEISM

Don’t be put off by the technical-sounding name: “cosmological” comes from the Greek word cosmos, which means “world” or “universe.” That is, the Cosmological Argument is the argument from the beginning of the universe. If the universe had a beginning, then the universe had a cause. In logical form, the argument goes like this:

1. Everything that had a beginning had a cause.

2. The universe had a beginning.

3. Therefore the universe had a cause.

As we showed in the last chapter, for an argument to be true it has to be logically valid, and its premises must be true. This is a valid argument, but are the premises true? Let’s take a look at the premises.

Premise 1—Everything that had a beginning had a cause—is the Law of Causality, which is the fundamental principle of science. Without the Law of Causality, science is impossible. In fact, Francis Bacon (the father of modern science) said, “True knowledge is knowledge by causes.” In other words, science is a search for causes. That’s what scientists do—they try to discover what caused what.

If there’s one thing we’ve observed about the universe, it’s that things don’t happen without a cause. When a man is driving down the street, a car never appears in front of his car out of nowhere, with no driver or no cause. We know many a police officer has heard this, but it’s just not true. There’s always a driver or some other cause behind that car appearing. Even the great skeptic David Hume could not deny the Law of Causality. He wrote, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause.”

In fact, to deny the Law of Causality is to deny rationality. The very process of rational thinking requires us to put together thoughts (the causes) that result in conclusions (the effects). So if anyone ever tells you he doesn’t believe in the Law of Causality, simply ask that person, “What caused you to come to that conclusion?”

Since the Law of Causality is well established and undeniable, premise 1 is true. What about premise 2? Did the universe have a beginning? If not, then no cause was needed. If so, then the universe must have had a cause.

Until about the time of Einstein, atheists could comfort themselves with the belief that the universe is eternal, and thus did not need a cause. But since then, five lines of scientific evidence have been discovered that prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe did indeed have a beginning. And that beginning was what scientists now call “The Big Bang.”

Excerpt From: Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek. “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.” Crossway Books. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/i-dont-have-enough-faith-to/id366307617?mt=11

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night..”
Genesis 1:3-5

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tidbitter says:

    Hi Taryn, you’re right, these last few posts have been unoriginal. We’ve blogged 80 posts in the past 12 months, and only the last 7 blog posts have been primarily authored by quoting someone else. The reason I chose to print portions of their book is because I believe they articulate the logic better than I would. I tend to write about life experiences, and about how real God is in my own life, and the lives of others. You would have no appreciation for any of that because of it’s subjective nature. Because of her extensive background in the medical sciences, J tends to write about that. You can find original thoughts in past archived posts…
    The universe…everything that exists (even what has not been discovered yet)

  2. Taryn says:

    I know that these aren’t your original thoughts and you aren’t providing any with these posts, but since you apparently agree with them, can you please define “universe” for me? Does it include everything that exists or has existed?

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