Did the Universe Come Into Existence by Chance? A Christian Perspective

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What is the scientific explanation for the cause of the universe?  How did the universe begin?  Was it by time and chance?  The origins of the universe have implications on how life was made possible for without any matter, life would be impossible.

The Big Bang

Cosmologist, physicists, and most scientists believe in the Big Bang Theory.  The most recent observations and measurements put the original “bang” at about 13.7 billion years ago.  It was said to have exploded from a point of singularity.  This is the most generally accepted theory there is on the beginning of the universe and the theory that is most widely believed in the scientific community. What existed prior to the Big Bang is purely speculative and completely unknown.  Astronomers have detected noises that emanate from all points of the universe that are sounds of radiation left over from the original bang.  NASA has also detected cosmic microwaves from the farthest reaches of the universe that may be this same “echo” left over from the original Big Bang.  There are no plausible explanations for what caused it to explode and no one can be certain what existed before the Big Bang or what made it go bang.  It is so nonsensical in their estimation of how the universe began that it is hard to take them seriously.

Theologian, author, teacher and apologetic expert R.C. Sproul put it this way. He heard an astrophysicist once say that anywhere from 10 to 15 billion years ago the universe exploded into being.  Dr. Sproul then asked, what was it before it exploded into being – non-being?  If it didn’t exist before the explosion, then what was it that exploded? This is analytically false to say that something just exploded into being, for it was in a state of “being” before it exploded, then it just didn’t explode into being from non-being!  Did it not “be” before it exploded?  What they are really saying is that Space + Time + Chance = everything!  This is actually an equation with no numbers in it.  It is Space (0) + Time (0) + Chance (0) = Everything!  What is sorely missing is the principle of causation.  The law of causality is so fundamental that if I said that the chair you are sitting on, which must have had a beginning, just popped into existence without any cause, you might justifiably think I need a psychiatric assessment and you‘d be right!  If at one time there was absolutely nothing that existed, then nothing would exist today.  Something had to have existed before the finite, singularity of the Big Bang event.

Did the Universe Come into existence by chance

How did the universe begin?

Is Chance a Cause?

In the Science of Thermodynamics, statistical probabilities of spontaneous events are what the renowned evolutionist and scientist Dr. Richard Dawkins uses as a causative force.  He equates the statistical probabilities of spontaneous events as related mathematically, to the degree of order or complexity in the system.  Low complexity requires high entropy or randomness, while high complexity necessarily requires low entropy or randomness.  If we use the example of a china bowl being dropped and shattering as becoming less ordered we can understand what Dawkins is saying.  But what about the higher complexities of the universe and of life itself?  Does it just take enough chances for this to create complexity?

What is chance anyway?  We had a 40% chance of rain in the forecast.  Would the meteorologist really tell us that the chance was the causative factor of the rain?  No!  The wind sheer velocities, the jet stream speed, the relative humidity, and other factors were the cause of the rain, not the 40% chance itself.  Chance can not create anything of itself.  Chance is a non-being.  How much does chance weigh?  What are the properties of chance?  Nothing, that’s what.  Even so, chance appears to be a law to scientists.  When we ascribe chance as a factor we attribute power to it, even though it is really a non-being.  It is literally, no thing…nothing!  The certainty of one thing is that out of nothing, nothing comes. It’s called in the Latin, “ex nihilo nihil fit” or nothing comes from nothing.  Chance as a factor is a myth…it is not a scientific method.  Chance is a shabby tool to use for an “x” factor and chance undermines the science of science.  David Hume said that chance is only our ignorance of real causes.

If you flip a coin, the chances are that half the time it will be heads and half the time it will be tails, but what effect does chance have on the coin?  Does it not depend on how we flip it, the force we used, how we catch it, or if it drops on the floor?  The coin toss is fully dependent upon the variable; the angle at which you flip it, the distance it was flipped, and how it was caught.  The chance is only the probability of it landing heads or tails but it is not the determining factor of how it lands.  It doesn’t make it land heads or tails.  Chance is a mathematical probability. It is an equation at best but an equation without numbers is useless.  Factors (or substance) must be the cause of its landing heads or tails, not the probability.  Chance really means that we just don’t know how something happened.  In other words, we don’t know the cause.

Is Time a Cause?

To those who believe in a Big Bang Theory and the theory of evolution, time is part of the equation.  Time itself is said to perform the miracle.  Here’s how it works (theoretically of course):  The impossible becomes possible, the possible become probable, the probable becomes certain, and the certain becomes reality.  So what begins as an impossibility becomes certain…all through the miracle of time.  In other words, what begins as an impossibility becomes certain through the miraculous and the miraculous comes through time.  But what is time really?  What are its properties?  How much does it weigh?  What does it consist of?  Time is not a thing.  Time is not a being.  Time is a non-being.  So you can add time but have you really added anything?  Did time exist before matter?  Was time a causative factor in the creation of the universe? Can time exist without matter?  It would not seem so logically speaking.

Let’s say you dropped a perfectly formed china bowl on the floor.  If you collect these shattered pieces on the floor and drop them again and again, will they become more complex or more ordered?  No.  If I do it enough times and over a longer period of times, will time and chance make it into another china bowl?  Of course not!  To make the shattered bowl more ordered requires much more directed energy input and intelligent effort; therefore, it could never have happened on its own.  Regardless of this fact, some believe that it could. This would directly defy the Science of Thermodynamics.  Low complexity can be served by randomness, but high complexity has a negligible probability of occurring accidentally or spontaneously.

The universe, all physical matter, “represents a highly improbable arrangement of matter and energy, an extremely improbable arrangement by time and chance” says Professor Edgar Andrews of Oxford University.  He continued by saying, “The Laws of fundamental constants of nature give every appearance of being fine tuned to permit the existence of intelligence life on earth (known as the Anthropic Principle).”  Just like the china bowl being repaired by dropping it incessantly over time and by chance it is so highly improbable to ever become more organized and return to its being a china bowl because it is uniquely formed.

A Cause for Every Effect

John Lennox from Oxford University points out in his wonderful God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, “The cause of the universe must have been non-material because if the cause was material – natural, it would be subject to the same laws of decay as the universe. That means it would have to have had a beginning itself and you have the same problem as cycles of births and deaths of universes. So the cause of the universe’s beginning must have been super-natural, i.e. non-material or spirit—a cause outside of space-matter-time. Such a cause would not be subject to the law of decay and so would not have a beginning. That is, the cause had to be eternal spirit.  Furthermore, the cause of the universe had to be incredibly powerful; the sheer size and energy seen in the universe together speak of that power; there had to be a sufficient cause.”

The brilliant physicist, Stephen Hawking, who clearly does not believe in a personal God wrote about the odds against the universe’s incredibly complex in A Brief History of Time saying “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”  Of course he is not attributing the cause of the universe to God but is saying its origin is an enigma to mankind.   C.S. Lewis said, “No philosophical theory which I have yet come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that ‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth.’” Claiming that science rules this out is ignorance masquerading as intelligence.

God as Creator

Recent scientific discoveries have once again demonstrated the glory of God in the heavens. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the discovery of the fine-tuning of the universe. The consequences of this are phenomenal — either one believes that we are incredibly “lucky” or that someone designed our universe.  If you are really desperate to avoid God, you invent the “multiverse theory,” which speculates, without any empirical evidence, that the universe is one of billions of universes that just happen to provide the fine-tuning for life.  The problem is that these fail to answer the ultimate question of what was the cause for the universe or these “billions“ of universes.

The presuppositions and teachings of the Bible are, as we would expect them to be, completely compatible with the practice and knowledge of science. As John Lennox from Oxford University points out, “Far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise is validated by his existence. Inevitably, of course, not only those of us who do science, but all of us, have to choose the presupposition with which we start. There are not many options — essentially just two. Either human intelligence ultimately owes its origin to mindless matter; or there is a Creator. It is strange that some people claim that it is their intelligence that leads them to prefer the first to the second.”

Those who reject the Creator not only have to believe that matter came into being without any cause; they also have to believe that life itself popped into existence without an adequate cause.  Neither of these propositions explains the origins of matter, the universe, and life.  As I said before, if at one time there was absolutely nothing that existed, then nothing would exist today.  Something had to have existed before the finite, singularity of the Big Bang happened.  Genesis chapter one does quite nicely as God states as a matter of fact, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Psalm 19:1 says, The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  Peter also adds, But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water (2 Pet 3:5).  Paul too states the obvious, Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Rom 1:19-20). Why don’t we just believe God?  It’s the only logical choice.  We really have no excuse not too.

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