When I was a freshman in high school, I encountered the following argument for the existence of God. The argument was a lengthy quote in a book I was reading by Dr. Henry M. Morris, founder of the Creation Research institute. I have found this argument to be air tight and irrefutable. It became the basis for accepting many tenets of Christian orthodoxy that many intellectuals and “free-thinkers” of my generation have dismissed out of hand.
Case in point: Atheists charge that Christians need to resort to “special pleading” in explaining the supernatural accounts of the Bible. Special pleading in this case is the introduction of unprovable causes to explain unproven effects. That is, given a biblical history that includes miraculous events that are, by definition, “impossible” according to natural scientific laws, the only way to rationalize these “supernatural” occurrences is to postulate the existence of an all-powerful Creator God. The atheist argues that miracles do not occur in the observable universe for the simple reason that natural laws prohibit supernatural occurrences. Therefore, the lack of the “necessity” for a supernatural Creator Being leads the atheist to a firm lack of belief.
I would respond to the charge of “special pleading” by stating that atheism requires special pleading, but Christian theism does not.
Theism just proposes a logical solution to the primary existential paradox.
What is the Existential Paradox?
I will here explain the existential paradox — the problem of existence — in the rational terms of physical science. I have quoted and paraphrased Dr. Henry M. Morris’ argument in several places.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics proves that the universe had a beginning in that the universe could never have existed in a time prior to being in a state of total available energy.
Simply because the First Law of Thermodynamics shows that the universe could not have begun itself. The First Law states that the total quantity of energy in the universe is a constant and neither matter nor energy can be created nor destroyed.
Science cannot explain why matter cannot be created or destroyed. We just know that this is impossible in a purely natural system governed by physical laws. Matter and energy may be converted one into another, but beyond that, energy simply has “no place to go.”
The Second Law states that the quantity of available energy is decreasing.
Therefore, as we go backward in time, the available energy is progressively greater until, finally, we reach the beginning point, where available energy equals total energy.
Time could go back no further than this. At this point, both energy and time must have come into existence in our known universe.
One might hypothesize that the universe was simply “still” at this point and had no beginning. However, this is impossible, since movement is always taking place wherever there is matter even if it is the movement of kinetic energy at the molecular level.
One might also hypothesize that it is meaningless to talk about a “before” in time when the universe was compressed into state of total energy because at this point in time, as time and matter are relative to each other, eternity existed in a moment.
While this is true, it doesn’t solve the problem of there being a system with all the available energy in the universe being compressed into a single point and space in time.
The scientific conundrum from a purely metaphysical naturalist point of view is that energy cannot create itself, or come into existence from non-existence by itself.
Something else besides the known universe must exist in order for the known universe to exist.
The most scientific and logical conclusion we could possibly state is that:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The atheist will not accept this conclusion, however.
He instead hypothesizes that either:
1. Some natural law canceling out the Second Law prevailed far back in time.
2. Some natural law canceling out the Second Law prevails far out in space.
3. Some force more powerful than all the energy in the known universe brought our universe into being.
When he makes the first two assumptions, however, he is denying his own metaphysical naturalism, which says that all things can be explained in terms of presently observable laws and processes.
In the third assumption, the atheist is only denying the inevitable, that someone or something created the known universe.
In all three cases, the atheist is really resorting to creationism, but just refuses to acknowledge a personal Creator God.
If the atheist would be epistemologically honest in admitting this, Christian theists could have some respect for their position and meaningful dialog would result.
But since this is not the case, all the atheist can do is attack belief in God as something he lacks. He can never defend his on position without resorting to the convoluted and contradictory argument that attacks the supernatural as something that is not naturally possible.
He is correct. Natural laws cannot explain or describe supernatural events adequately. However, the existence of the natural universe itself according to its own self-contained physical laws requires a supernatural cause.