Atheism & the Origin of the Universe

Big-Bang-Theory

“The very starting point for an atheistic universe is based on something that cannot explain its own existence. The scientific laws by which atheists want all certainty established do not even exist as a category at the beginning of the universe because, according to those laws of science which atheists want to measure all things, matter cannot simply ‘pop into existence’ on its own.

The silence from atheistic science on why there is something rather than nothing is deafening.”

~ Ravi Zacharias, The End of Reason (Grand Rapids, Mi.; Zondervan, 2008), 32.

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5 responses to “Atheism & the Origin of the Universe

  1. Zacharias is sort of shooting himself in the foot here – or is, at the very least, shooting a lot of religious philosophers in the foot. Some of the more common and popular arguments in favour of God’s existence (I’m thinking of the cosmological ones in particular) also rely on the faulty assumption that the laws which govern our universe held sway prior to the Big Bang. Of course, this is almost certainly not the case, which makes it rather more difficult to talk about an uncaused first cause (for example).

    He’s also missed another rather large misstep:

    The scientific laws by which atheists want all certainty established do not even exist as a category at the beginning of the universe because, according to those laws of science which atheists want to measure all things, matter cannot simply ‘pop into existence’ on its own.

    According to every fact of science we know of, matter cannot ‘pop into existence’ on its own. Yet Zacharias’ whole point is that those facts of science must be thrown out as soon as one begins to talk of a time prior to the Big Bang. By what criteria, then, can he judge that the Big Bang is impossible based on what might have come before it?

    (Of course, the entire discussion is moot, since the Big Bang only describes what happened after the universe began to expand, not prior to that. I would challenge Zacharias to come up with any sort of scientific explanation for the universe’s creation that he feels is more plausible than the current one.)

  2. I think his foot is fine and his point still stands. He is posing these questions as a Christian and assuming the biblical account. Why not pick up his book and read his whole argument?

  3. He’s assuming the Biblical account in order to argue for the Biblical account? Do you mean that he’s committing a logical fallacy?

    (And if the quote only makes sense in the context of the entire book, why post it?)

  4. First of all, Zacharias is not arguing for the Christian position in this quote. He is asking a question of a position taken by many atheists concerning the ultimate origin of the universe.

    Second, to assume and employ one’s basic presuppositions while arguing for one’s position is not a “logical fallacy” but is a mark of consistency. Consider the person who makes a case for the laws of logic while employing the laws of logic. Is that a “logical fallacy”? A person cannot be neutral with respect to their basic beliefs. If they could reason without them in a consistent manner then they would not be basic beliefs. When a materialist argues for materialism he/she assumes materialism while doing so. Their materialistic presuppositions determine the way they look at and interpret data. Zacharias’s point is to ask a question of philosophical naturalism that, as a worldview, it seems unable to answer in a satisfactory way.

    The quote makes sense on its own but it obviously assumes a larger dialogue going on around it. I was simply suggesting that if your comments and questions were being offered in good faith that you might wish to go further with Zacharias’ overall argument.

  5. Marius de Jess

    Atheists don’t know rational thinking, they insist that if you start from a concept in order to reason to the existence of the object represented by the concept, it is already assuming the existence of the object.

    They cannot or prefer to not see that the concept is a blueprint in our mind by which we guide ourselves to seek for the existence of the object represented by the concept.

    Otherwise how can we seek for the existence of anything at all in the objective order of existing things, if we have nothing of any concept of that thing in our mind.

    It would be like an explorer going into the wilderness without any concept of anything at all in his mind representing the object of his quest.

    He would be a stroller but not an explorer.

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