Lee Strobel: Science Points toward Existence of a Creator


Last week, there was an interesting article from the Christian Post about a comparison apologist Lee Strobel makes about the efforts of scientist to explain away a god type/creator figure despite what science is telling us.

You can read the whole article via the link at the bottom, but I wanted to put a few parts here of Strobel making his case.

“There are some scientists that will tell you that the evidence of science points away from a Creator. That it disproves the existence of a Creator,” said the atheist-turned-Christian and former legal editor of The Chicago Tribune.

Strobel continued by giving an example.

“Jerry Coyne thinks so. He’s a University of Chicago professor of ecology and evolution. He said in USA Today: ‘Science and faith are fundamentally incompatible … Science helps religion only by disproving its claims.’ But is that true? Does science point away from a Creator?”

Three areas of science have pointed “powerfully toward the existence of God,” especially with discoveries made over the last 50 years, he said. The areas in which Strobel focused on during his message were cosmology (the study of the universe’s origin), physics, and DNA.

“For centuries scientists believed that the universe always existed, it was eternal, it was always there. But thanks to persuasive, philosophical arguments and scientific discoveries just over the last several decades virtually all scientists are now convinced that the universe had a beginning at some point in the distant past,” he said. “And even though alternative models of the universe have been proposed, the Borde-Guth-Vikenkin Theorem tells us that any universe that is expanding, on average, thru its history, like ours, must have space-time boundary in the past. In other words, it must have had a beginning at some point.”

According to Strobel, one of the scientists that formulated the theorem, physicist Alexander Vilenkin, who is the director Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University, said, “With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape. They have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”

“Well, you know what? It’s only a problem if you are an atheist, because if there is a beginning to the universe it leads to a very powerful argument for existence of God. It’s called the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” Strobel explained. “It’s very easy, it only takes three steps. First, whatever begins to exist has a cause.

“Can you come up with an example of anything that began to exist that doesn’t have cause? Even David Hume, the famous skeptic said, ‘I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.'”

The second step in proving the argument is that whatever begins to exist has a cause.

“The universe began to exist. Virtually every scientist now concedes that universe and time itself had beginning,” he said. “So, whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe must have had a cause.”

Strobel continued, “Now what kind of cause can bring a universe into existence? It must be uncaused, because it can’t be an infinite regress of causes. It must be immaterial or spirit, because it existed before the material world. It must be eternal, because it created time. It must be very smart and very powerful, because of the precision and the power with the creation of the universe. It must have personal will, because it needed to have to make the decision to create … So think about this. We have an uncaused, immaterial or spirit, eternal, smart, powerful, personal, one-of-a-kind Creator – that’s a pretty good beginning point for a description of God.”

He pointed out that physicist Dr. Arno Penzias, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, showed that the universe had a beginning. Penzias said, “The best data we have (concerning the origin of universe) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.”

“So, cosmology goes a long way toward establishing the existence of Creator,” Strobel said.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/lee-strobel-science-points-toward-existence-of-a-creator-85539/#0dWubp1jdvcUZz0x.99

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Lee Strobel: Science Points toward Existence of a Creator

  1. Now what kind of cause can bring a universe into existence?

    Try this: instead of the term ‘universe’, replace the term with ‘river’ and see if the deductions listed here logically follow starting here:

    It (meaning the cause of the river) must be uncaused, because …

    Do you see the problem with this line of reasoning? Yes, there are compelling reasons to think the universe began with a singularity but as to its cause, claiming an agency of Oogity Boogity isn’t an explanation: it’s an evasion.

  2. So in your example, what was around before the universe “began”? With a river, you of course have a water source like snow or a well plus the earth which helps to contain the flow downhill, since gravity is in play also.

    With the universe, nothing like that is present.

    • What was around before the Big Bang? The question itself is weird because time began at the singularity so to talk about a ‘before’ is nonsensical. But as far as origins of the Big Bang goes, this is a different question and the honest answer is “I don’t know… and you don’t either.”

      Yet rather than admit this fact, far too many theists believe that they are capable through faith alone to offer up the ontological argument as if were reasonable. (All effects have a cause… except the first cause, which doesn’t have to have a cause, you see, because it is a first cause, which just so happens to be god because you have to be a god capable of bringing about the first cause independent of any cause, which just so happens to be the very god I believe in because my experience has revealed this to me, you see, which just so happens to be the god called Jesus, which just so happens to be the real god of the real One True Faith, yada, yada, yada.) It’s not; which is why the big theistic thinkers have already dismissed it and explained why… especially Aquinas who shows it is not logical because the conclusion does not follow from the fundamental premises. But small brained people eager for public acclaim like WL Craig have revived it and people are quite willing to swallow the regurgitated metaphysical nonsense whole because they just so happen to agree with the conclusion.

      BTW, your last two sentences are rather revealing when compared to Hawking’s conclusion: that gravity is the only Creator necessary for the universe. Of course, we don’t know what it is but we have a name for its effect. So, yes, lots of stuff like that to explain the cause of a river are present for the analogy with the universe.

      • “(All effects have a cause… except the first cause, which doesn’t have to have a cause, you see, because it is a first cause”

        I thought science agreed with this because otherwise you have an infinite loop of causation.

        But isn’t gravity a result of something else and not a separate and independent item unto itself?

        Aquinas said that all things come from God which is the originator, so I must be missing the point that you are making here.

      • For an explanation about Aquinas dismissing the ontological argument, see here. Mental midgets like WL Craig like to pretend that they champion religious belief because they appear to the under-educated to be knowledgeable. I’ve encountered hundred of bloggers who present Craig as if he represents good arguments against criticisms raised by atheists. The truth is that most atheists know far more about local theology, it’s history and influence, and the philosophical roots that have led to this point, than the average believer and have already tackled the typical arguments raised by them and found they have been adequately addressed time and again to no apparent effect. The assumption is that the criticism is somehow suspect when introduced by an atheist, whereas the truth is that the criticism has its foundation from knowledgeable theologians. Far too many local believers don;t know this and so they continue to raise them as if they were strong arguments. They’re not. The ontological argument is absolutely typical. It has been rejected by the cream of historical theologians, you know… the really big brained people who held considerable sway in the formation and expansion of christian theology, who wrote the definitive books to affect generations of religious leaders and educators. Men like Aquinas have already refuted Craig’s argument thoroughly, so when he tries to present these ancient Platonic notions of First Causes and Prime Movers, the only ‘informed’ support he gets is from those who don’t know their historical and philosophical theology. It’s a bad argument because the truth of the matter is that I don;t know and you don’t either. There is no link between this argument and the conclusion that god is responsible for the first cause or prime mover. These conclusions are useless assertions.

        You ask I thought science agreed with this because otherwise you have an infinite loop of causation..

        Nope.

        There are some physics hypotheses about what ‘banged’ but god is not in any of them. And the typical, and I would think obvious, counter argument against the notion of first cause is that you are asking the audience to demand a cause to precede an effect while, at the same time, demanding a special exemption for the first one for no other reason than you must have both premises granted for the argument to continue!

        But isn’t gravity a result of something else and not a separate and independent item unto itself?

        I used the river analogy to show that the hydrological cycle has no definitive beginning, no First Cause, no Prime Mover. None is needed. Sure, gravity plays a central role for this independent movement of water so I hope you see why it’s silly to try to insist that it must have some kind of agency and intention assigned to it. This is where Strobel’s argument leaves reality behind and enters full frontal woo; he presumes only agency can initiate his imaginary First Cause. It’s an argument based on assumptions that may be wrong, but how would he ever find out if he has already rejected connective causes that have no intention or agency?

  3. Aquinas rejected the argument ontological argument that god must be a being greater that one can think of, in relation to his rebuttal of Anselm:

    ““Even if it be granted that everyone understands this name ‘God’ to signify what is said, viz., ‘that which a greater cannot be thought,’ it does not follow that what is signified by the name exists in the nature of things, but only that it exists in the apprehension of the understanding” (Summa Theologica).”

    But Aquinas believed that knowledge came from experience. I have one of Craig’s books but have not read it yet so not really sure what his arguments are but I am guessing they have something to do with unlimited causation.

    “For Aquinas, sense experience tells you that this universe is a system of causes and effects and law like behavior. This world system, this cosmos, requires a transcendent cause”

    “And the typical, and I would think obvious, counter argument against the notion of first cause is that you are asking the audience to demand a cause to precede an effect while, at the same time, demanding a special exemption for the first one for no other reason than you must have both premises granted for the argument to continue!” (tildeb)

    “The second way is from the nature of efficient cause,” Aquinas begins. “There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.”

    “I used the river analogy to show that the hydrological cycle has no definitive beginning, no First Cause, no Prime Mover” (tildeb)

    I am not following this, so I am probably just being slow, but doesn’t the water react to the force of gravity in order to start moving downhill? Even if we are looking at the water cycle and how water enters the atmosphere, you have heat which expands the water and forms vapor. Water by itself does nothing.

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