Here’s the link to this article by Merle Hertzler.
We come now to the key question: Is there a God? Here is my answer: I don’t know.
If you have been reading through this series, you have seen that, if God exists, I do not find him doing many of the things that have been claimed about him. He did not create the world in seven days. He did not inspire the Bible. He did not raise Jesus from the dead. He is not preparing a home for us. He is not in intimate control of our circumstances. He is not speaking to us. What is left for him to do?
Some will claim that he created the universe, and that he still occasionally responds with miracles and answers to prayers. Let’s look. If God exists, we certainly would want to get to know more about such a powerful being. So, let’s honestly look at the evidence.
We will begin our search in the present, and work our way backwards through time, looking for evidence for God. We will look for God in four places.
- The present.
- The first humans.
- The origin of life.
- The origin of the universe.
1. Is God working today?
Some might suggest that God is performing occasional miracles. Where is the evidence? In the past, many people claimed to have seen miracles, but a funny thing happened as time went on. More and more, people realized that there were scientific answers for the unexplained. In modern times, when people can search claims using science, miracle claims are readily debunked. Past claims of miracles could have been sheer fabrications, or misunderstandings from people who didn’t have the backgrounds to scientifically examine the claims.
Suppose God does work miracles. Why would he limit himself to occasional miracles? If he loves everyone, knows we suffer unjustly, and easily works miracles without getting tired, why do so many of our pleas go unanswered? Even if there were a few answered prayers, how can you explain a God who is so absent?
And why does he not readily display that power for all to see? If God can do anything, and wants us to believe in him, why does he not clearly show himself?
Do you remember the story about Elijah demonstrating God’s power? The Bible says Elijah gathered the people together and set up a contest to see who could call fire down from heaven. According to the Bible, Elijah won the contest. Fire came down and burned up a water-soaked sacrifice on an altar. Could you have God duplicate that feat? No? Why not? If God did it once in answer to prayer, why won’t he do it again?
You might say that you are not allowed to test God. Then why does the Bible say that Elijah was allowed to do that test? If he was allowed to do it, why not you? Why wouldn’t God want to make his power clearly known? Or is it possible he isn’t there?
Years ago, magician James Randi had a challenge where he offered a million dollars to anybody who could prove a supernatural or paranormal phenomenon. Over a thousand people tried to do this. All failed. When put to the test, all the claims of supernatural miracles brought before James Randi failed.
So maybe there are no verifiable miraculous events happening today.
You may tell me that you have personally seen God answer prayer. I once made similar claims. But it is not enough simply to say that you were once sick, prayed, and get better. After all, many people got sick and got better. Some of them did not pray. And so, you would need to show that prayers actually made a difference. Ideally, you would show that people that were prayed for were more likely to recover compared with those who didn’t have anybody pray for them.
In science, we verify claimed cures by testing them. Preferably, we set up a large study in which some people get the proposed cure, some may get alternate cures, and some just get a placebo. Ideally the patients and the examiners do not know who got which treatment. In the end of the study the researchers reveal who was in which treatment group. They compare the results and see which treatment, if any, worked best.
How would prayer work in a controlled study? Would it work better than a placebo? Recently, researchers did several such studies. When the methodology and statistics were examined, they found no good case for prayer. By contrast, new drugs regularly show evidence of being effective after such trials. Why does prayer not also show a clearly significant effect when tested?
Although your experiences may be very convincing to you, many of us see it as a case of special pleading. We would not allow a new drug on the market based solely on the testimony that somebody once tried it and got better. Why should we accept the claim of miracle with no better evidence for it than similar testimonial evidence for quack cures?
|Does Prayer Work? by Dariusz Jemielniak|
Have Christians Accepted the Scientific Conclusion That God Does Not Answer Intercessory Prayer? by Brian Bolton
Efficacy of Prayer by Irwin and Jack Tessman
How Christians Can Test Their Own Prayers Objectively by John W. Loftus This article is behind a paywall at Free Inquiry. Loftus explains how you can test for yourself if your prayers work.
The Science of Prayer by Victor J. Stenger
Debunking Medical Prayer Studies: Let Us Pray That People Stop Praying by James W. Williamson, M.D.
Miraculous Cures by Anthony Campbell
The Study of Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer by Jeffery A. Dusek, PhD et. al. How to properly study prayer.
Shall we pray? Links to research on the effectiveness of prayer.
In your heart
Others will tell me that they know he lives, for he lives in their heart. I understand. I was once there. I thought my experience proved that it was God working inside me. But I found out later there were many people with quite different experiences, with each thinking his experience proved he was right. Does this prove all are right? No. Simply trying something and feeling better does not prove that what you tried is best for all, or that it is based on truth. Sometimes simply trying, with the help of others, is already a huge part of what it takes to find a better life.
2. Did God create humans?
Many will turn to creation as their proof of God. They will look at something like the greatness of the human mind, and come up with an argument that looks something like this:
- There must be an explanation for why the human mind exists.
- One explanation is God.
- I cannot think of any other good explanations.
- Therefore, God exists.
This argument is faulty. There is indeed another good explanation for why the human mind exists: evolution. We met up with evolution back at the beginning of this series. There I explained how I became convinced that we evolved. You may perhaps agree that there is evidence for evolution, but you just don’t see how this could happen on its own. Something or someone must have been guiding it. Hence, God is still involved in the process.
What do we see if we look at the fossil record? If God is behind it all, gradually transforming life into the humans he wants, one would expect to see most incremental changes be specifically in that direction. Instead, what we see are widely diverging branches in all directions. It sure looks like evolution is trying many different approaches, some of which work, and some of which just branch out to a dead end. This does not look like anybody is actually guiding the process.
Why all the dead-end paths? Dinosaurs, for example, were a major branch of evolution that later died out. Only one small group of dinosaurs survived, becoming modern birds. All the rest died out with no living descendants. If God was guiding evolution to lead to humans, why bother with thousands of species of dinosaurs over many millions of years? Why did that unspeakable carnage in the struggle for existence need to occur? They all died out anyway. A small group of competitors to the dinosaurs, the early mammals, eventually took over and now rule the world that dinosaurs once dominated.
As another example, we talked earlier about the amazing mammallike reptiles that developed mammal features over many millions of years. If we look closely at them in the fossil record, we see this is not a guided evolution toward modern mammals. Rather, there were a whole series of trials and errors in many directions before the group we now call mammals evolved to dominate.
None of this looks like deliberate, guided evolution. We are not seeing the man in charge here.
Similarly, when we look at human evolution, we see many fossils, but we don’t see a clearly directed path to Homo sapiens. The lines branch out in many different directions.
We are often not sure which of those branches are our direct ancestors. In fact, since there were many species besides the ones we have found in the fossil record so far, then most likely it is one of these unknown species that is our true ancestor. Unknown species were cousin species to the ones we have found. By studying these cousin species, we can get a good idea how we got here. But what we are seeing may just be dead end species that are cousins to our true ancestors.
But aren’t humans so very different from other animals? Were earlier animals really capable of evolving into Homo sapiens? Yes. In essence, our anatomy is very close to the anatomy of other apes. We share 98.8% of our DNA with chimps. Even that part of our anatomy that we value most, our brain, has clear connections to all animal brains. Other animals experience thoughts, emotions and will just like we do. Their brains store memories just like us. There is a quantitative difference, yes, but the forerunners of all these functions are in the other great apes also.
How can an animal we would class as an ape walk out of the forest and become human? It’s a long story. It appears that, in The Great Rift Valley in Africa, a unique stretch of grasslands opened up as the continents moved. Certain apes ventured out of the woods, perhaps searching for food. They found a different world, one in which they could survive using the high intelligence inherent in all apes. Problem solving was so important out here, brains began to evolve for higher intelligence.
Likewise, out in the plain, there was an advantage to standing upright. One could travel more efficiently, look out over the tall grass to see predators, and use one’s hands for many tasks. The combination of increased intelligence with increased availability of the hands worked out quite well in this new environment, leading to strong evolution of these traits.
But intelligence and dexterity alone would have left our ancestors helpless in the vast grassland. They found that, like us, they needed each other. It’s true. We all need somebody to lean on. So, our ancestors, which we refer to as hominids, used their new brainpower for more than just individual problem solving. They used their brains to communicate with other hominids. This turned out to be quite difficult. Understanding others is hard. If you want to communicate effectively with me, you need a big brain. Likewise, our hominid ancestors needed big brains to communicate.
With effective communication, we learn from each other. You learn things from me. I learn things from you. Together, the combined knowledge can lead to new ideas. The end result can be far greater than simply adding two experiences. And so, there is a huge advantage to good communication. This requires a lot of brainpower.
As human cooperation and brainpower became ever more important, brains became larger, and that can be a big problem for the mothers. There is only so much head that can squeeze down the birth canal. Unfortunately, many hominid females must have died in childbirth–may they rest in peace–as evolution drove brain sizes larger.
But, once again evolution found a solution. If the skull can wait to finish its growth until after birth, then it is easier to give birth to a child who will have a large adult brain. For the mothers, this was good news. They could give birth to babies that then grew up with big brains capable of better supporting the mother, her other offspring, and her grandchildren. This solution was a winner.
But there was a big side effect to all this. Hominid babies are quite helpless while their brain grows. They go through a prolonged childhood before emerging as super-intelligent hominid adults. Other animal babies can walk and begin caring for themselves soon after birth. Not so with hominids or our close ancestors. Nevertheless, when intelligence is a primary necessity for survival, the sacrifice can be worth it. The mother devotes herself to her helpless baby, yes, but oh what a wonder this produces.
How can a mother afford to spend all this effort raising children? It takes a village. That’s right. Child raising requires a team: mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, cousins, neighbors, anybody. And that is the beauty of the intelligence and social communication that had evolved. It allowed these hominids to develop as a team, caring for each other and for the young. That led to longer childhoods; to larger brains; to more intelligence; to better communication and cooperation; and back around to longer childhoods and still larger brains. It was an endless upwards spiral.
This led to all the wonderful adaptions of hominids: better tools to hunt and get the needed protein to feed these demanding brains; fires to scare away predators; fires to cook meals; loss of hair, which allowed more persistent hunting without overheating; clothing and blankets to stay warm without all that hair; language; structured social interaction; and yes, partying into the wee hours of the morning while sitting around the campfire. Keep that up for hundreds of thousands of years, and before long we see a big change.
None of that requires direct intervention of God. It is simply the working of nature, driving one evolutionary line in a unique direction after a number of prior adaptions had given that genus a unique survival strategy. No miracle was required.
|Human Evolution –Encyclopedia Britannica|
Introduction to Human Evolution–Smithsonian Institution
Human Evolution–Berkeley University
Why Are There Still Apes? A debate at Christian Forums site.
How Did Humans Evolve?— History.com
Fossil Hominids— TalkOrigins
Human Evolution Links
3.Did God create the first life?
Years ago, when I was a Creationist, I was losing the argument attacking evolution, so I turned to the origin of life. Here it was much easier to make convincing arguments. For evolution, there was all that pesky evidence that shut me down whenever I tried to bring in creation. But as to the origin of life, here was a gap in which I could insert God. My argument went something like this:
- There must be an explanation for why life exists.
- One explanation is God.
- I cannot think of any other good explanations.
- Therefore, God exists.
That argument should look familiar. It is the same argument I wrote above about humans; except this time I changed the word in italics. It is the same argument from personal ignorance: I cannot think of another explanation; thus, the only explanation I can think of must be true.
This argument is also faulty.
It is true that there are limits to what we understand about the origin of life. It happened long ago and did not leave a lot of evidence. But we have learned a lot about this since the 90s, when I had argued for God as the originator of life. And yet, even back then, I could see that my arguments were losing.
Although we do not know exactly how it happened, we have many good hypotheses and understand how many of these processes may have happened. There are other explanations besides God.
A leading view suggests that self-replicating RNA molecules began to compete to be the best self-replicator, building more elaborate support until they put molecules together as cells. See The Origin of Life.
We don’t understand it all. Can we therefore insert God? What we have here is a God of the Gaps argument. We find a gap in our knowledge. In this gap, we conveniently insert God. The problem is that these gaps keep getting smaller as science fills in our previous lack of knowledge.
If you elect this defense of the faith, you keep on needing to back down as the gaps disappear. So, unless you enjoy doing a moonwalk, constantly going backwards while appearing to go forward, I would suggest avoiding arguing for a God of the Gaps. After several steps backwards, arguing for ever smaller gaps, you may eventually come to the point that I did, where I could no longer take myself seriously when moonwalking backwards while pretending I was making progress defending God.
|From Soup to Cells: The Origin of Life at Berkeley University site|
Biogenesis and the Laws of Evidence by Richard Carrier
4. Did God create our universe?
So maybe we just better go back further in time, back beyond the story of life on earth, and ask about the beginning of the universe. How could a universe pop up out of nothing? We might frame an argument for this based on the format we had used above:
- There must be an explanation for why our universe exists.
- One explanation is God.
- I cannot think of any other good explanations.
- Therefore, God exists.
You may only be able to think of one explanation for the universe–God. But God is not the only possible universe maker. Perhaps natural forces could also do it.
So, before tracing back to the ultimate cause of everything, let’s look at how whatever or whoever it was that made the universe did it.
Let’s cut to the chase and state how the universe began: with a Big Bang. Regardless of who or what caused the Big Bang, we know the broad overview of what it (or he) did. First there was no universe. Then boom, a Big Bang. And the rest is history.
How do we know there was a Big Bang? Well, for one thing, when we look at distant galaxies, we find that they are all soaring away from us at a high rate of speed. This is exactly what we would expect if they had all originated from matter that was concentrated at the same spot and scattered in the Big Bang. In fact, if we trace back the trajectories of galaxies, we find they all came from the same spot in space 13.72 billion years ago. (That’s right, we now know the answer to 4 decimal places.) They must have all left that location simultaneously at high speed in different directions.
As the galaxies spread out, gravity slowed them down. We can conclude that they must have been going quite fast when the scattering started and slowed down gradually as gravity pulled backwards.
If we trace back to the time when the universe was about 1 second old, they would have been bunched together in a huge mass of high velocity particles at 10 billion degrees C. At that temperature neutrons and protons would have been traveling far too fast to make atoms.
But as the universe expanded and cooled, there would have been numerous atomic “marriages”, as particles settled down to form atoms. Almost all of the atoms that were created at that time would have been one of the three lightest elements, hydrogen, helium, and lithium. We can even calculate the ratios of each element created at those high temperatures. Most protons would stay as single protons and unite with one electron to form a hydrogen atom. About 25% of protons would pair up with another proton and with neutrons to form a helium nucleus. And about 1 in a billion would join with 2 other protons, ending up in the nucleus of a lithium atom.
We can compare this to what we observe today. Obviously, those elemental ratios have changed as time marched on. Much hydrogen has fused in stars to become helium. We know how fast this is happening, and so, if we trace back into the past, we can calculate the ratios these elements would have had 13.72 billion years ago. We find, to a high degree of accuracy, that the ratios predicted by the Big Bang theory (the science, not the show) correspond to the ratios that physical observations today tell us must have originally been there. The two calculations agree to a remarkable degree.
So how can you explain this complete correlation between the physics of a Big Bang and what is actually there today? If a creator did it without that superheated mass of the Big Bang, and he could have used a different ratio, why did he pick that exact ratio that the Big Bang would have created?
It is similar to the conclusion we reached at the start of this series where we saw that the earth is either many millions of years old or was created deceptively to look old. Ruling out deception, we concluded that the earth was old.
Similarly, if we rule out a God that deceptively made the element ratios such that they matched a hot Big Bang, then we are left with the conclusion that the elements came from the Big Bang.
A third verification of the Big Bang is the fact that we can see the background radiation from the Big Bang, exactly as predicted.
I won’t explore all the details of the Big Bang here. There are many sources with more details if you are interested.
|A Universe from Nothing book by Lawrence M. Krauss.|
The Big Bang at NASA
Spontaneous Creation of the Universe from Nothing He Dongshan, et. al.
Quantum Fluctuations in Cosmology by Alan H. Guth
Big Bang Links
Could it be caused by nothing?
Our concern here is not so much the details of the Big Bang, but what caused it. What or who caused it to happen?
One obvious answer is, “God did it”. That is certainly a possibility.
Another answer is that “Nothing did it”. Wait, what? Yes, I said what I mean, maybe Nothing did it. Please note that I capitalize the word Nothing. For it turns out, in our universe, there is no such thing as a spot that is devoid of all forces, all energy, and all matter. Something exists everywhere, even if it is no more than the presence of certain laws of physics. So when I refer to Nothing, I am referring to the specific state of emptiness that is as close to true nothingness as is possible.
The emptiness of outer space is not truly a state of no-thing. For instance, there is that strange dark energy that permeates all of our universe. This dark energy acts in such a way that it tends to force the universe to spread out. Not only is this dark energy within our universe present at every point in space, but it appears to be everywhere, even outside our universe. As the universe gets larger, it contains more volume. Since dark energy is everywhere, the universe is constantly getting more total dark energy as it grows.
A strange thing happened as the universe grew and incorporated more dark energy. Dark energy now overwhelms the rest of the universe. In fact, the total dark energy in the entire observable universe is now 70 times the total energy in the familiar matter that we think of when we think of the universe.
Earlier, we said that the expansion of the universe had slowed down since the initial jolt of the Big Bang. But scientists have also found that, as more and more dark energy is being incorporated into the universe, and as this additional dark energy acts to accelerate the expansion of the universe, the universe is now accelerating. And as it accelerates, it incorporates dark energy even faster, and that makes it accelerate even faster. We keep going outward at faster speeds. Buckle up. We are off for the ride of our lives!
All that comes from the dark energy that inherently exists in all empty space. Empty space is not no-thing.
Not only is Nothing full of dark energy, but quantum mechanics predicts that Nothing regularly creates matter and anti-matter. And it turns out that, in every atom of your body, electrons and anti-electrons pairs are constantly bursting into existence, and then, almost instantly, annihilating each other. For that moment in time there is enough energy involved in this process to affect the energy state of atoms.
If we calculate the energy of atoms without taking these particles into account, our calculations are always inaccurate. But if we include these short-lived particles, we find our calculations reflect the actual energies of atoms to extremely high precision. Thus, they must really be bursting in and out of existence, just as quantum mechanics predicts.
So yes, even in empty space, matter and its evil twin, anti-matter, are constantly coming into existence. Most such particles quickly annihilate each other, but it is at least theoretically possible that some of them have continued to exist. The anti-particle could be swept into a black hole, while the particle itself lives on as a truly new something that came out of Nothing.
Yes, Virginia, in the cosmos there is indeed such a thing as a free lunch!
Similarly, at the Big Bang, we would have had these same quantum mechanics and all its weirdness at play. Quantum mechanics could have caused particles to come into existence.
In addition, we find that our universe in its earliest phases was experiencing a tremendous stretching of space-time itself, a period that we refer to as cosmic inflation. It was a brief period of time, far quicker than the blink of an eye. It lasted less than 10-32 seconds.
As the end of this inflationary period approached, inflation stopped in certain spots quicker than other spots. It was as though those spots had suddenly become frozen and no longer participated in the rapid cosmic inflation that was going on all around them. This caused immense quantum effects in these areas that were dropping out of the inflationary expansion. The quantum events associated with this sudden stoppage could have caused untold billions of particles, both matter and anti-matter, to come into existence.
As the universe continued to expand and cool, these spots multiplied. It was like popcorn: slow popping at first, and then popping everywhere. Eventually inflation stopped completely, and we were left with a boiling broth of matter and anti-matter.
It appears that, for every 1 billion particles of matter created this way, there were also about 999,999,999 anti-particles. As the universe expanded and cooled, most of these particles found mating anti-particles and annihilated each other. But the bachelors, so to speak, lived on to become the universe as we know it.
As mentioned before, the plasma started at temperatures over 10 billion degrees C. How did it get so hot? It appears that, when quantum mechanics creates particles, they start with a velocity equal to their escape velocity. The escape velocity is that speed which is just enough that, if a particle left the brew, it could continue to infinity before gravity finally stopped it. Any slower, and gravity would catch up to it and pull it back down where it started. Any faster, and the particles would easily sail away, to infinity and beyond!
So, the particles were traveling very fast. Since temperature is simply a measure of the average velocity squared of all the particles, that means the brew was very hot.
As the state of this plasma dropped below 10 billion degrees C, the particles then congealed into atoms. These atoms later combined into molecules, then lumps, and finally into stars and planets.
It is possible that this interaction of cosmic inflation and quantum mechanics was much larger in extent than just our universe. Possibly, as our universe “froze” and no longer experienced this wild, inflationary stretching of space-time, all the rest of nearby space-time beyond our universe possibly continued to stretch. And events similar to the Big Bang could have then been happening all over that vast expanse of space-time. We call this a multiverse.
These events could have been separated so far that, if our entire universe were drawn as the size of a period on a map the size of our universe, the nearest neighboring universe might be on the other end of that map. And the total expansion of space time could be so rapid that even light could not possibly make it from one universe to the other. We would never be able to detect any of these other universes. For all we know, we might just be in only one of the possibly infinite number of universes that actually existed or will exist.
If there are many universes being created, they may all be different. They may actually have different physics. Some may be duds, quickly disappearing. Others, like ours, may expand to the point where they can support life. In the dud universes, there is nobody around to observe that space-time creates dud universes. In universes like ours, there are people that ask, “Why is there something rather than nothing at all?”
So, scientists agree that something could come from Nothing in a process similar to that described above. Quantum mechanics produces particles. Empty space itself is full of energy. And a universe that quickly decelerates from cosmic inflation, as our early universe has, could experience a major creation of matter due to quantum effects. All this could have created matter that would be at high temperature and fly rapidly outward to form a vast universe.
This was a brief introduction to the Big Bang. We don’t know exactly how it happened, but we are learning more about it all the time.
What caused the cause of the Big Bang?
For our purposes, we are not so much concerned with how the Big Bang happened, as we are concerned with the ultimate explanation for it. Where did quantum mechanics, cosmic inflation, and all other physical actions come from?
Perhaps quantum mechanics and cosmic inflation always existed. Perhaps it could not be otherwise. Perhaps these physical realities just keep on creating universes.
Or perhaps other physical forces caused quantum mechanics and cosmic inflation to begin. Perhaps there is a multiverse of multiverses. Perhaps there is some innate source of multiverses that is creating multiverses with different physics. These multiverses could be creating universes, each with perhaps distinct versions of the inherited physics of the multiverse they came from.
Ah, but what caused the source of the source of the source of the multiverses? What is the ultimate thing that drove this all? We don’t know. Perhaps there is an infinite series of causation that never ends. Or perhaps, at root, there is a circular causation where A causes B that causes C that causes A ad infinitum. Or perhaps there is some root cause of everything, A, that simply is, and could not be otherwise. Perhaps the root cause is nothing more than, “Things happen.”
Regardless of whether the root cause is a distinct something (A) or a circular something (ABC), an infinite regress, or things just happening, let’s call this root cause of any physics the first cause.
This first cause could either have a mind or not have a mind.
If it has a mind, how could that mind remember anything before there was any matter that can be arranged to save the memories? All memories we know of (brains, computers, books, etc.) consist of an arrangement of atoms that document things. How can a creator’s mind do this, if there is not yet any matter to arrange to preserve those memories?
If the first cause, the process that started it all, had a mind, we should probably call it God. If it didn’t have a mind, we probably should not call it God.
Did the root cause have a mind? Would it be proper to call it God? Ultimately, we don’t know. Hence, regarding God, I am agnostic.
|The Problem with Nothing by Richard Carrier|
Multiverse Cosmological Models by Paul Davies
Six Arguments that a Multiverse is More Probable Than a God by Richard Carrier
Cosmological Arguments on the Secular Web. This has many counterarguments to the first cause argument.
The God Impossible by Richard Carrier. This explores the question of how a mind could exist if there was no matter.
Six Arguments That a Multiverse Is More Probable Than a God by Richard Carrier
Links about the multiverse and God
Is God knowable?
We could get into endless discussion of what or who is behind it all. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Even if a God exists, I find no way of knowing what He wants. I don’t find that the Bible or any book reliably tells us what God wants. And I don’t find that God speaks to us and tells us what he wants. So even if God exists, I have no way of knowing what he wants.
If it turns out the maker of the process that made our universe has a mind, is still alive, and wants to communicate with us, then yes, of course, I would love to be introduced. But as I find no evidence that such a being is communicating, I am not expecting to be contacted.
And besides, even if God did try to speak to me, how would I know it was God? Sure, something like a seemingly miraculous Internet feed could suddenly come through a wormhole in space, complete with unimaginable knowledge and the ability to do things we would see as miracles. Would that prove that the source created the universe? No. It could simply be a super-advanced space alien with powers far beyond human powers. How would we ever know it was the source of the processes that started the universe?
And for that matter, even if you went to heaven after you died, how would you know that the being in charge of this paradise in which you find yourself is actually the originator of the processes that made the universe? Could you prove that the ruler of your paradise was not simply a highly advanced space alien with amazing powers? You would not know. Even though this ruler of this paradise had a Scotty that had beamed you up to this paradise as you were dying on earth, how would you know that there is not actually somewhere a more powerful being than him? How would you know that there are not more powerful beings out there, who will eventually attack your paradise and conquer it? How could you be sure you are on the winning side?
And how would the ruler of this heaven even know that he was really the ultimate God? If a different, more powerful God existed in some other part of spacetime beyond his knowledge, how would he know? If he couldn’t know that which is beyond his knowledge, is it possible that within that “unknown unknown”, as Donald Rumsfeld might have put it, there was some being greater than him?
In summary, I find no convincing evidence that God exists. I find no evidence when I look at the present, at evolution, at the origin of life, or at the origin of matter. If God does exist, I find no way of knowing what he wants. And if someday a being claiming to be the omnipotent creator contacts me, I would have no way to know that he actually was the omnipotent first cause, the creator of all universes.
|How COVID-19 Falsifies the God Hypothesis by Gary Whittenberger|
All of that is a diversion from the business of living life. We have all we need to make our own lives productive, to build meaning and purpose in life. If a powerful, all-knowing someone from space reveals himself, great, I will be first in line to ask to meet him and learn from him, regardless of whether he actually initiated our universe. But until then, I live my life based on the information I do have.
We need to ask one more question before I complete this series. Some would think we are lost in hopeless despair without our faith. Are we lost without hope? I will finish this series by looking at hope.