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The Creation Answer Book
By HANK HANEGRAAFF
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2012 Hank Hanegraaff
All right reserved.
Chapter OneCreation and First Things
Who Made God?
First, unlike the universe, which according to modern science had a beginning, God is infinite and eternal. Thus, as an infinite, eternal being, God can logically be demonstrated to be the uncaused First Cause.
Furthermore, to suppose that because the universe had a cause, the cause of the universe must have had a cause simply leads to a logical dead end.
Finally, simple logic dictates that the universe is not merely an illusion. It did not spring out of nothing (nothing comes from nothing); and it has not eternally existed (the law of entropy* predicts that a universe that has eternally existed would have died of heat loss an "eternity ago"). The only plausible possibility that remains is that the universe was made by an unmade Cause greater than itself.
"You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me." Isaiah 43:10
If we Can't See God, Can We Know He Exists?
It is not uncommon for skeptics to suppose that Christians are irrational to believe in a God they cannot "see." In reality, it is irrational for skeptics to suppose that what cannot be seen does not exist.
First, Christians and skeptics alike recognize black holes, electrons, laws of logic, and the force of gravity despite the fact that all these are unseen. Even the most ardent anti-supernaturalist recognizes the gravity of gravity.
Furthermore, "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" (Romans 1:20). Put another way, the order and the complexity of the universe testify to the existence of an uncaused First Cause.
Finally, Jesus is the image of the invisible God. As such, the incarnation of Christ is the supreme act of God's self-revelation. Thus, we can experience the power and presence of God in a way that is more fundamentally real than our perceptions of the physical world.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
How Many Explanations Are There for the Existence of Our Universe?
Philosophical naturalism*—the worldview that undergirds evolutionism—can provide only three explanations.
1. The universe is merely an illusion. This notion carries little weight in this age of scientific enlightenment.
2. The universe sprang from nothing. This proposition flies in the face of both the laws of cause and effect and of energy conservation (nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could). Put another way, there simply are no "free lunches."
3. The universe eternally existed. The law of entropy* shatters this hypothesis: a universe that has eternally existed would have died of heat loss an "eternity ago."
There is, however, one other possibility. It is found in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In an age of empirical* science, no statement could be more certain, clear, or correct.
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. Romans 1:20
Could the Universe Emerge Out of Nothing?
When people face the compelling evidence that the universe began to exist at a definite point in time, a favorite fallback position is that it sprang into existence from nothing at all. This, however, stretches credulity beyond the breaking point.
First, simple logic dictates that nothing comes from nothing. "Nothing" is nonexistent and therefore lacks the power to do. Indeed, this "power to do" logically presupposes the existence of a thing that possesses that power.
Furthermore, something produced by nothing from nothing would, logically, have had to create itself. But if it created itself, it would have had to exist prior to its own creation, which means it must both exist and not exist at the same time and in the same way—an obvious contradiction and an utterly illogical conclusion. When the laws of logic are violated like this, reason and communication become meaningless.
Finally, in order for something to exist without being the result of a prior cause, that something must be eternal (i.e., something that did not come into being, but has always existed). As such, the universe could not emerge out of nothing, but it can exist as an effect of an uncaused eternal First Cause—which is precisely what God is.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:2
Can Chance Account for the Universe?
Astronaut Guy Gardner, who has seen earth from the perspective of the moon, points out that "the more we learn and see about the universe the more we come to realize that the most ideally suited place for life within the entire solar system is the planet we call home." In other words, life on earth must have been designed by a benevolent Creator rather than directed by blind chance.
First, consider the ideal temperatures on planet earth. If we were closer to the sun, we would fry. If we were farther away, we would freeze.
Furthermore, ocean tides, which are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon, play a crucial role in our survival. If the moon were significantly larger and therefore had a stronger gravitational pull, devastating tidal waves would submerge large areas of land. If the moon were smaller, tidal motion would cease, and the oceans would stagnate and die.
Finally, consider plain ol' tap water. The solid state of most substances is denser than their liquid state, but the opposite is true for water, which explains why ice floats rather than sinks. If water were like virtually any other liquid, it would freeze from the bottom up rather than from the top down, killing aquatic life, destroying the oxygen supply, and making earth uninhabitable.
From the temperatures to the tides to tap water and myriad other characteristics that we so easily take for granted, earth is an unparalleled planetary masterpiece. Like Handel's Messiah or da Vinci's Last Supper, our amazing planet should never be carelessly pawned off as the result of blind evolutionary processes.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Does the Fine-Tuning of the Universe Point to a Sovereign Creator?
One of the most astonishing discoveries of the twentieth century was that the universe is fine-tuned to support intelligent life. From the force of gravity to the balance of matter and antimatter, the universe is balanced, as it were, on the fine edge of a razor.
Consider the force of gravity. If it were stronger or weaker by just one part out of 10100 (that's a 1 with one hundred zeros after it!), the universe would not—could not—support intelligent life! To help grasp this number and not miss the gravity of gravity's fine-tuning, consider that the number of atoms in the entire observable universe is estimated to be only 1080.
Furthermore, the fine-tuning of a force like gravity could not be a function of physical law. Why? Gravity could be stronger or weaker and still be gravity, so physical law does not dictate its precise strength. But were the force of gravity not fine-tuned to be the strength that it is, it could not support intelligent life.
Finally, the fine-tuning of the universe cannot reasonably be attributed to chance because of the infinitesimally small range of values involved. Chance is "infinitely" more likely to produce a life-prohibiting universe than a life-sustaining one.
The only plausible source of the fine-tuning of the universe is an external, transcendent, incalculably powerful and intelligent personal Mind, whom we call God.
Is Earth a Privileged Planet?
Some scientists speculate that the earth is an insignificant speck of soil aimlessly adrift in a meaningless universe. As documented by astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and philosopher Jay W. Richards, however, evidence refutes the principle of mediocrity (Copernican principle), demonstrating instead that our earth is a singularly privileged planet designed for discovery.
First, the unique conditions necessary to support intelligent life turn out to provide the best overall conditions for scientific discovery. Examples abound. Earth is situated between two arms of a flattened spiral galaxy—the Milky Way—not too close to the core to be exposed to lethal radiation, comet collisions, or light pollution that would obscure observation of the distant universe; and not so far that a privileged planet could never form or where we would not observe different kinds of nearby stars. Moreover, the atmosphere of our privileged planet is both oxygen-rich for survival and transparent for discovery. The moon is the perfect size and distance from earth to stabilize rotation and to facilitate human habitability. Not only so, the moon and sun's relative sizes and distances from earth provide perfect solar eclipses, which played a vital role in the development of modern science (e.g., determination of the nature of stars and confirmation of Einstein's general theory of relativity).
Furthermore, we live in the best overall age of the universe to do cosmology. In our time the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang is readily observable, but it won't always be. Futhermore, this radiation confirms that the universe is not eternal but began in the finite past. Moreover, most of the astrophysical phenomena astronomers rely on to measure the universe were not observable earlier in the universe's development, and they will eventually fade (e.g., cosmic background radiation)—but neither could we have survived at earlier or later stages.
Finally, the setting of our privileged planet permits a stunning diversity of measurements, from the universe at large (cosmology) to the smallest of subatomic particles (quantum physics) to the middling size of earth and humans (geology and anthropology).
From habitability to discoverability, earth's status in the universe is surely one of privilege. To reduce this to an accident of cosmic evolution is shortsighted; to recognize it as privileged, sublime.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Proverbs 25:2
Did God Create Everything Out of Nothing?
The notion that God created everything from nothing has fallen on hard times. A surprising number of philosophers and theologians dogmatically contend that the doctrine of creation out of nothing (ex nihilo) has little scriptural support. Worse yet, leading Mormons overtly contend that matter has coexisted eternally with God. But the opening statement in Scripture—"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"—points to the truth that God created everything out of nothing. Indeed, only three options exist, and only one corresponds to reality.
First is the view that in the beginning nothing existed. Neither mass, nor energy, nor the Almighty. Nothing, nothing, simply nothing. Logic, however, screams that nothing comes from nothing!
Furthermore, there is the untenable notion that something existed, but that something was an impersonal potentiality out of which every potentiality—from protein molecules to personal mind—emerged. This idea, however, hardly advances the proverbial ball. As common sense tells us, every effect must have a cause equal to or greater than itself.
Finally, there is the scriptural contention, and of the three it alone makes sense: the universe was created by an uncaused First Cause greater than itself. Time, space, and the universe have not always existed, but God has always existed, and God's existence is the cause for the existence of all else that exists. While science demands that the universe had to have a beginning, nothing philosophically or scripturally demands that the cause of the universe had to have a beginning. As the writer of Hebrews aptly put it, "By faith [not blind faith but faith grounded in evidence] we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible" (11:3).
Did God create everything out of nothing? Absolutely! The very first sentence of Scripture demands it. And an age of scientific enlightenment can abide nothing less.
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33:6
What Is the Doctrine of Creation Out of Nothing (Creatio ex Nihilo)?
Try for a moment to think about nothing—no people, no plants, no water, no air, no matter, no energy, no time, no space, no God. Nothing. Simply nothing. The more we ponder such nothingness, the more clearly we realize that the notion of nothingness could not be further from the truth. To posit that God created everything out of nothing immediately resolves the issue. And that is precisely what the concept of creation ex nihilo does.
First and foremost, creation ex nihilo advances the doctrine that the eternally existing God created the universe out of nothing at all.
Furthermore, creation ex nihilo acknowledges that all that exists except God was created by God a finite time ago.
Finally, the doctrine of creation ex nihilo rules out the idea that such finite realities as space, time, and matter emanate from the essence of God: creation is neither divine nor a derivative of God's essence.
Simply put, the God of all that exists freely chose to speak, and the cosmos leaped into existence.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1–3
Can the Big Bang Be Harmonized with Genesis?
The Big Bang theory supposes that the universe began as an infinitely dense singularity and has since been expanding for billions of years. Though the Big Bang is not communicated in the Genesis account of creation, it lends scientific credibility to the scriptural contention that God created the universe ex nihilo (out of nothing).
Excerpted from The Creation Answer Book by HANK HANEGRAAFF Copyright © 2012 by Hank Hanegraaff. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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