Where did the universe come from?
It surprises me how many people are content to say, “Science has proved that the Big Bang happened about 14 Billion years ago. We already know the answer to where did the universe come from?” Despite the number of scientists who are now jumping ship from the Big Bang theory, let’s assume it’s true. 14 Billion years ago the universe rapidly expanded and evolution began to work its “magic”. We’re still left with the question, where did it come from? Philosophically, it seems to me, there are only three possible solutions:
- The universe is a brute fact.
- The universe came from nothing.
- The universe was created.
Bertrand Russel famously believed option number one. The universe just is, and that’s all. The universe is the first cause; the unmoved mover. The universe is eternal. One philosophical problem with this view is that one component of the universe is time. To say that the universe is eternal is to say that time is eternal. An infinite amount of time has passed. How could this be? If there was an infinite amount of time between today and eternity past, how would we ever arrive at the present? Yet, we have arrived at the present. Empirical evidence that led to the Big Bang theory would have us believe that the universe began, anyway.
So, the universe began. Now, if you don’t believe in God, you must concede that the universe began from nothing. Some have tried to escape this reality by postulating the “multiverse theory.” This theory, more or less, states that there is an infinite number of universes popping in and out of existence, so of course we ended up in this one. With an infinite amount of tries, eventually a universe like ours will appear. This theory fails for at least three reasons.
- You’ve only pushed the question back further and made it infinitely harder to explain. Instead of the question being “Where did this one universe come from?” it has now become “Where did an infinite number of universes come from?”
- There is absolutely no evidence to even suggest there are more than one universes. Not to mention, historically, the definition of the universe includes EVERYTHING there is. If you believe the multiverse theory, you aren’t believing in multiple universes after all, only a larger, infinite universe.
- If there’s an infinite amount of possibilities in the multiverse theory, is there a possible universe where God exists? Could it be ours? Doesn’t God necessarily exist in all of them, if he exists in one?
Let’s say you still believe the universe came from nothing. You could never prove this. It is by definition an argument from nothing. You would have to show that something can come from nothing.
This brings us to the 3rd option: the cosmological argument. The cosmological argument goes something like this:
- The universe began.
- Things that begin have causes.
- The universe is made of space, matter, and time.
- Therefore, the cause of the universe must be spaceless, immaterial, and timeless. The cause must be personal since it chose to cause the universe.
Traditionally, we call this cause God. For Christians reading this, let’s not overplay our hands here. This does not mean that Jesus rose from the dead, or that the Bible is God’s word. However, the cosmological argument is the best explanation for the beginning of the universe that I have heard to date. If you disagree, you must tear down my four points and erect in their place something more logical.