Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Cold Case Christianity

Objections of Atheism

Rapid Response: “We Don’t Need God to Explain the Beginning of the Universe”

big-bangIn our Rapid Response series, we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member. Imagine if someone said, “Christians claim God created the universe, but modern science explains the origin of the universe. God is not needed to order to explain how the universe came into existence.” How would you respond to such a claim? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied:

“As a detective, I have a goal at every crime scene. It’s my job to explain how each piece of evidence appeared in the scene. Can I explain it from inside the room, or do I have to go outside the room for an explanation? Just as importantly, I must ask the question: ‘Why did the crime occur here in the first place?’ If we examine the universe like a crime scene, we have a similar responsibility. Can we explain the evidence in the cosmos by staying ‘inside the room’ of the natural universe, or must we go ‘outside the room’ for a better explanation? And just as importantly, we must ask a similar question about the ‘crime scene’ itself: ‘How did the universe come into being, and why is the evidence here in the first place?’

While atheists and theists may disagree about what (or who) caused the universe to come into existence, they agree on one thing: everything in the universe, all space, time and matter, came into existence from nothing. Most astrophysicists embrace the Standard Cosmological Model, also known as ‘Big Bang Cosmology’. They accept this model based on many different forms of scientific evidence that point to the same conclusion. All space, time and matter came into existence from nothing at a point in the distant past. So, that leaves us with a critical question: What is the cause of all space, time and matter? Whatever it is, it cannot be spatial, temporal or material, because these attributes of the universe did not exist until the universe came into existence. Worse yet, this cause cannot itself have been caused (in order to avoid the problem of infinite regress).

All of us, whether theist or atheist, are looking for the same ‘suspect’: the uncaused, non-spatial, a-temporal, non-material cause of the universe. There are only two possible ‘suspects’ we can offer to describe this cause. The cause of the cosmos is either a personal or impersonal force, and given these two possibilities, only one will explain all the evidence ‘in the room’. Remember, the most reasonable suspect in any crime is the suspect that most completely and thoroughly accounts for all the evidence in the scene. As I examined the universe, I discovered several important pieces of evidence. Our universe appears to be fine-tuned for the existence of life and this organic life emerged from inorganic matter, displaying a similar appearance of design. As humans in this universe, we experience consciousness and free agency, and we recognize transcendent, objective moral truths and the presence of true evil, based on a transcendent standard of good.

Whatever caused the universe to leap into existence must also explain all the other evidence ‘in the room’. It must account for the fine-tuned features of the universe, consciousness, free agency, objective transcendent moral truths and the standard of good I’ve described. An impersonal first force, even if it’s eternal, simply cannot give you many of the features we observe in the universe.”

This brief answer was modified from my interview with Bobby Conway. To learn more and watch many other short answers to difficult questions, please visit the One-Minute Apologist website.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

For more information about the scientific and philosophical evidence pointing to a Divine Creator, please read God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. This book employs a simple crime scene strategy to investigate eight pieces of evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable explanation. The book is accompanied by an eight-session God’s Crime Scene DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

Subscribe to J. Warner’s Daily Email




Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written By

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker and best-selling author. He continues to consult on cold-case investigations while serving as a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is also an Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and a faculty member at Summit Ministries. He holds a BA in Design (from CSULB), an MA in Architecture (from UCLA), and an MA in Theological Studies (from Gateway Seminary).

You May Also Like

Christian Case Making

As an investigator, I made a living conducting interviews. In fact, my agency repeatedly utilized me when they needed someone to confess to a...


In this podcast, J. Warner talks about four simple strategies to help strengthen the faith and understanding of young believers. How can parents help...

Christian Case Making

I’ve written previously about the importance of jury selection in any criminal trial. The secret of our success in cold case investigations and prosecutions...

Evangelism and Case Making

In this podcast, J. Warner responds to a message from a listener related to doubt and agnosticism. How do we know when we have...