A Universe Charged with the Glory of God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12 comments


by David Odegard

In some ways Christians are like everyone else: we accept certain things without absolute proof. But although we may not have absolute proof, we do have sufficient evidence to point us to God. Once we arrive at God, we can see everything else. God is light and by Him we can see everything. Without God, nothing can be seen; humanity gropes in the darkness looking for answers that they do not have the capacity to receive.

I was born and raised on the High Plains in Montana. My dad took me hunting for mule deer my entire life. Montana is blanketed each year in snow, ice, and extreme cold. Mule deer hunting is conducted by driving around in the vast treeless plain, squinting into the snow for deer that might be half a mile away.

So often in my early years, my dad would point out into the undistinguished snowy nothingness and say, “There they are, can’t you see them?” but I couldn’t. I would sight down his arm and pointed finger to the exact location that he was pointing to, but all I could see was snow. Then one day, I saw them. I could never un-see them. Thanks to my dad, I have been successfully hunting mule deer for decades.

You may remember your math teacher trying to get you to understand how to do a certain problem. You weren’t getting the concept and then all of a sudden—comes the dawn—you got it! You were never able to un-see it thereafter. Life had changed and so had the synapsis of your brain. You grew.

Life is like that. Our parents and society point out to us what they want us to see. We are taught to view the world in a certain way. Then later we take off the lens that they placed in front of our eyes and we take a good look at reality for ourselves and we realize that life is not so neat and tidy.

Evil exists.

Or perhaps if you were raised to be an atheist, you realize for the first time that the world seems to show evidence of design. Some people struggle against this unveiling of the eye, preferring to just put the glasses back on and play by the rules. Others stare intently into the creation itself and demand from it an orderly answer. This is called science. And you may be surprised to learn that it was invented by Christians (at least the scientific method was invented by Christians). Science is an outgrowth of the Christian worldview.

The Bible invites us to view the world in a particular way, too. We Christians believe that we can look into the created universe and learn many important things about God, and then by extension, ourselves. We can learn, for instance, that He is a mathematical genius. He is exact in His design. Imagine the meaning of the moon orbiting the earth at exactly the right distance from earth to be precisely the relative size as the sun to make a perfect eclipse. Coincidence? Perhaps. But these kinds of phenomena happen repeatedly when studying creation, and they underscore the evidence of a benevolent, precise Creator.

Creation reveals that there is a God; the Bible tells us His name! It is not a big rational leap to believe that if such a God exists that He could create the universe, that He would also be able to communicate to you and me. He could animate the prophetic view of old and reach into His own creation to relieve humans from the bondage of their own decisions. Evil exists, but God has not stayed in heaven sending letters by way of prophets only. He loved human beings so much that He became one. This, too, is God revealing Himself to us. This is God entering into the suffering world that we endangered in order to save it and remake it.

Now think of a popular alternative. Atheism teaches that the universe spontaneously occurred one day. Nothing exploded and something happened as a result. This absurd statement can never be a scientific statement. Atheists really believe that everything came from absolutely nothing.

Stephan Hawking says in his book, The Grand Design, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” But this is utter nonsense. This is not a scientific statement at all. Gravity describes the interplay between combinations of matter and energy. When a genius utters nonsense, it is still nonsense. Certainly gravity can shape the matter that exits already, but it cannot bring that matter into reality—that is absurd.

Atheists believe in that absurdity and try to force it down other people’s minds. The result of atheistic thought is that there is no ultimate meaning in reality, no ultimate morality or justice, no reason to live. There is only despair on one hand or baseless optimism on the other.

The practical benefits of a Christian worldview, like a healthy mind and heart, a purpose in life, a hope for justice at some point in our existence, and a sound basis upon which to conduct scientific experimentation, are vastly preferable. They also happen to be true.

This being my first blog post with Worldview Warriors, please let me say that I look forward to an engaging discussion of these and many more topics to come. Blessings! And may the God of all peace open your heart to receive the gospel.

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12 comments:

ashleyhr said...

David

Welcome to the fray. So you know better than Stephen Hawking, do you?

I note that you quote a prominent recent remark by Hawking (devoid of context, other than posting a link to the Wikipedia page about the book in question). I doubt that your target audience in the USA (I'm in the UK) has ever read this work by Hawking and Mlodinow (nor have I). But you declare that he is talking rubbish. What is your scientific background? Or are you simply using religion to 'rubbish' science?

"Stephan [sic] Hawking says in his book, The Grand Design, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” But this is utter nonsense. This is not a scientific statement at all. Gravity describes the interplay between combinations of matter and energy. When a genius utters nonsense, it is still nonsense. Certainly gravity can shape the matter that exits already, but it cannot bring that matter into reality—that is absurd."

I find that condescending. Have you read the book 'The Grand Design'? You should tell us. I rather suspect that you have not. If you have you should to some degree address the scientific context of the Hawking claim. If you have not read the book I think you should admit that you have not, and were just slamming a key quotation in the book. Either way, I note that your post says nothing about the theory of quantum mechanics or the theory of relativity.

And as usual with US fundamentalist Christian 'warriors' you seem to be turning the issue of how the universe came into being into a 'good versus evil' fight:
"Atheists believe in that absurdity and try to force it down other people’s minds. The result of atheistic thought is that there is no ultimate meaning in reality, no ultimate morality or justice, no reason to live. There is only despair on one hand or baseless optimism on the other."

I have saved this text.

Mr Ashley Haworth-Roberts

Professor Tertius said...

"Atheism teaches that the universe spontaneously occurred one day."

No. Atheism doesn't teach that, although many astrophysicists do. Atheism is simply an absence of affirmation of God's existence. Atheism is not a particular scientific position. To claim that "atheism teaches..." some particular view of cosmology is as illogical as to claim "Atheism teaches that today's animals evolved from a common ancestor."

Obviously, the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution are just as compatible with theism as with atheism---because both are scientific theories which make no claims about the existence or non-existence of deities.

You also seem to confuse what SOME atheist scientists claim with what "atheism" claims.

Keep in mind that most of the world's atheists are not scientists, and lots of atheists have little awareness of modern physics and cosmological issues. So to claim that "atheism teaches..." a particular viewpoint is like saying "Capitalism teaches the Germ Theory of Disease" or "The Democratic Party platform teaches the Theory of Evolution."

David Odegard said...

Professor Tertius,thanks for the correction. You would make a good amanuensis. I realize that I could be more technical, but you would probably still pick holes in it. Most atheists do hold a particular cosmology that of philosophical naturalism. It is the majority opinion of those with no faith in God. Don't let your mind explode because I said "atheism teaches". I do not plan on writing with the level of technicality that you might begrudgingly agree with, at least not in this context. Nor do I plan to care if you point it out. Feel free, but lets talk about some substance. I am glad however to get a reply on my first blog post. So cheers to that. You're gonna hate my next article.

David Odegard said...

Ashley,
Thank you for the warm welcome wait until I tell my dad that someone from the UK is interested in my knowledge of Hawking. I will try to answer you.
The problem I have with Hawking's book which everyone else should have is that it is such a departure from his own field of expertise. He leaves physics to tiptoe into the world of philosophy in The Grand Design. Then he has the audacity to declare that Philosophy is dead, which is hypocritical because he spends the rest of the book discussing philosophy.
I don't have a science degree. But I am qualified to recognize philosophical drivel when I see it. That is what Hawking is saying here. I don't want to rubbish science at all, but Hawking isn't talk science, he is talking rubbish. I want to rubbish rubbish. The Grand Design goes into detail about the universe being an equal sum value on energy, fine, I didn't argue. I don't understand the math anyway, the theory is difficult to concentrate through, but I am not saying those statements were wrong. Maybe they are wrong, but that is for someone qualified to answer. But even if his math is 100% correct-the universe still did not create itself.
Philosophy, Religion, and Science would all condemn the assertion that Hawking gives about gravity's existence being the basis for the universe to create itself. Philosophy would say that something cannot pre-exist its own existence. Religion would say God created it. Science would say, "We are not equipped to answer a question like that." (Or something like that.) If you find that condescending, I don't apologize. After all, the atheists have been as condescending as possible toward Christians.
I will also like to point out your own condescension by referring to me as a "fundamentalist"--not true and not cool. I would also like to point out this post was an invitation to view the world as Christians do, not a review of Hawking's book (or a review of whether I am "authorized"). Furthermore, I only have a page and a half for this blog. I quoted Hawking to show the absurdity of a popular worldview that is in conflict with Christianity. Everything I said is true.
All that being said, I think it is awesome that you read my post! I love the UK especially the Brexit loving conservatives.

ashleyhr said...

Your claim that Hawking is talking 'rubbish' is hollow unless and until one of us (I have tried but so far failed after searching within part of the book online) can show the context within his co-authored 2010 book in which Hawking makes the claims: "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing" and "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going". I am not saying that he is provably correct but I would like to know what argumentation is presented prior to this often quoted paragraph.

Are you saying that you are not a committed young earth creationist (all YECs are fundamentalists whether or not they like that label)? You do appear to be some sort of creationist even if you are not dogmatic about a '6,000 year old' Earth and universe.

I would of course agree that non-YEC Christians - ones who do not automatically all science that is deemed 'unbiblical' - also have issues with some statements by Stephen Hawking:
http://www.bethinking.org/is-there-a-creator/stephen-hawking-and-god

ashleyhr said...

Sorry I meant "automatically reject".

ashleyhr said...

Eureka (PS to my as yet unpublished further comment). HERE is chapter 8 of Hawking's co-authored book:
http://nemaloknig.info/read-94968/?page=15

I note the following concluding paragraphs:
"In a physical universe, the counterparts of objects such as gliders in the Game of Life are isolated bodies of matter. Any set of laws that describes a continuous world such as our own will have a concept of energy, which is a conserved quantity, meaning it doesn’t change in time. The energy of empty space will be a constant, independent of both time and position. One can subtract out this constant vacuum energy by measuring the energy of any volume of space relative to that of the same volume of empty space, so we may as well call the constant zero. One requirement any law of nature must satisfy is that it dictates that the energy of an isolated body surrounded by empty space is positive, which means that one has to do work to assemble the body. That’s because if the energy of an isolated body were negative, it could be created in a state of motion so that its negative energy was exactly balanced by the positive energy due to its motion. If that were true, there would be no reason that bodies could not appear anywhere and everywhere. Empty space would therefore be unstable. But if it costs energy to create an isolated body, such instability cannot happen, because, as we’ve said, the energy of the universe must remain constant. That is what it takes to make the universe locally stable-to make it so that things don’t just appear everywhere from nothing.

cont'd

ashleyhr said...

If the total energy of the universe must always remain zero, and it costs energy to create a body, how can a whole universe be created from nothing? That is why there must be a law like gravity. Because gravity is attractive, gravitational energy is negative: One has to do work to separate a gravitationally bound system, such as the earth and moon. This negative energy can balance the positive energy needed to create matter, but it’s not quite that simple. The negative gravitational energy of the earth, for example, is less than a billionth of the positive energy of the matter particles the earth is made of. A body such as a star will have more negative gravitational energy, and the smaller it is (the closer the different parts of it are to each other), the greater this negative gravitational energy will be. But before it can become greater than the positive energy of the matter, the star will collapse to a black hole, and black holes have positive energy. That’s why empty space is stable. Bodies such as stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can.
Because gravity shapes space and time, it allows space-time to be locally stable but globally unstable. On the scale of the entire universe, the positive energy of the matter can be balanced by the negative gravitational energy, and so there is no restriction on the creation of whole universes. Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing in the manner described in Chapter 6. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.
Why are the fundamental laws as we have described them? The ultimate theory must be consistent and must predict finite results for quantities that we can measure. We’ve seen that there must be a law like gravity, and we saw in Chapter 5 that for a theory of gravity to predict finite quantities, the theory must have what is called supersymmetry between the forces of nature and the matter on which they act. M-theory is the most general supersymmetric theory of gravity. For these reasons M-theory is the only candidate for a complete theory of the universe. If it is finite-and this has yet to be proved-it will be a model of a universe that creates itself. We must be part of this universe, because there is no other consistent model."

Whilst I cannot vouch for its validity, I cannot deny that a detailed explanation was attempted.

David Odegard said...

To Ashley,
Yeah, the reason why I chose the section of Hawking that I did is because it encapsulates the nugget of his argument. And if you now have compared my quote with all of its context you will see that he is still talking rubbish. He is basically saying that the universe still equals zero when you take into account black holes etc. He claims that "there must be a law of gravity", but that is why I said in my first post that gravity does not exist where there is no matter and energy. The universe that Hawking begins with is not nothing. It has gravity. Gravity only functions when there is energy and matter. That is why I said what I did about science, philosophy, and religion all debunking Hawking. But you don't have to take my word for it. Read the book yourself, listen to what even atheist scientists say about it. What do philosophers say about it? Many have concluded that it is rubbish.
I hope this helps to clear things up for you.

ashleyhr said...

For someone who wants his readers to assume he has read the book you seemed rather reluctant to discuss the context of the quoted remarks until I identified the context.

For what it's worth I found this (I've only read the opening sentences):
http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/13013/stephen-hawking-says-universe-can-create-itself-from-nothing-but-how-exactly

Maybe the universe has always existed? How could there once have been 'nothing'? Rhetorical questions really ie you may prefer not to answer.

David Odegard said...

Ashley,
Now your being silly. I did discuss the context of Hawking's remark. I have read the book. I have discussed it at length with you. Now I realize you are just an internet troll. No more posts for you. If you're not going to read what I put up before you comment, you don't get to comment. Bye.

ashleyhr said...

Odegard. I have just sent a wide circulation email (including to Worldview Warriors). It reads as follows:
Another creationist with fascist tendencies.
David Odegard. I accused him of being a 'fundamentalist'. Now he has proven me correct. What a bigot. And a liar. He did not, I repeat not, discuss the context of what Hawking wrote in his co-authored 2010 book. I thought my last comment would be taken as conciliatory. But these bigots are so intolerant, so right wing, so arrogant, so keen on dishonest censorship (even insisting on censoring before even reading what someone might want to say). No wonder America is in a mess.
http://worldviewwarriors.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/a-universe-charged-with-glory-of-god.html
I have taken photos of all the posts in the thread.