If one puts aside the existence of God and the survival after life as too doubtful…one has to make up one’s mind as to the use of life. If death ends all, if I have neither to hope for good nor to fear evil, I must ask myself what am I here for, and how in these circumstances I must conduct myself. Now the answer is plain, but so unpalatable that most of us will not face it. There is no meaning for life, and [thus] life has no meaning.
– Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up
Though we cannot offer irrefutable empirical evidence for God’s existence, there are strong clues – divine fingerprints, if you will – to be found for His reality. Those of us who think about such things have always been fascinated by the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” The question becomes even more interesting in light of the “Big Bang Theory.”
There is evidence [the second law of thermodynamics] that the universe is explosively expanding outwardly from a single point. Stephen Hawkins (The Nature of Time and Space) has observed, “Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang.” In his book, The Language of God, scientist Francis Collins asserts:
We have this very solid conclusion that the universe had an origin, the “Big Bang”…the universe began with an unimaginably bright flash of energy from an infinitesimally small point. That implies that before that, there was nothing. I can’t imagine how nature, in this case the universe, could have created itself. And the very fact that the universe had a beginning implies that someone was able to begin it. And it seems to me that had to be outside of nature.
Everything we know and can be observed about our world is contingent – that is, everything has a cause, it’s dependent on something else, a cause outside of itself. The universe, which is nothing more than a huge collection of such contingent entities, would therefore itself have to be dependent on some cause besides itself. Something had to make the Big Bang happen – but what or who? What could that be but something outside of nature, a supernatural, non-contingent being that exists from itself?
In his review of Collins’ book, Sam Harris, a militant atheist, makes the classic objection to this line of reasoning. He states, “In any case, even if we accepted that our universe simply had to be created by an intelligent being, this would not suggest that this being is the God of the Bible” (truthdig.com/report/page2/20060815_sam_harris_language _ignorance/).
In one sense Harris is perfectly right. If we’re looking at this argument to prove the existence of a personal God, it doesn’t get us all the way there. However, if we’re looking for a clue – a clue that there’s something besides and beyond this natural world – then it give us a lot to contemplate.
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, pp. 131-33
The Spacious Firmament on high,
With all the blue Ethereal Sky,
And spangled Heav’ns, a Shining Frame,
Their great Original proclaim:
Th’ unwearied Sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator’s Pow’r display,
And publishes to every Land
The Work of an Almighty Hand.
Soon as the Evening Shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous Tale,
And nightly to the list’ning Earth
Repeats the Story of her Birth:
Whilst all the Stars that round her burn,
And all the Planets, in their turn,
Confirm the Tidings as they roll,
And spread the Truth from Pole to Pole.
What though, in solemn Silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial Ball?
What tho’ nor real Voice nor Sound
Amid their radiant Orbs be found?
In Reason’s Ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious Voice,
For ever singing, as they shine,
The Hand that made us is Divine.