I wrote the following post to my blog in May of 2017. I’ve been thinking about this subject recently, as I often do, and thought it worth sharing again, plus some further insights I have.
The following statement was shared with me a few weeks ago by a person with whom I was having a conversation on Facebook: “If there were evidence of the existence of God (any God) then faith wouldn’t be necessary.”
His error, as I pointed out, was the assumption that faith is necessary to hold for the existence of God. In fact, faith is not necessary to hold for the existence of God. Reason is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of God. Faith is what we believe about the God Whose existence reason demonstrates. As Catholics, then, we don’t really believe that God exists. We know that God exists! Reason tells us so. In fact, I’ve yet to come across a rational argument against the existence of God. Most of the arguments atheists present against the existence of God are founded on faith, with others founded on personal experience or erroneous assumptions.
For the past several weeks, I’ve posted on my blog a series of articles summarizing the arguments St. Thomas Aquinas offered that demonstrate the existence of God, objections to these arguments, and responses to those objections. If you’re interested in reading them, you can visit my blog and look for the articles “An Introduction to the Evidence for the Existence of God.”
Atheists make the error of claiming that there is no evidence for God. In fact, there’s a great deal of evidence for God’s existence. The question is (and it’s a legitimate question) is the evidence for God’s existence convincing. Obviously, to some it isn’t, while to others it is. When atheists make this claim, they usually mean that there isn’t any scientific evidence for the existence of God. This is silly, really. Science is about measuring the physical world. Why in the world would anyone think that it is possible for the sciences to measure a Being Who exists outside the created order? The notion that God can be measured by science is based on the assumption that God is part of the created order, that the Creator is somehow a part of the creation He created! But, this is absurd, as anyone with a clear, objective, and unbiased mind ought to be able to see without difficulty. If God is God, we wouldn’t expect Him to be subject to the same laws that govern the world He made, any more than we would expect a potter to be governed by the same laws that govern the pot. The great error of atheism is that it assumes God is too small to be God.
The Catholic Church has taught from the get-go (consider St. Paul’s statement in Romans 1:18-23) that reason is sufficient to hold for the existence of God. As such, atheism is irrational, because it holds on faith, and contrary to reason, that God does not exist. It seems that atheism demands that we hold one or more of three irrational claims:
- Something can spontaneously emerge from nothing.
- Order can spontaneously emerge from chaos.
- Something can be the cause of its own existence.
Nothing comes from nothing. There is no experience ever that something can spontaneously emerge from nothing. Dr. Lawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, wrote a book entitled “A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing” (2012). In his lecture of the same title, Krauss simply changes the definition of”nothing” from “nothing” to “something”, insisting that, “Nothing isn’t nothing anymore.” Krauss claims that the laws of physics allow a universe to emerge from nothing. But, this is absurd. The laws of physics simply describe how the physical universe “works”. If there is no physical universe, there are no laws of physics!
The second claim is equally absurd. High school or college students are fond of repeating the popular claim, or a variation thereof, that if you have a million monkeys typing on a million typewriters over a million years, eventually you get Shakespeare. But, this is spurious. In fact, what you get is a million year’s worth of gibberish. Without a catalyst imposing order on random chaos, there is no reason to imagine that the chaos will somehow spontaneously transform into an orderly system, one in which we may have any confidence of predictable, ordered behavior. Will the earth continue to orbit the sun? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Who knows? We’ve been lucky so far, but don’t make any plans for the weekend.
Finally, it ought to be obvious that nothing can be the cause of its own existence, because something would have to exist before it existed in order to bring about its own existence. A popular answer among some atheists for the question of why there something rather than nothing is the multi-verse. An infinite number of universes have existed for an infinite number of eons. Therefore, no God is needed to explain why something exists rather than nothing because something has always existed. Our universe is simply one of billions that have come and gone out of existence over the course of the infinite existence of the multi-verse. Well, first of all, there is no scientific evidence of a multi-verse. It’s simply a hypothesis. As well, since the existence of a multi-verse cannot be tested, it doesn’t even count as real science, because a truly scientific hypothesis is one that can be tested. It may be an attractive hypothesis to some, but those who hold to the existence of a multi-verse do so without any scientific evidence, and no rational evidence, either, for that matter. It’s simply taken on faith. Second, we know that the universe exists within time and changes and, therefore, the multi-verse exists within time and changes. For all things that exists within time and are subject to change, one of the changes it is subject to is the change from existence to non-existence. Given this, it’s counter-intuitive to assume that the multi-verse has always existed. So, where did the multi-verse come from? If atheists insists that the multi-verse has always existed, then they are essentially claiming that the multi-verse is responsible for its own existence, which is saying the same thing as the multi-verse is its own cause. This is absurd.
Atheists like to claim that they are led by reason and science, that they simply go where the evidence leads them. But, from a Catholic perspective, this isn’t true at all. Reason demonstrates the existence of God. In order to hold that God does not exist, atheists must rely on irrational claims. This is why atheism is a position of faith and not rational thought. In order to hold that God does not exist, atheists must make their claim against the rational evidence for God’s existence, demanding that we hold at least one of the above three irrational claims.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.