Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Did the Universe Come to Be? You Have to Take It On Faith

Has the universe always existed?  Rather, did it have its beginning in a big bang?  Or did God create it?  Interestingly, no matter what your opinion is on the matter, it cannot be scientifically proven.  Every finite human opinion about the origin and purpose of the universe must rest on faith.
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Religious zealots sometimes claim that God created the entire universe. Over-zealous scientists seem smugly sure that it had its beginning with a large explosion. Some even think that the universe has somehow just been here from eternity and will be here until eternity.

Will we know the answer someday to the question of how and why the universe got here?  I think we will.  But we finite humans sure don't know the answer now.  No matter what anybody says.

C. S. Lewis explains, in "Mere Christianity" that these ideas turn up everywhere in the form of a religion-vs-science controversy.
But why anything comes to be there at all, and whether there is anything behind the things science observes--something of a different kind--this is not a scientific question.  Supposing science ever became so complete so that it knew every single thing in the whole universe. Is it not plain that the questions, 'Why is there a universe?' 'Why does it go on as it does?' 'Has it any meaning?' would remain just as they were?

Similarly, in his book "The Devil's Delusion" David Berlinski reminds us that
Confident assertions by scientists that in the privacy of their chambers they have demostrated that God does not exist have nothing to do with science, and even less to do with God's existence. We do not know how the universe began. We do not know why it is there.  On these and many other points as well, the great scientific theories have lapsed.

I do not know whether any of this is true[, but] I am certain that the scientific community does not know that it is false.

Let neither science nor religion fool you. There are just some questions that we not only don't know the answers to, but whose answers we aren't capable of comprehending.  Some day I think we'll probably know everything. But for now, no matter how you slice it, we all have to have a little faith.

This article is dedicated to the memory of my deceased friend and mentor, Thomas Kent Hinckley, a man of encyclopedic wisdom. If there were someone who does know the answer to these questions, it would be him.

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