The following blog series comes from a paper I wrote for J. Warner Wallace on his book, God’s Crime Scene. He has given me permission to post my summary of each chapter for this series. This is a short summary of the first chapter. I have not given an exhaustive explanation for each naturalistic theory. Entire books could be written explaining each theory. If you would like more information, you can purchase God’s Crime Scene here, visit his website, or email me and I will provide further resources.
God’s Crime Scene by J. Warner Wallace examines eight pieces of evidence that are found inside our universe. Reasons are given for each piece of evidence and that it is necessary for us to be able to explain where this evidence came from. So what happened in the beginning? What best explains the fact that our universe exists?
The best explanation for the existence of our universe is that it had a beginning and that it was caused by something outside of our physical universe.
Before we can look at the evidence that exists inside of the universe, we have to determine when and how our universe came into existence. We first have to determine if our universe has existed eternally or if it had a beginning. Based on science and philosophy, it is reasonable to conclude that our universe began to exist sometime in the distant past. This can be explained philosophically from the impossibility of an infinite regress. If the universe did not begin to exist and has eternally existed, then we would not exist today. It is impossible for an infinite number of past events to occur in order for us to reach the present. Imagine signing “99 bottles of ‘soda’ on the wall” but instead of starting at a finite number like 99, start by singing “An infinite number of bottles of ‘soda’ on the wall.” Every time you take one down you still have an infinite number left. You will never reach 0 bottles no matter how long you sing. The same is true for time. If we have an infinite number of past events then we will never be able to finish with the past and reach present time. The fact that we exist today, in the present, is evidence that the universe began to exist sometime in the distant past.
When we turn to science we see another group of arguments for the beginning of the universe. The theory of general relativity, the redshift observed by Hubble, the second law of thermodynamics, the abundance of helium, and the cosmic background radiation all point to the beginning of our universe. Our universe can’t infinitely be running out of energy. It also can’t be expanding infinitely. In order for our universe to be running out of energy and be expanding, the universe had to begin sometime in the finite past.
Since we have good reason to believe our universe began to exist, we have to determine what caused it. Is it possible for our universe to create itself? Scientists have proposed many theories over the years to explain how our universe began to exist without the need of a supernatural cause. One idea was that our universe is in an eternal state of expansion. However, something cannot expand eternally. If you reverse the process, it will collapse back into nothing.
What about an eternal expansion and contraction? There are two problems with this theory. First, the universe would need enough mass in order for gravity to slow its expansion, but there isn’t enough mass. Second, because of the second law of thermodynamics, energy would be lost with each successive expansion and contraction keeping it from being able to cycle eternally.
The most popular natural explanation for the existence of our universe is the multiverse. This model proposes that our universe exists inside of a larger, eternal environment that consists of an infinite amount of universes. This would explain how our universe began to exist without needing a being outside of time, matter, and space to explain its existence. However, like the others, this model has issues. First, there is not a single piece of evidence confirming this theory. Second, the multiverse environment can’t be eternal and would therefore need an explanation of its existence. This only pushes the problem back one level and does not explain how our universe began to exist.
Based on the inability of the naturalistic explanations to explain how our universe began to exists, we can reasonably conclude that our universe was caused by something nonspatial, atemporal, nonmaterial, uncaused, powerful, and eternal; a being that exist outside of our universe; God.