Along with my regular posts at SeanMcDowell.org, I am now featuring some of my former students in the Biola Apologetics Program. This post is by my friend Timothy Fox, who helped me with both the Awana Advocates curriculum and the updated and revised Evidence that Demands a Verdict. He also blogs at Free Thinking Ministries and you can follow him on Twitter at @TimothyDFox. Enjoy!
Comics and Cosmic Origins
By Timothy Fox
Every superhero has an origin story. Spider-man was bitten by a radioactive spider. Batman’s parents were murdered before his very eyes as a child. Superman’s parents sent him on a rocket to earth where he was discovered and raised by the Kents. Origin stories tell the tale of how a superhero gained his powers or what event drove him to fight for truth and justice.
However, we don't just like origin stories. We need to know how these heroes were created. Why did the Avengers first assemble? How did Wolverine get those awesome claws? We won’t accept a superhero has powers just because. There needs to be a reason why.
And it isn’t just superheroes. We need an origin story as well. Why are we here? How did the universe begin? But while you get to pick your favorite superhero - or even your favorite version of that superhero - that doesn’t work for reality. The universe can have only one true origin story.
So what are our options? One story may start with a God (or gods) who created the universe. Another story may tell that the universe - or at least the materials that formed into the universe as we know it - has always been here. A third option is that there was absolutely nothing in the beginning - no matter, no deities, nothing - but that it still somehow came into existence at some time in the past.
Those are our three options for the universe’s origin story: the universe is eternal, it was created by some deity, or it simply came into existence. How do we know which is the true origin story of reality? Let’s look at the facts:
The Origin of the Universe
Big Bang cosmology teaches us that the universe came into existence at some finite point in the past. The second Law of Thermodynamics states the universe is running out of usable energy, so if the universe were here forever, it would have run out of energy by now. It hasn’t; therefore, the universe must have a starting point. From a logical standpoint, the impossibility of an infinite regress also makes it impossible for the universe to be past-eternal. Thus, our universe must have a definite time of origin.
Now, we would never accept a superhero simply having powers for no reason. Something had to cause The Flash to gain super speed. Something must cause Bruce Banner to become The Hulk. We need some kind of explanation, no matter how bizarre or farfetched. Likewise, would you accept the universe coming into existence without a cause? I should hope not!
What Best Explains the Universe Coming Into Existence?
So then what would be an adequate explanation for the universe coming into existence? It would have to be pretty powerful to create a universe. It must be pretty smart too. It wouldn’t be made up of any of the same stuff of the universe, so it must be immaterial. Since the beginning of the universe is also the beginning of time, the cause of the universe must also be timeless. It must also have a mind to be able to willingly create something. If you put all of these properties (superpowers?) together, it becomes clear that the universe must have a personal creator, one that we would simply call “God.”
The same way that superheroes must have an origin story to explain how they got their powers and decided to battle the forces of evil, the universe must also have an origin story. But unlike fictional stories, there can be only one true origin story for the universe. If we look at the facts of reality and understand that all effects - and superpowers - need causes, the origin story of our universe becomes clear: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
If every superhero needs an origin story, if the universe needs an origin story, what about God? Doesn’t God need an origin story too?!
To be continued…