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Must God exist to explain how the universe began?

This philosophical question is a form of the Cosmological Argument or First Cause Argument. The question is whether it makes sense that the universe "came into existence from nothing". Modern physics suggests that the notion of time, and hence cause and effect, break down at the time of the big bang, rendering the intuitive demand for a "first cause" meaningless.

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Experts and Influencers

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Experts In Religion

John Polkinghorne    Physics Professor and Reverend
...you have a choice. You can either say, "Well, that's just the way it is; we're here because we're here." That seems to me unduly intellectually supine. I would like to understand why the world is the way it is. Shortcutting some detailed argument, I would say that for me the most satisfying insight is that the world is indeed not 'any old world,' but a creation whose given law and circumstance has been willed by its creator to be capable of fruitful process.
06 Apr 1990    Source

Experts In Science

Roy Spencer    Meteorologist
All naturalistic cosmological theories of origins must invent physics that have never been observed by science -- because the "Big Bang" can't be explained based upon current physics. A naturalistic origin of the universe violates either the First or Second Laws of thermodynamics -- or both. So, is this science? Or faith?
08 Aug 2005    Source

Experts In Christianity

John Clayton    Christian Teacher
Not only does the Bible maintain that there was a cause (a creation) but it also tells us what the cause was. It was God. The atheist tells us that "matter is self-existing and not created." If matter had a beginning and yet was uncaused, one must logically maintain that something would have had to come into existence out of nothing. ... In order for matter to come out of nothing, all of our scientific laws dealing with the conservation of matter/energy would have to be wrong...
27 Aug 2007    Source

Deepak Chopra    Inventor of Quantum Healing
...God is the field of consciousness that creates, governs, and controls the manifest world. This consciousness has an invisible aspect beyond space and time. We can posit that because there was no space or time before the Big Bang, yet there had to be something that allowed the universe and the laws of nature to coalesce with such amazing orderliness than with the slightest deviation, life could not have evolved.
22 Mar 2010    Source

Experts In Philosophy

John Stuart Mill    Philosopher, Political Economist, 19th Century
But the fact of experience is not that everything we know gets its existence from a cause, but only every event or change does so. Nature has a permanent element, and also a changeable one; the changes are always the effects of previous changes, but so far as we know the permanent existences are not effects at all.
01 Jan 1874    Source

Bertrand Russell    Iconic Philosopher of 20th Century
If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu's view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, "How about the tortoise?" the Indian said, "Suppose we change the subject." The [First Cause] argument is really no better than that.
06 Mar 1927    Source

Ayn Rand    Philosopher, Novelist
Is God the creator of the universe? There can be no creation of something out of nothing. There is no nothing.
01 Jan 1976    Source

Austin Cline    Philosopher
Because time is an aspect of the universe, it‘s hard to see how it can be said to have a “beginning” in the way the word is normally used. The concept of a “beginning” normally assumes a “time before” at which the object did not exist — but there was no “time before” the universe. Without a time before, the notion of "cause" no longer applies.
01 Jan 2008    Source

Experts In Physics

Edward Witten    Physicist who pioneered M-Theory
Mostly Disagree
I'd probably speculate that near the big bang, the notion of time really breaks down, and so the question of what was the beginning and what was before the beginning - that kind of question - will ultimately turn out to not quite make sense.
26 Jun 2008    Source

Steven Weinberg    Nobel Laureate in Physics
In essence, [the Cosmological Argument] argues that everything has a cause, and since this chain of causality cannot go on forever, it must terminate in a first cause, which we call God. The idea of an ultimate cause is deeply attractive, and indeed the dream of elementary particle physics is to find the final theory at the root of all chains of explanation of what we see in nature. The trouble is that such a mathematical final theory would hardly be what anyone means by God.
17 Jan 2007    Source


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0 Points      Marius de Jess      11 Dec 2015      Stance on Question: Agree
Atheists have this conviction but without proof that in the status in which status there exists no Big Bang, or time and space have no meaning, nothing exists; so a cause of the Big Bang does not exist.

That is certainly ridiculous because in logic we know that if we start from nothing, literally nothing, then we should all already stop talking because we could not have proceeded from absolute nothing.

The default status of things in the word is that existence is the default status of the world, that means whatever Big Bang had never occurred there is already and in a default manner existence; the entity in this existence is the cause of everything that is not itself, which traditionally we call God, and define as in His role in existence, namely, the creator and operator of the universe and of everything with a beginning.

0 Points      MTC      23 Feb 2013      Stance on Question: Disagree
There is no reason to believe that a god needs to be invoked to explain the universe.

0 Points      pineconedegg      25 Mar 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
The God hypothesis is one proposed theory among many. Furthermore, I could define a magic toaster with the ability "capable of creating the universe" and claim it exists outside of time, and have the exact same quality of explanation.

0 Points      blacktrance      10 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
No. Everything in the universe operates under natural laws. At worst, we can say that we do not yet know. But it's quite a leap from that to any supernatural being.

0 Points      XpiloT      09 Nov 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
God hypothesis does not explain anything. In fact it introduces even more unknowns.

2 Points      Adam Atlas      05 Apr 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
JGWeissman is quite right. The "first cause" argument directly contradicts itself by saying "everything must have a cause; therefore, there must be exactly one thing that doesn't have a cause". For my part, I find the mathematical universe hypothesis to be a satisfactory explanation of what exactly existence is and how it works, but in any case, I can't think of any "x" for which "the universe exists because of God; God exists because of x" makes more sense than "the universe exists because of x".

3 Points      JGWeissman      08 Mar 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
What principle is it that requires that the universe, but not God, be caused by something else? Saying God created the universe explains nothing, it just pushes the question back one step.

0 Points      Sickboy      10 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
God is the only logical explanation for the origin of our universe. You do not need evidence for the evidence of something. For example if I were an explorer/archaologist and came across ruins, and in those ruins fragments and remnants of say spears and pottery, I would well know that some historical tribe or civilization had lived there at one stage and were responsible for what i have found. I do not need to know where the tribe came from our how they got there to prove the validility of my inital findings. The same goes with God, He is the most logical answer we have to the origins of our universe. Only a being outside he constraints of time and space would be able to create it. A being fitting those characteristics would have to be God. And as we all know, the universe is in a constant expansion/inflation and ever increasing in acceleration. This mean that it did have an origin, meaning it is finite. Something cannot come from nothing. Therefore God IS necessary for the universe's beginning.

0 Points      tellmethat      14 Dec 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
What would you say if you came across God?