On the argument that god created the big bang.

I was going to write a slightly simpler first post than this but oh well here goes. This was inspired by a specific article I saw somewhere on the internet arguing for god from causality.

So the Theist says, “Without a god we can’t explain where the universe came from. It must have been created. Something can’t come from nothing.”
The Atheist responds, “But if a god created the universe then who created the god? Something can’t come from nothing.”
“But god is without beginning or end and has always existed.”
“Ok, so if a god can have always existed then why can’t we simplify and just say the universe has always existed?”
“But we know it didn’t: The big bang theory denies this.”

The basis of this argument is in causality. The theist is arguing that the universe must obey causality, and that the big bang doesn’t as it requires a cause. Anything we can say caused the big bang must also have it’s own cause and so on. God having existed for ever, however doesn’t need causality.
I see three possible routes to go down in response to this:

a) Causality isn’t the be all and end all, i.e. quantum phenomena.

Most would argue that the big bang was a quantum event and as such doesn’t obey causality.

Not knowing that much about quantum mechanics, I won’t follow this any further.

b) Time.

Causality requires time to function; events which happen before cause events which happen after

The argument therefore rests on an idea of time which goes infinitely far backwards, or at least back past the big bang. Many cosmologists don’t believe this to be the case though.

The idea of time starting with the big bang is a little bit tricky to wrap your head around, but it means that the question “what happened before the big bang?” is entirely meaningless. There being no “before the big bang” also means that there cannot be a cause for it. If the it was always there argument is valid then we can now use it again to say that the universe has been there forever, but ‘forever’ is only about 13.8 bn years!

The concept of there being no time before the big bang also means that god could not possibly have made the universe. After all how would god have existed with no time and how could it have brought about a universe that can’t have a cause? Then again, where would a god have existed without space, which like time did not exist before the big bang. I suspect the theist would say that their god ‘transcends’ both space and time.

c) Why should god be immune to causality?

Assuming a universe which follows causality and a time axis that extends infinitely in both directions, god still breaks causality.

If god created the universe at a particular point in time, why was that particular time chosen? What caused god to awake from an infinity of slumber and suddenly decide to produce a universe? There must have been a cause or some extrinsic intervening factor, which would require it’s own cause and so on.

While we’re at it we may as well ask why he wanted to create a universe in the first place? Also why did he intervene and create people and where did his morality come from? These ideas must also have been placed in him extrinsically or be due to something inherent in his nature which requires it’s own cause.

Theists don’t like the idea of trying to understand the mind of god, saying that he cannot be understood by human minds. But science doesn’t work like that, all things can be understood and reasoned out, and if you’re happy to take something as the case without reason then a) you have no place in science, and b) why are you trying to argue your case using reason in the first place.


11 thoughts on “On the argument that god created the big bang.

  1. Also if we’re going to believe that god can magically poof a universe into existence, isn’t it simpler to assume a universe can simply poof into existence on it’s own?


  2. Quantum mechanics is a model for exploring and understanding the subatomic world,

    It has nothing to do with the common sense and scientific observation that nothing just happens all by itself.

    There is all kinds of cause and effect principles that quantum physicists use in their work.

    Those principles of quantum mechanics may be different than those that are used in Newtonian mechanics, is all.

    Einstein Relativity has been proven to show that time and space are woven together.

    Consequently, before the Big Bang, there was no time because there was no space because they did not yet exist.

    God is eternal because he does not exist in time and space. That obvious.

    Consequently, all atheist arguments here are either based on an ignorance of or misunderstanding of, science; or on the inability to comprehend the obvious.


    1. But quantum mechanics do allow for phenomena which don’t obey causality. For example radioactive decay. When atoms decay is not guided by any extrinsic factors or any sort of internal clock. They’re random events.

      Also, since you agree that time and space started at the big bang, do you also agree that the big bang doesn’t need a cause? The idea of something coming from nothing isn’t the case as there never was nothing.


      1. Lestes,

        Carbon 14 decays like clockwork.

        That’s why it is used to date archeological and paleontological artifacts.

        Also, quarks and various bosons decay like clockwork and for that reason scientists are able to identify them.

        All randomness is subject to the laws of nature not the other way around.


      2. It decays like clockwork because there are a large number of atoms which decay with predictable probabilities. The exact timing of each atom is random. If you have a sample, you may be able to say that half of the atoms will have decayed after a certain time but there’s no possible way to say which particular atom will decay next.


      3. Lestes,
        Knowing which individual atom decays at any particular moment is irrelevant.

        That fact remains that the decay of atomic particles can be so accurately measured as to act as a clock to measure the passing time at the level of our everyday world.


      4. I agree.
        But my point is that they’re still random events; there’s no direct cause for each decay, just a probability curve.
        Likewise the big bang could be without direct cause.


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