Can you rule out a natural cause for the origin of the universe?
A couple of days back I share a ‘One Minute Answer’ on ‘Does God exist?’
This stimulated a thoughtful atheist, Donovan, to comment via Twitter with this question: how do you rule out a natural event occurring from which the universe resulted?
Donovan has critiqued the causation part of my One Minute Answer where I claim that the origin of the universe requires an explanation – and a reasonable explanation is that it was created by God.
I think Donovan’s question is excellent. I answered it briefly via Twitter and I’ll expand slightly here. I made two comments:
1. I’m not sure how a natural event could result in everything being created. My understanding of the origin of the universe is that all matter, time and space began at the beginning. Hence I can’t see how a natural event could be the catalyst, for almost by definition, everything resulted from that beginning. A multiverse may solve this problem (if we can actually test for a multiverse – this is unclear) but the multiverse must be eternal for this to be satisfying, otherwise it begs the question who or what started the multiverse?. Hence my first comment to Donovan is that I don’t rule it out, I just don’t see how it could work.
2. My second comment was that at another level this is a category error. This is where we confuse mechanism and agency. Because I know how a thing works doesn’t mean I rule out an intelligent agent. For example, if I figure out the Facebook algorithms and work out how Facebook ‘works’ that doesn’t mean I eliminate Mark Zuckerberg. Hence even if a ‘natural’ explanation was found for the origin of the universe that doesn’t necessarily eliminate God.