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Cosmologist asserts physics theories will explain the big bang without a “supernatural jumpstart.”
Because modern science has discovered so much about how nature works, Cal Tech cosmologist Sean Carroll predicts in his essay “Does the Universe Need God?” that forthcoming cosmological models will eliminate any need for a belief in God. “As we learn more about the universe,” Carroll says, “there's less and less need to look outside it for help.”
Carroll writes that by making “some assumptions about the types of matter and energy that pervade the universe, we can play the movie backwards in time to reconstruct the past history of our universe.”1 Evolutionary cosmologists extrapolate back 13.7 billion years to the big bang. Carroll considers the big bang model “established beyond reasonable doubt”2 because cosmologists can model what happened from a split second after the big bang until now. The only question that remains, he says, is what happened in the moment before.
Theistic evolutionists like to suggest that God was the cosmic trigger-puller who subsequently fine-tuned the results. But Carroll contends that as contemporary physics theories are experimentally tested, the need for such divine initiation will vanish. Carroll writes:
Over the past five hundred years, the progress of science has worked to strip away God’s roles in the world. He isn’t needed to keep things moving, or to develop the complexity of living creatures, or to account for the existence of the universe. Perhaps the greatest triumph of the scientific revolution has been in the realm of methodology. Control groups, double-blind experiments, an insistence on precise and testable predictions—a suite of techniques constructed to guard against the very human tendency to see things that aren’t there. There is no control group for the universe, but in our attempts to explain it we should aim for a similar level of rigor.3
“None of this amounts to ‘proof’ that God doesn’t exist, of course,” Carroll admits. “Such proof is not forthcoming; science isn’t in the business of proving things.”4 And he concedes “the idea of God” might serve useful functions, such as motivating people to follow rules or helping them deal with death. But Carroll sees no need for God to explain how we got here. And why we’re here, he says, is irrelevant.
Knowing how something works does not reveal how it originated in the unobservable past. Despite Carroll’s claims, understanding how something in nature works does not mean God didn’t design it. (In fact, Romans 1:20 indicates that even from the time of creation enough could be discerned to call attention to God’s creative power.5) And though Carroll asserts that science can explain the increasing complexity of life, evolutionary science has never demonstrated a mechanism through which new genetic information to fuel upward molecules-to-man evolution can be acquired. Carroll’s convenient way of minimizing God to a useful role only in the mysterious is absurd. Such is analogous to saying if we can figure out how an inventor’s product works, we can revoke his patent and claim the device sprang into existence through a random convergence of fortuitous events.
The danger of theological compromise as practiced by theistic evolutionists is clear from Carroll’s essay. Carroll counters the theistic evolutionary contention that God triggered the big bang by saying, like Lawrence Krauss (as discussed in item 2 today), that the laws of physics alone were sufficient to get things going. To the claim that God fine-tuned the universe, Carroll insists an infinite number of parallel universes made all options open, and only the ones that work (like ours) survived. (See “Faith in the Multiverse,” for more on this.) And to the theistic evolutionist compromise that God used evolution, Carroll asks why nobody thought of it before Darwin popularized evolutionary theory.
When people dispute and reinterpret the Bible with every wind of man’s ideas instead of testing man’s fallible ideas against the Word of the infallible God, they destroy all foundation for belief. To spar with those who do not believe in God using a compromised interpretation of God’s Word is pointless. Theistic evolutionists pick and choose how to reinterpret the Bible in order to shove fallible human ideas into it. Therefore they argue from a position of no authority. They have already denied God’s authority and His ability to clearly communicate the truth in His Word.
Carroll acknowledges that “assumptions” underlie the certainty of the big bang.
Finally, Carroll acknowledges that “assumptions” underlie the certainty of the big bang. Yet assumptions are by nature unverifiable. He also claims events beginning one second after the big bang are in “the realm of empirical testability.”6 In such he confuses historical and experimental science. How atomic particles and molecules and energy behave now is testable, but that behavior does not reveal how they came to exist. Carroll writes:
Cosmologists sometimes talk about the Big Bang, especially in popular-level presentations, in ways that convey more certainty than is really warranted, so it is worth our time to separate what we know from what we may guess.7
The problem is, Carroll has trouble seeing that the cosmological events about which he is certain are also guesses since he has rejected the only eyewitness account of those origins in favor of unverifiable uniformitarian assumptions. Curiously, Carroll rightly extols the virtues of “control groups, double-blind experiments, and insistence on precise and testable predictions” and even admits “there is no control group for the universe.” Yet he claims that the cosmological ideas defining the events of our origins are beyond doubt. He is certain that cosmological models will ultimately displace God and close the book on Genesis when they are finally tested experimentally. Yet they can never be tested experimentally because the time of origins is in the untestable past. Computer models based on the same unverifiable assumptions as the theories they “test” cannot possibly prove those theories true, being at best electronic examples of circular reasoning.
Bible-believing Christians didn’t invent God to fill in the answers science can’t provide. Observable science actually affirms biblical truth.8 We need to “look outside” for help not just to know where we came from but also to know where we’re going. We are accountable to our Creator, the holy God of the Bible against whom we all have rebelled. We trust what the Bible says from the first verse, and so we understand our need for a Savior not just to deal with life’s issues on this side of the grave (and even to understand why there is a grave) but to be prepared for the eternity to come. The cross is not a crutch—it is the answer to every person’s deepest need, whether he admits it or not.
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