Why does the universe continue to exist?

by Dr. Jason Lisle on June 26, 2007

God is not simply a passive observer, the Bible tells us that He sustains His creation—something that is evident from scientific research.

Many Christians have the view that God created the universe, and then “let it go.” That is, they assume that the universe runs by itself, mechanically obeying impersonal laws that the Lord created at the beginning. The Lord is viewed as a passive observer, only occasionally “intervening” in the natural order by performing a supernatural miracle.

But such a view is unbiblical. The God of Scripture is the sovereign King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15). He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). And in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). God is personally involved in all aspects of the created world. The laws of nature are not impersonal, mechanical creations of God; rather, they are descriptions of the logical, orderly way God normally upholds His universe.

Things continue to exist only because God sustains them—they would not continue to exist “on their own.”

Consider the first law of thermodynamics. This law states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Energy can be transformed into other kinds, but the quantity of energy is always constant. So, energy will continue to exist. Many people take this for granted. Don’t most things continue to exist without any outside help? Biblically, the answer is “no.” Things continue to exist only because God sustains them—they would not continue to exist “on their own.” So, the first law of thermodynamics is not a replacement for God’s sustaining power; rather, it is a description of God’s sustaining power. The uniformity we see in nature is caused by God’s continual sustenance and has no logical secular explanation.

I was recently reminded of this important principle by one of our staff members: cartoonist Dan Lietha. Dan relayed to me how his three-year-old daughter Hannah understands the uniformity of nature:

Yesterday Hannah spent some time at a friend’s house while Marcia [Dan’s wife] went to an appointment. During that time, Hannah had her fingernails painted with fingernail polish. Later on that day, Hannah was going on and on about her pretty fingernails, so I said to her, "Hannah, because of that fingernail polish, I can't see your fingernails anymore. How do you know they're still there"?
And Hannah replied, “because God made them to still be there”!

Hannah correctly described what many people forget; God is not only the Creator of all things, but also the Sustainer of all things. The universe relies on God’s sustaining power in order to continue to exist. The universe is still there because God “made it to still be there.”


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