On 26 February 2013, and in this forum, Lyle Winters issued a challenge to atheists to deal with certain unanswerable questions he posed.
“1. Since science confirms that matter cannot suddenly appear out of nothing, how then did the Big Bang occur, randomly, by complete chance, and without any substance there to cause this science-fiction reaction?
2. Some atheists then fall back onto their new theory, that there was something there already, some portion of matter, two or three elements at most (so they conclude), and that somehow that small amount of matter spinning incredibly fast, suddenly, and without warning, just exploded/expanded and those few elements miraculously created all the other Periodic Table elements in a flash. So here are the questions for this point:
a. Who put the substance there in the first place, since it could not have created itself?
b. If you believe that the matter was simply always there, then why can you not believe that God was?
c. How did all the elements across our known universe suddenly form out of only a few?
d. Without using some overly-complex mathematical equation that you don't even understand, how do you explain why it happened in the first place?”
Winters confidently assumes that the questions he raises poses a challenge only to atheists. He is wrong. Even if one accepts that some divine being may have created the universe, this only serves to beg the same crucial and equally inconvenient question: Who created the divine being in the first place? If Winters accepts that matter cannot suddenly appear out of nothing, why should the same science not apply to divine beings?
Clearly, the questions posed by Winters take the matter no further. If those who believe in a divine being can accept that such being emerged from nothing or can accept that He was always there, then surely they cannot be heard to complain if atheists are unable to account for the origin of the original matter from which the universe was made. Nonetheless, Winters fails to deal with the essential question of the origin of the Creator and he fails to explain this critical omission.
Alternatively stated, those who would argue that the origin of the creator is too complex to be understood or that it defies explanation must of necessity concede that nothing turns on the inability of atheists to explain the origin of the original matter of which the universe is made.
None of us were there when such matter or the Creator, as the case may be, first appeared. It is illogical to conclude that our inability to explain the origin of such matter or that of the Creator necessarily compels us to conclude that it was indeed a divine being which created the universe.
But there are other relevant possibilities which Winters, and other religious apologists, never seem to consider. Even if one were, for the sake of argument, to accept that there may once have existed a “divine” being of sorts, that does not necessarily mean that such being necessarily exists today. Who is to say that such being was necessarily blessed with immortality?
Nor is it a given that if there was a divine being, that He was necessarily responsible for creating the entire universe. Such being may simply have started a chain reaction which continued long after He may have ceased to exist.
If there is a being who created the first matter, who is to say that such being had anything to do with the solar system or that he created Man. For all we know, such being could now be dead or it could be that his existence is presently limited to a very distant part of the universe.
Who could categorically deny the possibility that, if there is a Creator lurking elsewhere in the universe, such Creator might not be oblivious to the existence of Man or the Earth? Surely it makes no sense to worship a Creator who no longer exists, or one who does exist, but who is unaware of our existence. The failure of religious types to consider any of these questions is nothing short of astonishing.
Instead, having concluded that there must have been a Creator, they then automatically assume that he was necessarily immortal, omnipotent, omniscient and that he must have made the entire universe.
Many simply accept, without question, that the Creator is necessarily good rather than evil. Who is to say they are correct? If one considers disease, earthquakes, drought and famine, to mention but a few phenomenon which cause misery to millions on earth, it is surely open to us to question whether the creator of the earth, if there is one, is necessarily good or is necessarily worthy of being worshipped.
Less than a century ago, it was believed that dragons and other perils lurked beyond the charted parts of the known world. Today, it is apparent that those who held such beliefs were simply victims of their own infinite ignorance.
We should never allow our ignorance about the origins of the universe to compel us to accept that our present inability to explain such origins leaves us with no choice but to believe in the existence of God. It seems that humans have a desire to invent powerful creatures and forces to inhabit that which is unknown or poorly understood. This is neither sensible nor is it scientific.
Nonetheless, this does not stop Winters from criticising atheists for allegedly adopting a non-scientific approach in support of their theories.
What Winters fails to appreciate is that one cannot prove the existence of God by attacking the theories held by those who do not believe in God.
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