If a Christian had to identify just one point or question to use to challenge atheism, what do you suggest it should be?
My question would be: Why is there something rather than nothing?
The atheist might answer “there just is something”, but this is unsatisfactory and not an answer.
Another might say “It all started at the big bang.” Well that may be true, but why was there a big bang? What caused the big bang?
Stephen Hawking says that the big bang could have started on its own – just needing a bit of gravity. But where did gravity come from? He does not explain.
Others say there was an infinite series of events going into the past, perhaps a series of big bangs, and that we do not need a beginning. But this fails to understand that mathematically you cannot have an infinite series. Think of it this way: if there was a time in the infinite past then we would never reach the present.
There had to be a ‘First Cause’. This is an old philosophical argument (the cosmological argument) but one which has never been satisfactorily answered without rationally ascribing the universe to a Creator.
If we say the first cause was God, then who or what caused God? This is an old chestnut that Richard Dawkins likes to repeat. The answer is that God is outside time and is eternal. Time is a dimension of the physical universe. The Christian view has always been that God is an uncreated and eternal being. We may find this hard to grasp – but that is hardly surprising, we are part of his creation.
[Antony Latham is a medical doctor who now resides on the island of Harris. He has made a detailed study of the sciences of Evolution and Mind and Consciousness. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Grasping the Nettle.]