No, The Size of the Universe DoeS Not Prove God Doesn’t Exist

Stream: No, The Size of the Universe Doe Not Prove God Doesn’t Exist

Some philosophers are claiming God doesn’t exist because the universe is big and mostly humanity-free.

These academic philosophers look across the vastness of space and say, “God would not have made something so big and yet so sparse in humanity, therefore God doesn’t exist.”

From the Real Clear Science article “Does the Size of the Universe Prove God Doesn’t Exist?” by philosopher Emily Thomas we learn:

Philosophers of religion such as Michael Martin and Nicholas Everitt have asked us to consider the kind of universe we would expect the Christian God to have created, and compare it with the universe we actually live in. They argue there is a mismatch. Everitt focuses on how big the universe is, and argues this gives us reason to believe the God of classical Christianity doesn’t exist.

What’s big?

Thomas says,

Our own planet is 150m kilometres away from the sun. Earth’s nearest stars, the Alpha Centauri system, are four light years away (that’s around 40 trillion kilometres). Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains anywhere from 100 to 400 billion stars. The observable universe contains around 300 sextillion stars. Humans occupy the tiniest fraction of it. The landmass of planet Earth is a drop in this ocean of space

(Incidentally, it’s a good bet many of these same academics say there are too many people in the world.)

Thomas appeals to scripture to say “God is human-oriented: human beings are like God, and he values us highly.” But then Thomas expresses puzzlement why God did not “create a universe in which humans feature prominently”. She expected “humans to occupy most of the universe, existing across time”, which of course we don’t.

Quoting Everitt Thomas says, “The findings of modern science significantly reduce the probability that theism is true, because the universe is turning out to be very unlike the sort of universe which we would have expected, had theism been true.”

The fallacy here should be obvious: How can know why God made creation the way He did?

You aren’t God

The mistake is what we can call the If I Were God Fallacy.

Step one of the fallacy: attempt the impossible feat of supposing you had the Infinite Mind of God. Step two: create your own imaginary universe. Step three: compare the beautiful utopia of your imagination with what you see out the window.

Step four: pronounce the comparison unfavorable.

Finally, step five: say that because God did not create the perfect universe you envision, God doesn’t exist.

Not only is this argument silly, it is arrogant. It is to accuse God of sloppiness and of lacking in imagination. It to say that God is less intelligent than your fine self because it didn’t occur to Him to make fewer cockroaches. It’s silly because it is impossible to know the mind of God. Impossible, and not just unlikely.

[Click here to discover why!]

Click here to see if the rest of the article exists.

34 Comments

  1. You’d think Thomas must be a male with her fixation on size-oriented assessments of reality. Alas, more red meat for the humanists…from the humanists… if we didn’t think of it ourselves, how could God? And as we see again, size does not matter.

  2. Kind of a form of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Except not only are you claiming to know everything that makes a true Scotsmen, you are claiming to know everything that makes God. Delusional, to say the least.

  3. What makes them think that Earth is the only planet inhabited by the spiritual children of God? That is an extreme provincial viewpoint.

  4. Yeah, I agree Mr. Briggs. That’s an obvious statement there. It’s funny how people make such non-sequitur arguments.

  5. How will the gospel ever reach the andromeda galaxy? Oh, wait, in four billion years the andromeda galaxy will collide with the milky way. Which proves that we still have time before the second coming of the Lord.

  6. Since we’re on the subject of the universe — all those stars & planets — it’s as good a time as any to consider a famous theological reference, the Malleus Maleficarum, held in high repute for several hundred years as it says quite about about stars & planets, and even comets! Much is made exquisitely clear by page 35 in modern translations.

    I bet almost nobody here has read that, or even parts of it, or, has read other old formal doctrine by the earliest Church “Fathers’ (e.g. Origen — noting both what he covers and, curiously, what he seems to be completely unaware of [e.g. consider where he embarks on a lengthy analysis when he ought to have simply quoted a scripture]). One ought read this ancient material written so close to the earliest sources — after all, it’s not many documents that articulate at great length formal religious doctrine, and why the doctrine was at it was.

    Insight & rationale we can extract as formal doctrine from the MF (and related works of the times), today we know to be complete and utter nonsense.

    Turns out, per accepted theological wisdom (even attested to by Thomas Aquinas and so quoted in the MF), the stars & planets DO influence people — just not enough to allow one to claim innocence for misbehavior as ‘free will’ remains strong enough to be offsetting [with God’s help]. But those planets & stars do, in the aggregate, influence and steer the overall behavior of entire communities!

    Comets, by the way, were determined to be transient celestial bodies made by angels and the like for specific phantasmagorical purposes, which, once concluded, led to the comets being disintegrated back into nothingness by the divine agent.

    I don’t know about many of you but I think we can safely say that we KNOW that stars and planets, and comets, have precisely zero direct forceful impact on one’s daily behavior (notwithstanding the effects of a CME, gamma ray burst, etc. that might kill us all, or, induce skin cancer…or the rare meteorite impact….). And, we know that comets do not materialize and then dematerialize per some divine entity’s meddling.

    Which is to say, a huge portion of philosophically-based moral doctrine (e.g. by T. Aquinas) is provably false.

    Normally, when one encounters a reference that seems compelling, if it seems plausible we tend to accept it…until…we find that source is fatally flawed…then…we tend to question EVERYTHING from that source. For example, researchers found to have falsified data in one instance generally renders all their work dubious. A witness in court found to lie under oath on some detail generally results in everything asserted by that witness losing credibility and influence. Etc.

    But if it’s a theological source that supports a current belief system …

    The point here being that it’s not the size of the universe that matters relative to the existence of “God” (or any other such trivia) — it’s the size of the known formal written theological doctrine, provably false, that one must either ignore, or, hold oneself in perpetual ignorance of, to enable the retention of a certain belief system.

    The problem, in other words, is not “scientism” it is “anti-scientism” — the need to be ignore or suppress — or prevent from discovery — certain facts, specifically those facts that shatter one’s cherished magical beliefs. In many cases this goes to the creation of entirely false narratives to discredit corroborated evidence (e.g. the creative rationalizations why humanity is no more than 10,000 yrs old because geology, astronomy and known DNA mutations, all in their respective ways leading to consistent conclusions must all be wrong — all to force-fit a belief into a particular interpretation of a particular reference to which is attributed special credibility).

    “Anti-scientism,” in other words, is a kind of suppression of the search for truth under the guise of searching for truth.

    The history of scientific discovery is littered with rejected hypotheses and truths since updated based on new evidence. This litter is retained in library for future reference by anyone. Things are believed, but with the understanding the belief might be wrong.

    The history of theological doctrine is a case-study of the evolution of a mythic plot and associated magical doctrine recrafted thru history, with much of the literary detritus suppressed if not destroyed outright in a manner reminiscent to Orwell’s book, 1984, where the totalitarian authorities rewrote history to suit the latest current need. The suppression/destruction is impressive, but enough remains to be very revealing … to those that actually inquire.

    Seek and ye shall find.

    If you dare.

  7. I would have thought that the obvious answer to the question “why would God make such a big and complex Universe?” would be “because He can!”

    But, of course, such a demonstration of knowledge and power only serves to infuriate the children of the Beast who, with the blindness of diabolical insolence, implicitly assert that “if God exists He would do what I want”.

    Then, because God clearly does not take instructions from egomaniacal idiots, they go on to assert that Nothing turns itself into Everything with no cause or purpose by an omnipotent magical process called “Evolution” that also creates itself for no reason.

    The subtleties of narcissism are boundlessly perverse.

  8. A clearer and more beautiful version of the image at the top of the page can be found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Observable_universe_logarithmic_illustration.png, where you will also find out what it depicts, how, and why.

    You will also learn that the image’s license requires that its creator be given credit, which Dr. Briggs has failed to do. I realize that the all-too-common practice on the web has convinced many people that it’s acceptable to steal the creative work of others, but it is not.

  9. St. Thomas compars Earth to the heavenly bodies quite a lot in Summa contra Gentiles. In particular, his argument is about the substantial differences between Earth and the heavenly bodies.

    But now we know there is no substantial difference between Earth and the heavenly bodies. They are all made of the same kind of stuff.

    And that means that a logically consistent set of statements using the wrong properties of heavenly bodies is not true in the sense that it describes this particular universe.

    Secondly, Natural Law. If other intelligent beings are not the marrying kind (because of some reason of biology) it will be much harder to make the case that certain human behaviours are sinful. If God is only against divorce for humans, but not against divorce for Kzinti (as their females are not intelligent, they cannot sin), that would reasonably be seen as being arbitrary.

    Regarding Gods love for humans, Jezus being put to the cross at a billion different worlds? Creating one flawed species, ok, but creating a billion of them?

    And if the universe only has humans, there has to be a logical reason for it being that big. One that can be derived from first principles, like the First Mover.

  10. Ken, I have read Malleus Malefacarum and I still have a copy around here somewhere.

    The author, Heinderic Kramer, was described by one of his ecclesiastical contemporaries as a “senile old man” which is, apparently, about the kindest way to say “a complete nutter”.

    Even if ole Kramer was insane he was also very politically cunning and, by subterfuge, a papal approbation was applied to his book. Even though he was not taken seriously by Catholic scholars the Protestants grabbed it with glee and ran with it and some (recorded) 638 poor women were burned to death as witches… mostly in what was to become the United States of America.

    History is often the creation of historians.

  11. What nonsense those “philosophers” are spouting. The universe has to be of a certain age and certain size (not dense) in order for elements and life to evolve. I’ll quote from my article summarizing George F.R. Ellis’s ideas about the anthropic coincidences:

    The size of the universe and its age must be large enough…we need a sufficiently old universe for second generation stars to come into existence and then for planets to have a stable life for long enough that evolution could lead to the emergence of intelligent life. Thus the universe must be at about 15 billion years old for life to exist.

    There must be non-interference with local systems. The concept of locality is fundamental, allowing local systems to function effectively independently of the detailed structure of the rest of the Universe. We need the universe and the galaxies in it to be largely empty, and gravitational waves and tidal forces to be weak enough, so that local systems can function in a largely isolated way.

    Google “Philosophic Issues in Cosmology 6–Are we special?” Briggs’ spam detector won’t let me copy the URL.

  12. @ Sander, “And if the universe only has humans, there has to be a logical reason for it being that big. One that can be derived from first principles, like the First Mover.”

    Been there, done that. Look above.

    I will contend that the Universe was not created just to awe itinerant shepherds but also to astonish and humiliate “scientists” of all ages. The more you look the more there is to see.

    Insane egotists could never be satisfied. If the whole Universe could be simply understood the ego-maniacs would scoff “is that the best that an infinite First Cause can do?”

  13. Still at it, Bob? “What nonsense those “philosophers” are spouting. The universe has to be of a certain age and certain size (not dense) in order for elements and life to evolve. ”

    Modernism, both secular and “theological”, rests on the absurd assumption that everything is “becoming” via “Evolution”.

    You claim to be a scientist. Please describe, in detail, what fundamental premises you invoke for your assumption that the Universe has to have some size and density for elements and life to “evolve”. I can only assume that by “evolve” you mean to come into being without cause or purpose.

  14. @ Oldavid,

    “Nothing turns itself into Everything”

    Nothing cannot exist, therefore something must exist. Problem solved!

  15. @ Bob Kurland,

    “What nonsense those “philosophers” are spouting. The universe has to be of a certain age and certain size (not dense) in order for elements and life to evolve. ”

    That’s not evidence for god, it’s evidence for the universe being natural. Why would ged need to rely on elements forming and life evolving?

  16. Also, Late Moderns seem unable to distinguish illustrative examples taken from the best of contemporary science with substantive assumptions and/or conclusions of the arguments. IOW, if someone were to propose according to the best contemporary science that the stars affects things on earth for the purpose of demonstrating that even so free judgment still holds, then this demonstration is only strengthened if it is later discovered that the stars do not affect life on earth (aside from supplying the necessary heavy elements).

    The distinction between the sublunar and supralunar realms in antiquity did not originate with Thomas, but with secular science — Plato, Aristotle, and that crowd. The religious crowd simply went along with the consensus science because there was no evident reason to disagree. Celestial bodies behaved differently, due to the always-running.

    The history of scientific discovery is littered with rejected hypotheses and truths since updated.

    Normally, when we find a source is fatally flawed…then…we tend to question EVERYTHING from that source. Unless that source is Science. But there is Cardinal Bellarmino’s attitude:
    “[I]f there were a true demonstration that the sun was in the center of the universe and the earth in the third sphere, and that the sun did not travel around the earth but the earth circled the sun, then it would be necessary to proceed with great caution in explaining the passages of Scripture which seemed contrary, and we would rather have to say that we did not understand them than to say that something was false which has been demonstrated.

    Of course, we could always create a false narrative, for example by ascribing to the “Hammer of the Witches” a status and importance that it did not actually have.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2010/02/witchcraft-and-dark-ages.html

  17. swordfishtrombone
    November 7, 2017 at 3:57 pm
    @ Oldavid,
    “Nothing turns itself into Everything”
    Nothing cannot exist, therefore something must exist. Problem solved

    Someone must be paying you in heaps of money or prestige. Even grandparents amusing small children with cognitive tricks couldn’t be taken seriously with that one.

  18. Oldavid, read the article from which the quotes were taken–indeed, the full series and then come back to me after you have tried to learn something new, contrary to your preconceptions.

  19. “No, The Size of the Universe Doe Not Prove God Doesn’t Exist”.

    All this waffle and something as important as a spelling mistake isn’t mentioned!

  20. @oldavid

    Why would anybody need to be impressed by the universe? If you don’t know how hard it is to make a universe, the specifics of the only one instance you can observe are irrelevant.

    Being impressed is relevant when you can compare different examples. The Mona Lisa is impressive if you can compare it with lots of other paintings. If the Mona Lisa is the only painting you know, it might well be one of the worst paintings in existence.

  21. “You’re not God”

    A point worth making but nobody wants to admit this when they’re being dogmatic.
    When people bare false witness to him and about him wittingly or unwittingly they make things worse and the entire subject a mockery to atheists.
    I can’t blame them for this.

  22. Can’t blame the atheists, I mean:
    1 Peter 3: 15
    “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”

  23. I can only assume that by “evolve” you mean to come into being without cause or purpose.

    Why would you assume it means that? Because some philosophical illiterates have said so? Omne autem quod movetur, ab alio movetur.
    +++
    Regarding the size of the world as an argument against God: As the old Pennsylfawnish proverb has it, “Size doesn’t matter, or else cows would catch rabbits.” Or to cite G.K. Chesterton, Man was always small compared to the nearest tree; so what, if we now compare him to something even bigger? Consider how much of the marble block winds up as stone chips on the shop floor of the sculptor’s studio compared what remains to the statue. Were those chips “wasted”? Consider how many seeds are scattered to make a single dandelion, or how many sperm expended to produce a single embryo. Why should it not take a universe to produce a world?

    Were the universe much smaller than it is, it would not have had sufficient mass to hang together long enough for stars and galaxies to develop, but would have dispersed long, long ago. So the universe is, like Little Bear’s Porridge, about as big as it needs to be to produce habitable worlds — regardless whether those number in the millions or only one.

    IOW, as Mr. Herzlinger points out, it is a non sequitur.

  24. Well no, that is not an answer. The biblical cosmos is simple, earth where the people live and the heavens above the sky, where God and the angels are sitting, and where an intensive traffic according to the biblical narrative happened, Jesus descended from heven and his body moved up again, so what exactly happened tobthis body when it dissapeared after a cloud? The credowriters assumed that his body is sinnting in heaven above the sky at the right hand of the Father. And amazingly this was witnessed by the children of Fatima.

  25. Fascinating!
    The scoffers are perfectly willing (indeed ravenously hungry for) any fantastic conjecture about “multiverses”, “worm holes”, “singularities” or just about anything else that does not imply that the temporal is but a particular manifestation of an eternal reality created out of nothing for a purpose.

    Proper drongoes who think that they can see and know everything if they can keep their own head in their own backside.

    The childish notion that Heaven is “up there” and Hell is “down there” are only useful concepts that mean that neither Heaven nor Hell are here and now.

  26. Oldavid,
    It’s true! You know it’s true!
    On TV they found a wormhole.
    Someone had a problem with pesky ghosts and creepiness. It turned out there was a wormhole through which they were coming in in the loft. Or it might have been the crawl space, they have things like that in America. You have to have somewhere for all the crawlers.

  27. I’d be surprised if there was anything on TV that was not a seething ingnoramia of self-perpetuating ego-perversity.

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