Dinesh D Souza, The Greatness of Christianity: Table of Contents

Cf. Dinesh D’souza, What’s So Great About Christianity, at Amazon

“It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.” —Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

IN THE NEXT FEW CHAPTERS I explore whether the latest findings in modern science support or undermine the case for the existence of God. The argument will engage physics, astronomy, and biology, although no specialized knowledge of any of these is expected. Here I draw on the findings of classical physics to explore what we know about the origin of the universe and the implications of those discoveries. The question at issue is whether the design of nature points to a creator or whether that design can be given a purely naturalistic explanation.

Earlier we encountered astronomer Carl Sagan’s assertion that “the cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever will be.” Physicist Steven Weinberg argues that “as far as we have been able to discover the laws of nature, they are impersonal, with no hint of a divine plan or any special status for human beings.” I intend to show that these statements are factually wrong. Indeed, I wish to take up a challenge issued by biologist E. O. Wilson, who said, “If any positive evidence could be found of a supernatural guiding force … it would be one of the greatest discoveries of all time.” In recent decades, in one of the most spectacular developments in physics and astronomy, such evidence has indeed been found.

In a stunning confirmation of the book of Genesis, modern scientists have discoveredthat the universe was created in a primordial explosion of energy and light. Not only did the universe have a beginning in space and time, but the origin of the universe was also a beginning for space and time. Space and time did not exist prior to the universe. If you accept that everything that has a beginning has a cause, then the material universe had a nonmaterial or spiritual cause. This spiritual cause brought the universe into existence using none of the laws of physics. The creation of the universe was, in the quite literal meaning of the term, a miracle. Its creator is known to be a spiritual, eternal being of creativity and power beyond all conceivable limits. Mind, not matter, came at the beginning. With the help of science and logic, all this can be rationally demonstrated.

The story begins about a century ago, as scientists began to look for evidence that our universe—not just our planet or our galaxy but all the matter that exists—had a beginning. The reason for the search is that one of the most universal laws of physics, the second law of thermodynamics, predicts such a beginning. The law simply states that, left to themselves, things break down. We see this all around us: highways and buildings decay and collapse, people age and die, metals rust, fabrics become threadbare, rocks and coastlines suffer erosion. If you haven’t studied physics, you might think that the second law is refuted by the evidence of people who build new highways and buildings, but this is not the case. Materials and power are used up in the construction process. More resources and energy are required to maintain these highways and buildings. So even here things are running down and wearing out. Scientists use the term entropy as a measure of the level of disorder, and the second law shows that the total entropy in the universe is continually increasing.

The second law has a startling implication. Consider the example of the sun. As time passes its fuel reserves decline, so that eventually the sun will run out of heat and go cold. But this means the fires of the sun must have been ignited at some point. The sun has not been burning forever. And this is also true of other stars. They too are gradually burning out, suggesting that they too were set aflame some time ago. As the great English astronomer Arthur Eddington once put it, if the universe can be compared to a clock, the fact that the clock is continually running down leads to the conclusion that there was a time when the clock was fully wound up. The universe originated with its full supply of energy and that is the fund that has been dissipating ever since. These facts were known as far back as the eighteenth century, but scientists didn’t know what to make of them.