Written by Vladimir Moss



   The pagan Greeks and Romans believed in the goddess Chance (Tyche in Greek, Fortuna in Latin). They also believed in what would appear to be its precise opposite, Fate (Fatum). More precisely, they believed in the Fates (plural),the three goddesses, Atropos, Clotho, and Lachesis, who were supposed to determine the course of human life in classical mythology.

     Christianity rejected this belief, as we can see in the witness of two holy bishops. Thus St. Basil the Great, probably the most learned man of his time, wrote: “Do not say, ‘This happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.’ In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance… How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God.” Again, in the nineteenth century, the scientifically trained St. Ignaty Brianchaninov wrote: “There is no blind chance! God rules the world, and everything that takes place in heaven and beneath the heavens takes place according to the judgement of the All-wise and All-powerful God.”[1]

     However, modern cosmology, in addition to being essentially atheist – it   does not believe in “the judgement of the All-wise and All-powerful God”- is also pagan. For it has the same paradoxical combination of faith both in radical determinism and in an equally radical indeterminism – fate and chance – as did the ancient Greeks and Romans. For on the one hand, it believes that in most of the sciences there reigns the most absolute, iron-like dominion of natural law without any exceptions in the form of miracles; that is, it believes in fate. On the other hand, as regards the most fundamental science of all, quantum physics, the study of the smallest units of matter and energy, it believes that no determinist laws in fact exist, but only indeterminism – that is, chance. This creates a radical schism, an unbridgeable gulf, between the two halves of what has been called “the Theory of Everything” (TOC).   

     Let us briefly examine the indeterminism of quantum physics through the words of the physicist Carlo Rovelli: “The two pillars of twentieth-century physics – general relativity and quantum mechanics – could not be more different from each other. General relativity is a compact jewel: conceived by a single mind, based on combining previous theories, it is a simple and coherent vision of gravity, space and time. Quantum mechanics, or quantum theory, on the other hand, emerges from experiments in the course of a long gestation over a quarter of a century, to which many have contributed; achieves unequalled experimental success and leads to applications which have transformed our everyday lives…; but, more than a century after its birth, it remains shrouded in obscurity and incomprehensibility…”

     The reality this theory has unveiled, continues Ravelli, has three aspects: granularity, indeterminism and relationality. Granularity is not directly relevant to our theme: we shall come to the relationality of quantum theory later. With regard to indeterminism, the problem for the physicists lies in the following. The British physicist Paul Dirac discovered the equations enabling us to compute the velocity, energy, momentum and angular momentum of an electron with great accuracy. However, these equations are statistical and probabilistic in nature: in spite of their accuracy, they provide us with no certain knowledge of what will be. And not only because all scientific hypotheses are uncertain and provisional, but in principle. Thus quantum physics, the most successful theory in the history of science, declares that reality at the most basic, fundamental level does not follow law; it is lawless. Thus “we do not know with certainty where the electron will appear, but we can compute the probability that it will appear here or there. This is a radical change from Newton’s theory, where it is possible, in principle, to predict the future with certainty. Quantum mechanics bring probability to the heart of the evolution of things. This indeterminacy is the third cornerstone of quantum mechanics: the discovery that change operates at the atomic level. While Newton’s physics allows for the prediction of the future with exactitude, if we have sufficient information about the initial date and if we can make the calculations, quantum mechanics allows us to calculate only the probability of an event. This absence of determinism at a small scale is intrinsic to nature. An electron is not obliged by nature to move towards the right or the left; it does so by chance. The apparent determinism of the macroscopic world is due only the fact that microscopic randomness cancels out on average, leaving only fluctuations too minute for us to perceive in everyday life.”[2]  

     The greatest minds in science have wrestled with this problem, trying to get rid of it if they possibly could. Even Einstein – who considered Dirac a great genius, albeit one bordering on madness - could not be reconciled with the theory at first: “God does not play with dice,” he declared. And yet he, too, was finally reconciled with what appeared to be undeniable reality, confirmed by the extraordinary predictive accuracy of quantum physics.

     However, it took a non-scientist, an Oxford professor of philosophy and medieval literature, the famous Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, to express the full, shattering implications of quantum indeterminism for the nature of science and scientific laws – and the possibility of miracles. “The notion that natural laws may be merely statistical results from the modern belief that the individual unit obeys no laws. Statistics were introduced to explain why, despite the lawlessness of the individual unit, the behaviour of gross bodies was regular. The explanation was that, by a principle well known to actuaries, the law of averages leveled out the individual eccentricities of the innumerable units contained in even the smallest gross body. But with this conception of the lawless units the whole impregnability of nineteenth-century Naturalism has, it seems to me, been abandoned. What is the use of saying that all events are subject to laws if you also say that every event which befalls the individual unit of matter is not subject to laws. Indeed, if we define nature as the system of events in space-time governed by interlocking laws, then the new physics has really admitted that something other than nature exists. For if nature means the interlocking system then the individual unit is outside nature. We have admitted what may be called the sub-natural. After this admission what confidence is left us that there may not be a supernatural as well? It may be true that the lawlessness of the little events fed into nature from the sub-natural is always ironed out by the law of averages. It does not follow that great events could not be fed into her by the supernatural: nor that they also would allow themselves to be ironed out…”[3] 

     The great mystery is this: why should the essential lawlessness of every single microscopic subatomic event translate, at higher levels of macroscopic perception – those of atoms, molecules, organs, objects, planets, galaxies – into law-governed things and events? In other words, why does indeterminism become determinism, chance become fate – not in time, but simultaneously, and not only in some places but everywhere? The answer, I would suggest, can only be that God, Who is subject neither to chance nor to fate but is supremely free and omnipotent and beyond all space, time and matter, decrees every single event in the universe in order to give the impression of chance and indeterminism at one level of perception and fate at the other. Thus Ravelli’s declaration: “An electron is not obliged by nature to move towards the right or the left; it does so by chance” should be changed to read: “An electron is not obliged by nature to move towards the right or the left; it does so by the command of God”.

     So is God deliberately deceiving the scientists? By no means! They are deceiving themselves!

     This is most obvious at the macroscopic level. Since ancient times human beings, even primitive, uneducated ones, have always known that nature is governed by laws. And the great majority of them have drawn the obvious conclusion: that there is a Law-giver who commands things to happen in an orderly, lawful way - “He spake and they came into being; He commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 32.9). At the same time, it was obvious to all human beings in ancient times, both primitive and sophisticated, that there were exceptions to natural law – what we call miracles. For if He speaks and they come into being, why should He not at some times not speak so that they do not come into being? Or why should He not change a law of nature for a longer or shorter period for reasons known to Him alone? Indeed, any unprejudiced observer of history will accept that while some “miracles” are fake, there is a vast number of well-attested events whose only explanation must be God’s temporary suspension of the laws He Himself created.

     It was this belief in laws and the Law-giver, combined with intellectual curiosity, that was the main motivation of modern science from the seventeenth century onwards. Newton was such a believer (he also believed in the Holy Scriptures); even Einstein appears to have been one. But then the new belief arose that we can study the laws of nature without positing a Law-giver; that is, “the God hypothesis” is unnecessary. And yet God remains the elephant in the room of modern physics. Why else would they call the most recent discovery in particle physics – that of the Higgs Boson – “the God particle”? It would be hard to imagine a more inappropriate name for a newly discovered particle. Or are they in fact still obsessed by “the God hypothesis”, and are subconsciously trying to reduce the massive invisible elephant behind their back to the smallest visible particle in front their nose? 

     Be that as it may, the fact is that science before the advent of quantum theory believed only in fate, absolute, iron necessity and determinism at every level of reality, a necessity that was lawful (and awful) but did not presuppose (in the scientists’ opinion) a Law-giver. That is why the recent enthronement of chance, the exact opposite of fate, at the centre of physics is such a shock to the whole system. But it is no shock to the Christian scientist. For if an electron is not obliged to move to the right or to the left by any law – in fact, the laws we have suggest that such predictions and prescriptions are in principle impossible – why should that be a problem for the Law-giver? Thus the discovery of chance at the heart of the fate-based system of pre-quantum theory physics actually restores God to the heart of that system, destroying its from within and banishing both fate and chance in favour of the Providence of God.


     Let us now turn to the second major aspect of quantum theory: relationality…

     As we have seen, the quantum wave function that is the fundamental unit of the modern physicist's universe is not a thing or an event, but a spectrum of possible things or events. Moreover, it exists as such only while it is not being observed. When the wave function is observed (by a physical screen or a living being), it collapses into one and one only of the possibilities that define it.

     Now this idea creates hardly less serious problems for the classical view of the world as the idea of indeterminism. For it suggests that the objective existence of the world is tied up to an extraordinary, almost solipsistic extent with the subjective perception of that world. Indeed, the fundamental unit of objective reality, the quantum wave function, becomes real – that is, a single actual event, as opposed to a multiple spectrum of possible events – only when it is observed, that is, when it becomes part of subjective reality, when it is in a relationship with an observer…

     That this continues mightily to disturb the minds of scientists is witnessed by a very recent cover story in the prestigious scientific weekly New Scientist: “Before observation, such quantum objects are said to be in a superposition of all possible observable outcomes. This doesn’t mean that we exist in many states at once, rather that we can only say that all the allowed outcomes of measurement remain possible. This potential is represented in the quantum wave function, a mathematical expression that encodes all outcomes and their relative possibilities.

     “But it isn’t at all obvious what, if anything, the wave function can tell you about the nature of a quantum system before we make a measurement. That act reduces all those possible outcomes to one, dubbed the collapse of the wave function – but no one really knows what that means either. Some researchers think it might be a real physical process, like radioactive decay. Those who subscribe to the many-worlds interpretation think it is an illusion conjured by the splitting of the universe into each of the possible outcomes. Others still say that there is no point in trying to explain it – and besides, who cares? The maths works, so just shut up and calculate.

     “Whatever the case, wave function collapse seems to hinge on intervention or observation, throwing up some huge problems, not least about the role of consciousness in the whole process. This is the measurement problem, arguably the biggest headache in quantum theory. ‘It is very hard,’ says Kelvin McQueen, a philosopher at Chapman University in California. ‘More interpretations are being thrown up every day, but all of them have problems.’”[4]

     This debate reminds the present writer of the work of the Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, who hypothesized that children are not born with a belief in the continued existence of objects when they are not being observed. It is only from about the age of five that they acquire the belief that an object such as a ball continues to exist even when it is hidden behind a sofa so that they cannot see it any longer.[5] Can it be that contemporary scientists are regressing, as it were, to a state of childlike solipsism, of unbelief in the existence of reality when nobody is observing it? If they are, then there is a simple remedy for this form of madness: belief in God. For St. Paul’s “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17.28) is not merely a pretty poetic phrase. On the contrary, it bears the very precise meaning that we exist only by God’s continual upholding every particle in our body and every movement of our soul by the word of His power. If He withdrew this upholding of us, even for one moment, we would immediately revert to the nothingness from which we came. 


     This brings us to the question of the origins of the universe and whether anything can be made out of nothing.

     According to the most famous of contemporary scientists, Stephen Hawking, the universe owes its origin to a chance quantum fluctuation. In a book on Hawking, David Wilkinson, a physicist and Methodist minister, writes that the universe arose by “a chance quantum fluctuation from a state of absolute nothing… Quantum theory deals with events which do not have deterministic causes. By applying quantum theory to the universe, Hawking is saying that the event that triggered the Big Bang did not have a cause. In this way, science is able not only to encompass the laws of evolution but also the initial conditions.”[6]

     However, there are huge problems with this idea. First, if in the beginning there was only a wave function, a spectrum of possibilities, then, as we have seen, someone had to observe it if that wave function was to collapse and bring a single objective reality – our universe – into being. Who could that “someone” have been if not God? After all, did not the great Newton himself talk about space being God’s sensorium? Secondly, the idea that the whole, vast, infinitely varied, infinitely complex and highly organized universe should come from a chance quantum fluctuation is unbelievable (and strictly undemonstrable). Still less believable, thirdly, is the idea that the quantum fluctuation itself should come out of nothing. This is positing nothing as the cause of everything, an obviously nonsensical proposition. For, as King Lear tells the Fool, “Nothing can be made of nothing” (King Lear IV, 4, 126). 

     Wilkinson’s assertion that the quantum fluctuation is not deterministically caused does not resolve the problem. He, as a Christian minister, should have known that existing things can owe their existence only to “Him Who Is” (Exodus 3.14) essentially and from before all time, Who is “the Beginning of every beginning(I Chronicles 29.12), and that “without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1.3).

       Wilkinson continues: “Many people find difficulty in imagining where the matter of the universe comes from to begin with. Surely, they say, there must be an amount of matter or a ‘primeval atom’ with which to go bang? As Einstein’s famous equation E=mc² implies that energy (E) is equivalent to mass (m) multiplied by the square of the speed of light (c), the question can be translated to where does the energy come from?

     “Now energy has the property that it can be either positive or negative. Two objects attracted by the force of gravity need energy to pull them apart, and therefore in that state we say that they have negative gravitational energy.

     “It turns out that the energy in matter in the universe is the same amount as the negative energy in the gravitational field of the universe. Thus the total energy of the universe is zero. In this way you can have something from nothing in terms of the matter in the universe. No problem here for the Big Bang…”[7]

     But this is simply attempting to solve the problem by sleight of hand. Positive energy is something, and negative energy is something. They are not numbers that cancel each other out as in the equation: 1-1=0. They are things, and the existence of things needs to be explained. And something cannot come out of nothing except through the creative energy of “Him Who is”, God.

     Actually, some of the most famous physicists of our time, while not endorsing the idea that God created the heavens and the earth, nevertheless admit that the concept of God is not entirely irrelevant here. Thus Stephen Hawking writes: “It is difficult to discuss the beginning of the Universe without mentioning the concept of God. My work on the origin of the Universe is on the borderline between science and religion, but I try to stay on the scientific side of the border. It is quite possible that God acts in ways that cannot be described by scientific laws. But in that case one would just have to go by personal belief.”[8]

     It is amazing to what lengths scientists will go to deny the obvious fact that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Perhaps the best illustration of this is the now fashionable idea of the “multiverse”, that is, the idea that all the possibilities in the original wave function actually exist in other universes. Frank Close, professor of physics at Oxford University, explains that the idea of the “multiverse” is, together with string theory, one of the “two leading theories that attempt to explain the most fundamental characteristics of the physical world”.[9] But Close readily admits that it has one or two problems…

     The first is that it is untestable, which makes it, strictly speaking, not science at all. “As there is no possibility of communication between us and other universes, there is no empirical way to test the multiverse theory. George Ellis makes the point explicitly: ‘In a general multiverse model, everything that can happen will happen somewhere, so any data whatever can be accommodated. Hence it cannot be disproved by an observational test at all.’ By implication, the multiverse concept lies outside science.’”[10]

     So one of the two main mega-theories of contemporary physical science is not science at all. (Close thinks that the situation is a little better with the other mega-theory, string theory, but only just! Besides, string theory, it is claimed, is really understood by only about six people in the whole world!) Physics was meant to exclude the need for metaphysics, untestable philosophy. But it seems that metaphysics is making a come-back! 

     And this is not the only problem. According to Close, the different universes of the “multiverse” can “implement different laws of physics”, with the consequence that “if such diverse regions of space exist, then the ‘universe’ as we’ve defined it is not the whole of reality… Ellis and his cosmologist colleague Joe Silk, a professor at the Université de Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, call this ‘a kaleidoscopic multiverse comprising a myriad of universes’. They, as proxy for many physicists, then pose the basic challenge: the suggestion that another universe need not have the same fundamental constants of nature as ours inspires the question of what determines the values in our universe. Of the variety of universes that could exist, the conditions for the narrow range of parameters for which intelligent life could exist are trifling. The odds that we exist are therefore so vanishingly small, that multiverse theory claims that there is a ‘landscape’ of universes ‘out there’ in which all possible values of these parameters exist. Thus one universe will exist somewhere with conditions just right for life, and we are the proof…”[11]

      This reveals what is perhaps the main motivation for multiverse theory in physics: to help out evolution theory in biology in what should be the very first and easiest step in the ladder of evolution: the origin of life. The problem is that, as the physicist Close readily admits, – most biologists are much less sincere, - “the odds that we exist are vanishingly small” because the odds on the existence of all of the ten major constants that make life on earth possible (for example, the distance of the earth from the sun) are also “vanishingly small”. So in order to help out their biological colleagues in their little difficulty (of course, this is only the beginning of the vast difficulties faced by Darwinist theory), the physicists are forced to resort to the fantastical theory that all possible universes exist somewhere in the “multiverse” – including our own fantastically unlikely universe with its life-bearing planet, the Earth.

      The Lord said that with God all things are possible. But He did not say that all possibilities will in fact become actual. In fact, He definitively excluded certain possibilities: for example, that falsehood should finally triumph over truth, or good over evil, or that the world will not be brought to an end by His Second Coming. God can do anything – except contradict His own all-holy will. It is His will that decrees which possibilities become reality, and which will never be fulfilled – in any universe. 

     The concept of free will – Divine, human or angelic - is crucial here. For what is an act of will if not the elimination of a range of possibilities in favour of one reality?As I write these words, I am excluding all other verbal possibilities from being actualized. Thus freedom to will this as opposed to that is the freedom to create reality out of mere possibility. As I write these words I am not simply banishing the things I am not writing to some other universe in which they exist on equal terms with what I am writing: I am excluding the very possibility of their being written anywhere.

     If, on the other hand, I assert, as the multiverse theorists seem to be asserting, that I am writing an infinite number of other versions of this article in an infinite number of other universes, the very concept of “I”, of personal identity, seems to disappear. Physicists have become reconciled to the idea – enormously paradoxical though it is - that a sub-atomic particle can exist in two places at the same time. But this paradox is as nothing by comparison with the idea that there is an infinity of universes in which I write an infinite number of different versions of this article. Some of these alternative versions will be gibberish, or represent something completely different from what I actually believe. How, then, can they be said to be what I write? Will they not in fact be the products of completely different people? Indeed, if different universes comprise different possibilities that cannot communicate with each other, and which may obey completely different laws of nature, what basis is there for saying that the I who am writing this article in this universe am the same as any of the Is who are writing it in other universes?

     Let us remind ourselves of the first difficulty Close finds in multiverse theory: that there is no empirical evidence for the existence any other universe than our own – that is, the one single concatenation of events in space and time that all human beings with the exception of some contemporary physicists consider to be reality and not mere possibility. Indeed, not only is there no empirical evidence for other universes: even theoretically there cannot be any such evidence. For if there were, it would show that those other universes were interacting with our own and therefore formed part of our reality. As for there being an infinity of other universes, this is even more out of the question. For as the German mathematician David Hilbert says: “Although infinity is needed to complete mathematics, it occurs nowhere in the physical universe.”[12]

     Scientists used to pride themselves on their hard-headedness, on their insistence on facts, facts that can be empirically seen, heard or touched. Now, however, they deal, not in facts, but in possibilities, infinite numbers of them, none of which is more real than any other. They have become other-worldly to the most extreme degree, indulging in fantasies about other universes no less real – or unreal - than our ours but with which we can have no communication and about which we can have no information whatsoever.

     The idea of multiple universes is an old one: we find it in Hinduism, and we find it in the dualistic religions of the Middle East.

     Just as the idea is old, so is its refutation. As early as the second century, the Holy Fathers rejected the idea put forward by the heretic Marcion that there are two universes, one ruled by a good God and the other by a bad one, each universe following different laws. C.S. Lewis discerns in all forms of the dualistic (and by inference, multiverse) error two major difficulties, one metaphysical and the other moral. The metaphysical difficulty consists in the fact that neither of the two worlds “can claim to be the Ultimate. More ultimate than either of them is the inexplicable fact of their being there together. Neither of them chose this tête-à-tête. Each of them therefore is conditioned – finds [itself] willy nilly in a situation; and either that situation itself, or some unknown force which produced that situation, is the real Ultimate. Dualism has not yet reached the ground of being. You cannot accept two conditioned and mutually independent beings as the self-grounded, self-comprehending Absolute.” In trying to understand the dualistic multiverse in pictorial terms, we cannot avoid “smuggling in the idea of a common space in which they can be together, and thus confessing that we are not yet dealing with the source of the universe but only with two members contained in it. Dualism is a truncated philosophy.”[13]

     The moral difficulty is similar. It consists in the fact that if one universe has one system of values, which we from our point of view would call good, and the other a completely different, or contradictory one, which we would call bad, there is no basis on which to judge between the two. “In what sense can one party [or universe] be said to be right and the other wrong? If evil has the same kind of reality as good, the same autonomy and completeness, our allegiance to good becomes the arbitrarily chosen loyalty of a partisan. A sound theory of value demands something very different…”[14]

     It does indeed. However, physicists do not generally concern themselves with moral questions, or the origins of morality; so one might argue that this consequence of their theory is irrelevant to physical truth. But this would be disingenuous; for physical, cosmological theories are so ambitious that they quite unashamedly claim to be “Theories of Everything” (TOEs). Everything is everything. You cannot claim to have a theory of everything if “everything” excludes life, consciousness, conscience, art and morality…

     Not to mention God… But then we have come to expect that “theories of everything” would exclude God. The irony is that in the brave new world of modern science, in which everything that is remotely possible must be true in some universe or other, the possibility of God remains firmly excluded…


     The motto of most contemporary physicists should be an inversion of Dostoyevsky’s dictum: “Everything is possible (and in fact exists somewhere), so God does not exist.” Only the determination not to believe in God can explain how they would prefer the most fantastical of all theories to the knowledge of God… It is truly the fool that has said in his heart: there is no God.

     Now human thought, both scientific (in the Big Bang Theory) and commonsensical and religious, sees the history of the universe as going back to a first cause. For if there were no first cause, there would be nothing to set the causal nexus going. However, the first cause must be in some sense outside the causal nexus taken as a whole; and so it must itself be uncaused (and immaterial and non-spatiotemporal). Otherwise, if it were part of the causal nexus, it would itself require a causal explanation. This is recognized by religious thought, which calls God the Uncaused Cause and “Beginning of all beginnings”. But modern cosmological thought cannot accept this. If it accepts a first cause, it is only in the sense of the first of the causes, the big bang itself. It cannot accept that the big band itself must have a cause. 

     David Berlinski, a distinguished American academic with qualifications in the fields of physics, mathematics, biology and philosophy who is also a secular Jew and an agnostic, writes: “The universe, orthodox cosmologists believe, came into existence [about 13.8 billion years ago] as the expression of an explosion – what is now called the Big Bang. The word explosion is a sign that words have failed us, as they so often do, for it suggests a humanly comprehensible event – a gigantic explosion or a stupendous eruption. But this is absurd. The Big Bang was not an event taking place at a time or in a place. Space and time were themselves created by the Big Bang, the measure along with the measured…

     “If the Big Bang expresses a new idea in physics, it suggests an old idea in thought: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. This unwelcome juxtaposition of physical and biblical ideas persuaded the astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, an ardent atheist [and believer in the steady state theory], to dismiss the Big Bang after he had named it. In this he was not alone. Many physicists have found the idea that the universe had a beginning alarming. ‘So long as the universe had a beginning,’ Stephen Hawking has written ‘we could suppose it had a creator.’ God forbid!..

     “For more than a century, physicists had taken a manful pride in the fact that theirs was a discipline that celebrated the weird, the bizarre, the unexpected, the mind-bending, and the recondite. Here was a connection that any intellectual primitive could at once grasp: The universe had a beginning, thus something must have caused it to happen. Where would physics be, physicists asked themselves, if we had paid the slightest attention to the obvious?...

     “If both theory and evidence suggested that the universe had a beginning, it was natural for physicists to imagine that by tweaking the evidence and adjusting the theory, they could get rid of what they did not want [God]. Perhaps the true and the good universe – the one without a beginning – might be reached by skirting the Big Bang singularity, or bouncing off it in some way? But in the mid-1960s, Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking demonstrated that insofar as the backward contraction of the universe was controlled by the equations of general relativity almost all lines of conveyance came to an end.

     “The singularity was inescapable.

     “This conclusion encouraged the theologians but did little to ease physicists in their own minds, for while it strengthened the unwholesome conclusion that Big Bang cosmology had already established, it left a good deal else in a fog. In many ways, this was the worst of all possible worlds. Religious believers had emerged from their seminars well satisfied with what they could understand; the physicists themselves could understand nothing very well.

     “The fog that attended the Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems (there is more than one) arose spontaneously whenever physicists tried to determine just what the singularity signified. At the singularity itself, a great many physical parameters zoom to infinity. Just what is one to make of infinite temperature? Or particles that are no distance from one another? The idea of a singularity, as the astronomer Joseph Silk observed, is ‘completely unacceptable as a physical description of the universe… An infinitely dense universe [is] where the laws of physics, and even space and time, break down.’”[15]

     The Big Bang theory posits a beginning state of the universe that is contrary to the laws of physics. In other words, it is physically impossible. This is an enormous problem for atheist physics, which assumes the law-governed nature of all things, while rejecting a Law-giver, but not for traditional religious thought, which recognizes a Law-giver as well as the law. For if God is the Cause of the entire spatio-temporal universe, then the causality joining God to the universe, as it were, must itself be beyond space and time and not subject to physical laws. For this is not the link between a material cause and a material effect, which expresses a physical law, but the link between the Creator and the whole of His physical creation, that is, all material causes and effects taken together as a single system. In fact, the “causality” that brought the heavens and the earth into being is not empirical causality at all, but more like the causality that every rational being experiences every time he exercises his free will; it is the free will of God.

     Berlinski argues that the fact that “causes in nature come to an end” shows that “the hypothesis of God’s existence and the facts of contemporary cosmology are consistent.[16] However, in order for God’s existence and the supposed facts of contemporary cosmology to be consistent, more is required. Above all, the existence of a form of non-empirical causality, free will, must be admitted – both the free will of God in creating and continuing to uphold the universe, and the free will of men who choose to believe or not to believe in that fact. And surely any sane physicist would accept that he is free in this sense. Otherwise, if all their words and thoughts are just the determined or undertermined products of fate or chance, why should we believe them?

     Why does the universe exist at all? “Oxford’s Peters Atkins has attempted to address this issue. ‘If we are to be honest,’ he argues, ‘then we have to accept that science will be able to claim complete success only if it achieves what many might think impossible: accounting for the emergence of everything from absolutely nothing.’ Atkins does not seem to recognize that when the human mind encounters the thesis that something has emerged from nothing, it is not encountering a question to which any coherent answer exists. His confidence that a scientific answer must nonetheless be forthcoming needs to be assessed in other terms, possibly those involving clinical self-delusion.”[17]

     The theologians say that God created the universe out of nothing; the physicists say that it “emerged” from nothing. The first explanation is more plausible than the second, for while we cannot know how God created everything out of nothing, the idea itself is nevertheless comprehensible - first because the idea of a Creator Who is incomprehensible to His creatures is in itself quite comprehensible (and logical), and secondly because God is at any rate something and not nothing. Besides, it provides plausible answers to the question “Why?” in the sense of “For what purpose?” We can say, for example, that God created the universe because his nature is love, and He wants creatures to exist in order to share in His love.

     The second explanation, however, not only provides no conceivable answer to the questions “How?” and “Why”. It is itself nonsensical. For out of nothing nothing can come… And so: “Quantum cosmology is a branch of mathematical metaphysics. It provides no cause for the emergence of the universe, and so does not answer the first cosmological question [how?], and it offers no reason for the existence of the universe, and so does not address the second [why?]. If the mystification induced by its modest mathematics were removed from the subject, what remains does not appear appreciably different in kind from various creation myths in which the origin of the universe is attributed to sexual congress between primordial deities.”[18]

      For modern cosmology appears to have veered off towards a sophisticated form of Hinduism, whose creation myth tells of a quasi-sexual explosion of multiple seeds of universes through the union of Brahma, “the germ of all being”, with his consort Saraswathi. For is not “the sea of indeterminate probability” or “wave function of the universe” a kind of modern version of “the germ of all being”, which explodes out of potential being into a multitude of actual universes after coming into contact with an observer? (But who could this observer be if not a God who is not Brahma?) It looks as if the physicists, who so pride themselves on their rationality, have regressed even further into the mists of magical, pre-scientific paganism.

     To conclude: there is only one philosophy that truly embraces everything: Orthodox Christianity. One of the early Christian martyrs, St. Justin the philosopher, said: “Only Christianity is a reliable and useful philosophy. Only thus and for this reason can I be a philosopher.” Modern science has reverted to a way of thinking that recalls many non-Christian religions and heresies, but is essentially simply a stubborn refusal to accept the “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1.3) of the existence of the invisible God from His visible creation – for which unbelief, as St. Paul says, “there is no excuse” (Romans 1.20). It has fulfilled the prophecy of St. Nilus the Myrrh-Gusher (+1596) about the twentieth century: “[The Antichrist], the dishonourable one, will so complete science with vainglory that it will lose its way and lead people to unbelief in the existence of the God in three Persons.”

     St. Nilus points to vainglory as the motive of this pseudo-science (Dostoyevsky called it “half science” in The Devils) because leaving God out of every equation enables the scientists to demonstrate the brilliance of their own minds, to earn the plaudits of their colleagues and receive the glory of a world that craves the gold of wisdom but receives only the husks of “the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called science” (I Timothy 6.20). Therefore the way back to true knowledge and wisdom can only be through humility, through submitting to “the Power of God and the Wisdom of God”, the Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 1.24), “in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2.3) - but Who enlightens only those who ask him in humility.So let the model for the scientists be the humility of Solomon, the wisest of men, who said: “I am Thy slave and the son of Thy handmaid, a man who is weak and short-lived, with little understanding of judgement and laws; for even if one is perfect among the sons of men, yet without the wisdom that comes from Thee he will be regarded as nothing... For a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthly tent burdens the thoughtful mind. We can hardly guess at what is on earth, and what is at hand we find with labour. But who has traced out what is in the heavens, and who has learned Thy counsel, unless Thou give him wisdom, and send Thy Holy Spirit from on high?” (Wisdom of Solomon 9.5-6, 15-17)


October 30 / November 12, 2017.

[1]Brianchaninov, “Sud’by Bozhii” (The Judgements of God), Polnoe Sobranie Tvorenij (Complete Collection of Works), volume II, Moscow, 2001, p. 72.

[2] Ravelli, Reality is Not What it Seems, London: Penguin, 2014, pp. 91, 103-104.

[3] Lewis, “Religion without Dogma?” (1946), in Compelling Reason, London: Fount, 1986, pp. 92-93.

[4] Philip Ball, “Reality? It’s What You Make of It”, New Scientist, November, 2017, p. 29.

[5] Actually, the present writer with C.C. Russell demonstrated in an undergraduate experiment at Oxford in 1970 that this ability is present in children much earlier, from at least the age of three. But this is not relevant to the present argument.

[6] Wilkinson, God, Time and Stephen Hawking, London: Monarch Books, 2001, p. 104.

[7] Wilkinson, op. cit., pp. 83-84.

[8] 20/20, ABC Television Broadcast, March, 1998; quoted in Wilkinson, op. cit., p. 26.

[9] Close, “The Limits of Knowledge”, Prospect, June, 2015, p. 64.

[10] Close, op. cit., p. 65.

[11] Close, op. cit., p. 65.

[12] Hilbert, in Close, op. cit., p. 66.

[13] Lewis, “Evil and God”, in Faith, Christianity and the Church, London: HarperCollins, 2002, p. 94.

[14] Lewis, op. cit., p. 94.

[15] Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, New York: Basic Books, 2009, pp. 69, 70-71, 78-79.

[16] Berlinski, p. 80.

[17] Berlinski, pp. 95-96.

[18] Berlinski, pp. 106-107.

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