In general, theists attribute the origin of the universe to some sort of transcendent, intelligent Designer. Atheists envision a natural, undirected process by which universes spring into existence spontaneously. Prior to the 20th century most atheists believed the universe was eternal. This changed however as discoveries throughout the 20th Century rendered that view untenable. Einstein’s theory of gravity (which has been thoroughly validated by extensive experimental confirmation) and Hubble’s astronomical observations preclude an eternal universe. We now know beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe began at some point in the finite past.
Now we understand that there are only two legitimate options for the origin of the universe:
(1) Someone made the universe (Intelligent Design), or
(2) The universe made itself (Random Chance).
The third option, the universe has always been here, is no longer a feasible alternative -- it contradicts empirical science. No other scientifically plausible theories for the origin of the universe have ever been proposed.
The implications of various 20th century discoveries have put atheists in an awkward position. Logic now requires that they identify an uncontrolled mechanism by which the universe could have initiated, designed, created and developed itself without an Intelligent Director. Otherwise, intellectual honesty requires the necessity of a Creator God.
Origin of the Universe - The Big Bang Theory
So began the effort to propose an atheistic mechanism for the origin of the universe. Enter the Big Bang Theory and Darwinian Evolution. The original Big Bang Theory seeks to explain the sudden appearance of everything from nothing, while Darwinian Evolution seeks to explain the origin of complex life forms from their supposed simpler ancestors. The premise of the Big Bang is that the entire universe was compacted into a teeny tiny little ball, which, after randomly coming into existence for no apparent reason in the first place, exploded into all space, time, matter and energy in an instant. Yes, that's the theory. No Ph.D. required.
Origin of the Universe - The Inflation Universe Theories
The Big Bang Theory provided an atheistic explanation for the origin of the universe, but its obvious simplicity was subject to multiple attacks. As a result, the original theory is no longer the dominant scientific explanation for the atheistic origin of the universe. While the original Big Bang Theory is now "dead," from its ashes have emerged the various Inflationary Universe Theories (IUTs). Starting with Alan Guth in the late 1990's (The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins), the scientific community has now proposed roughly 50 different IUT variants. Scientists hope that one of the current IUTs will sire an accurate reconstruction of the birth of our universe, though it is universally acknowledged that all of the current IUTs have their problems. It seems the only way to get realistic calculations to match an IUT model is to make assumptions that are poorly justified.
Origin of the Universe - Post "Bang" Problems
The IUTs are essentially no better an attempt to explain the origin of the universe without God than the Big Bang. The primary differences between the IUTs and the original Big Bang Theory are really pre-bang explanations. What happened just prior to the explosion? What happened during the first millisecond of the explosion? For instance, some of the IUTs have included a concept called the 'epoch of inflation' to explain the dynamic first millisecond after the Bang. However, the basic premise of all these theory variants is the same -- the universe was compacted into a little cosmic ball that subsequently exploded with a big bang into everything that exists today. Thus, the IUTs share the same post-bang problems that plague the original Big Bang Theory. These problems include violations of established Natural Laws, such as:
(i) The Law of Causality (observed effects require a related cause),
(ii) The Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum (observed phenomena like retrograde motion in our solar system are impossible without an intervening cause), and
(iii) The Laws of Thermodynamics (Conservation of Matter/energy and Increased Entropy).In addition, the Big Bang/iUTs are unable to explain a limitless list of other issues related to cosmological, chemical, stellar, planetary and biological causation, order and design. Where did all that matter and energy come from in the first place? What caused its initial release? How did this explosion of everything (from nothing) order itself? How can simplicity become complexity? Where did the chemical elements come from? Where did the mathematical laws and physical properties come from? How do we explain the fine-tuning inherent in spiral galaxies, solar systems and stars? How do you explain the existence of both voids and clumps in our cosmos? Where did the first rock come from? How did life come from a rock? Where did the information code for all biologic forms come from? Where did the language convention that interprets that code come from?…
Origin of the Universe - Long Ago and Far Away...
Attempts to exclude a Creator from the "origin of the universe equation" have been long on theoretical calculations and short on common sense. The various models merely move the questions of where, why and how did everything get here to "long ago and far away." Atheists are tenacious in their efforts to ignore the necessity of a First Cause, Intelligent Designer, Creator God. But as Aldous Huxley put it so eloquently, "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." And it seems that atheists must ignore a great deal in order to maintain their atheistic cosmogonic position. Is the entire universe really the result of an accidental explosion of nothing? Is the design and irreducible complexity of all living systems really the result of random chance? Where is the so-called "evolutionary mechanism"? 21st century "science" has declared that anything sounding "supernatural" is entirely off limits. Yet, by common sense definition, "science" based on the Big Bang and IUTs must suspend and/or violate established natural laws. In effect, atheistic science must use "supernatural" means to justify its atheistic presupposition.
Prior to the last 150 years, and the recent campaign to exclude God in the scientific fields, scientists as a general rule believed in God. As a matter of fact, the founders of a majority of the scientific disciplines were Theists. These men took pride in the idea that they were "thinking God's thoughts after Him." Please consider these final thoughts... If everything is an accident, there's no reason to figure anything out. If everything is futile, purpose is an imaginary concept. But if everything was created, and if everything has a purpose, shouldn't it be the underlying goal of all mankind to discover that Creator and find that purpose? And so we endeavor to discover our Creator and fulfill our purpose, while using science as merely one of our tools.