Only atheism offers a predictable universe

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The following objection was presented on the Atheism discussion board on CARM as an "evidence" for atheism.  It is as follows:

"To my mind, the best evidence for atheism is the predictability of the universe. Atheism (or perhaps I should say naturalism) posits that there exists nothing capable of circumventing the laws by which the universe runs. Theism, on the other hand, says that there is an omnipotent being who, by definition as omnipotent, could cause the universe to run in any manner he/she/it chooses. Any "laws" we might think we observe are merely the coincidental result of God's choice to make things happen that way when we're looking. Atheism thus makes a specific prediction that theism does not. It says that everything within the universe must always follow natural law since there is no being who could make it otherwise. Theism has no equivalent prediction."

I will break the argument down into its parts and deal with it accordingly.  The argument is reproduced with comments in an outline form.

  1. Premise: "Atheism (or perhaps I should say naturalism) posits that there exists nothing capable of circumventing the laws by which the universe runs."
    1. Response:  Naturalism is a logical conclusion for atheists.  It maintains that all things in the universe are the products of natural laws, behave according to natural laws, and that these laws cannot be violated.
  2. Premise: "Theism, on the other hand, says that there is an omnipotent being who, by definition as omnipotent, could cause the universe to run in any manner he/she/it chooses."
    1. Response:  This is a subjective statement with an erring premise.  There is no ultimate definition of the actions of God as defined in theism in general.  But, the Christian God is absolute and knows all the laws of the universe since he incorporated them into the universe as he created it.  This would mean that He knows all laws in the universe and can perform actions which would appear to violate other laws--only they do not.  The Laws in the universe are a reflection of the absoluteness of the nature of God.
  3. Premise:  "Any 'laws' we might think we observe are merely the coincidental result of God's choice to make things happen that way when we're looking."
    1. Response:  The laws would not be arbitrary (coincidental).  If God exists and he has a nature, then what he created (laws and all) would be made in a way that is consistent with his nature.  He would not create in a manner inconsistent with Himself because this would be self-contradictory.  The Christian God is eternal and unchangeable (as the Christian believes according to the Bible).  Therefore, the laws in the universe would be consistent and absolute and also result in predictability.  This is why the existence of physical laws in the universe are just as easily and logically explained by the Christian as by the atheist.
  4. Premise:  "Atheism thus makes a specific prediction that theism does not."
    1. Response: On the contrary, as demonstrated above.  The Christian has every right to claim the predictability of the universe based upon the absoluteness of God's nature.  Instead of randomness that atheism would suggest since the universe and life are the product of chance, Christian theism supports absoluteness and consistency based upon the absoluteness of God's nature.
  5. Premise: "It says that everything within the universe must always follow natural law since there is no being who could make it otherwise."
    1. Response:  And what natural laws must God follow?  If He created the universe as a reflection of His natural absoluteness, then it is logical that the attributes of absoluteness in physics, etc., also reflect His nature.  If miracles occur at the hand of God, then they occur in a system of laws consistent with his nature.  What we observe as supernatural is in reality natural to God and consistent with his abilities and attributes.
      The extent of natural law can and does exist beyond the scope of human understanding.  Take quantum physics as an example--there are things we just do not understand.  Furthermore, if God exists and he created the universe with all that is in it, then why not admit there will be laws that may never be fully understood by people?  There is no logical reason that requires that if God exists, his abilities and knowledge of the laws of the universe (which He created) cannot and do not extend beyond the scope of human grasp.  This would mean that the "supernatural" is simply natural to God and miraculous to us.
  6. Premise: "Theism has no equivalent prediction."
    1. Response:  Yes it does.  Christian theism states that since God is absolute and created the universe, it will demonstrate the absolute nature of laws.  It further states that the supernatural, the miraculous, are consistent with God's nature; and since God is beyond us, God's behavior will also often appear beyond us.

This objection is not a proof for God's non-existence, and it does not offer a theory of natural law predictability that Christian theism cannot.  Therefore, it is not a proof for atheism.

 

 

 

 
 
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