Why do Pagans Want to Keep God Small?
The article below is cut-n-pasted from Too Big You Say? Can You Back That Up?
Materialists often argue that the size of the universe is evidence that God does not exist. As we shall see, this is a very weak argument.
The argument from the size of the universe usually goes something like this: The superstitious ancients who dreamt up the idea of God thought we lived in a cozy little universe. We now know the universe is unimaginably vast and mostly empty. God, if he exists, would not have created a vast, mostly empty, universe. Therefore, God does not exist.
Let’s examine these premises. First, the materialist’s assertion that the ancients did not understand that we live in a vast universe is wrong is nothing more than a modern conceit. Over 3,000 years ago the Psalmist wrote:
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
The Psalmist knew that in comparison to the cosmos man is small and insignificant. Not only was the Psalmist not alone among the ancients, by the second century AD, his intuition was common knowledge among educated people. In chapter 5 of book I of the Almagest (ca. 150), Ptolemy wrote:
The earth, in relation to the distance of the fixed stars, has no appreciable size and must be treated as a mathematical point.
Having dispensed with the conceit that often moves the argument, let us move to the argument proper. If we were to cast the argument in the form of a syllogism it would look like this:
Major Premise: If God exists, he would not have created an unimaginably vast, mostly empty, universe.
Minor Premise: The universe we observe is unimaginably vast and mostly empty.
Conclusion: Therefore, God does not exist.
The conclusion follows from the premises. But is the argument sound, i.e., are we confident the premises are true?
One could quibble with the minor premise on the ground that the word “vast” is relative. A destroyer is vast compared to a dinghy, but it is small compared to an aircraft carrier. So is the destroyer vast or small? It depends on whether you are comparing it to a dinghy or a carrier. But the universe cannot be compared to something else. It is unique and it is large. Is it? Let’s grant the multiverse position for the sake of argument. If that position is true, our universe is not vast compared to the multiverse; indeed it is almost infinitely tiny. Anyone who has seen the closing credits of the movie Men in Black (see here starting at 0:30) will have an idea of the force of this observation.
But let’s not get caught up in unresolvable disputes over relative size. Let’s grant the minor premise even if it is somewhat shaky. What about the major premise? In this premise the materialist asserts that if God exists he would not have created such a big universe. And how, exactly, does the materialist know what size of a universe God would create if he existed?
There does not appear to be any good materialist answer to that question. All I have ever gotten has been variations on the following assertion: To me it looks awfully big and wasteful to have been created by a reasonable God.
At bottom the argument is either an argument from personal incredulity, an aesthetic argument, or an argument from ignorance.
Personal incredulity. “I personally do not believe a reasonable God would have made such a big universe.” The answer to this, of course, is so what? The fact that you find an assertion implausible does nothing to establish that it is false. That requires evidence, of which this argument is singularly lacking.
Aesthetics. “I fell that a reasonable God would not have wasted so much space.” This argument boils down to a visceral aesthetic impulse. Needless to say, a visceral aesthetic impulse says nothing about the actual facts of the matter. Maybe God is not reasonable as you define reasonableness. Maybe he was extravagant. Maybe he had reasons to create so large that you don’t know about. At the end of the day, the condition of your viscera says nothing about the actual facts of the matter.
Argument from ignorance. “There is no good reason for God to have made the universe so vast.” Correction. There is no good reason that you know about that God made the universe so vast.
As we have discussed in this pages before, many atheists assert there is “no evidence” for God having created the universe. This assertion borders on idiotic. There are any number of good lines of evidence that would lead to a conclusion that God created the universe, and just because an atheist does not find any of those lines of evidence (or all of them cumulatively) personally convincing, does not mean they don’t exist. If we are going to talk about lack of evidence, let’s focus on the “the universe is just too big” argument. There is absolutely no evidence backing the argument up. Nevertheless, many atheists find the argument compelling. That should tell you something.
There are a few additional comments I would like to add to Barry Arrington’s insights above.
A creative eternity with God and other godly people — all of whom are Creationists (God) or Sub-Creationists (Saved humanity) — is going to need a vast canvas to work with. Especially as wisdom and knowledge compounds in greater and greater amounts, over eternity.
Humanity will eventually have a finite number: but it may well be possible that other sinless yet (to some extent) physical and reproducing intelligence may well exist. Should they be permitted to exist, they are going to need a place to live…
There is a small but real possibility that God will not be satisfied with merely filling the earth before the Second Coming. If humanity really does exist for tens of thousands of generations, we are going to need a lot of room. Even 10,000 years of the human population doubling every century will go a long way to filling the galaxy: toss in another 100,000 years, and with the power of compounding the known universe is going to get a little cramped.
A Long Aside: The Defeat of Death, The Works of Christ, The End of the Age
I actually don’t think the above will happen: with the heavy Biblical stress of filling the earth and the knowledge of God covering the world, coupled with the increasing rate of technological advancement and power, it is more likely that Christ will return before we get a proper solar-system-spanning civilization going.
At the end of the day, a morally imperfect humanity simply won’t be able to successfully gain and hold interstellar worlds before throwing everything away on some stupid demonic quest for control, in the style of the 20th century totalitarians. With future technology, it will be simply too easy for Twelve Angry Men to kill millions or even billions.
Moral perfection is demanded to gain the stars, and that level of sinlessness is only viable after Christ has disposed of his enemies, physical and spiritual, and rendered surviving humanity ethically flawless, without a single exception anywhere.
But as I reflect on this, an interesting possibility emerges.
Note that death is the last enemy to be subjected, before Christ — who is reigning right now — bring everything to the Father.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. — I Corinthians 15:23-26
Recalling that Christ told us
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. — John 14:12
And that Jesus Christ did raise people up from the dead, it is possible that by the power of the Holy Spirit, death may well be defeated to some limited but real degree just before Christ’s return!
I have always suspected that some form of ageless is possible…
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. — Isaiah 65:17-25
(Note that people still die in the far future Isaiah describes above: multi-century lifespans are a commonplace here, but death, much delayed and hindered, still gets his prey.)
…but I am truly surprised that a close reading of Scripture suggests the possibility of death being defeated before the return of Christ!
(Note that we can already do some greater works — on the scale of a society and a civilization — than Jesus did, thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit that He sent to us.
Liars who actually act as if the universe is random and meaningless are utterly powerless.
But note that most Darwinists merely want a random and meaningless universe, not only as an act of nihilism and rebellion, but so they can be Lord over it, instead of Jesus Christ. But as sinful men, their rebellion and nihilism can’t and won’t stop at an arbitrary line: the logic of their faith in randomness and lawlessness must finally grow to overwhelm and kill them, just as it is killing Western society.
The Creation has but one Master: and it is innately hostile to fakes and proud elitists, vicious rebels and evil, twisted perverts. Over time, what is Godly shall live, and what is Ungodly shall die.
Men who act and think in recognition that the Creation has meaning and order and purpose, and that it is lawful for us to reshape it to meet holy goals — goals set by God, and not by wealthy and powerful rebels — gain real authority over the Creation.
And remember, Jesus Christ really did give the keys to heaven and hell to the Church: the greatest power that any man can imagine to hold.)
So why does Christ return, if death is destroyed by a sufficiently-obedient future Christian culture?
No one but Christ can resurrect the long dead, either good or evil.
There is Unfinished business to be wrapped up with God’s enemies, from Satan to evil nations, to infants and ignorant men who (as is the consistent nature of all humanity who are not explicitly chosen for salvation) pointedly and innately refuse to acknowledge Christ as their Lord.
And those who died in faith, after a peaceful life (but finally killed by their own sinful and corrupt nature), or with their life unlawfully cut short by the wicked, must be returned to life to receive a good reward. No man can do this, and even after the defeat of death the Church can’t do this: only Christ can give these cleansed souls their new bodies and a good reward, for their trust in Him.
Divine justice must be meted out, for every act and every thought and every word uttered in history. Only Jesus Christ can provide the justice the Creation needs, to truly clean and refresh the Creation.
Jesus Christ is the sinless one, who inherited what the First Adam threw away. Despite the great power and authority His followers will gain in the future — even before the second coming — it is Christ who is the Firstfruits, the only Begotten Son of God, and it is He who is Lord and God, the Second Person of the Trinity.
So it is right and proper that Jesus Christ, in whose Name alone we are saved, be the One who judges all in history, the living and the dead, the righteous and the wicked.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. — Romans 10:13-17
If no one reaches a family, a nation, a people with the Gospel, they cannot know the Way of Salvation, and thus must be damned.
And woe unto those who knew the Way… and despised it!
There is only one True, Legitimate Judge over all humanity, and over all history: and that Man is Jesus Christ. And He must judge all men and angels… and He will judge all, the quick and the dead, angels and men.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. — Matthew 25:31-46
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. — Revelation 20:10-15
As the Creation going forward must be sinless, and as the wicked can only think evil continually, they must be kept in excruciating pain so they can never even conceive of a single wicked thing, or a single lawless emotion.
All men are naturally flawed, naturally reject God, naturally seek to do evil, and naturally deserve the lake of fire… following the snake they chose to serve, the idol they preferred instead of God their Creator.
If you fear the coming lake of fire, turn to Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life!