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What if the Cosmos is all that There Is?
by Daryl E. Witmer
Are you a materialist? Materialism (the philosophy) suggests that “physical matter is the only reality, and that everything-including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can all be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.”
Or perhaps you prefer the term naturalist. You believe that all can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. Nothing has moral, spiritual, or supernatural significance.
Carl Sagan once said: “The cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever will be.”
Douglas Futuyma in Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution, says: “Some shrink from the conclusion that the human species was not designed, has no purpose, and is the product of mere mechanical mechanisms-but this seems to be the message of evolution.”
Richard Dawkins in The Blind Watch-maker: “Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as
if by a master watch-maker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
Francis Crick in The Astonishing Hypothesis:
What if all this is true? What if the cosmos and the chemicals and the particles really are all that there is, and all that we are?
“If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance, then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” -Francis Schaeffer in The God Who Is There
“Eventually materialist philosophy undermines the reliability of the mind itself-and hence even the basis for science. The true foundation of rationality is not found in particles and impersonal laws, but in the mind
“Can man live without God? Of course he can, in a physical sense. Can he live without God in a reasonable way? The answer to that is No!” -Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God
If you are an atheist, a materialist, a pantheist, or a naturalist, try to answer the following 12 questions:
1. “If all of life is meaningless, and ultimately absurd, why bother to march straight forward, why stand in the queue as though life as a whole makes sense?” -Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There
2. If everyone completely passes out of existence when they die, what ultimate meaning has life? Even if a man’s life is important because of his influence on others or by his effect on the course of history, of what ultimate significance is that if there is no immortality and all other lives, events, and even history itself is ultimately meaningless?
4. Suppose the universe had never existed. Apart from God, what ultimate difference would that make?
5. In a universe without God or immortality, how is mankind ultimately different from a swarm of mosquitoes or a barnyard of pigs?
6. What viable basis exists for justice or law if man is nothing but a sophisticated, programmed machine?
7. Why does research, discovery, diplomacy, art, music, sacrifice, compassion, feelings of love, or affectionate and caring relationships mean anything if it all ultimately comes to naught anyway?
8. Without absolute morals, what ultimate difference is there between Saddam Hussein and Billy Graham?
9. If there is no immortality, why shouldn’t all things be permitted? (Dostoyevsky)
10. If morality is only a relative social construct, on what basis could or should anyone ever move to interfere with cultures that practice apartheid, female circumcision, cannibalism, or ethnic cleansing?
11. If there is no God, on what basis is there any meaning or hope for fairness, comfort, or better times?
12. Without a personal Creator-God how are you anything other than the coincidental purposeless miscarriage of nature, spinning round and round on a lonely planet in the blackness of space for just a little while before you and all memory of your futile, point-less, meaningless life finally blinks out forever in the endless darkness?
NOTE: Many, but not all, of the preceding questions are paraphrased versions of those posed by William Lane Craig in his book Reasonable Faith, chapter 2, The Absurdity of Life Without God.