Five years ago, I started pondering this question and people have clicked on this essay nearly a thousand times, making it the single most-viewed thing I’ve ever posted. I’d like to continue thinking out loud on the issue now that I’m older and the world has changed a bit...
Let’s start at the very beginning because I’ve decided to make this an EIGHT part series. (No, I DON’T have anything better to do with my time, thank you very much!)
Did God Make Everything?
Simple answer, complex evidence from multiple cultures: http://www.magictails.com/creationlinks.html. While these provide evidence that God (by whatever name granted by the culture) made the universe, a serious problem comes up. Most atheists and other questioners will ask, “If God made the Universe, then who made God?”
I am NOT a MENSA candidate. I’m an ordinary guy with an ordinary job. I like to think and in this case, my thoughts have led me to believe that that Universe was created by an always present being.
“How can that be? If the being was always present, then something had to create the being in the first place!”
My response would be that the Universe came into being so long ago that there is no solid evidence remaining that it “just happened”. Your average materialist cosmologist (I’m not talking the MENSA candidates here, I’m not sure I would understand anything they had to say.) might have a some trouble if I asked them, "What 'went Bang!' in the Big Bang?"
The standard explanation is: it started with “the Universe [at] an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past.” (Hawking, S.W.; Ellis, G.F.R. (1973). The Large-Scale Structure of Space-Time. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-20016-4.)
This doesn’t answer the question of where the Universe at that density and temperature came from; but cultures can’t explain where God came from, either. Science demands that something be observable and that any experiment be repeatable. We take God on faith. Since none of us was there, we can’t go there and we have no observational records from there, both sides on this one must call it a draw, quit arguing and agree that if you want to believe in God, then God made everything. If you want to assign causality to Nature, then Nature made everything.
End of part one.