Tag: origins

Is it possible that God could have created the Universe? Higher Origins Essay Help

Is it possible that God could have created the Universe?

Higher Origins Essay Help

The VIEWS Structure

This guide will follow the VIEWS format; which is a good example of how to structure essay paragraphs.

Viewpoints

Interpretation

Example

Weaknesses

Strengths/ Rebuttal

Some may find it easier or more logical to switch the weaknesses and strengths around, finishing on the weakness. Or as I have done below started with a strength, given a weakness then given a rebuttal.  This will help you consider evaluation, analysis and knowledge points. Make sure you always answer the question and link back to the question.

Is it possible that God could have created the Universe? Discuss

There are many different approaches to this question and it is not as straightforward as it seems. This guide aims to look at four different responses to this argument.

  1. Yes, because the Bible says he did. (Creationists Christians)
  2. Yes, because the Bible says he did and this can be backed up with science. (Creation Scientists)
  3. Yes, because there are many scientific theories that are explained by God. (Liberal Christians)
  4. No, because there is scientific evidence to say God was not required to create the Universe. (Scientific Materialists)

Viewpoint 1 –  Creationists

Christians would look to the Bible for guidance and help in their life. However, it is up to personal faith and belief as to how you interpret the Bible. Many take a literal approach and believe every word of the Bible to be the truth. These people are called Creationists. They believe the bible is a Special Revelation from God and is his exact words and therefore the ultimate truth. This means that when they are looking at the Book of Genesis which details the creation stories they believe this to be a complete truth.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”

Creationists would take the seven-day creation story literally and so believe that because the Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it, this is the only evidence that they need. Some may say that the Bible is not enough evidence to prove God created the Universe, especially because it was written thousands of years ago and there has been scientific research that claims otherwise. However, by only looking at the Bible and discrediting any other theories or evidence requires a lot of faith and belief and so this could be seen as a strength. Therefore Creationists Christians believe that God is the only answer for the creator of the Universe.

 

Viewpoint 2 – Creation Scientists

Creation Scientists hold a similar belief in that they believe the Bible to be a literal account of the creation of the Universe, but they would also back this up with scientific evidence. This means that they believe the Universe is only a few thousand years old and it was created in 6 days. The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is a research group set up by Dr. Henry Morris, sets out to find Scientific Evidence to back up the Creation story as found in the Bible. For Example, the ICR claims that Fossils cannot date back millions of years old as there is still soft tissue present in it. They also have used Science to back up their theory that the Universe is only several thousands of years old because of the lack of sodium in the world’s oceans. By taking the story from the Bible and backing it up with scientific findings that follow the scientific method, Creation Scientists are able to prove the possibility of God creating the Universe. Their hypothesis has been taken from the Bible and they have used testing and verification to conclude that their theory was correct. Many would argue a weakness of this viewpoint is that Creation Scientists are only taking into account the parts of science that fit their theory and discrediting other scientific ideas. Creation Scientists would rebut this saying that Atheists who discredit the idea of God are ignoring evidence such as the Bible and other ways in which God has revealed himself. Therefore Creationists Scientists would believe that it is fully possible to believe that God created the Universe.

Viewpoint 3 – Liberal Christians

There are many that believe that scientific theories such as the Big Bang Theory can work with the Biblical Account of Creation. Christians who interpret the Bible in a metaphorical way, believing the Bible to be a story to help explain God’s power, would believe that the creation story of Genesis and the Big Bang Theory could work together. For example, in Genesis 1 it says that there was immense darkness before God said: “Let there be Light”. This can be compared to the Light that was emitted when the Big Bang started and so it could be argued that God was the cause of the Big Bang. The process of the Big Bang could fit in with the process of the Big Bang and the 6-day creation story could instead be interpreted as 6 stages or time periods. A strength of this argument is that allows Christians or theists to believe in God and have their faith backed up with scientific theories. Scientists do not know for example what started the Big Bang and so for many Christians, this something is God. Scientist E. O Wilson who is an atheist agrees that it is possible that religion and science can work together. A weakness of this approach, however, is it is not clear as to how much of the Bible should be taken metaphorically. This could cause people to pick and choose parts of their own religions. However, Liberal Christians would argue this is all part of the free will that God has given them, the ability to make reasoned judgments based on his guidance. Overall Liberal Christians believe that it is entirely possible that God created the Universe.

Viewpoint 4 – Scientific Materialists

There are many who do not believe it is possible for a God to have created the Universe, these people are referred to as Scientific Materialists. They look to scientific theories to explain the origins of the universe. Scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins would argue that there is no need for a God. They would look at the Big Bang Theory and summarise that it does not require a God. There are many instances of spontaneous, unexplained actions that can happen in the Universe that can cause a chain of events. It is argued that one of these unexplained combustions could have caused the Big Bang and therefore requires no God. A strength of this is that it is using the evidence available to come to a conclusion and is not relying on faith or religious revelation, which cannot be verified. However, it could be argued that scientific theories such as the Big Bang Theory are only ever theories, based on the evidence available at that time. Science is continually changing and developing and so theories can change. However, for many atheists who do not believe in God, science seems to be the only logical approach to questions about the Origin of the Universe.  For Scientific Materialists, it is impossible for a God to have created the Universe.

Conclusion

In your Higher exam – it is recommended you bring together all of your ideas and summarise your arguments and answer the question. You can answer the question and add your personal opinion using phrases such as “in my opinion”,as an overall conclusion I would say that” or “I agree to a certain extent…”

When writing an essay, use the skills phrases to help you which are available on the https://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/RMPSCourseSpecN5.pdf

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Origin of the Universe – The Scientific Approach

Origin of the Universe – The Scientific Approach

For Scientific Materialists, it is unreasonable to believe that a God or Supernatural being created the Universe. Instead, they deduce through scientific reasoning and the scientific method that the origin of the Universe can be explained solely through science with no religious input.

Image result for richard dawkins

One believer of this approach is Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist who is firmly against the idea of God and has published several pieces discrediting religious responses to the origin of the universe. In contrary to this is Edward Osbourne (E. O.) Wilson, a scientist who was brought up as a Christian but became an atheist. He does, however, believe science and religion can work together to provide a better understanding of how the world works.

Stephen Hawking has dedicated his life’s work to the exploration of Black Holes and in turn the Big Bang Theory. He believes that all the evidence that is currently available points to the Big Bang is the beginning of the universe. Until other evidence disproves this theory he believes that this is the only plausible explanation for the origin of the universe. When looking at what is a reasonable

When looking at what is a reasonable explanation, scientists look to theories that can be proven or disproven with the Scientific method. This is why revelation is unacceptable to many as it cannot be tested, verified or falsified.

Scientific theories, regardless of what they are about, are theoretical. This means they are theoretically right until a new piece of evidence can prove or disprove the hypothesis. You can read more about the scientific reasoning behind the Big Bang Theory in a previous post The Big Bang Theory Explained

When discrediting religion, many would use the argument that a book written thousands of years ago cannot have all the answers. If God did create the universe and the Bible is God’s word, why does it not explain more about the origins of the universe?  However, the counter-argument of this is that the Bible should not be taken literally.

When you are asked about whether it is reasonable to believe a God created the universe you have to always remember what is reasonable to one person may not be reasonable to another. It is all down to personal interpretation.

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The Big Bang Theory Explained

The Big Bang Theory is a term for a theory that is centuries old although is on record as being term the ‘Big Bang Theory’ by Fred Hoyle in the 1920s. There are many different parts to the Big Bang Theories and some disagreements within the scientific community as to the cause and effect of the Big Bang but it is widely agreed that:

  1. The Universe had a definite beginning.
  2. The Universe continues to expand and cool down.
  3. The Universe isn’t reliant on something or some being for it’s existence.

There is no universal agreement on what caused the Big Bang to begin or what will happen to the universe eventually.

Universe 03 Concept Isometric

Below is a quick guide to the Big Bang (Excuse me if anything is inaccurate, feel free to send any corrections to me!)

Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe

In class, we have watched Stephen Hawking’s Universe in class to help us understand the Theory. From the video we have learned.

We have discovered more about the universe in the last 100 years than in the past 200,000 years. Everything in the Universe has been made by stars.

BriefHistoryTime

The Red Shift

We know that the Big Bang Happened and the Galaxies are moving away from us because of Red Shift. This is when Galaxies appear Red due to the fact that they are moving away from us. This is explained in this BBC Guide. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/aqa/origins/redshiftrev1.shtml

red-shift-explained

The Big Bang

The Big Bang started at a single point when the universe burst into existence. Before this it was complete darkness as light did not exist neither did space. When the universe began there was an ultra hot fog of energy.

history_bigbang

Within a trillionth of a second the universe stretched from the size of an atom to and orange and began cooling down. Within 100 seconds the universe was the size of our solar system. As the universe was cooling down, matter and anti matter were created. When matter and anti matter collide they destroy each other. This was happening constantly and only 1 in 1 billion matter particles survived. It is from these particles that everything was formed.

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“We are made of the smoke of the Big Bang”

The radiation from the Big Bang can still be seen and heard on earth. For example in television and radio waves.

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Gravity

Gravity is the cause of everything. The discovery of gravity is attributed to Sir Isaac Newton. Gravity is the pulling of everything together. Because some matter was denser and less effective when pulled by gravity it meant that there were imperfections in the universe. These imperfections were what created the universe.

gravity-definition-kids-physical-science

Hydrogen gas was the first element created. It is extremely powerful and it is what gives stars their power and energy. If hydrogen is compacted down it will heat up and cause nuclear fusion. This process is what caused helium to be created. This process is what took place in order to create more elements. This is a long process.

Black Holes

Gravity can also be dangerous and cause black holes. A black hole is created when a massive star begins to dies and becomes unstable. It shrinks and gets denser and denser until the core starts collapsing in on itself. Black Holes give off radiation and this is what galaxies rotate around.

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How were planets formed?

Our solar system is about 6 billion years old. A Star exploded and we can see evidence of this in the nebula in the solar system. Nebula is a thick fog full of different elements. Gravity pulls these elements together. The pressure of the hydrogen gas led to an explosion and a formation of a new star (our sun). This blast gave off a radioactive dust that pushed any excess dust. From these elements and dust planets began to form.

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Did this all happen by accident?

All questions about the Big Bang ultimately lead to questions on whether this was a ‘perfect accident’. Christian Scientists who believe that the Universe was created by God. They use the examples of

  •  The earth being the exact positions away from the Sun that it is not too hot or too cold.
  • All the elements required for life are present on the earth.
  • The imbalance or imperfection that was required for life to begin was a 1 in a billion chance.

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Stephen Hawking refuted this explaining that for the size of the universe and the 1 in a billion chance it is inevitable that at least of the billions of planets would have life on them.

Further Reading

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/universe/questions_and_ideas/big_bang

Understanding Humanism Resources

Understanding Humanism Resources

 

This is a great website created by the Humanist Society of Scotland to understand Humanist views on things.

https://www.humanism.scot/what-we-do/education/education-resources/

It includes

What is Humanism?

PDF

Bioethics

PDF

The Origin of Religion

PDF

Humanist Responses to Various Moral Issues –

Great for assignments or assessments where you need a non religious viewpoint!

https://www.humanism.scot/what-we-do/previous-campaigns/the-h-factor/

Responses to Origins of the Universe and Life

PDF

This is a good website to get viewpoints from to add into any pieces of work in RME. For teachers there are examples of lesson plans etc!

 

Is it Reasonable to Believe that God Created the Universe? Higher Model Answer

Is it Reasonable to Believe that God Created the Universe? Higher Model Answer

Is it reasonable to believe that God Created the Universe? (20 Marks)

Below is a model answer of the above question. I have added in some links to help with additional reading.

This is a question that has been widely debated for years and as scientific advances happen, fresh debates also happen. In order for something to be reasonable, it must have evidence to back up the claim. When looking at the Existence of God, many would look to evidence to support their argument. However Religious people, such as Christians would also say that belief in something also requires Faith. There are different types of truth, which depend on faith. (Read more about this here. )

Christians fundamental belief is that God must exist because the Universe exists and he is the Creator of everything. For them, God reveals himself in different ways. Sometimes this may be directly communicating with people – for example giving the Ten Commandments to Moses. Those who believe Jesus was an incarnation of God, also believe that this was God revealing himself to humanity. There are many different types of revalation that God has used to show himself  to humanity. Christians believe that this therefore is proof that God exists and created the Universe because there is evidence of him in the Bible, History and in the world around us.

Critics of this argument would say that because the word exists and there are instances of God revealing himself do not actually prove God exists or that he created the Universe. There are questions raised about the physical appearance of God so much in the times of the Old Testament but not anymore. Scientists would argue that the Bible cannot be used as a source of Scientific knowledge as it is full of inaccuracies and contradictions. It was written by humans about their understandings of God. Scientists would argue that therefore it is not a divine revelation, instead interpretations of a divine revelation. What one person experiences is not valid scientific evidence because it is a personal experience that cannot be verified. This is where the argument of the difference between faith and reason comes in. God is so powerful and mysterious that he is beyond human comprehension, therefore depending on your own faith and reason it could be reasonable to believe that God created the universe.

The Christian creation story of Genesis 1 can be used to support beliefs in God. This is the story that God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. This can be interpreted in different ways. Creationist or Literal Christians believe that this is true in every way. They believe that the Bible is God’s word and so we must accept everything that is in it as the truth. Therefore for literal there is no debate when asked if God exists. God is Omnipotent and can do anything. Some Christians would say that this literal view is not compatible with some scientific evidence and therefore would see the creation story as being symbolic. They still believe that God created the world but not in the 7 24 hour time periods that are described in the Bible. By interpreting the source in this way Liberal Christians can look at scientific evidence and interpret the source with other developments that humans have found to be true. Therefore many would argue that the Genesis story can either prove or at least support the belief in a God as a creator.

The Cosmological Argument is an argument first put forward by Thomas Aquinas. The argument suggests that everything that exists must exist because it was caused by something else. Everything in the universe must have a cause. There must have been a first cause to cause everything. This cause must have been an uncaused cause to start everything off. The only thing that is eternal and powerful enough is God. Therefore God must be the first cause and God must exist. This gives a philosophical reason for the existence of God and gives reason to the argument that God exists. Christians use this argument to support their belief that God created the universe.

There are flaws with the Cosmological argument as an explanation for how the Universe began. For example, the premise of the argument that everything must have a cause does not include God. For many there is the argument that if God does not need a cause why does the universe? This argument also only links to the conclusion that there must be a uncaused cause, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is God. Scientists would use the Big Bang Theory to explain how the Universe began. The Big Bang was the start of the Universe: Matter, Space and Time. There was nothing before it. Quantum Physicists suggest that matter can appear and disappear spontaneously and does not require a cause. There are many different pieces of evidence that Scientists use to back up the theory of the Big Bang. For example theory proposed by Hubble and Einstein explain that there must be a limitation to the energy in the Universe this can be seen in the Red Shift, which shows the Universe is expanding. Although there is a lot of scientific evidence that supports the Big Bang there is no conclusive explanation for why it happened. For many Christians and other religious groups this cause has to be God, as to them it is the only logical explanation. Some Creationist Christians may argue against the Big Bang Theory and instead would only accept the word of the Bible, and the 7 day creation story.

The Teleological Argument is another argument used to support the argument about the existence of God. First proposed by William Paley, the argument suggests that the world is so perfect that it must have been designed. For example the Earth is the right distance away from the sun for life to survive. There are also examples within the complexities of nature, for many the only logical answer to how this could be would be the existence of a God. However there are critics of this argument such as Immanuel Kant, he argues that the structure and order on Earth is imagined. We want to see a perfect world so that is what we see. Hume also critiques this argument saying that the order of the world does not prove a god created it. It could be a group of gods or perhaps something other than God. An Argument is merely a theory and is not proof that something exists. This theory of a perfect world also does not fit in with the idea of evolution, which has been scientifically been proven by scientists such as Darwin. Many would however argue that Evolution was all part of God’s overall plan. As with most arguments about God, it is up to personal interpretation and faith. There is enough evidence to support either side of the argument and it could be proven either way. It is up to an individuals faith in God whether or not he exists and created the Universe.

To conclude, many would argue that it is indeed reasonable to believe that God created the Universe as belief in God requires an element of Faith along with reason. The idea of God can work with scientific theories such as that of The Big Bang Theory. For others the revelation of God through his creation and holy word is enough evidence. It does require an element of faith and that is down to personal interpretation.