The Cosmic Contradiction
ARL Sagan famously began the documentary “Cosmos,” codeveloped with his book by the same title, with this line, “The Cosmos is that is, or ever was, or ever will be.” The statement well summarizes the atheistic worldview. The material universe is all we can study, and fore some, that suggests it is all that is. However, Sagan’s claim isn’t a scientific one. It’s religious.
There is no way to prove scientifically that the Cosmos is that exists. In fact, the third season of Cosmos, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, looks to explore the idea of the multiverse with the series subtitle “Possible Worlds.” In the second season of Cosmos, aired thirty years after Sagan’s original, deGrasse made many references to multiverse theory. Here’s the trailer for the new season — I’ll explain more about multiverse theory below.
Multiverse theory suggests that there could be an infinite number of randomly ordered universes beyond our universe. This could plausibly account for where our world came from, if this series of universes over time produces more and more universes passing along those most desirable features to the newer ones, sort of a cosmic version of natural selection. If you have enough universes, a cosmic process of natural selection, and an infinite amount of time, eventually you’ll get a world like ours that can host intelligent life.
There are two big problems with this theory and how it’s often applied. First, we cannot see beyond our universe to in any way scientifically test the hypothesis. Second, the theory couldn’t do all that many secularists seem claim. Even if there were a multiverse, we would still need an explanation for how it came into existence. Far from disproving God, it would offer a more vast and immense system that would still be in need of an ultimate explanation.
The new show contradicts Sagan’s original opening line, doesn’t it? However, careful readers should note that Sagan’s thesis was not a scientific one. Sure, it was commentary on the physical world but it was built on non-scientific assumptions. Not only can we not prove that the Cosmos is all that is, as the new season of Cosmos seems set to explore, we also cannot prove that the Cosmos is all that was or ever will be.
Most people don’t stop long enough to see that what is often celebrated as science is routinely built on religious or philosophical assupmtions that cannot be tested or proven by science. As John Lennox often says, “Not every statement by a scientist is a statement of science.” We have to evaluate such claims that are passed on as if they are statements of science and make sure we don’t blindly accept what is contrary to the Christian worldview.
I plan to watch the documentary and post updates here. Stay tuned if you are interested. It will be a good reminder that every person bases their way of seeing the world on fundamental commitments they cannot prove from science. For Sagan his ultimate explanation was the Cosmos. For the Christian, our worldview starts with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”