IN THE BEGINNING
A Catholic Scientist Explains How God Made Earth Our Home
By Gerard Verschuuren
Sophia Press, 2019
179 pages, $18.95
To order: sophiainstitute.com or (800) 888-9344
The great 17th-century philosopher Gottfried Leibniz posed what is perhaps the most basic of all philosophical questions when he asked why there is something rather than nothing when it would have been far easier if there were simply nothing. For Aquinas and other philosophers, the existence of something implies a cause. Therefore, there must have been a cause that brought the universe into being. There must have been a beginning. The universe did not create itself.
In his new book, In the Beginning: A Catholic Scientist Explains How God Made Earth Our Home, biologist Gerard Verschuuren goes about explaining, in reader-friendly language, the limits of empirical science. Science itself, because it cannot explore anything of a spiritual nature, cannot disprove the existence of God. As Verschuuren points out, “absence of evidence” does not constitute “evidence of absence.” Or, as physicist Stephen Barr puts it, somewhat ironically, “It seems that to abolish one unobservable God, it takes an infinite number of unobservable substitutes.” Nonetheless, atheist cosmologists such as Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker) have refused to recognize the simple fact that the universe could not have come into existence on its own. “Because there is a law such as gravity,” Hawking writes, “the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing.” For Dawkins, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”
It is a grave injustice of sorts that the books written by atheistic cosmologists over the past few decades have stolen the show and have earned for their authors widespread popularity, not to mention sizable revenues. Yet their philosophies fail to deal with that most important point: Why is there something rather than nothing?
Verschuuren has done his homework. Over the course of 215 footnotes, he has exposed the blind spots of the atheistic cosmologists and presented the more philosophically cogent views of scientists who find spontaneous creation implausible. According to Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg, “The first drink from the cup of natural science makes you atheistic. But at the bottom of the cup, God is waiting.” For Albert Einstein, “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe — a Spirit vastly superior to that of man.”
“The earth was made for us,” concludes Verschuuren, who earned his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science. “Everything was indeed fine-tuned for our coming. We live in a purpose-driven universe. Gone are chaos, mere randomness and utter purposelessness.”
In the Beginning is a book that is far more worthy of reading than the many popular atheistic books that simply refuse to deal with reality’s most important questions. Despite the weightiness of its subject, it is rather easy to read. The author has done us a great service and has provided us with a more coherent explanation of the beginning and the purpose of the universe than have the less coherent but trendy popularizers. I recommend it without reservation.
professor emeritus at
St. Jerome’s University and
adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College & Seminary.
He is a regular columnist for the St. Austin Review.
His latest books are
available at Amazon.com