Some Brief Thoughts
After thinking about the manner in which God condescends to reveal Himself to man, I realized that this is not only necessary if Christians are to have any knowledge of God, it is also necessary if the atheist is to have any knowledge of whatever he attributes the cause of the world to. What this means is that every individual, in the end, must resort to using analogical language in his attempt to speak about the cause/causes of existence itself.
For the Christian, this is perfectly fine, for we believe that analogical language is the means whereby God reveals Himself to man, and that that which is predicated of God becomes concrete in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. He is the image of God, bearing no dissimilarity to the Father of lights, to the extent that He told His disciples: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Our analogical language, therefore, finds corroboration in Christ, who is the very image of God, and is not merely unverifiable speculation about God.
But for the materialistic atheist, there is nothing transcendent to which their analogues correspond. What is time before time? What is space before space? Can we think without immediately presupposing space and time? No, we can’t. Any purely naturalistic alternative explanation as to how all that exists “came to be” is really just an exercise in circular reasoning, for all naturalistic alternative explanations presuppose the very thing they try to prove: the existence of an “environment” (of sorts) in which things come into being by means of preexisting conditions intrinsic to the constitutional fabric of that hypothetical “environment.” The atheist must appeal to an unverifiable analogue in order to begin speculating about how things “came into existence.”
How does existence come into existence? Such a statement is absurd. And while it typically isn’t worded this way, the theory really amounts to saying this:
Being comes from Nothing.
That is to say, Being finds its origin in Nothing. [Note the spatial analogue, where Nothing is the “ground” of Being, or the depository in which the raw materials of Being were stored.] Or, one can interpret the saying to mean, Being comes from Nothing. [Again, note that the analogue in this sense is temporal.] In both instances, we see that space (in the first instance) and time (in the second instance) are presupposed and so is, therefore, an analogical “environment” in which all this occurs.
You betcha. The atheist has this fundamental problem: In order to speak about the origin of all that is, he must presuppose the existence of something transcendent to, and bearing only an analogical relationship to, whatever now is! He must believe in something that is scientifically unverifiable and which can only be accepted upon the basis of faith. There is a reason why David calls the atheist a fool.
Noting the foolishness of their foolery, some have postulated the existence of an infinity of universes, but this is merely postponing the inevitable day of reckoning with the problem laid out here.
Special Revelation (i.e. God’s stooping down to reveal Himself to man in a way that he, man, can understand) provides a reasonable foundation for a Transcendent Analogue; atheism is irrational and foolish. We Christians can confidently speak of the hand of the Lord, or the eyes of the Lord, or any other analogue, for such analogical terminology truly serves its purpose in (i.)declaring to us a God who relates to us in ways that are comprehensible to us, while (ii.)pointing us to His ineffability on the grounds of His Transcendence.