spitzerFr. Robert SpitzerMILWAUKEE — The need to confront atheism is high, according to the former Gonzaga University president who founded and heads the California-based Magis Center of Reason and Faith.

In a presentation titled, “What Is Contemporary Physics Saying about Creation and God?” he delivered Marquette University’s Ciszek Lecture, at Marquette’s Weasler Auditorium on Monday, Feb. 28, Jesuit Fr. Robert Spitzer, 58, offered new proofs for the existence of God.

A Honolulu native with advanced degrees in philosophy and theology, Fr. Spitzer has expertise in metaphysics and the ontology of physics. Approximately 200 people attended the lecture — an occasionally difficult undertaking for those who were not science-oriented, peppered as it was with such terms as “entropy,” “quantum cosmology,” “oscillating universe” and “multi-verse hypotheses.”

An animated speaker, Fr. Spitzer, who delivers about 100 lectures annually, spoke without notes and punctuated his remarks with humor – “Bumping universes and colliding universes are bad for life,” he joked at one juncture.

In his 75-minute Ciszek Lecture – named for an American Jesuit missionary imprisoned for years by the Soviets and now being considered for beatification – Fr. Spitzer considered the “progressively verified” Big Bang Theory.

“If the universe really did come into existence at the Big Bang,” he said, then the universe is considered to be approximately 13.7 billion years old.

Additional information
about Fr. Spitzer’s Ciszek
Lecture topic can be found at magisreasonfaith.org, as well
as in “New Proofs for the Existence of God,” available from amazon.com.

Asked about that figure during a question-and-answer session following the lecture, Fr. Spitzer called it “one of the most rigorously established scientific truths.” If you doubt it, “you may as well doubt the atomic theory,” he said.

“A beginning is a time at which physical time came into existence, the universe came into existence with its space-time,” said Fr. Spitzer. “Was the Big Bang the beginning?”

If it wasn’t, he noted, there has to have been a pre-Big Bang period. Physics has a good deal to say regarding the creation and design of the universe and “the evidence of physics currently favors a beginning of the universe,” he said.

Such evidence includes a score of universal constants, including the speed of light – light can neither be sped up nor slowed down, but simply, as Fr. Spitzer put it, “is what it is.” Universal constants cannot be explained by pure chance, according to the priest, thus suggesting the existence of a creator.

As he did last September on “Larry King Live,” Fr. Spitzer took issue with physicist Stephen Hawking, whose previous writings had been open to the possibility of a creator, and who contends in his latest book, “The Grand Design,” that the universe is capable of creating itself from nothing.

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” wrote Hawking in his 2010 book.

“There’s no such thing as nothing,” Fr. Spitzer countered in his lecture. “Nothing can’t do anything because nothing is nothing. If the universe is nothing, then where does the law of gravity … fit in?”

On the “King” show, Fr. Spitzer described Hawking as “a very intelligent physicist,” yet one “certainly capable of oversights.” He also had noted that “there have been proofs for the existence of God submitted” for more than two millennia.

Fr. Spitzer paraphrased the BVG Theorem, advanced by and named for contemporary physicists Arvind Borde, Alexander Vilenkin and Alan Guth: Every model of inflationary universe seems to require a beginning.

“There’s not been a successful rejoinder to the BVG Theorem,” he insisted, adding that the universe might be eternal into the future, but not into the past.

Helping pave the way for the BVG Theorem was a “model” offered in 1927 by Belgian priest-astronomer Fr. Georges Lemaitre, a colleague of Einstein. Fr. Spitzer explained that, according to Fr. Lemaitre, the universe “had another dynamic: the capacity to expand, to stretch.” Edwin Powell Hubble, the American astronomer, affirmed the expanding universe model in 1929.

There is considerable scientific evidence, Fr. Spitzer indicated, of an intelligent design to the universe – a universe that has undergone “infinite fine-tuning without any apparent reason.”
The balance in forces and the many variables that came together “so that life forms could exist,” said Fr. Spitzer, are evidence of a super intellect.
“There is something out there besides the universe that brought it into existence,” he said. “There is something really powerful out there that is also really smart.”

All the forces of nature aligning properly, by chance, in order to create life would be “highly, highly improbable,” Fr. Spitzer said. He noted it would be like putting a monkey in front of a keyboard and having the animal randomly tap out all of Shakespeare’s works.

— Marilyn Jozwik contributed to this article.