Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
When I was in kindergarten, I can recall every day at recess taking a bucket of dominoes and lining them up around my teacher’s desk. I was fascinated by how long it would take to set up the 100 or so dominoes, and then to watch them all go down in a moment with the push of the first one. In that simple little exercise I was unknowlingly at the time demonstrating the existence of God. How so? Philosophers and theologians alike have for centuries observed that the very nature of our universe demands an explanation for its existence. The oldest question in human thought is: “why is there something rather than nothing?” As will be observed in today’s post – the beginning series of simple falling dominoes and reality of a simple object like an apple can prove the existence of God. How so? Read on and find out.
How a set of falling dominoes proves that God exists and that the universe is not eternal nor created by chance
With regards to the impossibility of an infinite series of cause and effect chains, Christian Apologist, Dr. Norman Geisler, writes: “Mathematically infinite series are possible, but not actual ones. The former are abstract; the latter are concrete. It is possible to have an infinite number of points on a line on this page. But one cannot get an infinite number of letters on this line, no matter how small they are. Points are abstract or theoretical entities; a series of causes of existence is comprised of actual entities. An infinite number of the former are possible, but not the latter. The reason for this is simple: No matter how many dominoes one has on a line, no more could be added. The number cannot be infinite.”1
This first argument as laid out by Dr. Geisler is what is referred to as “The impossibility of an ungrounded infinite regress”. In a moment we will breakdown what is meant by Dr, Geisler’s statement. He further notes: An ungrounded infinite regress is tantamount to affirming that the existence in the series arises from non-existence, since no cause in the series has a real ground for its existence.”2
Let’s turn back to the dominoes with which I was playing with at the beginning of today’s post. Noted Christian apologist and thinker Ravi Zacharias uses dominoes in demonstrating how we live in a universe that had a beginning. He notes: “Imagine a domino called “x”. We find that domino “x” had been knocked over by a previous domino, and that previous domino knocked over by a prior one, and so on. There would be no way one could have an infinite series of dominoes in an infinite chain of cause and effect, otherwise we would had never observed the falling of domino “x”.”3
In other words, the fact that I observed the dominoes fall around my teacher’s desk proves that we live in a universe that had a beginning – otherwise I would had never observed them to fall in the first place! So far we have demonstrated that the universe we live in has a cause other than itself – hence the universe had a beginning. To jump from that assertion to the notion that God is the Great Beginner will be seen in an illustration of a simple apple.
A simple apple proves the existence of God
We once more appeal to Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias in a talk he delivered entitled: “The Existence of God”. Mr. Zacharias began his talk by outlining the three major catastrophic consequences that result when we deny the existence of God:4
1. Loss of morality or a foundation for morality
2. Loss of meaning
3. Loss of hope
Following on the heels of that introduction, Ravi then presents a three stage argument for the existence of God.
Stage One: The reality of the chain of cause and effect
As Ravi Zacharias began to present the first stage of his argument for the existence of God, he used a simple apple. He notes: Imagine an apple. Now the apple, or any other object in the universe, whether the smallest sub-atomic particle or the largest galaxy, all have one thing in common: they by themselves cannot account for their own existence. As you hold an apple in your hand, ask yourself: “Whence came this apple”? Of course the answer would be: “an apple tree”. The next question would follow: “Whence then the tree?” The answer of course would be: “an apple seed”. The next logical question of course would be: “whence then the seed?” The only answer of course would be: “an apple”.
Stage Two: The impossibility of an infinite chain of cause and effect
As he presented this basic demonstration of the chain of cause and effect, Mr. Zacharias then proceeded onto stage two of his argument: namely how it would be impossible for this chain to be indefinite in length. Think about it, if there would had been an infinite amount of apples, seeds and trees going all the way back to eternity, then there would be no way we could be holding an apple currently in our hand.
Stage Three: Everything in the universe, including the universe itself, must give an account for its beginning – and that beginning being God.
The third stage of Mr. Zacharias’ argument leads to his main point: that everything in the universe has to have had a cause, being that everything, from sub-atomic particles, to dominos, to apples to galaxies had a beginning. Everything in the universe ultimately had a beginning; and in turn, everything that had a beginning has a cause. Furthermore, being that everything in the universe is composed of matter and energy that is on every level incapable of giving an account for its own existence, then it follows that the Cause for all things lies outside of the universe. According to Ravi Zacharias, that Cause can only be One – God.
In short, Ravi Zacharias’ argument is powerful because of the fact it is a combination of a couple of historically powerful arguments of the existence of God. This statement made above by Dr. Geisler fits well with what Ravi Zacharias noted throughout his talk on the fact that nothing in the universe, by itself, can account for its own existence or as to why it exists.
Connecting our dominoes and apple to another powerful argument for the existence of God
Another Christian apologist, Dr. William Lane Craig, has made popular a centuries old argument for the existence of God called “The Kalam Cosmological Argument”. Dr. Craig outlines the argument in an article he wrote on his website: reasonablefaith.org:
“This argument, which I have called the kalam cosmological argument, can be exhibited as follows:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
2.1 Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite. 2.11 An actual infinite cannot exist. 2.12 An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite. 2.13 Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. 2.2 Argument based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition. 2.21 A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite. 2.22 The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition. 2.23 Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.5
When we plug in everything we have noted about the falling dominoes and the existence of the apple – the idea of the universe creating itself or having arose by chance has to be rejected. Dr. Craig then makes the following apropos statement relevant to our discussion here: “On balance, then, it seems to me that on the basis of the kalam cosmological argument, a person who is sufficiently informed and whose faculties are functioning properly ought to agree that it is more likely than not that the Creator of the universe exists.“6
As we close out today’s post, let the reader be reminded of the fact that this first line of argumentation can only serve to demonstrate the proposal of God’s existence as being most reasonable and demonstrable. The Bible uniformly declares that God has made known His existence in the general revelation of Himself in the cosmos, life, humanity and the conscience. (Psalm 19:7; Romans 1:18-20) Further identification of God the Creator as the Savior who came as God-incarnated in human flesh can only be found in the special revelation of the Bible. Upon the grounds of establishing the existence of God in general, other such truths as revelation, morality, meaning and hope can be pursued and explained. Thanks to wonderful men of God like Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler and William Lane Craig, we can demonstrate God’s existence in a coherent fashion by way of dominoes and apples!
1. Dr. Norman Geisler. The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, page 290.
2. Dr. Norman Geisler. The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, page 290.
6. Editors Stanley N. Gundry and Steven B. Gowan.”Five Views of Apologetics”. Contributor William Lane Craig’s article: “Classical Apologetics”. Page 51. Zondervan. 2000