Michael Palmer’s The Atheist’s Creed records the first article of faith, which characterizes what I call religious atheism, namely “I BELIEVE THAT the cosmos is all that is or ever was and ever will be.”(Palmer 2012:5, emphasis in original), which is contrary to modern cosmology. I recommend reading the first part: Cosmic Beginning And Grousing Of Religious Atheists, before reading its second.
In The Beginning And Religious Atheists’ Fear
Religious atheists’ fear, as echoed in Steven Hawking’s prerecorded speech played on his 70th birthday, is that “[a] point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God.” (Grossman 2012: 6).
Hawking noticed long ago that the notion of space-time forming a closed surface without boundary “has profound implications for the role of God in the affairs of the universe.” He contended,
So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end. What place, then, for a creator? (Hawking 1988: 140-141)
John Gribbin properly observed that ”[t]he biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe is philosophical – perhaps even theological – what was there before the bang?” He went further,
This problem alone was sufficient to give a great initial impetus to the Steady State theory; but with that theory now sadly in conflict with the observations, the best way round this initial difficulty is provided by a model in which the universe expands from a singularity, collapses back again, and repeats the cycle indefinitely. (Gribbin 1976: 15).
Even though Gribbin spotted this problem he could not escape its tentacles since he did not only hold that there is no problem with the beginning of the universe from nothing but that in the genesis of the universe we have “[n]ot something from nothing, after all, but nothing from nothing” (Gribbin 1986: 374).
Hubert Reeves concurs with Gribbin’s observation and further explained that, “The problem of the origin involves a certain metaphysical aspect which may be either appealing or revolting” (Reeves et al 1973: 912).
Quantum cosmologist Christopher Isham exlounded well when he wrote,
Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation or an oscillating universe, being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his/her theory. (Isham 1988: 378)
I think some of religious atheists’ fear is understandable because, as a former editor of Nature, the late Sir John Maddox put it, the genesis of cosmos is “philosophically unacceptable” since theists would “have ample justification in the doctrine of the Big Bang,”
Does cosmic beginning give theists holding Genesis 1:1 account ample justification? I will let you decide.
Isham, Christopher (1988) “Creation of the Universe as a Quantum Process” in R.J. Russell, W.R. Stoeger and G.V. Coyne (eds) Physics, Philosophy and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding, Vatican City: Vatican Observatory, 375- 408.
Gribbin, J. (1976) “Oscillating Universe Bounces Back”, Nature, 259: 15-16.
_________ (1986) In Search of the Big Bang, New York: Bantam Books.
Hawking, Stephen (1988) A Brief History of Time New York: Bantam Books.
Palmer, Michael (2012)The Atheist’s Primer. The Lutterworth Press. (Uncorrected Proof Copy Review Purposes Only)
Reeves, Hubert (1973) “On the Origin of Light Elements” Audouze, J., Fowler, W.A. and Schramm, D.N. in Astrophysical Journal, 179: 909-930.
 Nature, 340 1989 page 425