Overview:

If we were the apex of creation, is the size and danger of the universe what you would expect of an all-loving god? Almost certainly not.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

So what the devil do rabbit hutches have to do with philosophical arguments against the existence of God, I hear you ask… Well, let me explain how these little houses built for pet rabbits may shed some unexpected light on whether an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving god exists.

But, before we deal with the excitement of rabbit living spaces, let’s talk arguments. Specifically, abductive arguments.

So, what are they? Abductive arguments are inferences to the best explanation. They might not prove that, in this case, God does not exist in some deductive manner (like a deductive logical syllogism might entail). But they show that, on balance, God is less likely than atheism. And when you build up a cumulative case of a whole range of these arguments, that case becomes very convincing.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the size of the universe, and what we would expect if God existed or if God didn’t exist. In other words, if we knew nothing else, what would we predict the size of the universe given our existence on atheism and on theism? More precisely, if we were the apex of creation, as is consistently argued by theologians, and as seen in biblical texts, then what would we expect of the size of the universe?

Let’s try it this way: Imagine you visit my house.

“Welcome in. Hey, before I get you a cuppa, do you want to come out the back to see the rabbit hutch I’ve just built to house my three rabbits? You know how much I love rabbits! I love rabbits so much, my love for them is overflowing to the point that I have built a hutch just for them. It’s perfect for all their needs.”

You agree to check it out, especially as you’ve been told how kind and generous a soul I am. “Oh, he’s super loving, that JP. The nicest, kindest guy we’ve ever known,” say the local neighbors, none of whom can actually put a finger on a kind and nice thing I’ve actually done. But your interest is piqued.

As you follow me outside to my back garden, you think about what I may have built: A small hutch with an appropriate patch of lawn for the rabbits to run around on. Or maybe the whole lawn. Some playthings to keep them interested, perhaps. And the hutch will be suitably sized for the three rabbits. That much should be obvious.

And it’s not at all what you would have predicted for someone to design given how much of a fan of rabbits and how supposedly kind and compassionate they are.

“Here it is!” I exclaim, showing you what I have built. Stretching out in front of you is the biggest single building you have ever seen. It reaches all the way to the moon. To the moon! The building is so vast that you can’t even see it all.

The point of this is that the building is not at all what you would predict given that I love rabbits and have designed something for my three rabbits. It appears I have designed and built a hutch that those rabbits can barely utilize or enjoy. In fact, 99.99%-plus of the hutch is uninhabitable, stretching up in the air and through the atmosphere to the moon. The rabbits would never be able to make use of that area, or even experience it.

Even the land for the rabbits is so vast that they would never be able to use or even desire to use it.

To make matters worse, there are parts of this huge hutch that I have built for them that are insanely dangerous. There is a huge vortex fan at some distance from the corner in which we are standing that will suck the rabbits up to their immediate deaths. Of course, the rabbits will never be able to reach that vortex, but this then leads you to wonder why I designed and created that potential death trap anyway?

Some distance away, perhaps a few hundred yards, there is a mound that occasionally pumps out boiling tar, spurting all of a sudden onto the ground around it. As it does this, the ground opens up nearby, mechanically rent in two.

“Ooh!” I say, “be careful. Don’t eat those mushrooms that I planted over there. They’re extremely poisonous. Even more so for my poor rabbits. They produce the same symptoms as Ebola. Which I’ve left in an open canister about 400 yards over there.”

The more you look, the more you think that this hutch is not only unnecessarily large (beyond comprehension) for these three rabbits, but it is also exceptionally dangerous in parts.

Some distance away, perhaps a few hundred yards, there is a mound that occasionally pumps out boiling tar, spurting all of a sudden onto the ground around it. As it does this, the ground opens up nearby, mechanically rent in two.

And it’s not at all what you would have predicted for someone to design given how much of a fan of rabbits and how supposedly kind and compassionate they are.

As you look around this incredibly unnecessary waste of space that acts as an almost certain provision of premature death for the creatures I supposedly love so much that I would go to all this effort for, you look quizzically at me. I’m certainly not the person you thought I was. “Why all this? And that? And those things? I mean, it’s way too big for these rabbits! What were you thinking?”

I look back at you and shrug my shoulders.

“I don’t know, really. I think I’ve got some problems. Maybe some unresolved Father issues I need to work through.”

Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...