“I don't see why matter/energy can't be eternal.”
It’s just a fact that there cannot be an infinite regress of cause. It's a scientific, mathematical and philosophical reality. I explain why in my post on why I’m not an atheist.
I guess that I disagree that it doesn't raise eyebrows now. People certainly try to ignore it but it's the elephant in the room for atheists. It raises eyebrows precisely because the “science” points to a Creator.
It’s important to remember that the statement ISN’T “What ever exists has a cause.” the statement is, “Whatever BEGINS to exist has a cause.”
As stated, the main reason that eyebrows are indeed raised is because scientists are confronted with a true miracle and for those who refuse to accept that the material is all that exists, well, that’s just not ok. For example:
Smithsonian palaeobiologist, Douglas Erwin, “One of the rules of science is, no miracles allowed. That’s a fundamental presumption of what we do”
Biologist Barry Palevitz, “The supernatural is automatically off-limits as an explanation of the natural world”
Astronomer and physicist Lee Smolin, If the universe started at a point in time, “This leaves the door open for a return of religion. The theory is to be criticized as being unlikely on these grounds”
How in the world can a scientist, someone who says that s/he is dedicated to following the evidence where ever it leads, leave out a whole category of evidence just because it goes against h/her world view?
The Creation Event is so serious a problem for those who have devolved into Scientism that they are now claiming, without any evidence whatsoever, that something can have a beginning without a cause. Here are some examples of what atheist scientists are saying and saying for one reason only - a beginning requires a Beginner.
Astronomer Arthur Eddington - “The concept of the Big Bang is preposterous, incredible, repugnant.”
Physicist Philip Morrison - “I find it hard to accept the Big Bang theory. I would like to reject it.”
Physicist Victor Stenger - “The universe may be uncaused and may have emerged from nothing.”
On the “bright” side David Hume stated, “I have never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without cause.”
Well, back in his day, when atheists were still hopeful that their faith system would prevail, that might have been possible for him to say. It is my belief that if Hume had known that Christianity would prove so resistant to destruction, he would have joined today’s atheist scientists in throwing off all restraints, put his integrity on the shelf, proposed ever more ridiculous scenarios and in that manner he would have increased his intellectual stature among the atheist crowd.
A universe with a beginning is disconcerting for atheist scientists because what existed before the Big Bang can’t be detected by observation or by the laws of physics. In fact the very concept of “before” is incoherent regarding the Big Bang because there wasn’t any such thing. Before the Big Bang, there wasn’t any time, or space, or matter or laws of physics to govern that matter. Whatever produced The Big Bang, produced those laws.
As I’ve stated before, if the universe came into being without using the laws of physics, more than that, before the laws of physics were even in place, then that is the working definition of a miracle.
Miracles as we all know are not allowed into the vocabulary of an atheist. Admittedly, some scientists feel compelled to tentatively acknowledge the obvious.
Arthur Eddington - “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look at it as frankly supernatural.”
Nobel prize winner Arno Penzias - “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.”
Physicist Freeman Dyson - ‘The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.”
Stephen Hawking - “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”
Anthony Flew - The fine tuning of the universe at every level is simply too perfect to be the result of chance. Flew’s lifelong commitment “to go where the evidence leads” compelled him to become a believer in God.
If you say "God came first,"
I don’t say that because whatever caused the material universe to exist has always been. It has never not been. You can call it a Mind or The Greatest Conceivable Being or whatever. It’s simply a fact that either matter is eternal or the Creator of matter is eternal and matter cannot be eternal so . . . Why not just accept that and live accordingly?