This seems rather obvious, and, if it strikes you as a tautology to say that the universe’s cause exists beyond the universe, you aren’t alone. I mention it because Lawrence Krauss is trying to popularize the idea that the quantum vacuum (which is part of the universe) created the universe.
But that is rather nonsensical. A more reasonable view would be to bring up the multiverse. Of course, the multiverse doesn’t explain nearly so much as most think, but the more pertinent issue is that it doesn’t cause the universe. That is to say, the idea that there are many universes doesn’t tell us how any of them (in particular, this one) might have come into being.
More than this, many don’t appreciate what the Big Bang Theory actually claims. If time, matter, and space came into being with the universe, then the cause of the universe is neither temporal, material, nor spacially extended.
Once one sees that the cause of the universe (and of any other universe which may exist) would be beyond space and time, and be powerful enough to create the universe (or even many), one is moving pretty quickly toward theism.
Of course, theism would require that there is something like a mind or will here. Admittedly, I’m not myself fully convinced of this until we get to the fine-tuning discussion. Still, there is a good reason to think this is the case even before we leave the cosmological argument. I’ll discuss that tomorrow.