First a disclaimer, I am not in any way shape of form a philosopher. Since my freshman Introduction to Philosophy class forty years ago I have done my best to avoid the subject. However, when we get into the “why?” questions we are drawn, however reluctantly, into philosophy. I have been blessed to have my good friend Glenn who loves to get into the philosophical trenches and wrestle with the weighty and knotty questions we all want answers to. In fact as a basis for these posts I will use an outline Glenn provided for a class on apologetics we co-taught over ten years ago.
So why after my disclaimer get into this? It started with a discussion thread on one of my “Problem of Evil” posts. Which is kind of ironic as the “Problem” posts started after a comment on my book review post about Norman Geisler’s “If God Why Evil”, I never know where these things will lead.
Now a few ground rules. First, we have to agree that truth is knowable. If we cannot know what is true and what is not then we are spinning or wheels. Next we need to agree that we exist and are finite beings. Yes I know this sounds dumb but reams have been written on this very topic. If we do not exist then all discussion is moot. Finally we need to agree that the universe exists, we do not live in some Matrix like dream.
Ok, that’s out of the way, let’s dig in. There are five proofs I would like to explore. We will look at them in order of their strength. The first proof is the cosmological proof also known as the kalam or horizontal argument.
1. Everything that has a beginning has a cause
2. The universe had a beginning
3. The universe was caused
I am unaware of anything that came into existence without a cause. Also, something cannot be self caused. In order to have an effect or cause a thing has to exist.
Since the 1960’s when scientists at the Bell labs detected faint background radiation emanating from across the sky science has had to grudgingly admit that the universe is not eternal and had a beginning it has been called the Big Bang. Test after test have confirmed that there was a time in the past when the universe began. Scientists in order to get around this inconvenient truth have postulate that while our universe had a beginning it was just an offspring from another older universe. The problem here is that there is no way to prove the existence of another universe. Even if we could somehow prove the other mother universe that only puts the problem further back in time and would not explain how that universe began. And please do not postulate an infinite number of past universes as that only results in an infinite regress which is impossible to transverse.
Another clue as to the universe having a beginning is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The universe is running down. The total entropy of the universe is increasing. In essence we are running out of usable energy and the universe is cooling eventually all the universe will be at the same temperature. Something that runs down cannot be eternal.
Therefore the universe has a cause. Something or someone caused the universe to come into existence. The universe needs a first cause. I call that person God. God is the first cause. Now before you bring up the question of what caused God, let me answer. Nothing caused God, He is the uncaused cause. God only needs a cause if He had a beginning. God has no beginning so He needs no cause.
Cause and effect, we could not do science without it and we could not function without it. I know of no effect that does not have a cause. In summary, the universe had a beginning which needed a cause to come into existence. That first cause is what theists call God.
Ok, I have about drained my tiny brain dry. That was way too much philosophy for one setting. For further reading try The Kalm Cosmological Argument by William Lane Craig. Next week I will look at the Cosmological proof for God.
Have a blessed day,