God Is the Best Explanation for the Origin of the Universe we inhibit

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Introduction

Where did the universe come from? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably thought about it, at least in part, or curious for some answers at least. Well you’re not alone in such an endeavour. Intellectuals and laymen alike had wrestled with the idea of an infinite past and the question of whether there was an absolute beginning of the universe.

Ancient Greek philosophers believed that matter was necessary and uncreated and so was eternal. God may be the controller introducing order into the chaotic cosmos, but He did not create the universe itself, the universe was a separated branch of eternity. However, the Jewish thought clashed with this ideal. Hebrew writers held that the universe has not always existed but was created by God at some point in the past. As the book of Genesis describes famously “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” *insert dramatic voiceover*

In time, these two worldviews began to interact and a debate lasting over 1,000 years ended supposedly with German Philosopher Immanuel Kant whom held, ironically, that there are rationally compelling arguments for both sides! (Thanks Kant!)

Al-Ghazali’s Argument

So what is the argument that had caused such controversy toward Greek thought? It is the Kalam Cosmological argument. Ghazali, it’s reformer, frames his argument as follows:

“Every being which begins has a cause for its beginning; now the world is a being which begins; therefore, it possesses a cause for its beginning.”

Al-Ghazali Kitab al-Iqtisad fi’l-I’tiqad, cited in S. de Beaurecueil, “Gazzali et S. Thomas d’Aquin

Once again, we can summarize Ghazali’s reasoning in three simple steps:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

It’s logically airtight, easy to remember, simple to share and if the first two premises are true, the conclusion follows logically. The debate will be in the first two premises and are they more plausibly true or false.

Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

Denying this premise is hard as a truth seeker. For something to come into being without any cause whatsoever would be to come into being from nothing. This seems with all likeliness impossible — here’s why.

A. Something cannot come from nothing. 

You’ve all seen the magic trick of a magician with an empty hat and then BOOM, he’s got a rabbit. Well, at least with the magician you start with a hat, to claim something can come from nothing is in the words of philosopher William Lane Craig. “Worse than magic”. Denying premise 1 means the universe just appeared and there you go, with no reason. Try to imagine an Elephant appearing in your living room for no reason or an Eskimo village just appearing for no reason and from nothing in Oxford circus. It’s ridiculous and not what we observe. Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.

Subatomic particles?

Sometimes sceptics will respond to this response by proposing that in physics, subatomic particles come into being from nothing. This is part of the mandate “we can get something from nothing”

Now this response is actually an abuse of science. The theories in question have to do with particles originating as a fluctuation of the energy contained in the vacuum. The vacuum in modern physics is not what normal people Like you and me understand by “vacuum,” namely, nothing. In physics, the vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy governed by physical laws and having a physical structure. So it’s not nothing, it’s a clever ruse designed to trick you.

Properly understood, “nothing” does not mean just empty space. Nothing is the absence of anything whatsoever, even space itself. Nothingness has literally no properties at all, since there isn’t anything to have any properties! So don’t let people pull a fast one on you and say the universe came from nothing naturally because it didn’t.

William Lane Craig argues to say the universe came from nothing is a far greater leap than to believe in the existence of God.

2. If something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn’t come into being from nothing. 

Let’s get back to that elephant in your living room, why doesn’t it just pop into existence while you’re watching Eastenders? What makes nothingness discriminatory? There cannot be anything about nothingness that favours universes, for nothingness doesn’t have any properties. Nor can anything constrain nothingness, for there isn’t anything to be constrained!

True of everything but the universe?

What about those who say that premise one is true of everything in the universe but not the universe itself? Well, thats the taxicab fallacy you’ll find in the Why Does Anything at all exist” article. In a nutshell, you can’t dismiss the causal principle like dismissing a taxi once you arrive at the universe. Premise 1 is not merely a law of nature, like the law of gravity, which only applies in the universe. Rather it’s a metaphysical principle that governs all being, all reality. 

Ok, what about God’s cause?

What caused God then? *pause for emphasis*… Premise 1 does not say everything has a cause, anything that begins to exist has a cause. Something that is eternal wouldn’t need a cause, since it never came into being.

Defenders of the Kalam would simply respond to this retort by saying that God is eternal and uncaused, because it’s true. This is any form of special pleading for God, since this is exactly what the atheist has traditionally said about the universe: It is eternal and uncaused. The challenge to this is that we have firm evidence that the universe is not eternal and had a beginning, and so the atheist is backed into the corner of saying the universe sprang into being without a cause, which is absurd.

3. Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the truth of premise 1. 

Premise 1 is continually verified and never falsified. It would be difficult to understand how anyone committed to modern science could deny that premise 1 is more plausibly true than false in light of the evidence. The first premise seems rather obvious, if atheism has to deny the first premise, that’s highly problematic and plucking at straws.

Premise 2: The universe began to exist.

This is where the fight is most often and we have four strong evidences for this premise which’s be debated as we go on (again, following the lead of William Lane Craig’s brilliant work here).

First Philosophical Argument: An Actually Infinite Number of Things Cannot Exist

Infinity! Maths! People’s favourite topics! And there’s a lot to say on it. Kalam advocates have argued that if the universe never began to exist, then there would have been an infinite number of past events prior to today. But, we argue, an infinite number of things cannot exist. But note this difference: a potentially infinite number of things could exist but we’re denying that an actually infinite number of things could exist. Still with me? Great. 

Potential vs. Actual Infinity

Potentially infinite: an ideal limit that is never reached like dividing a number for all eternity. The number of divisions is potentially infinite, in the sense that you could go on dividing endlessly. But you’d never arrive at an “infinitieth” division. You’d never have an actually infinite number of parts or divisions. Nothing wrong with this.

Actual infinite: This is something not growing towards infinity but something that is already complete. The number of members already in the collection is greater than any finite number. Ghazali has stated many absurdities would result if actual infinities could exist (which we’ll get into and expose more clearly in the scientific evidences). 

An Objection from Modern Math

Modern mathematics has been said to bring accusations against this type of arguments through modern set theory. In modern set theory the use of actually infinite sets is not unusual. For example, the set of the natural numbers {0, 1, 2, …} has an actually infinite number of members in it. The number of members in this set is not merely potentially infinite, according to modern set theory; rather the number of members is actually infinite. But it would not be too difficult to quip a response to this accusation. 

Answer to Objection: Reality vs. Fiction

These developments in modern mathematics merely show that if you adopt certain axioms and rules, then you can talk about actually infinite collections in a consistent way, without contradicting yourself. All this accomplishes is showing how to set up a certain universe of discourse for talking consistently about actual infinites. But by achieving this doesn’t actualise the existence of mathematical entities or that an actually infinite number of things can really exist. This world is a potential infinite under this math, not an actual and is as real as the world of Lord of the Rings or The Matrix—It only exists in the mind.

Hilbert’s Hotel

One of the best forms to expose this concept of actual infinites would be the illustration called “Hilbert’s Hotel,” the product of the great German mathematician David Hilbert. 

First, imagine a normal hotel with a finite amount of rooms. Then, imagine all the rooms are now full. If new guests arrive at this hotel, there are no vacancies and the new guests walk away sad. End of story.

However, allow for Hilbert’s brand new swanky hotel with an infinite number of rooms, and let’s assume that all the rooms are full like in our last scenario. This is an important detail. There are no vacancies in this hotel because there’s an infinite quantity of guests filling the rooms. 

Single guest

But then a new guest arrives and asks for a room. The hotel manager would swiftly oblige. He moves the person who was staying in room #1 into room #2, the person who was staying in room #2 into room #3, the person who was staying in room #3 into room #4, and so on to infinity. As a result of these room changes, room #1 now becomes vacant, and the new guest checks in. But before he arrived, all the rooms were already full!

Infinity of new guests

Next scenario, what if we have an infinity of new guests showing up? The hotel manager once again has no issue whatsoever! He moves the person who was staying in room #1 into room #2, the person who was staying in room #2 into room #4, the person who was staying in room #3 into room #6, each time moving the person into the room number twice his own. Since any number multiplied by two is an even number, all the guests wind up in even-numbered rooms. As a result, all the odd-numbered rooms become vacant, and the infinity of new guests is easily accommodated. In fact, the manager could do this an infinite number of times and always accommodate infinitely more guests. And yet, before the new guests arrived, there were no available rooms!

Checking out?

What if some of the guests began to check out, which is normal in a hotel? For example, all the odd numbered guests leave the hotel, technically, an infinite amount of guests have left the hotel! Yet the same amount remain in the hotel! The Hotel manager would move everyone down a room 1 and all the rooms would be full again and the hotel in its infinite capacity would remain full.

Not so fast Mr hotel man!

What if all the guests from room 5,6,7 etc. checkout? Well then now the hotel is virtually empty and the infinite is converted to finitude. And yet it would be true that the same number of guests checked out this time as when all the guests in the odd-numbered rooms checked out! Can such a hotel exist in reality? 

Hilbert’s Hotel is absurd. Since nothing hangs on the illustration’s involving a hotel, the argument can be generalized to show that the existence of an actually infinite number of things is absurd.

Responses to Hilbert’s Hotel

Some have presented infinity as beyond our understanding and that’s why we take issue with it. But this reaction is mistaken and naive. Infinite set theory is a highly developed and well-understood branch of modern mathematics. The absurdities result because we do understand the nature of the actual infinite. Hilbert knew what he was talking about and was correct in illustrating the bizarre consequences of the existence of an actually infinite number of things. 

It’s what we should expect?

Others would say Hilbert’s hotel is not absurd and is exactly what we should expect if an actual invite should exist. Hilbert would, of course, agree that if an actual infinite could exist, the situation with his imaginary hotel is what we should expect. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a good illustration! But the question is whether such a hotel is really possible. This response doesn’t suit. 

Plus you have the guests checking out which leads to a logical contradiction. We subtract identical quantities from identical quantities and come up with nonidentical results. That’s why subtraction of infinity from infinity is mathematically prohibited. But while it may be prohibited, this does nothing to stop people checking out of a real hotel. Bearing the burden of criticism and standing strong, we can be confident that the number of past events must be finite and so conclude the universe had a beginning. 

Three to go.

Second Philosophical Argument: You Can’t Pass Through an Infinite Number of Elements One at a Time

Al Ghazali provides a second, independent philosophical argument for the beginning of the universe. Because two arguments are stronger than one.

Counting to (or from) Infinity

Imagine at some point in the past an infinite set of dominoes was pushed over and today, the last domino fell, but why today? Ghazali argues that no series that is formed by adding one member after another can be actually infinite. For you cannot pass through an infinite number of elements one at a time. 

This is easy to see in the case of trying to count to infinity. No matter how high you count, there’s always an infinity of numbers left to count. But if you can’t count to infinity, how could you possibly count down from infinity? This would be like trying to count down all the negative numbers, ending at zero: …, -3, -2, -1, 0. This is absurd! 

Before any number could be counted an infinity of numbers will have to have been counted first. So when this last domino falls in an infinite set of dominoes, can you see how absurd it is that such would happen? And any infinite counting would never end. So today could never be reached with infinite days. But obviously here we are! This shows that the series of past events must be finite and have a beginning.

Objection: From Every Past Point, We Can Reach the Present  

Some critics have responded to this argument by pointing out that even in a beginningless past, every event in the past is only a finite distance from the present. Compare the series of negative numbers: …, -3, -2, -1, 0. It’s beginningless; nevertheless, any number you pick, say, -11 or -1,000,000 or whatever, is only finitely distant from zero. But the finite distance from any past event to the present is easily crossed, just as you can count down to zero from any negative number you pick.

Response: The Fallacy of Composition

This objection commits a logical fallacy known as the “fallacy of composition.” This is the fallacy of confusing a property of a part with a property of the whole

William Lane Craig gives a clear example

“Every part of an elephant may be light in weight, but that doesn’t mean the whole elephant is light in weight!”

William Lane Craig, On Guard

In the case at hand, just because every finite part of a series can be crossed or counted down doesn’t mean the whole infinite series can be crossed or counted. The critics have committed an elementary fallacy. The question is not how any finite part of the past can be formed by adding one event after another, but how the whole, beginningless past could be completed by adding one event after another. 

Two More Absurdities

Here’s a scenario

Scenario 1

  1. Saturn completes one orbit around the sun in the time it takes Jupiter to do two. 
  2. Saturn is faster and eventually Jupiter is an infinitely far behind
    1. But they will never actually arrive at being “infinitely far behind”

Scenario 2

  1. Saturn completes one orbit around the sun in the time it takes Jupiter to do two. 
  2. With an infinite universe, which one has made more orbits?
    1. Exactly the same Amount!
  3. The longer they orbit, the greater the disparity grows. So how does the number of orbits magically become equal by making them orbit from eternity past?

Infinity is definitely a number, ask a set theorist.

Scenario 3.

  1. Someone counting from eternity past has just reached zero
  2. Why did they finish today? Why not yesterday or the day before? Since an infinite amount of time has already elapsed

At no point in the past can we find the man finishing his countdown, which contradicts the hypothesis that he has been counting from eternity.

These illustrations only strengthen the claim that no series that is formed by adding one member after another can be actually infinite. Since the series of past events has been formed by adding one event after another, it can’t be actually infinite. It must have had a beginning. So that’s our second philosophical argument for the beginning of the universe. Now to the scientific data.

First Scientific Argument: The Expansion of the Universe

A piece of data antiquity did not have access to was the developing science of modern astronomy. The first scientific confirmation of the universe’s beginning comes from the expansion of the universe.

The “Big Bang”

It was generally assumed that the universe wasn’t changing and “always was”. This was very much the assumption of Einstein when he first began to apply his new theory of gravity, called the general theory of relativity, to the universe in 1917.

But Einstein has a problem. His equations described a universe that was either blowing up like a balloon or else collapsing in upon itself. Einstein “solved” the problem by adjusting his own equations in an unorthodox method, adding a new term to enable the universe to walk the tightrope between exploding and imploding.

However, in the 1920s a Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître decided to take Einstein’s equations at face value, and as a result they came up independently with models of an expanding universe to Einsteins dismay. Further, in 1929 the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, at the Mount Wilson Observatory he observed and made discoveries that verified Friedman and Lemaître’s theory. Light from distant galaxies was more red than expected, this “redshift”.

The most plausible explanation that concluded rightly was the redshift was a result of stretching light waves as the galaxies moved away from where we are. This was not unique to a single area in the sky, everywhere Hubble looked, he observed the same phenomenon. 

So are all the universes moving away from us and we’re the centre of the universe? No, that old view has no need to return. According to the Friedman-Lemaître model, we’re not really at the center of the universe. Rather an observer in any galaxy will look out and see the other galaxies moving away from him. There is no center to the universe. This is because, according to the theory, it’s really space itself that is expanding. The galaxies are actually at rest in space, but they recede from one another as space itself expands. William Lane Craig uses the example of a balloon with buttons on it. As you inflate the balloon the buttons move away from each other but there is no centre (in this metaphor, space is the outside of the balloon, ignore the inflation part of the balloon and focus on the expansion). The buttons are galaxies, the surface of the balloon is space. 

This Friedman-Lemaître model eventually came to be known as the big bang theory. But it should not be said the Big Bang was an explosion from a preexisting empty space, that would be a misunderstanding of the model. So we should not be misled into thinking of the big bang as the explosion of a superdense pellet of matter into empty space. 

The Beginning of Time

By tracing the expansion of the universe back in time, we see everything begins to get closer (record yourself blowing up a balloon and then play it backwards so to speak!) until there is no space. According to the Friedman- Lemaître model, this is the result in going back in time. Eventually the distance between any two points in space becomes zero. You can’t get any closer than that! So at that point you’ve reached the boundary of space and time. Space and time can’t be extended any further back than that. It just is the beginning of space and time.

Because space comes to zero it has been best illustrated like a cone. What’s significant about this is that while a cone can extend indefinitely in one direction, it has a boundary point in the other direction. Because this direction represents time and the boundary point lies in the past, the model implies that past time is finite and had a beginning. Because space-time is the arena in which all matter and energy exist, the beginning of space-time is also the beginning of all matter and energy. It’s the beginning of the universe. So a cone gives us a clear symbolic illustration of the model.

This standard Big Bang model predicts amazingly an absolute beginning of the universe, which is the consensus belief. If indeed this model is correct then we have a strong scientific confirmation for the second premise of the argument.

Is the Standard Model Correct?

Additional evidences coming out of the Big Bang is that it is the best explanation for the abundance in the universe of certain light elements, such as helium, in that they were formed in the hot, dense big bang. Also, the discovery in 1965 of a cosmic background of microwave radiation is best explained as a vestige of the big bang.

Physicists have proposed scores of alternative models over the decades since Friedman and Lemaître’s work, and those that do not have an absolute beginning have been repeatedly shown to be unworkable. Put more positively, the only viable nonstandard models are those that involve an absolute beginning to the universe. That beginning may or may not involve a beginning point. However theories (such as Stephen Hawking’s “no boundary” proposal) that do not have a pointlike beginning still have a finite past. The universe has not existed forever, according to such theories, but came into existence, even if it didn’t do so at a sharply defined Point. The scientist cannot get around a beginning. For more on the failed models, see some of the resources at the end. 

One might suspect that the fact that so many new theories are being proposed, the Big Bang is bound to give in eventually. However the opposite has happened.It can be argued that for every argument that gets knocked down, the Big Bang looks even stronger and only further confirms the universe had a beginning. Despite all the technological advances, no challenge has been successfully made for over 80 years.

Then something brilliant happened in 2003 in the form of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem. Three leading scientists, Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, were able to prove that any universe that has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary.

The uniqueness to what makes this proof so powerful is that it holds regardless of the physical description of the very early universe. Because we can’t yet provide a physical description of the very early universe, this brief moment has been fertile ground for speculations. But the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is independent of any physical description of that moment. Their theorem implies that even if our universe is just a tiny part of a so-called multiverse composed of many universes, the multiverse must have an absolute beginning. So those clinging to a multiverse proposition do so in vein.

Vilenkin is blunt about the implications:

It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.

Alexander Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 176.

Challenges will continue to come to avoid a beginning and there’s no reason to think they’ll be any more successful as they have been in the past. Scientific results are always provisional. Nevertheless, it’s pretty clear which way the evidence points. Today the proponent of the Kalam cosmological argument stands comfortably within the scientific mainstream in holding that the universe began to exist. 

Second Scientific Argument: The Thermodynamics of the Universe

We have a second scientific confirmation in the form of the second law of thermodynamics! According to this law, unless energy is being fed into a system, that system will become increasingly disorderly. 

For example, if you had a bottle that was a closed vacuum inside and you injected into it some molecules of gas, the gas would spread itself evenly throughout the bottle. Now for the chances that all the molecules would gather together in one section of the bottle is basically 0%. This is due to the greater likelihood of molecules existing in a disorderly state than an orderly one, and so spreading out is far more likely.

The End of the World

19th century science was well acquainted with the prediction this law entails. Scaling up from the bottle, for the universe, all the energy in the universe will spread itself out evenly throughout the universe. The universe will become a featureless soup in which no life is possible stretched so thin. Once the universe reaches such a form, no significant further change is possible. It is a state of equilibrium, in which the temperature and pressure are the same everywhere. Scientists called this the “heat death” of the universe.

This helps raise another question: if the universe has been around forever, then why has the heat death not already happened in an infinite world (Think back to the first two philosophical arguments)? The universe should by now already be in a state of equilibrium. However, as we still live and know we’re in a state of disequilibrium, where the energy is still available to be used and the universe has an orderly structure.

Boltzmann’s Many Worlds Hypothesis

The nineteenth-century German physicist Ludwig Boltzmann proposed a radical solution to this problem. Boltzmann suggested that perhaps the universe is already in a state of overall equilibrium! Nevertheless, by chance alone, there will arise more orderly pockets of disequilibrium here and there. Boltzmann refers to these isolated regions of disequilibrium as “worlds.” Our universe just happens to be one of these worlds. 

Unfortunately got Boltzmannians, this view has been widely rejected by modern physicists as an explanation of the observed disequilibrium of the universe. 

The problematic features of this hypothesis is seeing that our world is just a chance fluctuation from a state of overall equilibrium. We be observing a much smaller region of order. Why is this? Because a small fluctuation from equilibrium is vastly more probable than the large, sustained fluctuation necessary to create the universe we see, and yet a small fluctuation would be sufficient for our existence. For example, a fluctuation that formed an orderly region no bigger than our solar system would be enough for us to be alive and would be incomprehensibly more likely to occur than a fluctuation that formed the whole orderly universe we see!

Boltzmann’s hypothesis, if practically seen as reality and lived consistently would lead to a bizarre world of illusionism. This entailing that we live on this tiny region of order, the stars and the sky is all illusion. That sort of world is far more likely than a universe that has, in defiance of the second law of thermodynamics, moved away from equilibrium for billions of years to form the universe we Observe.

Contemporary End-of-the-World Scenarios

If the universe will expand forever, then it will never actually arrive at equilibrium. Because the volume of space is constantly growing, the matter and energy always have more room to spread out. Nevertheless, as the universe expands, its available energy is used up and it becomes increasingly cold, dark, dilute, and dead. It will eventually become a thin gas of subatomic particles endlessly expanding in absolute darkness. 

There’s a flip side to this, if the universe is not expanding fast enough, the expansion will slow down, come to a halt, and then gravity will begin to pull everything together again in a catastrophic big crunch. Eventually everything in the universe will coalesce into a gigantic black hole, from which the universe will never rebound. 

Regardless of whether the ending is not or cold, thin or crunched, this question remains the same: Given sufficient time, the universe will reach such a state, why is it not now in such a condition, if it has existed forever? 

Scientific discoveries in the 21st century have only further indicated that the comics expansion is speeding up because the volume of space is increasing so rapidly, the universe actually moves further away from an equilibrium state in which matter and energy are evenly distributed. 

But the acceleration of the universe’s expansion only hastens its demise. For now the different regions of the universe become increasingly isolated from one another in space, and each marooned region becomes dark, cold, dilute, and dead. So we can ask the same question again of the infinite universe theorist, why isn’t our region in such a state if the universe has already existed for infinite time?

The Beginning of the Universe and Attempts to Avoid It

Most physicists would say that the matter and energy were simply put into the universe as an initial condition, and the universe has been following the path plotted by the second law ever since its beginning a finite time ago. Despite this standard view, the beginning will continue to be avoided by many with alternatives proposed like the below/

Oscillating Universes

During the 1960s some theorists tried to craft what are called oscillating models of the universe. This involves an expanding and contracting universe from eternity past,

but the thermodynamic properties of such models implied the very beginning they were designed to avoid. 

Entropy accumulates from cycle to cycle, making each cycle larger and longer than the one before it. What this means is that as you trace the cycles back in time, they get smaller and smaller until you come to a first cycle and the origin of the universe, so we get a beginning once again (just a bit more time perhaps).

In fact, astronomers have estimated on the basis of current radiation levels in the universe that the universe cannot have gone through more than about a hundred previous cycles. So if this model were true, it would have an ultimate beginning.

Bubble Universes

More recently, other theorists have proposed that our universe is just a bubble in a much larger “multiverse” of bubble universes. The claim is that the second law applies only to the bubbles, but not to the whole multiverse itself. Even if this claim were true, however, it doesn’t matter. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem applies to the multiverse and requires that it would have an absolute beginning.

Baby Universes

Finally, there have been assumptions that black holes are entrances to “wormholes” in space-time through which energy could travel to spawn baby universes. If the “umbilical cord” tying the mother universe to its baby pinches shut, then the baby universe becomes an independent universe. Perhaps this scenario could be extended into the infinite past, so that we’re the offspring of an infinite line of ancestors? This hypothesis falls short as well. The second law still applies, so that this process cannot have gone on for infinite time. Not only that, but the scenario contradicts subatomic physics, which requires that the information that goes down a black hole remains in our universe. This was the subject of a long term bet between John Preskill and Stephen Hawking, which Hawking in 2004 finally admitted he had lost. Hawking confessed,

“There is no baby universe branching off.”

S. W. Hawking, “Information Loss in Black Holes,” http://arXiv:hep-th/0507171v2 (September 15, 2005): 4.

The evidence from the second law of thermodynamics confirms the truth of the second premise of the Kalam argument. The field of thermodynamics is incredibly well understood it’s basically a closed field of science, thus no arguments seem to go after it. So such findings are just not likely to be reversed.

Conclusion

We have four strong evidences for the Kalam cosmological argument’s second premise, an affirmed first premise and like we said at the beginning, if premise one and two are true, the third premise naturally follows. Whatever begins to exist does have a cause, the universe did begin to exist and that follows that the universe has a cause. But thats not the end of it just yet.

Is the Universe Self-Caused?

A popular atheist philosopher known as Daniel Dennett does truly believe that the universe has a cause, but he declares that the universes cause is itself! This is what Dennett refers to as the ultimate boot-strapping trick.

Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (New York: Viking, 2006), 244.

Now this view is nonsensical. He’s not saying that the universe is self-caused in the sense that it has always existed. He’s stating the far bolder conclusion that the universe brought itself into being. But that is just impossible, to create it must first exist, so how could it create itself if it did not yet exist? This view is logically incoherent.

  1. Everything that begins to exist has an explanation for its existence
  2. The universe exists
  3. Therefore the universe has a cause
  4. The universe caused itself by being prior to itself to create itself by being prior to itself to create itself by being prior to itself to create itself by….(you get the point)

It’s ridiculous… 

The Personal Creator of the Universe

Elminitating all the other defeaters, the cause of the universe must therefore be a transcendent cause beyond the universe. This creative force/mind must have certain properties:

Uncaused: An infinite series is impossible, so there must be an uncaused first cause

Immaterial & non-physical: since it created space and time it must transcend it

Unimaginably powerful: It created all matter and energy

Personal being: Contingency argument plus only an unembodied mind fits the above description 

Ghazali has given another great reason for why the First Cause must be personal: It’s the only way to explain how a timeless cause can produce a temporal effect with a beginning like the universe. 

Here’s the issue: If a cause is sufficient to produce its effect, then if the cause is there, the effect must be there, too. For example, water will freeze when the temperature is below 0 degrees centigrade; the cause of the freezing is the temperature’s falling to 0 degrees. If the temperature has always been below 0 degrees, then any water around would be frozen from eternity. It would be impossible for the water to begin to freeze just a finite time ago. Now the cause of the universe is permanently there, since it is timeless. So why isn’t the universe permanently there as well? Why did the universe come into being only 13.7 billion years ago? Why isn’t it as permanent as its cause?

Ghazali maintained that the answer to this problem must be that the cause is a personal being with freedom of the will. His creating the universe is a free act that is independent of any prior conditions. So his act of creating can be something spontaneous and new. So, we’re brought not merely to a transcendent cause of the universe but to its Personal Creator.

The Kalam cosmological argument thus gives us powerful grounds for believing in the existence of a beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, enormously powerful Personal Creator of the universe.

Mindmap

Sources

  • Al-Ghazali Kitab al-Iqtisad fi’l-I’tiqad, cited in S. de Beaurecueil, “Gazzali et S. Thomas d’Aquin: Essai sur la preuve de l’existence de Dieu proposée dans l’Iqtisad et sa comparaison avec les ‘voies’Thomiste,” Bulletin de l’Institut Francais d’Archaeologie Orientale 46 (1947): 203.
  • J. M. Wersinger, “Genesis: The Origin of the Universe,” National Forum (Winter 1996), 11, 9, 12.
  • Alexander Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 176.
  • S. W. Hawking, “Information Loss in Black Holes,” http://arXiv:hep-th/0507171v2 (September 15, 2005): 4.
  • Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (New York: Viking, 2006), 244.

Resources

Here are a list of resources to aid you on your quest to grapple with the simple (but also complex) argument. Many of these are listed at my website 1c15.co.uk.

Videos

Animated video of the Kalam [Beginner]

Presenting the Kalam in 3 minutes [Beginner]

On Guard Conference: Doug Geivett – God and the Origin of the Universe [Beginner]

Kalam Cosmological Argument – Scientific & Philosophical Evidence | William Lane Craig, PhD [Beginner]

10 Really Bad Youtube Objections to the Kalam Cosmological Argument [Beginner]

History of the Big Bang – Simon Singh, PhD [Beginner]

Grim Reaper Paradox: New Evidence the universe began to exist Dr Rob Koons (Second Premise focus) [Intermediate]

Modern Physics, the Beginning and Creation – Stephen M. Barr, PhD [Intermediate]

Did the Universe have a Beginning? Alexander Vilenkin [Advanced]

Books

On Guard

Reasonable Faith

Blackwell Companion to Natural theology

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Websites

ReasonableFaith

Youtube channels

Dr Craig Videos

Reasonable Faith


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