The Cosmological Argument by: Reid Goldsmith and Ben McAtee
The Thomist argument Got its name from St. Thomas Aquinas Humans are finite, contingent beings Such beings can’t exist on their own Must come from either an infinite number of predecessing finite beings or one necessary Being, a.k.a. God
Man from Man from Man... An infinite regress of finite beings does not cause anything. Saying that there were infinite beings before does not prove anything about their beginning, leaving the finite without a definite beginning, which is impossible. It’s like trying to get an orange by adding an infinite number of apples. Therefore, existence must be grounded on a necessary being.
The Leibnizian Argument Named for Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Begins by asking the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Uses the principle of sufficient reasoning to argue that the existence of God is logical and necessary. It is a logical contradiction to deny the statement “God exists.”
Why Should We Believe in Sufficient Reason? Sufficient Reason: for anything that exists, there must be some reason why it exists rather than not exists. If you take a broken car to the garage and the mechanic says there’s nothing wrong with it, does it mean that there’s nothing wrong with it or he doesn’t know what’s wrong with it? Simply saying, “It is just because it is,” is not sufficient. There must be a reason.
Is a Being’s Existence Necessary? Necessity is unimportant, because obviously, man exists. Because existence occurs, there must be some sort of explanation. You cannot deny the existence of a being, therefore you cannot deny the existence of a cause for the being and cannot argue against the need for a being’s existence.
Actual Infinity Represented by the figure to the right a 0 -1 = a 0 a 0 +1= a 0 a 0 - n= a 0 a 0 +n= a 0 a 0 * a 0 = a 0 a0a0
More on Actual Infinity Actual infinity logically cannot exist because it creates irreconcilable paradoxes. If there were an actual infinite number of past events, then the earth would’ve revolved around the sun an infinite number of times. Now, if the moon revolves around the earth exactly 12 times for every one revolution the earth makes around the sun, then it should’ve revolved around earth more times than the earth revolved around the sun. If actual infinity were any other number, it would be true. However, because of the nature of an actual infinite set, no matter how much you increase an actual infinite set, it will always be equal to all other actual infinite sets.
Potential Infinity A potential infinite increases its number through time A potential infinite is always finite A potential infinite can never become an actual infinite. lim1/n= n 0
Kalam: First Premise and First Argument Since an actual infinite cannot exist, then there is a finite number of past events in this universe. If there is a finite number of past events, at some point, there was no universe Therefore, there must have been a beginning to our universe
Kalam: First Premise and Second Argument Even if an actual infinite could exist, it is impossible to traverse an actual infinite If there are an actual infinite number of points between point Z and point Y, then it would take infinite time to traverse that segment The argument from nature of causal sequences helps us to understand this phenomenon. AB YZ
Argument from Causal Sequences Imagine, if you will, a helicopter flying over your head. How did it get there? You’re thinking too hard. Here’s how it got there. The pilot got into the helicopter. The pilot getting into the helicopter is the direct cause of the helicopter flying over your head. The fact that there is a causal relationship between the pilot getting in the chopper and the chopper flying over your head means that there are specific instances in the past that you can determine, thus proving that there isn’t an actual infinite number of past events.
Infinite past events, no history Your birthday was a historical event. If there have been an infinite number of past events, you have been born an infinite number of times.* More simply, say you have a chicken, and it lays an egg. If there were an infinite number of events, what came first, the chicken or the egg? You have a dot, and it is the only object in your universe. Periodically it changes from red to blue. Given an infinite number of past events, did it start out being red or blue?* *--example provided by Mr. Patterson
More on Actual Infinite Because of the properties of an actual infinite, if there are a 0 points between Y and Z, then there are a 0 points between point A and point B. –Logically, an actual infinite cannot be traversed. If an actual infinite cannot be traversed, then the universe had a beginning AB YZ
The Big Bang theory In 1920, Astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered the Red Shift. –The red shift proves the universe is expanding If the universe is expanding, it must have had a starting point. Hence, the universe had a beginning. The big bang theory states that this beginning was a giant explosion from an infinitesimal point.
Second law of Thermodynamics The Second law defines Entropy as either energy, disorder, or information. The second law states that Entropy is always increasing in the universe. If the universe had not had a beginning, we would have reached an equilibrium of disorder right now, the universe being completely in disorder. We would all be a bunch of quarks and mesons flying around in a soup of energy. But, since that hasn’t happened, then the universe had a beginning.
Kalaam Premise 2: The Beginning of the Universe was Caused Because the universe began to exist, it’s logical to assume it was caused. Something does not come from nothing without a cause. Events have a definite beginning and end and do not happen without something causing them.
God Needed no Cause Because He had no Beginning God does not need a cause, because He is neither an event or a contingent being. Because God is a necessary being, He does not need a cause. Asking for a cause for God is illogical. It’s asking for a cause for an uncaused Being.
Arguments against cause and no cause reasoning Quantum mechanics says that there is an ultimate indeterminacy in nature at the subatomic level. Law of cause and effect doesn’t hold, events occur without a cause and something can come from nothing.
Two Arguments Against Quantum Mechanics #1: Not all physicists agree on how to interpret quantum mechanics. Some say that entities in the quantum theories should be treated in non- realistic terms. Nature isn’t really indeterminate, we just don’t & can’t understand causes of quantum phenomena. #2: Not all physicists agree on how to interpret quantum mechanics. There’s no definite way to think of it, so not many people put trust in it anyway. The law of cause and effect is well-established and understood. The burden of proof falls on those disputing the known
So…. Even if the beginning being something from nothing were logically possible, it’s still physically impossible There is therefore no reason to deny what we witness every day: events have causes. The beginning, being an event, must have had a cause.
Kalaam Premise 3: The Cause for the Universe was Personal The cause had to either be personal or impersonal. Prior to the universe, there was a state of no time, no space, and no change of any kind. The conditions for the beginning were either existent from all eternity in a state of “immutability,” or they had to come to be.
So What is the “First Event?” If the conditions had to come to be, then that in itself was the first event. This couldn’t be because before the initial universe, there was no order and no change. The only way to avoid the first event being uncaused is to say that conditions existed in a timeless, changeless state.
And… If this was an impersonal beginning, then when the cause existed, the effect would have taken place, simply because all the conditions were in their proper place. If there is no waiting, then an infinite cause would have caused an infinite effect. This goes back to the universe being infinite.
The Cause had to be Personal The only way the first event could have come spontaneously from a timeless, changeless state is to be caused by a free act of a person or agent, meaning it was created on purpose. You can raise your arm if conditions are right, but conditions don’t cause it. It’s an act of free will.
To Sum it all Up: It’s not logical to believe that the beginning of the universe was caused by a timeless, impersonal act or force. This doesn’t prove that the universe was created by the God of the Bible, but it does show that we’re in need of some supreme, necessary being who was our cause.