THE KALÄM COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
Here is the very simple argument that we presented for God’s existence in the last blog:
Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
Conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause.
In our last blog, we established that there was sufficient evidence to believe that premises 1 and 2 were more likely to be true than not, and that’s the degree of proof that is commonly required.
So does the conclusion logically follow from the two premises? It does. If premise 1 is true and premise 2 is true, then the conclusion is correct: “The universe has a cause.”
OKAY, SO WHAT WAS “THE CAUSE”?
The Kalam Argument establishes convincingly that there HAD TO BE A CAUSE!
But what was it?
There actually are very few alternatives that pundits offer as an explanation for the “cause” of the universe. In fact, there are really only two:
1. God (offered by theists)
2. Nothing (offered by atheists).
No. 2 runs directly counter to the kalam argument that we just proved to be true! So we could just stop there and say the kalam argument already disproved no. 2. However, no. 2 has a few different versions that you might be interested in knowing about.
So there are currently about four theories regarding the origin of the universe, the first of which points to “God” and the other three which say “nothing” was the cause:
1. God created the universe, the earth, and us.
2. The universe, the earth and we just popped into existence without any cause or explanation.
3. The universe has just existed into the “eternal past,” but we have no idea why it exists or where it came from.
4. The universe just created itself.
Even though the kalam argument already disproved numbers 2, 3 and 4, let’s look at these in reverse order.
THEORY NUMBER 4: “THE UNIVERSE JUST CREATED ITSELF”
This is probably the most recent and creative attempt to explain a beginning. Stephen Hawking and Daniel Dennett have suggested this idea. However, it is has a few problems:
a. The first is a logical problem that the universe would have already had to exist in order to create itself. If the average person suggested this, the laughter would not stop and there’d be comparisons to a sculpture sculpting itself and a painting that paints itself into existence.
b. Secondly, Hawking and Dennett rely on an assumption that matter, energy and gravitational force existed prior to the universe, which the Standard Model of the Universe tells us is not true. It says there was “nothing.”
c. Hawking bases his concept on a universe arising out of a “multiverse” or “M-theory.” The problem with this is that Hawking’s own partner, Roger Penrose, says that “M-theory enjoys no observational support whatsoever.” Oxford theoretical physicist John Polkinghorne says, “There is no purely scientific reason to believe in an ensemble of universes.” Additionally, Hawking’s idea wouldn’t be “the universe creating itself”; it would be “a universe arising from a multiverse,” for which there simply is no evidence. Besides, it just kicks the can down the road and raises the question: Where did the multiverse come from? The BGV singularity theorem tells us that even a “multiverse,” if such a thing actually does exist, MUST have a beginning. So how did that occur? Keep in mind that, as part of the kalam argument, we already proved that anything that begins to exist has a cause. So if they’re going to insist that a “multiverse” actually exists, they can’t keep saying “nothing caused it.”
In a debate with Daniel Dennett, William Lane Craig presented the above problems with Dennett’s “universe created itself” theory, and Dennett did not respond to any of them. So the entire idea is both illogical and highly speculative.
THEORY NUMBER 3: “THE UNIVERSE IS PAST ETERNAL”
Number 3 seems like the weakest and easiest to eliminate. To say that “the universe is past eternal” goes against all the scientific evidence we’ve discussed in these blogs:
• the general theory of relativity,
• the expanding universe,
• cosmic background radiation,
• singularity theorems that prove a beginning, and
• the law of entropy.
You’d have to thumb your nose at all of this science and try to disprove every one of these scientific discoveries to believe number 3.
THEORY NUMBER 2: “THE UNIVERSE POPPED INTO EXISTENCE WITHOUT AN EXPLANATION”
Number 2 at least recognizes a beginning, which is in keeping with the scientific discoveries we talked about. However, it does not identify a “cause,” and the kalam argument taught us that there MUST be a cause!
We talked about number 2 in the last blog. How does something just spring into existence uncaused? If the universe did it, why doesn’t everything pop into existence out of nothing uncaused? Why not a car, a musical instrument, or a building? If you really believe the universe sprang into existence uncaused, why just the universe? Can you name other things that spring into existence in that manner? The point is that the universe didn’t just pop into existence out of nothing uncaused.
THEORY NUMBER 1: “GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE, THE EARTH AND US”
There had to be a cause! Whatever caused the universe had to be immaterial because it preceded space, time, matter and energy. The only immaterial things we can think of are:
• abstract concepts or objects like numbers or
• an unembodied mind, consciousness or intelligence.
One of the well-known properties of an abstract object is that it can’t cause anything to occur. But a mind could act as a causal agent to make something happen.
The difficulty that a few people have with an “unembodied mind” is they’ve been educated to think of a mind and brain as being inseparable, or perhaps interchangeable. However, the possibility exists that the “mind” is not simply a product of chemical and electrical impulses it receives from the brain, but rather a separate, independent aspect of our existence. This is sometimes a difficult concept to grasp because of the way we’ve been taught.
The unembodied mind or intelligence we’re talking about is God. Therefore, the simplest explanation is that God is “the cause” who brought the universe into existence!
That concludes our second evidence for the existence of God.
Logic requires that when you have independent arguments (that don’t rely on each other for their justification) that are all making the same point, you must consider the “cumulative impact” of all arguments combined.
Please feel free to read the next argument based on the fine-tuning of the universe.