Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Cosmological Proof

“Well, who created God?” he asserted defiantly, after I had presented him with several lines of evidence in favor of an Intelligent Designer. Although this is a good question, it is also unfair. When I ask the naturalist (Darwinist), “Who created the natural forces or laws,” he usually responds, “This isn’t a concern of science!” If this is a legitimate answer, then it’s also legitimate for me to respond, “God’s origin and His eternality don’t concern me either! It’s enough for me that the existence God explains everything around me, and so parsimoniously!”

The notion that we don’t have to provide an explanation for God’s origin isn’t merely a flippant response. Apologist and president of Stand to Reason, Greg Koukl, explains,

“If you see shoe-prints in the sand, you don’t need to know the manufacturer of the shoe in order to know that shoes made the imprints….An explanation can be a good one even if you do not have an explanation for the explanation.” (Solid Ground, May/June, 2008)

Koukl argues that our arguments for God, from the design we find around us, are still valid even if incomplete. However, there’s a more satisfying answer that comes packaged in the cosmological argument for God’s existence. It argues that something or Someone has to be eternal because the alternative—everything jumped into existence uncaused from nothing—is an affront to both science and our observations. Things just don’t happen; they have causes.

If we can agree here, this leaves us with just two possibilities:

1) The universe is eternal and without cause, or
2) A Supreme Causer (outside of time and space) is eternal and without cause.

The first possibility is surrounded by insurmountable challenges. First of all, science has largely abandoned the “steady state” theory, which claims that the universe always existed, in favor of the Big Bang theory, that the universe, including time and space, had a beginning. According to Steven Hawking, “Almost everyone now believes that the universe and time itself had a beginning in the Big Bang.”

Secondly, if the universe always existed, there can be no adequate explanation for anything. Whatever explanation is offered requires its own explanation to account of it. This goes on infinitely, each cause passing the buck to the prior cause (the problem of infinite regress), and therefore becomes absurd. We can never arrive at any ultimate cause. You can argue that God isn’t an explanation either, but it’s more logically coherent to base the ultimate explanation in Someone who doesn’t require an explanation than in a matter-energy universe, which always does require explanations. (Matter-energy events just don’t happen without causes!)

Lastly, the idea of an eternal universe is logically unsustainable. If we can’t count up to an eternal or infinitely numbered year in the future (and we can’t), we can’t do this going back into the past. If this is so, then it is logically impossible to ever arrive in the present by passing through an infinite number of years in the past. If this is mind-boggling, then so too is the idea of infinite time!

We are left with God, however uncomfortable this might make us. OK, we can’t get our mind around the fact that God always existed, but the alternatives are unacceptable, at least if you think about them for a bit.

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