Monday, December 14, 2009

God and the Problem of “Infinite Regress”

My Response to an Atheist: God’s existence makes more sense than other explanations for the universe:

I’m sorry if I wasn’t very clear (or if I wrongly charged you). I certainly wasn't suggesting that God doesn’t need an explanation or that we must just accept God as a premise. Instead, acknowledging that we can’t get our minds around how things came to be – either things sprang into existence without cause or something or Someone had to be eternal and not requiring a cause – I tried to argue that the Supernaturalistic explanation was more tenable than the naturalistic one.

Regarding the solution for the problem of “infinite regress,” the Someone or something has to be:

1. ETERNAL AND UNCAUSED: This would relieve us of the problem of explaining the Someone’s or something’s (the universe in this case) existence.

2. A SUFFICIENT FIRST CAUSE: This cause would have to be sufficient enough to explain everything else (the effects) that follows. If it is insufficient, then the effects would, to some extent, be uncaused – an unacceptable conclusion. Furthermore, intelligent causes are more sufficient than causes that are restricted to working according to one particular formula.

3. SINGULAR: It’s much easier to accept a single Person or thing that is uncaused and eternal than a collection of things.

4. UNIFIED: The best scientific theory is the one most parsimonious.

5. TRANSCENDENT: All of the things that we have experience with aren’t eternal. All material things seem to require causes. Therefore, it makes more sense that this Person is Other and transcendent. This Person must also transcend time, because it’s logically impossible to cross an infinite number of years – and this is what the notion of eternity would require -- to arrive at the present. Even when we try to formulate a naturalistic explanation, we have a tendency to conceive of these natural laws as always existing, outside of time – transcendent. We invest them with God-like qualities. Might as well just go for the real God!

All that I’m trying to demonstrate here is that believing in God doesn’t require that we shut down our minds. Instead, it seems that the most reasonable thing that we can do is to either believe in God or to explore this question with renewed gusto.

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