In part one of the Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God we began to argue for the existence of God by presenting the Kalam Cosmological Argument. We will now continue with that train of thought by considering the Kalam argument’s impact on time and causality then we will discuss contingent and necessary beings. In addition, we will discuss scientific proofs for the Cosmological Argument.
TIME AND CAUSALITY
In our last post we spoke of the absurdity of actual infinities and how their non-existence proves the universe is finite. The non-existence of actual infinities can be further demonstrated by applying two factors; time and causality.
The fact that “Now” exists proves that time cannot be infinite. A great example of this can be found in Holman’s Quicksource Guide to Christian Apologetics which says, “…Picture the moment “now” as a destination, like a train station. Then picture time as train tracks that are actually infinitely long. If you were a passenger waiting on the train to arrive, how long would you have to wait? The answer is: forever. You can never reach the end of infinity; thus, infinitely long train tracks cannot ever be crossed. There is no end to arrive at, no station.” In other words, an infinite number of past moments prior to the here and now could not have happened. Therefore, at some point time began to exist.
However, time did not just suddenly appear all by itself out of nowhere. The fact that time had a beginning means that something started the clock ticking. An effect without a cause does not exist. You might be thinking, “Well, if that is the case then God must have a cause.” However, because causes exist now, there must exist a beginning to the sequence. There must exist a cause that does not exist as an effect; an uncaused cause, or initial cause. This uncaused cause would be God.
THE UNCAUSED CAUSE
The Kalam argument declares to us that the universe began to exist and must have been caused by an uncaused cause. Consequently, there can only be two possible choices of what this uncaused cause must be; personal or impersonal. Doug Powell answers this question with a question, “What kind of thing relies on nothing for its existence, has the power to create something from nothing, has a will to do it or not do it, and has the characteristic of existing outside of the creation? Does this sound like a personal or impersonal being? Personal, of course! Thus, the Kalam argument brings us to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning that was caused by a personal, transcendent being.”
CONTINGENT AND NECESSARY BEINGS
Before we move on we need to discuss something the Kalam argument fails to address. While the Kalam argument deals with the initial cause of the universe, it neglects to address the sustaining factors of the universe. For this discussion we must address two terms: contingent existence and necessary existence.
Contingent existence can either be or not be; the possibility exists for it not to exist. For example, you are contingent on your parents for existence, and they are contingent upon their parents before them, and so on and so on. Nevertheless, there remains the possibility for that contingent thing to not exist.
On the other hand, a necessary being must exist for it is not possible for that being not to exist. Furthermore, to exist necessarily is to exist without contingencies or dependencies. This being would necessarily be the Kalam argument’s First Cause which by definition would be God.
Doug Powell sums it up quite well, “Nothing we see in the universe has to exist. Everything we see could just as well not have existed. This makes everything that exists simply possible, not necessary. But something does exist. ‘Therefore,’ says Aquinas, ‘not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary.’ Thus we know that a necessary being must exist in order to account for the possible beings that do exist; it makes the possible beings possible. A BEING THAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE EXISTENCE OF ALL THINGS IS CALLED GOD.”
Let’s switch gears now and discuss some scientific evidence for the cosmological argument. Under this heading, we examine two areas that give credence to the cosmological argument for the existence of God: the Big Bang Theory and the Law of Entropy.
THE BIG BANG
According to Norman Geisler’s The Big Book of Christian Apologetics, “Big bang cosmology is a widely accepted theory regarding the origin of the universe according to which the material universe or cosmos exploded into being some 13-15 billion years ago. Since then the universe has been expanding and developing according to conditions set at the moment of its origin.”
When one thinks of the term “Big Bang” one might imagine all sorts of images in their mind. Indeed, one might picture the sudden explosiveness of a massive thermonuclear bomb detonating and destroying everything in its shock-wave path for miles and miles. Moreover, one might imagine the total disorder and chaos of an industrial plant that produces fertilizers or plastics suddenly exploding for no apparent reason and the resulting blast zone with debris scattered everywhere in no pre-arranged pattern whatsoever. Such a bang would yield total destruction and disorder.
In contrast, the Big Bang that represents the beginning of our universe unfolded in a totally different way. Astronomer Hugh Ross explains it this way, “In truth, this ‘bang’ represents an immensely powerful yet carefully planned and controlled release of matter, energy, space, and time within the strict confines of carefully fine-tuned physical constants and laws that govern their behavior and interactions. The power and care this explosion reveals exceeds human potential for design by multiple orders of magnitude.”
You might be thinking, “That all sounds very impressive but what kind of evidence exists for this theory?” Believe it or not the evidence is very compelling. Without listing all the scientific equations let’s look at the evidence.
Way back in 1916, Albert Einstein gave us the first direct scientific evidence for a big bang universe; The General Theory of Relativity. Einstein’s equations showed that the universe was not static but was either contracting or expanding. The velocities of the galaxies prove that it is expanding. In fact, when Einstein discerned that his field equations of general relativity predicted an expanding universe he was unable to accept the ramifications of a cosmic beginning. Consequently, he doctored his theory to conform with the prevailing thinking of his day; an eternally existing universe. Einstein later stated that adding this “Cosmological constant” to his theory was the biggest blunder of his career.
Cosmic Background Radiation
At the very beginning of the universe, the universe existed as an almost infinitely hot singularity (that sprang into being out of nothing, i.e., ex nihilo creation). As the universe exploded and expanded, this heat left behind a “glow” that fills the entire universe. This leftover glow was predicted by the Big Bang theory which also predicted it would exist as microwave radiation. The cosmic background radiation has been accurately measured by the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite as well as other satellites.
Cosmic Background Radiation Fluctuations
In addition to predicting an expanding universe with a leftover cosmic background radiation (afterglow), the Big Bang also predicted that there would be slight variations or ripples in the temperature of the cosmic background radiation.
Consequently, in 1992 the COBE research satellite not only detected these ripples, but scientists were amazed at their precision. The ripples indicate that the explosion and expansion of the universe was precisely fine-tuned to cause just enough matter to congregate to allow galaxy formation, but not enough to cause the universe to collapse back on itself. The slightest variation in either direction would cause us to not be here to talk about it.
Such was the amazement of the researchers that the project leader, astronomer George Smoot (atheist) proclaimed, “If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God.”
THE LAW OF ENTROPY
Also known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the Law of Entropy states two undeniable facts. First of all it states that the universe is running out of usable energy. This leads scientists to the obvious conclusion that one day the universe will die having exhausted all of it’s usable energy. When we couple the Law of Entropy with the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the total amount of energy in the universe is constant, this leads us to the logical conclusion that the universe is finite and therefore had a beginning.
Frank Turek puts it this way, “In other words, the universe has only a finite amount of energy (much as your car has only a finite amount of gas). Now, if your car has only a finite amount of gas (the First Law), and whenever it’s running it continually consumes gas (the Second Law), would your car be running right now if you had started it up an infinitely long time ago? No, of course not! It would be out of gas by now. In the same way, the universe would be out of energy by now if it had been running from all eternity. But here we are—the lights are still on, so the universe must have begun sometime in the finite past. That is, the universe is not eternal—it had a beginning.”
From Order to Disorder
The second undeniable fact that the Law of Entropy proclaims to us involves the universe going from order to disorder. Indeed, with time, everything falls apart. This begs the question, if the universe is becoming less ordered then where did the original order come from? It becomes quite evident that the universe came into being since we still have some order left in it. Indeed, if the universe were eternal we would have long ago reached complete disorder.
Both of these aspects of entropy discussed here strongly suggest that since our energy and order are winding down, someone had to start the ball rolling. That person would be God.
There are so many other things that could be presented here as evidence for the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God. For example, the observed helium content of the universe, the formation of galaxies, and the fact that they are moving away from us at an increasing speed, the abundance of elements we see around us, etc. Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming. We will stop here for now and continue next time with some objections to the cosmological argument. We will also discuss the Anthropic Principle, the ramifications of the cosmological argument, plus a special section that lists quotes from famous atheists and agnostics that you will find very interesting.