Nothing Without A Cause

In the discussion titled “Just The Facts” what we discovered is that from the basic fact of our existence and the existence of the universe we can infer the existence of something which must have created the universe and ourselves.  Let’s explore this a little further and see if we can add to our picture of this ‘something.’

There is an argument for the existence of God which has been around for a long time.  William Lane Craig is a defender of the Christian faith and he has put forward a version of it which is called the Kalaam Cosmological Argument.  Here it is:

  • Everything which begins to exist has a cause.
  • The universe began to exist.
  • Therefore, the universe has a cause.

On the face of it I am sure this does not seem like a great winner for Christianity.  Yet have a look at the logic of it.  It is, strictly speaking, a sound logical argument.  The only way to deny the third statement’s truth is to prove that one of the first two statements is not correct.  So let’s do that!

The first statement is related to something called the Law of Causality.  Basically, everything we see happening is governed by this law.  If there is an event – like a thunderclap – then we say that this event is an effect.  What causes the effect of a thunder clap?  Lightning causes thunder.  Every event is an effect and therefore has a cause.

Are there any exceptions to the law of causality?  Scientifically speaking, no there are not.  Every material effect must have an adequate cause.  Some people are trying to work through quantum physics and explain that there are these quantum fluctuations which exist without a cause.  Yet this cannot be true.  First, the burden of proof should remain with the scientists to demonstrate how they know these quantum events have no cause.  Second, these quantum events could not occur in the absence of everything else.  If there was nothing then there would be no quantum event.  So the presence of something allows for the occurrence of quantum events.  This is a big clue that they have a cause!

If there are no exceptions to the law of causality then we must let the first statement stand as it is.  Everything which begins to exist has a cause.

What about the second statement?  Is it true to say that the universe began to exist?

There are not loads of options here.  Either the universe did have a beginning or it did not have a beginning.

Scientists say, generally, that the universe did have a beginning.  Their observations require them to provide an explanation for the expansion of the universe and the warmth of the universe.  Because the whole universe is blowing up like a balloon and getting colder as it does so, logic tells us that if the universe had always been doing this it would have expanded totally already and would be freezing cold.  Thus there must have been a beginning point for the universe’s expansion at some point in the past.

Philosophy tells us the same thing.  When philosophers think of time they come to the conclusion that an infinity of time is not possible.  If there were an infinite series of moments before now – whenever you read this – then the moment which is now would never occur.  This is deep stuff but you can get the idea pretty easily.

If an infinite number of things have to happen before you can read these words then when would you read these words?  Never!  So the fact that you are reading these words means that an infinite number of things have not happened before now.

Religious groups also tell us the universe had a beginning.  There are numerous stories of creation from all around the globe.  Rather than trying, just now, to decide which is correct, can we just accept that when people think in religious ways they always think of the universe as being created?

So there you have it.  The second statement is also true.  The universe had a beginning.

This means the conclusion follows.  The universe has a cause.  If, as scientists and philosophers alike agree, every material effect must have an adequate cause then what kind of cause is adequate for the production of the universe as a material effect?

Let me stop here and answer that question in another thought burst at another time.

The conclusion from this little bit of thinking is that the universe must have a cause which is capable of creating the universe.

Sound like God to you?

It does to me…

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8 thoughts on “Nothing Without A Cause

Add yours

  1. If you weren’t aware, I thought this was helpful:
    I’ve heard from scientists (and confirmed in my reading) that no theory of quantum mechanics denies that things have causes. The debate is over wether or not quantum events have determined, or indeterminate causes. That is, they have causes, but when the event happens may not be predictable.
    But, either way, they are still caused.

    1. This has been my understanding as well. Still, this does not stop the village atheist from bringing this up as an objection. I find returning tot he idea of contingency effectively deals with this kind of objection.

      Good comment though! Thanks for following the blog!

  2. Everything requires a cause….except God of course because he’s special, This proves there has to be a God.

    Solid argument.

    1. Wow – never thought there was actually a person called Village Atheist. Ironic name…

      Your reasoning is poor. The conclusion I drew from the argument I laid out is that the universe requires a cause. Do you dispute this?

      Of course, it is fair to say that I identify God as the cause of the universe. However, this was not the thrust of the argument as would have been apparent to anyone who thought about it. Do you disagree with the conclusion that the universe requires a cause? If so then which of the first two premises do you disagree with?

    1. Sorry, I interpreted your response as sarcasm due to your name.

      Your reasoning, based on sarcasm, is either that God does require a cause or that the universe does not require a cause.

      Or perhaps you are rethinking your atheist status?

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