This argument for God’s existence deals with the beginning of the universe as a result of a transcendent cause. This blog is only meant to give a general introduction to the argument and is only meant to breach the surface of the sea of articles and arguments within academia surrounding this issue. The argument is as follows:
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.
The logic in this deductive argument is airtight. If the premises are true (1 and 2), then the conclusion (3) follows logically and necessarily. But are the premises true?
Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
This premise is almost totally common sense. What is the opposite of this premise? Namely, that things can come into existence spontaneously without a cause. This belief is more of a stretch than believing in magic. In magic you have a magician and a hat and wand, but nothing has absolutely no creative properties (or any properties at all!) If something can come into being from nothing, then why is it just universes? Why not supernovas? Or planets? Or water? Or Beethoven? What makes nothing so discriminatory? Nothing has no space, no time, no matter, and no energy, so it can be safely stated that out of nothing, nothing comes. If something begins to exist, it must have a cause.
Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
Typically, atheists and other secular scientists have contended that the universe is infinite without a beginning, but we have very good reason (both scientifically and philosophically) to believe the universe began to exist.
Philosophically, the idea of an infinite number of past events seems absurd. On this view, for every event which transpires, there is always an event before to infinity. An example which helps communicate actual infinities are impossible is Hilbert’s Grand Hotel paradox. Imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms that are all full. The rooms are numbered from 1 to infinity. If all the rooms are booked, then no more guests can stay in the hotel, right? Not necessarily, because if a new guest arrives, then all the hotel manager must do is move the guest in room 1 to room 2, the guest in room 2 to room 3, and so on. The guest in room n will be moved to room n+1. After this process takes place, all the rooms are full, but what if another guest arrives? Then the process is repeated. This paradox helps explain the absurdity of an actually infinite number of past events.
As David Hilbert put it, “The inﬁnite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought… The role that remains for the inﬁnite to play is solely that of an idea.”
Scientifically, there exists strong evidence that the universe began to exist and sprang from an initial point a finite time ago. In 1922, Alexander Friedmann and George Lemaitre predicted the universe is expanding using the equations from Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Then in 1929, Edwin Hubble noticed what he called a “Red Shift” in the light from distant galaxies. This discovery not only demonstrated that the universe is expanding, but that the universe sprang into being from a single point in the finite past. This model of the universe is what is now known as the “Big Bang.” In 2003, Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin created the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem (BGV Theorem). This theorem states that any universe which has been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past and must have a definite beginning. This theorem applies independent of quantum theory models, and it applies to the multiverse (if such a thing exists).
As Alexander Vilenkin himself stated, “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
From these two premises, the conclusion follows logically: the universe has a cause. Now, one can ponder what the cause of the universe must be.
What is the universe? The universe is classically defined as the sum of all matter, energy, space, and time. It follows the cause of the universe must be immaterial, powerful in itself, space-less, and timeless. Only two things can fit this description: 1) abstract objects, like numbers, or 2) an unembodied mind. Abstract objects cannot cause anything. The number “2” cannot create anything. Therefore, what is left is an unembodied mind which is uncaused, changeless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, and a personal Creator of the universe. I like to call Him God.
“For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), ‘I am the LORD, and there is none else.'” – Isaiah 45:18