Reasoning to God – Mind – 2

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Let us start with something simple and strong.

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The Universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the Universe has a cause.

What do you make of this?  Let us walk through it.

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

Another way of saying this is, “Nothing comes from nothing.”  If I asked you to imagine “nothing” – actually nothing, not one thing – you would seek to do this by emptying your mind.

But your mind is still there.  Thinking of nothing at all, not even a mind emptying itself of its contents, may be an impossible task.  It is only possible to think of it “in principle,” imagining by logic a scenario where there is nothing at all, not even a reality (since that would be something).

Try anyway.  Now, can anything come from nothing?

Of course not.  There’s nothing there from which “something” could come, since there’s not anything.

The first premise of this argument, then, says that if anything begins to exist – a human being, a flower, a Universe – it has a cause for its existence.  We’re not saying, yet, that the Universe has a cause.  Only that, if the Universe began to exist (rather than existing for all eternity), then it must have had a cause for its existence.

  1. The Universe began to exist.

Ok, that didn’t take long.  Yes, the Universe began to exist – this is the conclusion, the fact arrived at, from the Big Bang Theory and modern science.

Science, to the defense of faith?  It would appear so, but it is only a modern illusion that they were ever enemies.  In other words, this is not surprising to reflective Christians, to historically literate thinkers, and a sufficiently impartial observer would, I think, conclude as much.

If you want to argue the science, take it up with Lemaitre, Eddington, Einstein (who had to admit he was wrong about this), Hawking, Penrose, Vilenkin, Ellis…

Moreover, strictly speaking, science may not be necessary to complete the proof.  Consider infinity.

You’ll forgive me for rehashing this, and as such, we’ll only review one demonstration.  Consider, this moment, beginning at negative infinity and counting up to zero.  You start, “Negative infinity…”  And then what?

Not knowing the next number demonstrates the impossibility of this task.  That is, there is no next number – you can’t do it.  But if the Universe did not have a beginning, there would be an infinity of days stretching back into the past.  If today is Day Zero, then there must be some day, Day Negative Infinity, from which time has counted down to reach today.

But we can’t count down from negative infinity.  It’s not only absurd, it’s impossible.

This can be framed another, similar way.  Imagine you walk along the road and you meet someone saying, “Negative three, negative two, negative one, zero!”

You ask, “What are you doing?”

He responds, “I’ve just finished counting up to zero from negative infinity!”

Now, aside from the difficulties above, think to yourself:  Why didn’t he finish yesterday, or tomorrow?  If infinity truly stretches forever into the past, he should never have reached the number zero!

Reflect on it:  If there’s nowhere in the past to begin, there’s no way to reach today.  It is like you’ve fallen into a deep hole and, before you’ve landed, you try to jump out.  You just can’t – you’re always falling down faster than you’re propelling yourself up, because there’s not anything to push off of.  If the hole is bottomless – analogous to a Universe which is beginningless – then you will never emerge, not by climbing or jumping or anything else.

No, to get out of the hole, there must be a bottom; to get to today, there must have been a beginning.

  1. Therefore, the Universe has a cause for its existence.

This is the logically necessary conclusion.  If the premises are true, the conclusion follows.  Now, what could possibly qualify as the cause of the Universe?

Consider that what is meant by “Universe” is all time, matter, space, and energy.  So we need something which is not made of matter, not confined in space, not constrained by energy, and outside of time – since all of these things came into existence at the beginning of the Universe.

And this we call God.

Think on it if you like; for all I know, the only suitable answer here is God.  I will move on from here, but let us set things in a context.

That is, while this argument is persuasive to me, it does not grant me absolute certainty.  Truth be told, this argument is more of a logical shield for my belief than anything.  My faith truly rests on the proof of the soul, on my more-or-less direct experiences of God.

If a logically sound argument points to the existence of God, though, we ought at least to be open to the existence of God.

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