Arguing for the Existence of God
Now we have finally reached the final step of the Kalaam Cosmological argument. Last post we established the universe had to have a cause. Now we can ask…
3. Was the Cause Personal or Impersonal?
A. Cause was impersonal (event causation)
When something happens, we call that an event. All events have causes. An example of an event is a house falls down. What was the cause? Scientists tell us it was an earthquake. We then ask, what caused the earthquake? Someone tells us plate tectonics. What caused the plate tectonics? We are told volcanic activity. What caused the volcanic activity? As you can see we can keep going on and on.
The problem we discover is that you can’t have an infinite number of causes. All events have to have a 1st cause and that 1st cause itself couldn’t be an event because the next question is, what caused the event? All events need a 1st cause, a beginning. Therefore if the event or an impersonal cause cannot explain the beginning, then the 1st cause has to be personal.
B. Cause was personal (agent causation)
When there is no physical explanation, we always defer to a personal explanation. If I walked into my son’s bedroom and I found it a total mess, barring an earthquake or some other physical explanation, what would we ask? Who created the mess? We might find out that my son and his friends had a late night gathering, made the mess and nobody cleaned it up. If “a what” (physical explanation) cannot explain it, we always conclude that it must have been “a who.” If “a what,” a physical explanation could not have caused the universe to come into existence, we must therefore conclude that “a who” caused it.
This “who” that caused the creation of the universe has to be an uncaused, eternal personal being. The effect or the event can’t be greater than the cause. If we look at the evidence from our universe we see: Personal elements in it (consciousness, free will, a mind, emotions) that point to a personal creator. If the cause were impersonal then the effect would be impersonal. Rational thinking and consciousness wouldn’t exist. You couldn’t even reflect and analyze what I’ve just written if the cause was impersonal. Therefore, since you at least are following me to some degree that is a demonstration of rationality. If rationality and mind exist then it can be argued that the universe had a personal beginning. A personal universe leads us to a personal creator.
The argument was stated in 3 simple either/or steps:
1) The universe either had a beginning, or it didn’t have a beginning and is eternal. I argued for a beginning by pointing to the Big bang and the 2nd law of thermodynamics. There are powerful philosophical arguments against having a past collection of infinite days; since we are talking science I didn’t use them.
2) If the universe had a beginning, it was either caused or uncaused. To be uncaused it had to be caused by nothing. Since the cause can’t be nothing then there had to be a cause.
3) If the universe was caused, then the cause was either personal or impersonal. All impersonal events need a first cause. If the impersonal cause can be ruled out then the only other option is a personal cause. Since we observe many personal characteristics in this universe, such as rationality and mind, the creation cannot be greater than the cause therefore the cause must be personal. That personal cause is uncaused by definition and eternal, which means there was never a time when this cause or God did not exist.
When someone asks me who caused God, I ask, what comes before the beginning? The universe screams out the need for an uncaused, personal first cause and that cause is God. God is uncaused by definition.
Now it is possible that I could be wrong. But to demonstrate that a person is going to have to prove either the universe is eternal and/or that it popped into existence from nothing. If a person cannot refute the argument I have presented then atheism is defeated. Yet, I can tell you from personal experience, even if you defeat atheism many still will not believe. They will place their faith in the future and explain they believe someday science will figure it out. This is sort of faith is not based on evidence but is blindly looking to the future. The Christian faith is based on a solid foundation of evidence that is available today for anyone who would embrace it.
My next series of posts will look at the argument for God’s existence from the design of the universe.