Kalām Cosmological Argument
I’ve been thinking heavily on the Kalām Cosmological Argument. I’m finding it a fairly significant and well reasoned defense for the existence of God. I understand that there are fundamental arguments against this, but from a simple reasoned defense, it is very compelling. Most defenses against this argument for God tend to require a bit of mental gymnastics that go against Occam’s Razor.
First, let’s define the argument. The video above does a decent job of defining the argument and some of the rational behind them. Let’s show the simplicity here:
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause;
- The universe began to exist;
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Proposition 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause
Without going into a deep analysis of this argument, we will use intuition to follow this proposition. Looking at everything that is temporal, it has a cause. A simple way of saying this is that a book was put together by the publisher/author/etc., water occurs by the arrangement of atoms in a particular way, or humans exist from star dust. Everything that begins to exist, has a cause.
Kai Neilson, an atheist philosopher from the University of Calgary, puts it this way: “…suppose you hear a loud bang…and you ask me, ‘What made that bang?’ and I reply, ‘Nothing, it just happened.’ You would not accept that–in fact you would find my reply quite unintelligible.”
Proposition 2: The universe began to exist
This argument hinges on two premises. One, Big Bang Cosmology and two, absence of physical infinites. The Big Bang explains a large list of scientific observations including Hubble’s red-shift and the cosmic microwave background. This appears to give the universe a finite beginning. It sets the 0 point for all of space-time.
Agnostic astronomer, Robert Jastrow came to the belief that with the advent of Big Bang cosmology, that science has proven the need for a Creator.
At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers
Additionally, through findings quantum physics and others the need for the big bang to occur out of ‘nothing’ has become probable (as all things in quantum physics are probable). In other words, the ’t = 0' point that the Big Bang gave us is actually some ’t = n' on an infinite time scale. But there is a question to the physical possibility of an infinite. Due to the understanding of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy cannot decrease), if there was an infinite past, there’d be no asymmetry between the past and the future. The other argument is that even if these physical infinites existed, traversing them would be impossible. If time was infinite, and if we humans are a set of successive beings and evolution is a successive process of one after another, then we’d never actually hit any realizable point in time. It requires a beginning to ground these successive events.
Concluding: The universe has a cause
So this doesn’t prove, God. I want to be clear on that. But it does show that belief in the existence of an all powerful, timeless, spaceless, immaterial being is within the realm of rationality. Granted, there are very philosophical and scientific arguments around all these points and conclusions that the average person cannot get into. But over and over again, the arguments against this cosmological argument take significant mental gymnastics to overcome or are easily seen as a misunderstanding. I keep falling back to the simplest solution appears to make the most sense. The most interesting thing about this cosmological argument, I’ve found, is that the theologians are arguing that the implications of the Big Bang must be accepted and the scientists are arguing against their own conclusions of the universe’s beginnings. I know others will argue differently, but it’s a crazy world we live in.
So with that, I find it rational and congruent that the universe has a cause. And if there is a cause, there is no issue with my belief in God. Yes, it can be any god or gods, but a timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and all powerful being(s) makes sense. For other reasons not articulated here, I believe in the God personified in the person of Jesus Christ as the Cause of this universe.