An earlier blog post gave the essence of the Kalam argument for the existence of God, which is:
1. Everything that has a beginning had a cause.
2. The universe had a beginning.
3. Therefore the universe had a cause.
The critical premise is (2), that the universe began to exist. The only two options are that the universe began to exist, or it did not. Those two options exhaust the possibilities.
The popular arguments for demonstrating that the universe began use such things as the second law of thermodynamics. In the argument, if the universe had no beginning, it would have run out of energy an infinitely long time ago. It still has energy, therefore it is not infinitely old, and had a beginning. To get around this problem, several arguments have been given by those who believe that only matter exists. My college astronomy text proposed the possibility that hydrogen was entering the universe from no where, injecting energy to keep it going. Notables such as Stephen Hawking have proposed theories where the universe only appears to have had a beginning, but really came from a complex system of multiple dimensions, where the matter in our universe came from another dimension and entered our time and space, thus appearing to us to have come from a singular point, but really this was merely an entry point from another dimension. Hawking was attempting to measure gravity that comes from no source in our dimension, and if he found it, it would allegedly prove the existence of a place beyond space-time existence.
Others have proposed a “big bounce,” saying that the big bang resulted in what looks like an explosion, but eventually gravity will pull everything back together again, resulting in a big bounce, or an oscillating universe. The big bounce is proposed even though all the astronomical measurements show that matter is spreading apart and speeding up. And on goes the speculation.
These systems strike me as complex stories that have no underpinnings. No one has shown that particles appear from nowhere, Hawking has not found gravity appearing from no source, and there’s no evidence of a big bounce. But we do have that pesky second law, that seems to always be hanging around, pointing to a beginning.
Pushing the origin of the big bang to outside of our dimension just amplifies the problem, for now we have a more complex system that must be explained, with more energy sources that seem to have not yet run down. I’m reminded of the tired old joke about the earth being on the back of an elephant. What is the elephant standing on? Turtles. What are they standing on? Well, it’s turtles all the way down, so we don’t need an explanation for what the turtles are standing on.
The absurdity of a finite without a beginning seems to have escaped them. For everything that is finite has an origin. Everything that is finite had a beginning point. Which of course the scientists do not think about because they consider philosophy to be nonsense, and so they do not study logic. Nevertheless, all finites had a beginning, and no infinite ever had a beginning.
The only way around saying that the universe had a beginning is to somehow claim that it is infinite, which some have done. But this too is absurd, for an actualized infinite cannot exist. We can have an abstract infinite that we can attempt to plug into a math formula, but no one can have an actualized infinite……….any material object, added together, would only give us a very large finite. Everything we see is material and finite, and all finites have to have a beginning. If they had a beginning, they need a beginner.
As William Lane Craig has said, after pointing out problems with several scholarly attacks on the beginning of the universe, “All of the above objections have been offered as attempted justification of the apparently incredible position that the universe sprang into being uncaused out of nothing. But I, for one, find the premises of those objections far less perspicuous than the proposition that whatever begins to exist has a cause. It is far more plausible to deny one of those premises than to affirm what Hume called the “absurd Proposition” that something might arise without a cause, that the universe, in this case, should pop into existence uncaused out of nothing.”