- Written by Shawn Hayes
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There are many arguments traditionally used to prove the existence of God. These arguments are called the cosmological argument (cosmos), the moral argument (from moral law), the teleological argument (from design) and the ontological argument (which conveys the idea of an absolute perfect being). The Cosmological argument argues that since there is something (i.e. a universe) rather than nothing at all, then the universe owes its existence to something other then itself.
The Cosmological Argument for the existence of God is based on a self evident first principle called the Law of Causality. The law of causality, simply stated is that “Everything that had a beginning had a cause.” If in fact, everything that had a beginning has a cause and it can be demonstrated that the universe had a beginning, then it follows logically that the universe has a cause. Stated in syllogistic form, the argument appears as follows:
- Everything that had a beginning had a cause.
- The universe had a beginning.
- Therefore, the universe had a cause.
Major Premise: The Principle of Causality
Everything that had a beginning has a cause to account for its existence. From nothing comes nothing. Even the Skeptic David Hume affirmed the principle of causality stating “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.”1
Minor Premise: The Universe had a Beginning
There are two lines of evidence in support of the universe having a beginning. It is defended both scientifically and philosophically. As offered by Dr. Norman L. Geisler in volume one of Systematic Theology, several lines of converging evidences support the fact that the space-time universe we live in had a beginning.
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT THE UNIVERSE HAD A BEGINNING:
- THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS
The universe is not eternal: It is running out of usable energy and running down toward disorder. “Once hydrogen as been burned within the star and converted to heavier elements, it can never be restored to its original state. Minute by minute and year by year, as hydrogen is used up in stars, the supply of this element in the universe grows smaller.” 2
- THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING
Universe is not eternal: It is expanding. If time were reversed, the universe would collapse back to nothing. According to Jastrow, “The most complete study made thus far has been carried out on the 200-inch telescope by Allan Sandage. He compiled information on 42 galaxies, ranging out in space as far as six billion light years from us. His measurements indicate that the universe was expanding more rapidly in the past than it is today. This result lends further support to the belief that the universe exploded into being.”3
- RADIATION ECHO OF THE INITIAL EXPLOSION
The universe is not eternal: It exploded into being out of nothing. After discovering the radiation echo of the initial explosion from the Big Bang, Jastrow concluded that “No explanation other than the big bang has been found for the fireball radiation. The clincher, which has convinced almost the last Doubting Thomas, is that the radiation discovered by Penzias and Wilson has exactly the pattern of wavelengths expected for the light and heat produced in a great explosion. Supporters of the steady state theory have tried desperately to find an alternative explanation, but they have failed.”4 Even, physicist V.J Steiner from the University of Hawaii suggests “The universe exploded out of nothingness.”5
- GREAT MASS OF MATTER FROM THE INTIAL EXPLOSION
A great mass of matter from the intial explosion was discovered in 1992 Proponents of the Big Bang theory were amazed to actually discover a great mass of energy as a result of what appears to be a major explosion. George Smoot, Astrophysicist from the University of California commented that “If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God.”6
Jastrow observes that “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”
He contends that “The scientist’s pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation. This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and earth.”7 In conclusion Jastrow states that “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”8
This Scientific Evidence led U.S. News and World Report on March 26 1990 to conclude that In the beginning, there was no time, no matter not even space. Then in some unfathomable way, a universe emerged from a dimensionless point of pure energy…This theory of an expanding universe emanating from a primordial big bang is the explanation of creation held by nearly all scientists, for it best fits what they can actually observe.9
PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENT THAT THE UNIVERSE HAD A BEGINNING
- An infinite number of days have no end.
- We are at the end of all days before today. If there were an infinite number of days before today, today would never have come.
- But today has come.
- Therefore, there were not an infinite number of days before today.
Simply put, you cannot add to an actual infinite. So if you jumped off an infinite building, how long would it take to touch the ground? Never! But we are here on the ground, so the building must not be infinite. (Although this example breaks down by the fact that you can never stand on top of an infinite building in the first place).
Therefore, The universe had a cause
Everything that had a beginning has a cause and it can be demonstrated by strong evidence that the universe had a beginning, therefore it follows logically that the universe has a cause. This first cause of all things created is appropriately called God.
IF EVERYTHING NEEDS A CAUSE, THEN WHAT CAUSED GOD?
The question is confusing the statement. We do not believe that everything needs a cause. We believe that everything that had a beginning needs a cause. God as the first cause didn’t have a beginning. Only finite, dependent things need a cause, if the universe is eternal then it wouldn’t need a cause. But the overwhelming evidence points to the fact that the universe had a beginning and therefore needs an uncaused first cause to account for its existence.
Geisler, Norman L. BECA. Grand Rapids, MI. 1999.
________________. When Skeptics Ask. Grand Rapids, MI. 1996.
________________. Systematic Theology. Bethany House. 2002.
- Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 15-16
- Ibid., 95
- Ibid., 15
- V. J. Steiner, “The Face of Chaos,” Free Inquiry, Winter 1992-93
- George Smoot, Time Magazine, May 4, 1992, 62
- Jastrow, 115
- Ibid., 14
- (U.S. News and World Report, March 26, 1990, 54)
Everything that had a beginning had a cause.
The universe had a beginning.
Therefore, the universe had a cause.