Apologetics I: The Cosmo-logical Argument

Posted on May 6, 2012. Filed under: Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


Cosmopolitan (cocktail)

Cosmopolitan (cocktail) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my readers recently posed a question to me: “How do we know there is a God”? There’s a lot of ways to answer this question, and lots of people smarter than me have written many leather-bound books doing so. But my reader didn’t ask them, so here is my response. I’ll begin by first looking at the ‘cosmological argument’ – cliff notes version.

The ‘cosmological argument’ basically says that something had to make the cosmos (as in the universe, drinks included). All of the ‘stuff’ in the universe didn’t just appear. This argument is based on the ‘Law of Causality’: every effect has a cause. Let’s say I have one more ‘follower’ because my charm finally wooed someone to subscribe to my blog. The effect is that I have one more follower; the cause was my charm….obviously.

Not too hard of a concept to grasp right? Simply take any object in the universe and ask, ‘where did it come from?’ until you find the root cause. For example, every girl loves cosmopolitans. It’s a fact. They are a smooth and sweet with just a hint of sour that makes for a wonderful pink cocktail that any girl (and honest guy) loves to drink. But where do cosmos come from? Vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and triple sec, obviously. But where did those come from? Well, the vodka came from water, fermented potatoes, and Russian tears. Cranberry juice comes from cranberries, lime juice from limes, and triple sec from distilled orange peels. But where did they come from? So, the potatoes grew from tubers under the ground…and on and on we could go.

Ultimately, this question points to an origin that must exist outside the universe and time in order to have created everything. Aristotle referred to this something as the Prime Mover, First Cause or Uncaused Cause (’cause it caused everything else). This ‘something’ must have always existed and always will exist. It must simply be by virtue of being itself. Christians call this something God (Ex 3:14).

Skeptics reject this argument a few ways. First, they say it actually violates the Law of Causality because the ‘something’ must also have come from something.  Basically saying that ‘if God made everything, then who/what made God?’ But remember, the Law of Causality states that every effect must have a cause, but God is not an effect, and therefore needs no cause.  After all, God’s name in Hebrew literally means “I am, who I am.” He was not created, He just is.

Some people claim that the universe ‘created itself.’ So, given enough nothing (no atoms, no light, no energy…nothing) and then add more nothing and enough time …and more time, you will eventually get something. Given a bajillion years of nothing and time, you’ll get more and more stuff until finally, you have our universe.  I thought Redi’s maggots and the Law of Conservation of Energy put this one to rest, but apparently not.

The Law of Non-Contradition says that A cannot be A and non-A at the same time (for example, an apple cannot be an apple and not an apple at the same time). By definition, in order to be created, brought into being, there must be a creator or one who brings into being. If the universe created itself, it would have to have exist before it didn’t exist. Yet, it cannot exist and not exist at the same time. We can toss out this argument. And Christians are the one’s working on blind faith?

So, in the end, we all need to recognize and give thanks to the Creator of the universe…and more importantly, cosmos.

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5 Responses to “Apologetics I: The Cosmo-logical Argument”

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If god can be “just is” then the universe can equally be “just is” too, that is infinite in time and space. Our universe could be part of a greater multiverse and might have “split off” in the Big Bang. I admit this is highly speculative but it fits the facts far better than any religious myth I have heard.

Quantum theory has confirmed that material can arise spontaneously by “borrowing energy” from the vacuum. It’s a fact. The total energy of the universe seems to be zero so it could borrow that energy for a long time. Again speculative but it fits in with known physics.

So in the end we have to say that there is absolutely no requirement for a creator and that one day we sill understand what really happened. Using god to explain something we currently don’t understand well is just a classic “god of the gaps” argument.

Thanks for the response.

By ‘just is,’ Christians mean that God transcends the universe, that He is of a higher order than the material world. You cited the Big Bang Theory, which supposes that the universe is not infinite, but is finite and came into being 15-18 billion years ago. The question is, what brought it into being? If it was ‘split off,’ what split it off? What created the universe that it split off from?

Quantum theory has not confirmed anything, and is certainly not fact as theories by definition cannot be proven. What is however a ‘scientific fact’ is the Law of the Conservation of Mass; mass cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system, which we are assuming from your Big Bang Theory that the universe is, correct? Which then logically points to something outside the universe had to create the mass in the first place.

Though you are attempting to use science to explain away God, you’ve actually had to abandon some fundamental scientific premises (Conservation of Mass, Conservation of Energy, Law of Inertia to name a few), which I do not. Which idea sounds more like a myth?

What does “transcends the universe” and “higher order” actually man? Nothing. It’s just meaningless gobbledegook. Why not say what you really mean? Has god existed forever? If he has, what was he doing in the time prior to 6000 years ago? (when he allegedly created the universe)? See, this stuff makes no sense when you really analyse it.

Quantum theory has proved many things. It is an extremely well tested and accurate theory. Theories can be proven – you obviously have no idea what a theory is in the scientific sense.

It’s perfectly reasonable to hypothesise that a multiverse has always existed and that the laws which control it cause smaller universes to split off occasionally.

I’m not using science to explain away god. There is no need to explain something for which there is no evidence. Even if there were no scientific ideas at all related to the origin of the universe there would still be no good reason to believe a god was responsible.

Using god to explain holes in scientific knowledge is just a “god of the gaps” tactic. And that is bad for religion because as the gaps are explained by science the case for god gets weaker.

Thanks, ojb42. God is not confined to time, space, matter (i.e. the material universe that we understand). Because every effect has a cause, there must ultimately be something that ‘transcends’ all of creation as we know it to get it all started in the first place (where did the energy come from that caused the Big Bang, where did the matter come from etc…). What He was doing, I don’t know and nor do I see how that negates His existence. After all, I don’t know what you are doing at this moment but that doesn’t mean you don’t exist.

Obviously, we disagree on what a ‘theory’ is. As I understand it, a theory is a hypothesis (or more) that has been supported with evidence to explain an observed occurrence. As evidence becomes available, the theories are supported or disproven and then modified. Once they are ‘proven’ to be true, they become scientific laws (like the Law of Inertia, Conservation of Energy, etc).

I was being facetious about ‘explaining away God’; I actually believe science only supports my ‘theory’ that there is a God. I don’t see science and God as mutually exclusive as you appear to.

While I do appreciate your comments, I don’t see this dialogue going too much further if we don’t agree on definitions or while you are deferring to personal attacks.

OBJ,

I wanted to let you know why I chose to delete your last comments. I was not insulted, but rather felt the argument was not going anywhere nor was it intellectually constructive,

I know you will not agree, but it is clear to me you are not interested in hearing a case for God, or a secular case against evolution. Your comments did not address my rebuttals and appeared ignorant (the definition of ‘theory’, claiming spontaneous generation of matter, ignoring the scientific laws that contradicted your arguments) and defensive judging by the personal attacks.

Though I have no problem conversing with atheists (some actually follow my blog which is for Christians), in this case I didn’t see a point.

God aside, I find the theory of evolution to be bad science, and I’m not the only one. There are plenty of books that detail some of the flaws, many written by secular scientists. If you’re interested, I can recommend a few.

I wish you all the best. The Renewed Way

Sent from my iPhone


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