- Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.
This is a simple yet very complicated argument for some. This argument does not prove the existence of the Christian God, but rather it attempts to show that some action outside of the natural realm caused the universe to come into existence (which most people would say IS God). However, many people still seem to have a big problem with the first two premises. I’ll go ahead and start with tackling premise one in this first section.
Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The first law of thermodynamics states that “matter cannot be created or destroyed.” (I know, this is not what the official law states, but it is a dumbed down version of it.) Many would argue that we have no basis to claim that everything that begins to exist has a cause, because we have never actually seen anything begin to exist. This is true, but only to a small degree. Matter cannot be created, so therefore everything in the natural world is just a rearrangement of this matter. Matter changes form, but the quantity of it doesn’t change with new “creation.” Matter cannot be destroyed, so, even if you “destroy” or get rid of something, you haven’t destroyed the matter, but you changed its form. So, in a sense the person who is making this argument is right in that we don’t exactly see something coming into existence, but in a different sense this is not the case. To make this argument you would have to assume that every human being has existed since the beginning of time (around 14 billion years ago). You can make the argument that the “parts” that make us up have always existed, but it would absurd to assume that we as human beings have always existed. Who we are, our consciousnesses, etc. have not always existed. The matter that makes all of those things up has always existed. However, that rearranging of the matter IS the cause of the creation, not necessarily the matter itself. The end product, which in the scenario above is human beings, is the effect of the cause, which is the rearranging of matter. So, the argument of “everything that begins to exist has a cause” still stands as rational.
The universe began to exist.
I’m not sure exactly why this is much of an issue. At one point in time, prier to the 20th century, it seemed rather reasonable to believe that the universe has always existed. However, with the discovery of big bang cosmology (which I’m not sure why theists run from), it has become obvious that the universe had a definite beginning. (I haven’t heard very many arguments trying to refute this claim, but there are some out there). With a definite beginning to the universe, the obvious question next is whether or not this definite beginning was the cause of divine intervention or something else.
But what about the multiverse?
The multiverse theory has very little if any basis supporting it at all. I am extremely open to this theory, however there is no scientific evidence for it. This is due to the fact that we can only apply scientific principles to what is in our own universe, not what is outside of it (if the M-Theory is exactly what most scientists suggest it is). However, for the sake of argument, let’s just assume that the M-Theory is plausible. Many may say that our universe was created from parts of another universe. This would require entropy to never increase, and we know that this is not the case. While the quantity of matter never decreases, the quality does. In order for the above theory to work, the quality of matter would have to remain constant, and this goes directly against the second law of thermodynamics. So, this cannot be explained scientifically, much less naturally. Like I said above, I am not making a case for the existence of the Christian God, just that the universe does have to have some unnatural, unscientific cause (after all, if science is how we interpret the natural world, and the natural world had a definite beginning, then there’s no way that natural products could have created the universe). There are many more ways people have tried to use the multiverse to fight against Kalam (which is weird, because nobody seems to be able to understand what exactly the multiverse is), but this is just one hypothetical example.
Well, if God is the beginning cause of the universe, then who caused God?
Ah, yes. This good old question. Who caused God? First of all, to even ask this question has huge metaphysical implications. You must first completely misunderstand the first premise “Everything that begins to exist has a cause” as “everything is caused.” To make this claim, you would have to know everything about every field of knowledge (which clearly nobody does). On a scientific basis, yes you can claim that everything is caused, but on a complete metaphysical basis, you cannot make this claim. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely denying the antecedent. I am simply saying that God is uncaused. Is that a step of faith? Yes. Is it an even bigger step of faith to claim the opposite? You bet. While I also don’t know everything about metaphysics, I can rest easily on the claim that there is something that transcends beyond the material world, which is uncaused and goes beyond our own logic and reasoning, because that is the most consistent conclusion.