Photobucket



zIFBoards - Free Forum Hosting
zIFBoards gives you all the tools to create a successful discussion community.

Learn More · Sign-up for Free
Welcome to MERCY MEDIA FORUMS. We hope you enjoy your visit.


You're currently viewing our forum as a guest. This means you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use. If you join our community, you'll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free.


Join our community!


If you're already a member please log in to your account to access all of our features:

Name:   Password:



 NAVIGATION BAR
  Quick Links Announcements
Home | Portal | Forum Rules

Today's active topics | Top 10 Posters Today

Site Administrator: 
DeepWaterWalker

Global Moderators: 
LeAnn1973
Arete
• Welcome to Mercy Media Forums!




• Our site looks much better when viewed from the Firefox browser!




• Free and easy registration! Sign up today!




• Expanded image size for uploading avatars and sigs!




• New members, introduce yourself in the Welcome Wagon forum!




 
 

 The First Cause Argument
DeepWaterWalker
Posted: Nov 6 2007, 07:45 AM



Group Icon

Group: Admin
Posts: 123
Member No.: 1
Joined: 29-March 07



The First Cause Argument

The first cause argument (or “cosmological argument”) takes the existence of the universe to entail the existence of a being that created it. It does so based on the fact that the universe had a beginning. There must, the first cause argument says, be something that caused that beginning, a first cause of the universe.

The universe consists of a series of events stretched across time in a long causal chain. Each one of these events is the cause of the event that comes after it, and the effect of the event that comes before it. The world as it is came from the world as it was, which came from the world as it was before.

If we trace this series of events back in time, then what do we find? There seem, at first glance, to be two possibilities: either we eventually reach the first event in the series, the cause at the beginning of the universe that set everything going, or there is no first event in the series and the past stretches back into infinity.

The first cause argument tells us that the second of these is not possible, that the past cannot stretch back into infinity but rather must have a beginning. The argument then proceeds by suggesting that if the universe has a beginning then there must be something outside it that brought it into existence.

This being outside the universe, this Creator, the first cause argument tells us, is God.
It’s Impossible to Traverse an Infinite Series

If I told you that I had just counted down from infinity to zero, starting with “infinity minus zero” and carrying on until I reached “infinite minus infinity, i.e zero”, then you would know that this claim is false. Just as it is impossible to count up from zero to infinity, so it is impossible to count down from infinity to zero. If I had started counting down from infinity and kept going, then I would still be counting to this day; I would not have finished. My claim to have counted down from infinity to zero must be false. This is because it is impossible to traverse an infinite series.

The Past Therefore Cannot be Infinite

The idea that the universe has an infinite past is just as problematic as the idea that I have just counted down from infinity. If the universe had an infinite past, then time would have had to count down from infinity to reach time zero, the present, and so would not have reached it. The fact that we have reached the present therefore shows that the past is not infinite but finite. The universe has a beginning. This claim, of course, has been confirmed by modern science, who trace the universe back to a point of origin in the ‘big bang’.

The past cannot go back forever, then; the universe must have a beginning. The next question is whether something caused this beginning, or whether the universe just popped into existence out of nothing. We all know, though, that nothing that begins to exist does so without a cause; nothing comes from nothing. For something to come into existence there must be something else that already exists that can bring it into existence. The fact that the universe began to exist therefore implies that something brought it into existence, that the universe has a Creator.

The First Cause Must be Uncreated, Eternal

If this Creator were a being like the universe, a being that exists in time and so that came into existence, then it too would have to have been created by something. Nothing comes from nothing, not even God.

This tells us that the ultimate cause of the universe must never have come into existence; the ultimate Creator must be a being that exists outside of time, an eternal being with neither beginning nor end. (For a more detailed defence of this argument, see William Lane Craig’s The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe.)

What the First Cause Argument Proves

There are several objections to the first cause argument, but if it is successful then it establishes the existence of a Creator that transcends time. Combined with the ontological argument, this would give us proof that there is a perfect, necessary, and eternal Creator.

This would not quite be the same as proving all that Christianity and the other monotheistic religions teach about God, but it would be close. It would tell us that God exists, and what he is like, and that he created the universe, but it would not tell us why he created the universe or what we ought to do about it.

The final two arguments speak more about God’s purpose in Creation, and so at least hold out the hope of completing this picture. The first of these two arguments is the argument from design.


LINK


--------------------
"The heart of man is like deep water..."
Proverbs 20:5
Click Below To Visit My Blog
user posted image
Top
DeepWaterWalker
Posted: Nov 6 2007, 07:46 AM



Group Icon

Group: Admin
Posts: 123
Member No.: 1
Joined: 29-March 07



Objections to the First Cause Argument

The first cause argument is the argument that everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause, that the universe has a beginning of its existence, and that the universe therefore has a cause. This cause, unless it too has a cause, must be without a beginning; it must be eternal. If successful, this argument proves the existence of an uncreated Creator.

Who Created God?

Critics of the first cause argument often try to rebut it by asking a question: Who created God? This question is supposed to present the theist with a dilemma.

If the theist concedes that God does have a creator, then isn’t it God’s creator that we should should be worshipping rather than God? And who created God’s creator? The danger of an infinite regress of creators, each postulated in order to explain the existence of that subsequent to it, looms. If there is an infinite regress of creators, though, then there is no first creator, no ultimate cause of the universe, no God.

Perhaps, then, the theist should maintain that God doesn’t have a creator, that he is an uncaused cause. If uncaused existence is possible, though, then there is no need to postulate a God that created the universe; if uncaused existence is possible, then the universe could be uncreated.

However the theist answers the question Who created God?, then, what he says will undermine the first cause argument, and he will be forced to abandon it. So, at least, runs this common objection to first cause argument.
Responses

This objection is much less powerful than it first appears. In fact, it rests on a simple misunderstanding of the first cause argument. If the first cause argument were the argument that everything has a cause, and that the universe therefore has a cause, and therefore that God exists, then the question Who created God? would indeed present the theist with a problem. That, though, is not the argument. The first cause argument is the argument that everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause, that the universe has a beginning of its existence, and that the universe therefore has a cause of its existence. The theist can therefore confidently answer the question Who Created God?, No-one, without fear of compromising the first cause argument.

The theist’s position is that everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence. If something comes into existence, then there must be something else able to bring it into existence. Nothing comes from nothing. God, though, unlike the universe, did not begin to exist. God is eternal. He exists outside of time, and has neither beginning nor end. The theist can therefore admit that uncaused existence is possible in the case of God, without being forced to admit that uncaused existence is possible in the case of the universe. God and the universe are two entirely different sorts of thing.

Not Everything Has a Cause

A second line of attack on the first cause argument is to deny that everything that has a beginning has a cause. In fact, scientists have observed some events that have no apparent cause, that appear to be entirely random. Subatomic particles behave very strangely indeed. This, it is sometimes suggested, confirms that it is possible that the universe, strange though it may seem, came into existence without any cause of its doing so.

Responses

It is important to remember that much science is provisional. What may seem to be an uncaused event may be an event the cause of which is unobserved. We should therefore not be too hasty in agreeing that uncaused events are possible on the basis of observations of subatomic particles.

Just as important, however, is the fact that the apparent randomness of the behaviour of subatomic particles is not also found in larger structures. Randomness, if randomness there be, is confined to the microscopic. The behaviour of everything else can, at least in principle, be explained.

The first cause argument is an argument from the mere fact that a temporal universe exists to the existence of an eternal creator of it. The next argument, the argument from design, takes a much more detailed look at the universe in search of evidence for God’s existence.

LINK


--------------------
"The heart of man is like deep water..."
Proverbs 20:5
Click Below To Visit My Blog
user posted image
Top
0 User(s) are reading this topic (0 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:
DealsFor.me - The best sales, coupons, and discounts for you

Topic Options





SurfintheSpirit.com Christian Web Site

Hosted for free by zIFBoards* (Terms of Use: Updated 2/10/2010) | Powered by Invision Power Board v1.3 Final © 2003 IPS, Inc.
Page creation time: 0.0295 seconds · Archive