Evidence for God: The Cosmological Argument.
Part 1. We begin our look through the evidence with one of the four historical arguments for the existence of God: the cosmological argument. This argument uses a deductive structure of logic to show there must be a cause for the universe, but not just any cause. Here is the argument in syllogistic form:
Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
Premise 2: The universe began to exist (i.e., went from not existing to existing at some point).
Conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause.
If the two premises presented for this argument are correct, the conclusion necessarily follows. The question becomes, why believe these two premises are true, and therefore the conclusion?
Support for Premise 1: The laws of logic, specifically the law of causality, show us that anything that goes through a transition from one state to another needs a cause for doing so. There is no logical world where A becomes B for no reason and with no law or force acting upon A. If the universe did not exist at some point, and then came into existence at a later point, there must be a reason.
Even atheist physicists and philosophers will agree with this first premise. There are no logical grounds to claim the universe popped into existence with no cause or reason for doing so. One is literally forced into the belief that the universe came from nothing if this premise is rejected. Then one must ask, what is it about nothingness that caused it to produce something? If it truly is nothing, it cannot be the cause of something, because from nothing, nothing comes. Premise 1 can be accepted easily on logical and experiential grounds.
Support for Premise 2: How do we know the universe has not always existed, but instead had a beginning? There are both logical and scientific reasons for the acceptance of Premise 2. First, infinite progression is logically impossible inside the real world. While the idea of infinity may help in math equations, it does not exist in nature. There must be a first, initial cause for all other causes, and this must also be the cause of time itself, since time is part of the fabric of the universe. There must be something or someone outside time that pushes the first domino of cause and effect, because living in a world where everything is an intermediate domino does not make logical sense.
Here is a mental exercise to help demonstrate this. Imagine our universe has always existed, and at the center of the universe there have always been two planets orbiting their star. One planet (named Blue) orbits the star every 50 days, while the other (named Red) orbits every 500 days. Planet Blue orbits the sun ten times faster and more often than Red. The question is, in an infinitely old universe with no beginning, which one has orbited the star more? Mathematically, they would be identical; they have both orbited an infinite number of times. But logic would say that’s not correct, because Blue orbits the sun ten times as often. Math of the infinite falls apart in the real world because the infinite is abstract and not part of nature. If that’s not enough, there is now solid scientific evidence to support Premise 2. Scientists have learned that the amount of usable energy in the universe is decreasing, exposing the fact that the universe can’t be infinite.
Imagine finding a sealed bottle of water leaking from the bottom onto a counter. How long has the bottle been leaking? One can’t say forever, because if it were forever, the bottle would have emptied by the time we saw it. Similarly, the universe is leaking energy, and if it were leaking its limited supply (we know it’s limited because the universe is not infinite in size) for an infinite amount of time, it would have leaked all its usable energy by now. If Premises 1 and 2 are both true, that means the universe must have a cause. But why do we believe God is the best explanation for this cause? Here are a few reasons:
A. The cause must be outside time
Time itself is part of the universe, and whatever caused the universe must necessarily be outside the universe, which also means outside time. God alone fits this description.
B. The cause must be infinite in power
Something caused the entire universe to come into existence, making this cause extremely powerful. The biblical description of God again fits perfectly.
C. God avoids an infinite progression
Remember the two planets and the problem of infinite progression? It turns out the only way to avoid the infinite progression issue is if the cause of the universe is itself outside time – detached from the natural, material state. A popular view has tried to claim that other universes birthed ours. The question then becomes, what birthed those universes? The only solution to solve the infinite progression and maintain a logical position is to appeal to a timeless cause. And the most conceivable timeless cause is God. Additional problems also exist for multi-verse theories.
D. The cause must have a mind and a will
Perhaps the greatest support for God as the cause of the universe is the demand that the cause has a mind and will of its own. Up to this point, one could argue that a force, such as gravity (or Star Wars?) is the cause of the universe, but there’s one big hole in that theory. Forces act by law, not by will. Gravity does not choose to make a boy fall back to the ground when he jumps into the air, it just does. Whatever the force does by nature is done without thought.
Remember the water bottle analogy mentioned earlier? If the universe were created by a force, the question becomes: why did the force wait so long to make the universe? If force by nature produced the universe, it should have done so an infinite amount of time ago. The universe should therefore be infinite in age. But we know it’s not. The fact the universe is not infinite then requires a mind and a will that chose to wait until a certain point to create the universe. That means the force is personal, which perfectly lines up with the biblical God.