If anyone has ever listened to Christian apologist William Lane Craig, they undoubtedly know about the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I find this an extremely powerful argument. I can tell you where I was when I first heard it from J.P. Moreland and when I heard it, it was simply on the point of the possibility of transgressing an infinite. I heard it on an audio tape while driving and I can remember the whereabouts of where I was and how it hit me at what a powerful argument it was.
Today, we have more reason to believe it. In the time of Aquinas, he was open to the possibility of the universe somehow being eternal. Today, I do not think that theory could be easily defended. With Big Bang Cosmology going on, we can rest assured that the universe had a beginning.
Some of my readers might be Young-Earth Creationists. I am not. Now you might argue then that you don’t believe in a Big Bang. Learn the argument anyway. Why? When you debate the atheist, while you may not believe in the Big Bang, it’s quite likely that they do and so you can say, “By your own system, the universe had an origin.”
The first set presented by Loftus is the five ways of Aquinas. Now it’s a shame he doesn’t go into detail on these five ways. I will take the first one at this point and let the readers look up the others from there as I do not want my blog to be too lengthy. The first of the five ways is the argument from motion.
Now when people think of this, and Loftus is right in clarifying what it is, they usually think of a chain of dominoes and how there has to be a first pusher to get the whole chain moving. You cannot have an endless chain of cause and effects. Why? Because you would have an infinite chain then and you could not reach where you are at for you would have had to have completed an infinite chain of causes and effects, but an infinite chain cannot be completed by nature.
I do think that kind of argument is valid, but that is not the argument of Aquinas and Loftus knows this again. Aquinas is arguing about taking the idea of something like a gear. That gear is turning and above it is another gear and above that another gear and so on. All of these gears are in perpetual motion.
Aquinas would tell you that it would not suffice to have the chain of gears have a giant gear at the top as if that explained everything. The gear itself has to be moving. What causes the big gear to move? The cosmological argument then in Aquinas is looking to explain the whole system of motion and how it must have an unmoved mover who is outside of the chain and not part of the chain and that mover everyone knows as God.
It’s important to keep something in mind when considering the Five Ways. There are some Christians that condemn them for they do not take you directly to the God of the Bible. No. I grant that. However, Aquinas grants that also! His point is not to take you to the God of the Bible. His point is to take you to the God who is there and he will show through further arguments that it is the God of the Bible.
The critique of this argument and the type offered by Craig is that it doesn’t necessarily get us to a personal cause. I contend that it does. Every action that takes place is either the cause of a thinking agent or of a non-thinking agent. Let’s suppose for instance that I’m watching a TV show and all of a sudden the screen goes out.
What caused that? A power outage. What caused that? A pole went down. What caused that? A tree fell on it. What caused that? A break in the trunk. What caused that? Lightning caused it. What caused that?
Does it seem clear that we can keep asking that question over and over? Now let’s have the same scenario again.
What caused that? My roommate was trying to shut the power off in his room and flipped the wrong fuse.
As soon as we have a personal cause, we can stop asking the questions. Now we can ask why the personal cause did what it did, but we are then talking about the agent’s motive and in an entirely different category. In “God in the Dock”, a collection of C.S. Lewis essays, Lewis illustrates this brilliantly in the essay called “The Laws of Nature.”
Loftus also contends though that many physicists contend that the universe is ball-shaped. What theists are doing is taking a rule true inside the ball and applying it to what is outside the ball. Things could be very different outside the ball.
I really get amazed when people go to great lengths to make arguments like this.
These aren’t laws of nature we’re talking about that we can easily imagine being changed as it happens in science fiction all the time. (However, I do not think we can accurately show it as I believe there are great ramifications if the laws of nature are to be changed in anyway.) This is about causality. We know of nothing that comes into being without a cause and we know the universe came into being.
We can say all we want that things are different outside the universe, but we don’t know. We can posit multiverses all we want, (Which we don’t know about either and at this point are more along the lines of philosophy than science) but we just don’t know. (I’ll also add that as we’ll discuss later, the multiverse does nothing against the argument of God’s existence. In fact, it strengthens it.
Hick is then quoted as saying that someone either accepts the universe or God as a brute fact. I will contend that God is more reasonable as God is not bound by time, he is not physical, he is not subject to the second law of thermodynamics, and he is not changing so therefore is pure actuality.
Now there is the question given also of why something exists instead of nothing, but it seems that nothing worth commenting on is really raised. For now, I will contend that the cosmological argument still stands. We will continue to deal with other arguments as we continue the blog.