Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Yesterday, I gave a look at the Kalam cosmological argument in the horizontal sense and I said that I think it works, but I want us to rethink our usage of it. I believe science can support theistic ideas, but they cannot prove theistic ideas, and thus I want an argument that is not married to science but is still functional.
Hence, I suggested rephrasing the Kalam to a form more fitting to the vertical argument and came up with the following:
All things that have the potential to change depend on something else for their existing.
The universe has the potential to change.
Therefore, the universe depends on something else for its existing.
Now notice I say existing instead of existence. All derived being depends on something else for its being. Derived being is derived for that which receives being has potential to change and is not existence itself. It rather moves from one mode of existence to another mode of existence. This is true not just of material objects, but of immaterial ones as well, such as angels.
Why make such an argument? We believe scientifically today that the universe had a beginning. However, we also know that science can change at any moment depending on new data so let’s suppose for the sake of argument that new data shows up indicating an eternal universe. If not that, we can suppose this hypothesis of the multiverse is true and there are many universes. Again, an atheist can point to such a chain of universes and say “No need of a creator.”
My argument is still safe for it solely depends on something else being in existence and it doesn’t care about how long it was in existence. To imagine the difference, consider your existence. You are here because of the union of the male and female sex cells. You parents had something to do with your existence, even if you don’t know them or live with different “parents.” (I use parentheses to distinguish from biological parents. Adoptive parents are wonderful)
The same is true for each of their existences. However, your grandparents did not have any direct involvement with your coming into existence. (At least, I certainly hope they didn’t!) Both sets of your grandparents could have been dead and you would still be able to come into existence.
However, now picture a stick moving an object, and then that stick being moved by a hand. The object requires the stick to move but at the same time, the stick requires the hand to move. If the hand goes away, the stick and the object cease to move. There is dependence all the way to the end of the chain.
This is the difference with this argument. It is no longer the question of just bringing about existence but rather sustaining existence. If God’s nature is his existence, then we do not ask the question of Him. He does not receive existence for existence does not receive existence nor does He move from one mode of existence to another, because what mode of existence is there beyond existence?
The argument brings us back to the question of existence that science cannot answer. Science deals with a type of existence, but it does not deal with existence itself.
Now once again, I think Kalam works, but I want us to move past the science vs. religion nonsense and into the real debate area. Science is not the final arbiter of if God exists and it’s time we stopped treating it as such.