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I Do Declare! The Universe Came to be.

The Cosmological Argument

I do declare! The Universe came to be.

That’s the short of it, the Cosmological Argument. The Universe came to be. If you can establish that, then you’re more than half way to the existence of God.

The argument is the first of three that I believe each Christian should have in their repertoire when being obedient to the command in 1 Peter 3:15, to be ready to give a response or defense for the hope that is in you. It’s not the easiest of the arguments to master, but in its most basic form it’s not too bad.

The Cosmological Argument begins by stating the law of causality that we reviewed a couple of posts ago. “Anything that has a beginning has a cause.” Refer back to the link to better understand this first premise.

This is the principle of the reason, on which both the cosmologic and teleological arguments for the being of a God are founded.[1]-RL Dabney on the Law of Causation

The next premise of the Cosmological Argument simply states that the Universe has a beginning. Surprisingly, you can run into skeptics with either of these premises, but seeing as how we dealt with the first premise in a previous post, let’s look at some quick replies to naysayers of the second.

First let me say that almost no one actually believes that the Universe had no beginning. Almost everyone understands that it must have come into existence. This doesn’t mean that they will admit it though. You’ll be surprised at how many skeptics will argue that the Universe has always existed while claiming to be scientifically concerned with all things. The irony of course is the fact that scientific evidence exclusively points to a finite beginning of the Universe.

There are two directions to come from when dealing with the claim that the Universe has always existed. There is the scientific evidence for a Universe with a finite beginning and the philosophical evidence against an infinite Universe.

Positive Scientific Evidence

Frank Turek lays out an easy to understand case for a beginning in his book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist”. I highly recommend that book as a reference to several arguments, and the Cosmological is well described within its pages.

Frank does a great job of giving the scientific evidence for a beginning by creating an acronym to help remember five of its main lines of thought. SURGE is the word that Frank uses as a help.

S-Second Law of Thermodynamics

U-Universe is Expanding

R-Radiation Afterglow

G-Great Galaxy Seeds

E-Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity

Franks book does a great job with this evidence and like I said, go get it, but for the purpose of this article I’ll summarize each one as quickly as I am able.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics simply states that the energy in the Universe is being used up. In other words, there is less energy to use today than there was yesterday or the day before, etc. That means that the amount of energy in the Universe was finite to begin with. The energy in the Universe began with a particular amount. It began.

The Universe is expanding. Astronomers can measure the expansion with their telescopes. An expanding Universe is evidence that the Universe was once smaller then even smaller before. Originally, the distance across the expanse of the Universe had to have been very small.

If the Universe came into existence at an instant, it must have done so with a very large expenditure of energy. We would expect something like would’ve left evidence. It did. The Radiation Afterglow was discovered as heat signatures or temperature differences in the expanse of the Universe.

Great Galaxy Seeds are the waves or ripples of temperature differences/Radiation Afterglow, much like the rings in the water when you throw a pebble in a pond, that indicate a sudden release of energy that began the Universe. These can be seen by Astronomers and are positive evidence for a beginning.

ripples-983439_1280
Ripples in the Universe indicate a cause

Finally, Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity basically states that time itself cannot be separated from space and matter. Each are co-relative and co-dependent. This means that at the finite point in time when space and matter came into existence, time did as well. That’s hard to get your mind around but it’s positive evidence for a finite Universe.

Philosophical Evidence for a Beginning

The philosophical evidence for a beginning has to do with time and is called the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

This one is a little more difficult but don’t get your bloomers in a wad.

The Kalam states that an infinite number of moments cannot be traversed so if the Universe stretched into an infinite past then we could not be here now, in the present.

Think of it this way. If you were in a hole and it was six feet deep, how far would you have to jump to get to the top of the hole? Six feet, right?

What if the hole was 20 feet deep? You’d have to jump 20 feet.

What if it was 100 feet deep? You’d have to jump a long way but if you could jump 100 feet, you’d get to the top.

Now, what if the hole had no bottom? What if the hole was infinitely deep? How far would you have to jump to get to the top? Could you even get to the top?

The answer is no. You could never reach the top because you would have to travel across an infinite depth to reach it and an infinite number of feet in a hole cannot be traversed.

Just like you could never jump out of an infinitely deep hole, the Universe could never reach NOW if time was infinitely deep into the past.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is a strong argument for God’s existence.

I and many others have seen people come to believe in God (and even Christ) on the basis of the kalam cosmological argument. The fact that other nontheists resist the argument may tell us more about the psychology of atheism than about the plausibility of the premises.5[2] –WL Craig

Therefore!

The conclusion of the Cosmological Argument is that something or someone immaterial, non-spacial, and a-temporal had to cause the Universe to come into existence. That sounds a lot like who Christian Theists call God.

I know that these are quick and I haven’t done a lot of explaining, but the point of this post is not to give the intricacies of this argument but to give a quick explanation of it and send you to a better resource.

I hope you can see the importance of the argument though. As Christians, we are very concerned with beginnings and it is also one of our most attacked doctrines. We believe God created the Universe ex nihilo (out of noting) and that it is the greatest miracle.

The Cosmological Argument fulfills our obligation to defend that and quite literally we can say…

I do declare! The Universe came to be.

[1] Dabney, R. L. (1892). Discussions by Robert Lewis Dabney: Philosophical. (C. R. Vaughan, Ed.) (Vol. 3, p. 417). Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication.

5 Feinberg himself endorses the cosmological argument as “one way, arguably the best way, in which the existence and nature of the universe can be explained” (p. 160, my emphasis). What more could the natural theologian ask for? Notice that one does not need any argument at all merely to “make explicit” one way of explaining the universe; anyone can just propose a hypothesis. But to claim the best way one needs a good argument, for one is inferring to one’s explanation as the best.

[2] Gundry, S. N., & Cowen, S. B. (Eds.). (2000). Five views on apologetics (p. 176). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Donnie
I was born in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, born again at a very young age, married a beautiful and likeminded woman, moved to Tennessee, and raised two children in the Southern traditions of loving God and neighbor, exercising manners, and being stewards of the land and its bounty. After becoming involved in youth ministry in our local church, the need of teaching people "what they believe and why they believe it" became painfully apparent, especially in my immediate context (rural Southern churches). We began an apologetics/theology ministry there but have since moved on. After serving in church leadership and being called to faithfulness and duty to protect our congregation from a rogue pastor under church discipline of his previous church, my experiences in this biblical process shape much of what I believe about how churches in the South have become weak and why nominal Christianity is prevalent. I love the Church and Southern culture so you can expect to read about apologetics and theology as well as church and culture here, written southern style, by the grace of God. Deo Vindice
http://www.southernbyhisgrace.com

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