The goal of this post and future “Faith Within Reason” posts is not to attack those who disagree with me, but rather to explain why I believe what I believe. God is by definition a difficult concept that tends to raise more questions than answers. I won’t pretend that I have the ability to prove without a shadow of a doubt that God exists, but in this and future “Faith Within Reason” posts I’d like to at least establish why the belief in God may not be as silly as some may think.
The Mystery of Origin
So let’s begin where most things do, at the beginning. I don’t mean your beginning or my beginning, but the beginning of the very universe itself. I’m talking about the moment when everything started and the universe suddenly came to be. We live in a universe of motion. Celestial bodies are rushing around space at break-neck speeds, things are exploding, imploding, expanding, and contracting in a cosmic concerto that is both chaotic and yet bound a strict set of physical properties and laws.
Perhaps you are familiar with the Kalam Cosmological Argument, but if you aren’t the argument breaks down like this:
- Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
- The universe has a beginning of its existence.
- Therefore the universe has a cause of its existence.
It’s pretty simple and its simplicity can be related to its popularity. It seems solid, although some have protested that there is a problem with point #2 in that we don’t know if the universe ever had a beginning of its existence. I don’t profess to be a master of cosmology but this point seems to be up for debate as far as I can tell. Some argue that the universe always was while others argue that it did have an origin. Since I’m not one to say let’s abandon the traditional Kalam idea and tweak it a bit.
We know from Newton’s first law of motion that objects at rest will remain at rest until acted on by an outside force, just as objects in motion will stay in motion until an outside force either slows or stops their motion. By this observation we can assert from a universe in motion had to have some thing or force to initiate the original motion that set off the universe. I know some readers might already be rushing to the comment section to point to the big bang theory, but just hold on and keep reading. I will address that later on. Back to the point at hand, had there been no original force or motion then the universe would either not exist or simply remain in a steady state of non-motion. This doesn’t address the problem of why matter exists as opposed to non-existence, but that’s a question that can never truly be answered and so I won’t devote a lot of time to it.
This original force that enacted the chain of motion that is still going on today must have existed outside of the universe, since anything originating within the universe would fall into the same physical need for an original action or force to set it into motion. Denial of an outside force creates the problem of an infinite chain of axioms within the universe reverting backwards infinitely and never actually addressing the question of where all this movement and motion around us originated. For those who like bullet points:
- The universe exists and there is motion, thus motion must have begun at some point because motion does not exist without a cause or source of force to bring it into action.
- According to the principle of sufficient reason everything must have an explanation to account for it.
- An infinite series of casual conditions cannot provide adequate explanation for the world because it would stand in need of explanation itself.
- The existence of some necessary being, first cause, or personal agent must be involved to provide a more adequate explanation for the existence of motion.
- Because of this at least one ultimate being/cause must exist because an infinite chain provides no explanation and ultimately leads one to the conclusion that the problem of origin is unexplainable.
To sum all this up, the fact that our universe is in motion argues for a causation of this motion from outside the universe. The only way to explain such a causation would be to have an acting force and since an acting force from within the universe would require motion, the acting force could not have originated within the universe. The big bang theory is a great theory for explaining how the universe came into the state of being we know today, but even this theory cannot fully attest to why the universe was filled with the incredibly high energy density, huge temperature variation, and pressures that lead to the rapid expanding and cooling processes needed for the “Bang” to occur. Heat is, after all, a form of energy created from the rapid motion of particles and something had to act on these particles to set them in motion to create heat. The big bang cannot attest to the origin of this heat energy or to what caused matter to move into place so gravity could bring it together and eventually thrust it back outward to create the universe as we know it. It cannot attest to why energy exists at all. To question where these energies and forces originate is to ask a question which cannot be answered successfully at this point, but for those who believe in God, He seems like a logical and easy fix for this seemingly unsolvable problem.
According to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought, God existed in a state of eternity without origin or end. It is also thought that God existed separate from the universe, as the universe is seen as his creation. The common question raised at this point is “Where did God come from?” The usual answer given is that he always existed, which by our own universal properties seems illogical. We can only conclude that God must not be bound to the physical properties of the observable universe. This is of course is not really provable and relies as a matter of faith, as do most things involving God. Yet if God does not exist something infinite and outside of our universe must exist to bring motion and energy into action, otherwise we become a part of an illogical never-ending chain reverting back to sources of sources and never finding the origin.
So like I said before I can’t prove God anymore than a person could disprove God. In this case the best I can do is show that there is, at least, a necessity for something “eternal” to exist that originated the first “push” to set the causation universe into action. Is that God, some unknown force, or are we still far to young in our study of the universe to make such a call? Those questions I leave up to you.