Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Answering Richard Dawkins’ question: “Who made God?”

UPDATE: Welcome visitors from Apologetics 315! Thanks for the link Brian!

Atheists are very uncomfortable with the progress of science in the areas of cosmic origins and cosmological constants. On my friend’s Rick Heller’s blog, he responded to my article on the 6 scientific discoveries that led to the theory that the universe, including all matter, time and space, was created out of nothing.

Here is an excerpt from Rick’s response:

The traditional rebuttal to the First Cause argument is, who created God? That makes a nice point, but I don’t find it entirely convincing, because it contains a complacent acceptance of an uncaused universe.

I think we humans find ourselves unable to resolve the logical paradox–things don’t come into existence without a cause, yet there is no explanation for the first cause. Neither the atheist nor theist views quite hang together.

Richard Dawkins asks a similar question in his book “The God Delusion”. My friend Canbuhay got there first and posted the correct answer. Here is what he said:

The First Cause argument is not simply about how the universe must have a cause because everything else we know about, does. Included in the argument is that whatever must have caused the universe must be unique. Why? Because if everything began at the Big Bang, including time, then whatever caused the Big Bang would have to be outside of time. It could literally have no beginning because there was no such thing as “before” or “beginning” when there was no time.

The atheistic response that there had to be something that caused the causer of the Big Bang cannot adequately account for the time factor.

Whereas, the theistic one can: the causer of the Big Bang is a Deity who lives outside of time.

I got there next and I posted this comment:

There is no physical universe, and no time, causally prior to the Big Bang. That means that whatever causes the universe to exist is not in time, it is outside of time. It is eternal and exists necessarily. It does not “come into being” because that is a time-bound notion. It exists timelessly, and brings the entire universe into being.

Now, you may well ask, “Wintery! What immaterial thing can bring an entire physical universe into being?”. Well the only two non-physical realities that we are aquainted with are abstract objects, such as numbers, or minds. And that is what caused the universe. A big M I N D. Dawkins’ objection of “who made God?” is thus defeated. The universe is contingent, the cause of the universe is not.

Yes, I stole “big M I N D” quote from J.P. Moreland. If you haven’t read his book “Love Your God With All Your Mind”, then you should. My friend Andrew affectionately calls JP’s book LYGWYM (“lig-wim”). JP seems to be going soft lately, just like Ravi Zacharias, who hasn’t written anything useful since “Can Man Live Without God?”. Look how tough JP used to be.

If you don’t like my answer to “Who made God?”, check out Perry Marshall’s answer. He recently debated on the origin of life. I like his ideas, because he is a software engineer, and not a squishyhead. Yes, I stole “squishyhead” from Henry F. Schaefer. Have you ever read his paper on the big bang and who made God? The video is here: part1, part2.

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20 Responses

  1. Lee says:

    “Atheists are very uncomfortable with the progress of science in the areas of cosmic origins and cosmological constants. “

    Am I? News to me and I did a degree in physics with astrophysics. It was hard work, but not uncomfortable in any way :-)

    Lee

    • Thanks for your comment. I declare, for a challenger you have uncommonly good manners.

      Here is a citation od agnostic Robert Jastrow, from an article on Atheism is Dead:

      “Theologians generally are delighted with the proof that the Universe had a beginning, but astronomers are curiously upset. Their reactions provide an interesting demonstration of the response of the scientific mind—supposedly a very objective mind—when evidence uncovered by science itself leads to a conflict with the articles of faith in our profession. It turns out that the scientist behaves the way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence. We become irritated, we pretend the conflict does not exist, or we paper it over with meaningless phrases….

      some prominent scientists began to feel the same irritation over the expanding Universe that Einstein had expressed earlier. [English astronomer Arthur] Eddington wrote in 1931, ‘I have no axe to grind in this discussion,’ but ‘the notion of a beginning is repugnant to me…I simply do not believe that the present order of things started off with a bang…the expanding Universe is preposterous…incredible…it leaves me cold.’

      The German chemist, Walter Nernst, wrote, ‘To deny the infinite duration of time would be to betray the very foundation of science.’
      More recently, Phillip Morrison of MIT said in a BBC film on cosmology, ‘I find it hard to accept the Big Bang theory; I would like to reject it.’
      And Allan Sandage of Palomar Observatory, who established the uniformity of the expansion of the Universe out to nearly ten billion light years, said, ‘It is such a strange conclusion…it cannot really be true’…

      Einstein wrote, ‘The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation.’

      This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized.”

      Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1978), pp. 16, 112-114.
      (Chief of the Theoretical Division of NASA and Founder/Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute; Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University; Professor of Space Studies-Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College)

  2. Lee says:

    Hi Wintery, (Sorry I forgot the hello on my earlier comment – oh, and my typo saying ‘be’ instead of ‘news to me’ – I was eating my dinner at the time)

    If you don’t like my answer to “Who made God?”

    What answer? I think all you have done is say “Ïf not A, it has to be B”?

    Anyway, you have two problems (actually more but we will keep it simple I really do want to watch the football on the TV)

    Firstly, you have proved nothing (I know I should give more details, maybe later- but then again, why can’t I just assert the conclusion I want?).

    Secondly, even IF I accept your premise that a god exists and was the cause of the universe – how do you go from that to the theistic God the Christians follow and believe? (And why the special treatment for your God?)

    It all just doesn’t work logically :-)

    “Because if everything began at the Big Bang, including time, then whatever caused the Big Bang would have to be outside of time.”

    so, one last thing – since you are claiming to have a grasp of space and time that is beyond me – could you explain what time is like for a photon? Is a photon outside of time? Time from the view of the photon has ‘stopped’ – actually, it never started. What IS time for a photon?

    So it is possible to be outside of time, right?

    Now what about cause and effect?

    Well, they break down at the quantum level… so you are really on shaky ground with your inductive argument – saying that all things must have a cause and must be outside of time.

    As for minds, all the minds ever known to man are tied to the physical brain – no evidence for any other. To claim otherwise will need more than just wishing something into existence.

    Take care.

    Lee

    • Thanks again for your comment. I really appreciate your tone and challenge.

      For the first part, you need to give me more detail. I argued that the cause of the universe created space and time. It is there outside of space (non-material) and outside of time (eternal), because it existed logically prior to those. Since it created nature, it is supernatural.

      For the second part, you’re right. The cosmological argument and the design argument don’t prove that Christianity is true. For that I need to argue for the bodily resurrection of Jesus as a historical event. I have done so here and here.

      Photons exist in time and space. They would not have been present causally prior to the creation of time and space.

      Your point about minds is well taken, and so I would have to make an argument that minds are non-physical. Right now you’ve got me on that one, because I haven’t posted anything on substance-dualism yet. So I’m giving you the point until I can make my case!

  3. Rich Bordner says:

    Hey W.K,

    I appreciate what you have here in this blog…one question, though.

    What do you mean when you say J.P has “gone soft” as of late? I follow him pretty closely, and I don’t see it. In fact, if his recent *Kingdom Triangle* is any indication, he’s getting better.

    • OK, I haven’t read that one, but I did pick up his book “The Lost Virtue of Happiness” a while back and it was all boring spiritual disciplines stuff. You probably know that JP is influenced by Dallas Willard, who was the head of the philosophy department at USC, right? Well, he’s all into mysticism and spiritual disciplines, which I just think is weird. Sorry, but I’m a borderline modernist. I only care about facts and arguments, not feelings or (ugh!) fun. (Just kidding)

      Well, if you liked Kingdom Triangle, then I am going to give him another chance and I’ll order the book!

  4. Rich Bordner says:

    Sorry to be a gadfly, however: I know you said “just kidding,” but what part were you kidding about? The “boring spiritual discipline” part, the last part, or all of it?

    • Just the part about not having feelings and not liking fun. I sometimes joke with my co-workers about not feeling anything and hating fun. I do this to annoy them. I have a reputation for being very serious. I have to have 5 reasons before I do anything.

  5. Rich Bordner says:

    Oh…well, in that case, sorry to be a gadfly ( :) ), but: why is spiritual disciplines boring (in S.D’s, one follows hard after the God of the universe….while the *discipline* part of it can certainly seem boring, the end pay off is anything but), and even if it is boring, so what? That doesn’t mean it’s not a necessary part of discipleship unto Christ. Plus, if the spiritual disciplines are biblically based and grounded in church history (which I think it is on both counts), brushing it off as mystical is a major party foul.

    The Lakeland, Florida “revival” is weird. Spiritual disciplines aren’t. Not trying to be a J.P apologist (he can get by pretty well on his own), and this is all quite beside the main topic of your post (which I think is great, btw). I just take issue with the way you’ve phrased things in your comments.

    • OK, you win. How can I get started? Which of them is the least weird? Where can I read about how to do that least weird one? Let me try it and see if it works.

  6. Lee says:

    Hi Wintery,

    Thanks for your comment. I declare, for a challenger you have uncommonly good manners.

    Thank you…

    Don’t see any reason in being rude in a discussion – it would only prove that I am rude.

    I hope I can keep up my good manners, but I fear I will be hitting you with a hundred questions that can be seen as a little rude to some. I hope you can forgive me.

    To your reply….

    The quote from Robert Jastrow is at best an interesting history lesson.

    I am surprised Fred Hoyle was not mention, after all it was Freddie who coined the term “Big Bang” I believe as an insult/put-down to the idea. He also never liked the idea, preferring his own “Steady state model” – I think he died not accepting the evidence of the day. That said, today there is far better evidence and improved models (inflation Big Bang being one of them)

    Also, since you mentioned the man, Einstein was really upset about Quantum Mechanics and “Spooky actions at a distance”, and came up with the great phrase “God does not play with dice” (I particularly like the reply that supposedly came back from Niels Bohr which was “[Einstein] should stop telling God what He should do with His dice” (or something like that)

    So scientists are human, they hold onto their pet theories sometimes longer than they should. Thankfully I like to follow the scientific method and not hold up people as idols.

    I am not fixed to the conclusions of science, merely the method.

    I also doubt you will be able to find any scientific idea that wasn’t challenged at the time by someone – it is how science progresses after all.

    So, let’s move on from quoting people from history – it is your ideas and arguments that I am more interested in – your understanding of their words and wisdom – the reasons why you hold the position you do (whatever it turns out to be), and what it would it take for you to change it.

    I ask this last part not with the intention of ‘de-converting’ you, this has no interest for me – I merely wish for you to check yourself that you have not got yourself into a position you cannot reason yourself out of so to speak.

    You write as one who values reason, I am just checking the ‘small print’ :-)

    For the first part, you need to give me more detail.

    I hope I have the time – the clock is ticking for me tonight, so please forgive all my typos.

    What in particular do you wish me to expand upon? (Expand? Big Bang? Oh the physics humour… )

    My overall point is that we just don’t know all the answers, and to jump from an unknown, to a ‘knowable God’ seems rather odd, if you do not mind me saying.

    So basically, the first cause argument is an inductive argument, that uses the argument from ignorance (that is to say because I do not know A, it must be B – it isn’t an insult on anyone intelligence) and is heaped in “special pleading” (The universe requires a cause that is understandably to us, but God does not – all without justification)

    I argued that the cause of the universe created space and time.

    What cause? This is an assertion that makes no sense to me, sorry… I need your help on this it would seem. (Oh, and I know human common sense means nothing in what is true)

    If there was no time, how can there be a before? Without time all ‘events’ happen at once, without a before – a cause that you assert.

    To give you an analogy – it is as if you are asking “What is north of the North Pole”, it makes no sense.

    It is there outside of space (non-material) and outside of time (eternal), because it existed logically prior to those.

    Can any of this be shown/proven? Or is it an assertion?

    Again, outside space makes no sense to me. If it makes sense to you, please explain.

    Have you ever seen a non-material ‘thing’? It sounds rather like a square-circle to me.

    I can say it, but it makes no sense. (Illogically one could say)

    The time point I have already dealt with.

    Since it created nature, it is supernatural.

    This sounds like further word play – and I am not very good with words.

    What is the supernatural? And how would we recognise it?

    More importantly, how could I falsify any supernatural claim?

    Dor the second part, you’re right. The cosmological argument and the design argument don’t prove that Christianity is true.

    Excellent, we can agree on something. Maybe we should stop now :-)

    But why do Christians feel they have to use these arguments if the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is so great? (Your next point)

    Seems odd.

    For that I need to argue for the bodily resurrection of Jesus as a historical event. I have done so here and here.

    I can only discuss one topic at a time… lets come back to this at a future date.

    For the record, I personally have not seen any good evidence to believe in the resurrection of Jesus that is better than the evidence presented that people have been abducted by aliens.

    I also cannot understand how you can use the “historical method” to prove a miracle, but it could be interesting to learn more.

    Photons exist in time and space.

    From our view point yes, but I asked you to think about time for the photon.

    Travelling at the speed of light, Einstein’s theory states time stands still. No time for the photon then. Everything is now

    Weird stuff was my only real point.

    Our human brains cannot understand what this really means at the extremes. Yes I can do the maths (well, I could) but what it actually means just blows the mind. Same for Quantum mechanics with wave-particle duality.

    Yet, from your everyday view of the world with cause and effect you inductively come to an argument about what (if anything) was before the Big Bang and that it must have a cause?

    We just don’t understand. No one does today. This does not mean it can never be solved, but even if it cannot. Why insert God?

    Your point about minds is well taken, and so I would have to make an argument that minds are non-physical.

    non-physical, non-material, out of time… can you tell me what God IS, rather than what He is not?

    Maybe, just maybe – God is also non-existent? :-)
    (Just playing with words)
    Right now you’ve got me on that one, because I haven’t posted anything on substance-dualism yet. So I’m giving you the point until I can make my case!

    Thanks… I am merely making an inductive argument of course about minds being physical :-)

    Take care, have to go now.

    Lee

    • Paradox says:

      I doubt you will reply, as I am here years after you posting this, but I think that your analysis is wanting.

      I first want to clear up some terms Wintery Knight used:
      “Outside of space”: non-spatial, not standing in spatial relations. There really isn’t anything to define `where` God is.
      “Nature”: anything that is made of matter, and necessarily obeys the laws of physics.
      “Supernatural”: Anything that does not fit the above definition of nature (so maybe words are supernatural?).

      Now let’s get to refuting your major premise.
      “My overall point is that we just don’t know all the answers, and to jump from an unknown, to a ‘knowable God’ seems rather odd, if you do not mind me saying.
      “So basically, the first cause argument is an inductive argument, that uses the argument from ignorance (that is to say because I do not know A, it must be B – it isn’t an insult on anyone intelligence) and is heaped in “special pleading” (The universe requires a cause that is understandably to us, but God does not – all without justification)”
      On the contrary, I reply: it is not odd to conclude that the only possible explanation is the best explanation, as cosmological arguments work by showing that there simply are no better alternatives. You say it is special pleading to deny that God has a cause, but if you asserted that the universe were eternal, would that be special pleading? By definition, an eternal being cannot be caused; you are confusing the causal principle with the principle of sufficient reason.

      On Causation:
      “What cause? This is an assertion that makes no sense to me, sorry… I need your help on this it would seem. (Oh, and I know human common sense means nothing in what is true)
      “If there was no time, how can there be a before? Without time all ‘events’ happen at once, without a before – a cause that you assert.
      “To give you an analogy – it is as if you are asking “What is north of the North Pole”, it makes no sense.”
      I reply: the universe began to exist, so the universe has a cause. You say it makes no sense for there to be a cause of time, but what makes it nonsensical? I propose a thought experiment to make this easier for you: In the quiet of eternity, there is only God, doing nothing. God does something, and time begins as a consequence. It must be remembered that events are logically prior to time, so all we need is a first event, and we will have a first moment of time. As it makes perfect sense to talk about the origin of events, a cause still makes sense.

      You asserted in a prior post that QM violates the causal principle, and WinteryKnight did not respond.
      I respond: this is actually a false assertion. In QM, we simply cannot know WHEN an event will occur, even though we know the causes of the events themselves in most cases. The photon generated when an atom splits? The splitting of the atom. Why does the atom split? The Weak Nuclear Force. Where do virtual particles come from? The `vacuum` is seething with energy to produce them. QM is not acausal, it is just non-deterministic. Huge difference. And if the causal principle were false, then nothing would need a cause (what exactly would exempt smaller things? Nothing!), and science would crumble.

      The Nature of The Cause:
      “Can any of this be shown/proven? Or is it an assertion?
      “Again, outside space makes no sense to me. If it makes sense to you, please explain.
      “Have you ever seen a non-material ‘thing’? It sounds rather like a square-circle to me.
      “I can say it, but it makes no sense. (Illogically one could say)
      “The time point I have already dealt with.”
      On the contrary: we cannot show you this immaterial, timeless cause any more than you can show us super strings. We can prove that this thing exists, as whatever created ALL matter cannot be material, or else it would not be the creator of ALL matter; I think you agree that matter is not eternal, and began at the big bang! We can prove that it exists outside of time, because it created time. There is nothing contradictory about an immaterial thing, unless the word `thing` itself connotes matter. If so, I will call the First Cause “immaterial schning,” if that makes you feel better.

      “This sounds like further word play – and I am not very good with words.
      “What is the supernatural? And how would we recognise it?
      “More importantly, how could I falsify any supernatural claim?”
      I answer that: this is not word-play. If all of nature has a cause, the cause cannot be natural, or else it would not be ALL of nature that is caused. The cause produced the laws of physics, so would not be constrained by them. We can recognize the supernatural only in cases where we can eliminate the possibility of human interference (if we see a hovering elephant, our senses are functioning properly, and we prove that it was not powered by technology, the event is very probably supernatural). We can falsify a supernatural claim based on Counterflow. Supernatural causes are recognized to be intelligent, so if some event can be done by unguided forces of nature, we can safely assume that there was no supernatural involvement. If we show that technology was the cause, then we can safely assume that there was nothing supernatural about the event.

      On Time and Space:
      “From our view point yes, but I asked you to think about time for the photon.
      “Travelling at the speed of light, Einstein’s theory states time stands still. No time for the photon then. Everything is now
      “Weird stuff was my only real point.
      “Our human brains cannot understand what this really means at the extremes. Yes I can do the maths (well, I could) but what it actually means just blows the mind. Same for Quantum mechanics with wave-particle duality.
      “Yet, from your everyday view of the world with cause and effect you inductively come to an argument about what (if anything) was before the Big Bang and that it must have a cause?
      “We just don’t understand. No one does today. This does not mean it can never be solved, but even if it cannot. Why insert God?”
      On the contrary, I answer that: photons may not experience intervals of time, but they are still within time. As a construct where events are ordered as “before” and “after”, one can argue that because photons change position (an event), photons are contained in this construct. The Lorentzian interpretation of relativity theory states that when things speed up, or are in a strong gravitational field, the “measuring devices” of these items are altered. Saying that man cannot understand is not a serious objection to the argument.

      The rest of what has been said does not involve the cosmological arguments, but I feel that I have something worth saying about substance dualism:
      “As for minds, all the minds ever known to man are tied to the physical brain – no evidence for any other. To claim otherwise will need more than just wishing something into existence.
      “Thanks… I am merely making an inductive argument of course about minds being physical :-)”
      All minds man has ever known have used brains, and I’m convinced that angels also have physical brains (but for reasons relating to my model of dualism, not because of your inductive argument). I find it strange how you call the cosmological argument inductive (it is really deductive), complain about us not knowing the answer and use this as a criticism, and then go and make an inductive argument for Monism. How DO you do that?
      Never mind. Here is my model for dualism: Created minds are partially material, partially non-material, like how a computer is hardware and software. The software needs hardware to interpret it, and altering the hardware changes how the software is interpreted and expressed. The software is not controlled by physics, but the hardware is; this is how my model brings in freewill without resorting to the unconvincing assertion that a person can be free just by being part of the causal chain, even if their actions are predetermined (Compatibilism). The model allows that the hardware be able to `write over` the software over time. If I found Compatibilism convincing, I would be a Property Dualist, rather than a Substance Dualist.
      Here is a thought experiment to help strengthen my case: Suppose that we replaced your brain with a computer. Are you still the same person? If you are, we have proven you are not the same as your brain. If you are not, Monism is true. If we replace the computer with a new brain, the same results appear. Arguably, claiming that you are a different person is absurd. It would mean that you have ceased to exist, and there is a clone of you who is the exact same in every way, so that people won’t know the difference.

  7. Sholom says:

    Just a small point on photons being out outside of time:

    Lee says:
    “Travelling at the speed of light, Einstein’s theory states time stands still. No time for the photon then. Everything is now.”

    This is inaccurate. Time never slows down, speeds up or stands still. It only appears so relative to an outside observers perspective.

  8. Zach says:

    Wintery–maybe I can rephrase Lee’s objection. You are reasoning like this: “Everything that happens has a cause. The universe happened. Therefore it has a cause. A divine intellignece could account for that. Therefore a divine intelligence is the best answer.”

    There are two problems. The first premise should read “In my experience, everything that happens has a cause.” But we’re finding some freaky things in this universe that don’t fit our experience. We can truly conceptualize some of the things that we can measure and prove mathematically. Our “common sense” doesn’t always work at the extremes of the universe. Furthermore, just because you posit that a MIND could explain the creation of the universe, it does not follow that it did. Occam’s razor (not a law, but a good guideline) says to eliminate any unnecessary assumptions, and your assumption that the creator has a will and an intelligence is not necessary for explaining that it created something.

    I don’t think scientists (those who think scientifically, not merely those who do scientific work professionally) are uncomfortable with not knowing what caused what. We’re very used to not knowing. We accept it, keep looking, and get back to the question later. It seems the theists, instead, who really are uncomfortable with not knowing.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      The first premise is that everything that BEGINS TO EXIST has a cause.

      We know from the Big Bang theory that the universe began to exist from nothing. Space, time, matter and energy came into being at the Big Bang. It is very important that you get the first premise right.

      • Anon says:

        I think the premise is actually: Everything which has a beginning has a sufficient cause.

        So

        1. This applies to things with beginning (non-eternal things).

        2. The cause must be sufficient. I found someone in the closet does not make closet sufficient explanation for that person’s existence.

    • feilong80 says:

      Heh, well what I observe in the scientific community is that they are very uncomfortable with evidence that points to anything beyond materialism. Hence Hawking and his extreme attempts to sidestep fine tuning arguments for God. If he was comfortable with simply not knowing, he wouldn’t need to fool about with M-Theory, which as far as I can tell seems constructed to completely dodge the fine tuning arguments.

      If the attitude from “Big Science” was simply to say, “we don’t know,” there would be no conflict here at all. But there attitude is, “We do know, and you rubes who think otherwise should shut up.”

    • Anon says:

      “The first premise should read “In my experience, everything that happens has a cause.” But we’re finding some freaky things in this universe that don’t fit our experience.”

      No, that premise is one of the most established principles of logic/science. It’s very fundamental to explain virtually everything.

  9. Ok here is what we do know.

    We know that every effect has a cause. Now if the universe was the result of an explosion, then we know that something had to cause the explosion.

    What we also know is that everything known to man that exist and has logic and order to it, required an intelligent source to create it.

    Now if the universe were created from an explosion, in order for all this vast and incredibly sophisticated design and order to result from such an explosion, it would require an extremely sophisticated intelligence source to make such a thing happen.

    We can conduct numerous scientific experiments to try to create intelligent design from an explosion and we will most likely fail every time. I would like to see someone cause an explosion that results in the creation of a chair, or a tree, or a car.

    It is evident when scientist study creation, they witness intelligence at work far beyond what the best of minds can conceive.

    God knew that we would never be able to comprehend Him or the fullness of all that He created. This is where faith comes in. Because of what we can see and understand, that is the basis of believing what we can’t see and understand. Before, we knew about the microscopic world, there was something that we knew about, giving us clues about it’s existence. Can we see sound? But yet we by believing that it was possible to transmit sound waves over time and space, we figured out how to do that.

    We can only understand the unseen things of the spirit world, which we can’t possibly see even under a high-powered microscope by first believing that God exist and that He is a spirit being. He is a substance that cannot be perceived with the physical senses. Then if we can believe that He is responsible for creating this universe and that He has given us a document that can help us to understand Him and what He has created.

    All the things that man has been able to create was made possible because somebody believed that something that did not exist could be created. Because they believed and acted on that believe an applied intelligence, it became a physical reality.
    The problem with mankind is he knows that there is an intelligence source that exist exponentially greater than the intelligence of man, be he refuses to acknowledge it and submit to it. Man wants to be his own god but yet he is totally incapable understanding all there is to know about himself, notwithstanding understanding the universe.

  10. Paradox says:

    First thought experiment:
    Suppose that God has been counting down from infinity to zero. In this case, as God counts down from infinity, He counts down ALL the numbers, in pairs of positive and negative integers, until He reaches zero. Now, suppose that God never began counting down. Would time have a beginning? No, as this sequence of events has a before and after relationship between the individual events (hence, time exists), and never began (so that time never began). Would it become valid to ask “Where did God come from?” under this circumstance? Obviously not.

    We can see from this thought experiment that if the atheist can somehow rationally argue for an infinite past –so that your preferred answer fails– that we still do not need to answer the question. God simply never begins to exist, so that God does not require an external explanation (at least, not in the In Fieri Cosmological Arguments [which includes Kalam]). Just saying “God exists outside of time,” does not cut it, as we shall see.

    Second thought experiment:
    Suppose that we wanted to know where the counting sequence God was carrying out came from. The fact that this process never began does not allow us to say that the process does not need some external explanation!

    We can now see that maybe (in the sense that we don’t know just yet, not in a modal sense) God has an external explanation, like this counting sequence.

    Third thought experiment:
    Suppose that in eternity, there is a bowling ball resting on top of a pillow, leaving an indentation. Just because this dent never began to exist, does not mean it needs no external explanation. It seems self-evident that it has an explanation: the bowling ball and pillow must be arranged a certain way.

    A final insight is revealed: being outside of time does not mean that God, given that He exists, is self-explanatory. Merely existing without beginning is not going to get a well-read atheist off your back.

    So what needs to be done to avoid the atheist’s argument, is show that God cannot be explained by another; God exists a se. Existing just IS part of God’s nature. This is not true for the universe, so that the cosmological argument holds out in the end.

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