Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why does the cause of the universe have to be God?

From Cold Case Christianity. (H/T Tweet from Apologetics 315)


Big Bang cosmology, often referred to as the Standard Cosmological Model, demonstrates that everything we see in the universe (all space, time, and matter) had a beginning and came from nothing. If this is true, the first cause of the universe must itself be non-spatial, a-temporal, and immaterial.

[...]There are two kinds of forces in the universe: personal forces and impersonal forces. Impersonal forces, like the force of gravity, have no choice about how they affect their environment. They enter, their effect is realized. Imagine a gravity free room in which everything is simply floating in midair. Now introduce the impersonal force of gravity. What happens? We would expect the effect of gravity to be felt immediately. The instant gravity enters this room every object will be drawn to the floor. Impersonal forces cannot decide when to act; if they are present, their effect is felt. This truth has a great impact on the way we understand the first cause of the universe.

If the cause of the universe is an impersonal force, its effect (the appearance of everything from nothing) would be realized the instant the force was present. If that were the case, the first cause of the universe could be no older than the universe itself. The appearance of the cause (the impersonal force) and its effect (the creation of space, time and matter) would be simultaneous events; one would be no older than the other. But if that’s the case, we would once again find ourselves looking for what  caused the first cause to appear in the first place! See the problem? The first cause of the universe must itself be uncaused and eternal in order for us to avoid the illogical and endless pursuit of a prior cause. Unless we are willing to accept the irrational premise that the cause of the universe is itself only as old as the universe itself, we are going to have to admit that this cause cannot be an impersonal force. The cause of the universe had the ability to decide to bring the universe into existence, and the ability to decide is an attribute of personhood.

The rest of the post takes a look at what can be deduced about the cause of the universe from the effect: the creation of the universe according to what science tells us.

This is a straightforward argument. We start with science. Science tells us what happened at the beginning of the universe. And then we ask ourselves what kind of cause can account for the effect that science detected. If you limit yourself to pure logic and pure experimental science, then there is one possible explanation: a supernatural cause brought the entire physical universe into being. All attempts to evade what good science tells us about the universe takes one of two forms; 1) speculating about unobservable, untestable entities or 2) hoping that all the good science we have today will be overturned tomorrow by different science. Those are the 3 options: God, speculation without evidence or speculation without evidence.

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One Response

  1. Paradox says:

    Let’s just start with the argument that an impersonal force must be as old as the universe. “Now why is that?” If the force were older by some millions of years, the universe would have been created THEN!

    Unfortunately, there is a better-crafted objection than that, which we need to answer. If every moment of time is equally real, then the big bang is not the beginning of the universe; it is just the first moment in a chain of moments which has eternally existed.
    That’s not in the scope of this excerpt, but I think there are two simple ways to refute this position: 1) Time is obviously tensed, so the present is the only thing that exists.
    2) Even if this position is valid, it seems possible for the universe not to exist (Contingency Argument), so would not be self-explanatory.

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