The New Cosmic Proof Of God Argument
When we argue that God is the great "uncaused cause" of the whole of existence per the traditional Cosmological Argument, atheists question why the universe itself, or some other "mindless, natural something" could not be the uncaused cause. So I've developed an argument to address this objection...
Condensed Version (Deductive Syllogism):
1. In an eternal, mindless/material existence where things happen according to chance and probability (rather than choice): Physical change, if it has not already occurred given eternity past, could never occur.
2. In this mindless eternal existence, a "first physical change" would mean an eternity of zero change prior (including motion), which makes a first change impossible per premise 1. Thus, a fixed number of changes/events (as opposed to constant change and fluctuation) would be impossible.
A. One cannot not suggest an infinite period of no change, and then sudden change, in a scenario where all change depends on past change. (And therefore, the default nature of mindless things must be that of continual change, if change is ever to occur.)
- If nothing has changed in the past, then nothing can change in the future. Change requires change.
- If a "mindless something" has not changed, or produced change, for an endless (eternal) period, that is its default eternal nature, and thus it could never produce a first physical change.
- If the inherent nature of something is endless, it cannot end by definition, such that change can begin.
- A mindless something that has had infinite chances to produce change, but has not, cannot then change given another chance - because it's already been given another chance, and another, and infinitely more.
- Even motion, movement from one point to another, is change. If a mindless something has been "frozen" for an eternity past, it cannot then begin to change.
3. Therefore, an eternal, mindless/material something, must have been changing all along due to antecedent requirements. This begs an impossible, infinite regress of physical changes (events) which depend on past events. Thus, a mindless cause of the universe must be rejected.
A. This argument applies equally to mindless immaterial things.
B. If God has not produced a physical change, it is a matter of choice; the ability to choose is God's eternal nature, meaning He can create a fixed number of changes throughout eternity. Thus, God is not bound by an infinite regress.
1. Because something cannot come from absolutely nothing, something must have always existed for eternity.
A. In order for something to happen (including something from nothing), a change must occur.
B. Absolute nothingness cannot change: Nothing exists to be changed, nor is there any mechanism to produce change.
C. Therefore, something cannot come from absolute nothingness.
2. The eternal something, because it is eternal, was uncaused.
3. The eternal something must have the ability to cause physical events (since events happen).
4. The eternal something is an uncaused cause.
5. The eternal something came before the physical events that it caused. This indicates a past, present, and future, relative to events. Since events occur now, there is a past. And this means that events happen in a linear progression (overall).
6. The eternal something was either mindless, or intelligent. There are no other options.
7. A mindless eternal something would mean an impossible, infinite regress of physical events...
A. A mindless eternal something would have to cause endless events, or no future event could occur. For example, our universe is a "future" event relative to the past. Our universe could not occur if a mindless eternal cause had stopped causing events for an eternity prior. So again, a mindless eternal something would have to continue causing events, for any event to occur. But this would mean that infinite past events must have occurred, which is impossible, since endless past physical events could never be traversed to get to a present/future event (such as our universe).
B. But what if a mindless eternal cause spawned a universe with its own causal chain? ...Well, because of A, this event could never happen, because endless past events would have to be traversed before getting to the spawned universe (or any given event), which is impossible.
C. What if our universe were itself the eternal uncaused cause? ...This also, is not possible because of A.
D. What if a mindless cause produced just one event, that being our universe, meaning no infinite past events? ...This again, is not possible because of A. A single event would mean that nothing happened for an eternity prior. If nothing happened for an eternity prior, then the single "future" event (our universe) could never come about. An eternity of no past events would mean that the probability for events to begin occurring at any point, is perfectly zero.
E. In the context of this argument, an "event" is simply a change in that which exists. Suppose that a "mindless material something" is the eternal, uncaused cause... Well, this eternal thing must be in a constant state of change, meaning that physical events are still occurring even if it's just the eternal thing itself which changes. Why must it be changing? The simple answer is that it must change in order to cause new events in physical surroundings, or no larger event (like a universe) could ever occur. If the eternal thing were completely unchanging and static, then obviously, it could not produce an effect (it could not produce physical change). Everything would remain infinitely the same! Furthermore, it must be said that this eternal thing must change an infinite amount of times, instead of a fixed amount of times. If the amount of changes were fixed, that would require a first/initial change. However, it's not possible for a mindless, material something to remain static and unchanging for an eternal, infinite past, and then suddenly begin changing; a material something that is eternally unchanging, can never change by definition. But it is also not possible for infinite events to occur, because infinity cannot be traversed!
F. What if the mindless eternal something were immaterial? ...This immaterial thing would still have to produce physical events, or no physical events could ever occur. And a first/initial physical event would not be possible, because it would mean that the immaterial thing would have gone an eternity past producing no physical events (meaning it would be eternally unchanging by its very nature, as far as never producing a physical event). Furthermore, the problem of impossible infinite regression applies equally to mindless immaterial events.
8. Per # 7, a mindless uncaused cause of existence must be rejected.
9. "Intelligent events" happen as an act of will, rather than chance, which means that a fixed number of physical events is possible, as determined by the intelligent uncaused cause. Furthermore, events caused by choice or decision are not "past dependent", where one change happens solely as a result of prior change, which happens solely as a result of another prior change, and so on to infinity (an infinite causal chain). This solves the problem of an impossible, infinite regress of physical events.
10. Therefore, an intelligent, immaterial, uncaused cause of the universe (God) must be accepted.
Q. & A....
Question: Wouldn't the problem with "an eternity prior to a first physical event" also apply to God, and not just a mindless existence? God created the universe, but existed prior to the universe. And let's assume that the universe is the only event He ever caused. Wouldn't that indicate an endless period prior to the universe where no physical change occurred, which therefore could never come to an end (meaning the creation of our universe could not have occurred)?
Answer: No, and there are several reasons for this... One reason is that God, being immaterial, operates "outside of" that which He creates. One must imagine two separate planes of existence (or two separate "timelines", if you will): An immaterial plane (or spiritual realm), and a material plane (or physical realm). What this demonstrates is that there was no endless period directly connected with the universe, that came before it. God came before, but again, He operates outside of the physical realm. Secondly, while God is eternal, that which He creates is not dependent on past events. Imagine that you are an eternal, all powerful being. You simply "exist". Could you create a universe at any given point in your eternal existence? Of course! The only requirements are that you exist, and that you're able to create the event in question. And clearly, the event itself would not depend on events prior - that's the key!
In a mindless/material existence, a totality of energy and matter do not operate "outside of" (or separate from) the physical events that they cause. Rather, it is energy and matter that have to be in a constant state of change (unlike God), such that physical events can occur. So for example, if it were claimed that energy remained "frozen" (producing no physical change) for an eternal period prior to a supposed "first" change, this endless period would be directly connected (directly related) to the energy itself. And this leads back to the problem: In a mindless existence, an endless period of zero change could never end, by definition. This negates the possibility of a "first" change, and leads to the fact that a mindless material existence would beg an infinite regress of chance events, which is (also) impossible.
Question: So per the last question and answer, it must be said that the "eternal something" caused events outside of itself (that is to say, events which are not dependent on other events). But couldn't a mindless immaterial something do so (just like God)?
Answer: First off... This mindless immaterial something would require an unknown supernatural mechanism to create something outside the totality of its own essence. This would make it extremely powerful (with no higher power known). And it would be eternal (as established). So already, this mindless something would be: Immaterial, supernatural, all powerful, and eternal. (Sound familiar?)
Secondly, this mindless thing could not create a "first physical event", even if it had a mechanism to cause change outside of itself, as this would violate the first and second premise of our syllogism above...
Imagine that this mindless, immaterial something has always existed. And we'd have to say that it existed before any and all physical events (such that it could cause them), which by default would mean that a first physical event had to occur at some point - or there could not be a "before". (In this scenario, the first event would be relative to the pre-existing immaterial reality.) Now, if a first physical event were able to come about, it would mean that the mindless immaterial something had an infinite history (prior to the first event) of producing no physical events whatsoever. For all intents and purposes, it would be as if this immaterial something was "frozen" for an eternity past, in respect to not causing physical events...
And because this infinite, unchanging past would not be the result of will or choice, it could only result from the default nature of the mindless something. And if this default nature has been fixed for eternity (in respect to not causing physical events), there is zero probability that it could ever change! In other words, the default nature of "unchange" could never end, such that a first physical event could then occur. If a first event cannot occur, then of course no other physical events could occur.
The difference with God is simple. His eternal nature does not have to end in order to cause a first physical event, because of the fact that will and choice are part of His unending nature! To not cause physical events is just as much a decision, as to cause events. In other words, where a mindless something does not have the choice to go from no change to change due to its inherent eternal nature (which cannot end, being that it's eternal!), God does have the choice due to His eternal nature (that being one of choice).
But there is also another fatal problem with the mindless immaterial scenario:
We've already established that a mindless immaterial something could not cause a first physical event. But the mindless immaterial scenario also leads to an impossible infinite regress of immaterial events...
A mindless existence is bound by chance and probability. In order for "x" to occur, the right card has to be drawn from a virtual deck of cards. This deck of cards would have to be drawn from over and over, such that "x" could occur. For a physical event to happen, such as the creation of our universe, endless past "draws" had to come before. But an infinite regress of mindless chance events is impossible...
Let's momentarily imagine that some form of energy is the "immaterial" uncaused cause of all existence. It must be said that this eternal energy was constantly fluctuating and changing thoughout its supposed eternal existence, such that any future change or event could occur. (A "first change" wouldn't be possible, because it would mean a "frozen eternity" of no change prior.) Each and every one of these fluctuations is an "immaterial event" (represented by a chance draw of cards), that must be traversed to "reach" a physical event. But of course, this means that an (impossible) infinite regress of immaterial changes would be required in order to reach any future physical event. Furthermore, even immaterial events prior to a physical event could not be "reached" from past immaterial events, since an infinite string of immaterial events would have to occur prior to any specific immaterial event.
An intelligent being, on the other hand, does not have to traverse an endless amount of "chance changes" to get to any event. In fact, God does not have to traverse anything at all in order to cause a material or immaterial event. Rather, a first event occurs precisely when God chooses. Any lack of events is also a choice. So (first) events do not happen as a result of 1 chance/change in 10. Or 1 chance/change in 1 trillion. Etc. There is no chance involved at all.
Imagine having to to draw an ace from a deck of cards each time you want an event to occur. Ultimately, any given event would require that an infinite number of past draws has occurred - which leads to the impossible infinite regress. However, now imagine that rather than drawing, you're able to instantly choose an ace from the deck, or purposely not choose an ace from the deck (no draw required)... In this case, all things that happen throughout the history of existence would be the result of your choice, and never the result of an endless progression of changes.
This demonstrates how an intelligent being (God) can "traverse" eternity. Events aren't actually being traversed, because no single event ever relies on an (impossible) infinite regression of changes in order to occur.
The Final Key...
In a mindless existence, all events (whether material or immaterial) happen as a result of a constantly changing past, which leads to an impossible infinite regression. In such an existence, no event can occur which is entirely independent from the past, because all things ultimately happen according to a chain of chance and probabilities (and are therefore past dependent). In an intelligent existence, events occur which do not depend on the past, as an act of choice. The "first mover" events that God causes are a matter of decision (dependent on God and not other events), and are therefore not past dependent. An (impossible) infinite regression only "occurs" when one event depends on a prior event, which depends on another prior event, and so on, to infinity. Therefore, a mindless existence must be rejected. And an intelligent existence must be accepted.
Here is what an impossible infinite regression looks like: Change 1 leads to change 2 leads to change 3 leads to change 4 leads to "group of changes" 5 leads to "many more changes" 6 leads to "further spreading change" 7, etc., to infinity. Change 7, for example, could never be reached if an infinite number of changes came before! Now here is what intelligent causation looks like: Change 1 depends on God, change 2 depends on God and not change 1, change 3 depends on God and not change 2, change 4 depends on God and not change 3, change 5 depends on God and not change 4, change 6 depends on God and not change 5, change 7 depends on God and not change 6 (nor any of the prior changes), etc.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that "infinite events", and an "impossible infinite regress", are the same thing. But this is not the case, as shown above. Again, an impossible infinite regress is only faced when change depends on change prior, which depends on change prior, which depends on change prior, and so on to infinity: Think of each change as one domino falling over in an infinite line up of dominos in motion. If our present moment in time represents the last domino, we'd never reach the here and now if infinite dominos had to fall before reaching the last one. And yet, this is precisely how a mindless existence would have to work. But it's not how intelligence works, where choice and decision are involved. God could tip the "last" domino alone, and indeed it would fall over as a matter of choice - with zero dependence on past dominos (past changes and events).
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