Arguments for the Existence of God
by Metacrock - edited by JMT
Used with Permission
I. Cosmological Necessity
PAS: Putative state of affairs.
Necessity: That which does not depend upon anything else for its existence, that which
cannot fail to exist or cease to exist. Please note that this is not logical necessity alone
but ontological or metaphysical necessity.
Arbitrary Necessity: The attempt to equate a contingency with a necessity in terms of
ontological function; or the imputation of ultimate origin to a purely arbitrary convention.
Note: AN's are to be regarded as impossibilities by virtue of their absurd contradictory
Contingency: That which must depend for its existence upon the prior of existence of some
higher thing, that which can fail or cease to exist.(Note: these two aspects, fail/cease--either
one or both--and dependence, are linked since in most cases the reason for failing or ceasing is due
to dependence upon prior state, condition, cause or source).
Existent, Existant: A Thing which exists.
UEO: Ultimate Eternal Origin -- the "final cause" or what stands in place of a final cause,
the ultimate origin of all things which is the upshot of the argument; this is neutral term which
may or may not imply God.
(1) True absolute nothingness as a Putative state of affairs is
a) The concept is self contradictory since a PSA is something and not nothingness.
b) Absolute nothingness must precede time, thus no time = no causality, no sequential events, no
movement, no change. Thus, nothing could ever come to be.
c) You cannot get something from nothing
(notice that the latest theories do not posit that the universe just appeared out of nothing--no
theorists accept that.
Astronomy Cafe, 2004
"Without including quantum mechanical effects, the Standard Big Bang model predicts an
incomprehensible singularity state of infinite density and zero space and time. Physicists and
cosmologists during the last 20 years have attempted to add quantum mechanical effects in various
ways, and have come up with an initial state called the Planck Era when the scale of the universe
was about 10^-33 centimeters at a time 10^-43 seconds after the Big Bang. This is an absolute
horizon to cosmology because 'before' this era, all properties were determined by causal, quantum
fluctuations in some indeterminate quantum state. There was no time or space then, not at least in
any intuitive way of thinking about the situation".
2) The Universe is contingent upon prior conditions:
a) Inferred logically from the observation that the universe is nothing more than a collection
of contingent things.
b) Consensus in science indicates that the existence of the universe as a whole is contingent
upon prior conditions:
Matter, energy, all physical phenomena stem from 'gravitational
fields', the prior condition of which is the big bang, the prior condition of which is the
singularity, the prior condition of which is...we do not know.
c) All naturalistic phenomena are empirically derived, thus they
are contingent by their very nature.
As Karl Popper said, empirical facts are facts which might not have been. Everything
that belongs to space time is a contingent truth because it could have been otherwise, it is
dependent upon the existence of something else for its existence going all the way back to the Big
Bang, which is itself contingent upon something.(Anthony Flew, Philosophical Dictionary
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979, 242.)
3) By definition the "ultimate" origin cannot be contingent, since by
definition it would require the explanation of still prior conditions.
4) Therefore, the universe must have emerged from some prior condition which always existed, is
self sufficient, and not dependent upon anything higher.
5) Naturalistic assumptions of determinism, and the arbitrary nature of naturalistic cosmology
creates an arbitrary necessity; if the UEO has to produce existence automatically and/or
deterministically due to naturalistic forces, the contingencies function as necessities
6) Therefore, since arbitrary necessities are impossible by nature of their absurdity, thus we
should attribute creation to an act of the will; the eternal existent must be possessed of some
ability to create at will; and thus must possess will.
7) An eternal existent which creates all things and chooses to do so is compatible with the
definition of "God" found in any major world religion, and therefore, can be regarded as God. Thus
God must exist QED!
The state of understanding most Christian apologists use for the cosmological argument is very bad.
Most of us are still back in the enlightenment, or even earlier. In fact if one reads the Boyle
Lectures (that's 1690s) one sees all the issues of a modern apologetics message board, with very
little real advance by the Christian apologists.
The problem revolves around the notion of causality. Causality requires linear direction and time. A
causes B, it follows that A precedes B in a sequential effect. No Time means no sequential order,
thus no cause. Time begins sequentially simultaneously with the Big Bang. So there is no way to
speak of "before" the big bang because there can't be a "before time." Since time is the beginning
of sequences there can be no event before the beginning of sequences; without sequences there is no
beginning and no "before." So the problem is that it is meaningless to say things like "everything
that begins requires a cause." This is meaningless because we can't really speak of "the beginning"
of the universe since the beginning of the universe is also the beginning of time, and causality
requires time. Thus there is no cause before the beginning of causes. Thus the whole idea of a final
cause beginning the sequence that eventually leads to sequences is a lame idea. Yet most Christian
Apologists use the Kalaam argument (made so poplar by William Lane Craig) which begins "everything
that begins requires a cause." The statement itself is self contradictory.
Of course the atheists muck things up even worse with their notions of Quantum theory (AKA "QM"). It
seems that everything that begins doesn't require a cause. QM particles pop into exist seemingly out
of nothing with no prior casual agent that can be discerned and thus, it seems something could come
from nothing. Now it gets tricky at this point, because this not really what's happening, but the
best that can come out of this observation is a big muddle.
It seems that we really don't find QM particles "popping" out of "nothing." They emerge from
something called "vacuum flux." This is just a fancy name for more QM particles, that doesn't'
matter, because it really is not actual nothingness. The problem is that physicists speak of VC as
"nothing." So while one finds physicist speaking of QM being something from nothing, they know quite
well its not. Now the tricky part is, the Christian apologist suspects, but we cannot prove, that
there is a cause in there somewhere. But the skeptic can always elude the obvious implication of a
cause since we don't have a direct observational proof of the need for a final cause. Our
assumptions about final causes are pinned upon logic and not upon empirical observation (and this is
of necessity, since we can't observe final cause since we can't observe "before" the begging of
sequential ordering in time).
It seems that the skeptic has a built-in fail-safe to create a stalemate without he CA (cosmological
argument) because our thinking as Christian apologists is often rooted in the thinking of the Robert
Boil and the 1690s. We still think in terms of cause and effect, things begging, things needing
causes and beginnings and logic proving this rather than empirical observation; although a large
part of this argument is merely psychological, since in all fairness the skeptic can't prove
anything either and we know darn well there has to be a cause back there somewhere.
I have developed an approach which I feel resolves this dilemma and lends a positive presumptive
appeal to the CA. I feel that my approach changes the burden of proof in the debate because lends
the apologist presumption, by meeting the prima facie burden of proof. This approach works in two
(1) Sets up a "comfort zone" for the argument, or in other words, establishes criteria through which
the bar is lowered for the standard of proof and the lower standard can be met; lower standard
meaning "rational warrant for belief" rather than "proof."
We are not out to prove the existence of God. We are out to prove only that it is rational to
construe the universe as the creation of God.
The outcome of a prima facie argument is that the burden of proof is reversed. Now it becomes the
other side's burden to show that the PF case has not been made. What is it in my version of the CA
that swings this point over from burden of proof to PF case? It's the way I deal with the notion
need for causality.
The standard Christian apologetics approach is usually to say "everything we observe needs a cause,
so the universe must need a cause." This leaves the skeptics cold and they just keep harping on
their QM stuff. My approach is to move away from the need causes. I no longer call my argument
"first cause." I use the term "cosmological" but not "first cause" or "final cause." I don't speak
of causes and I never claim "everything that begins to exist needs a cause." Most skeptics will be
expecting this, usually they are thrown into a state of total confusion when they learn that I don't
bother with this.
My approach is to use the scholastic model of necessity and contingency rather than cause and
effect. Now one might think this is so old fashioned and pre modern that it would be untenable. But
no, it's the basis of model logic. One can easily argue, what with the return to the impotence of
the model aspects from Hartshorne and Plantinga, and with Godel's OA being based firmly upon
necessity/contingency, that category is alive and well. Now skeptics will remain incredulous of
course, but the category can be defended easily with Spinoza's chart of modalities. The categories
are there in logic and cannot be denied.
Moreover, move on from that point to speak of "prior conditions," rather than causes. The idea of
prior conditions is tricky, since we all there is a cause lurking somewhere behind it. But the
skeptic is lambasting us for speaking of causes, and with this approach we need not speak of them.
That way the obvious need for one is enthymematic; that is the skeptic will pick it out himself, but
he can't really say anything about it we aren't claiming it as part of the argument. If the skeptic
brings it up, well it's a straw man argument, even though it's really there in the background.
Prior conditions is a tricky category and I have the following analogy. In QM theory we face the
concept of the VC and the particle emerge from it. We know from observation that this slows way down
the closer one gets to the singularity, and we know that we have no observations whatsoever from
timeless state (how could we)? Three conditions obtain in which Amp's emerge: (1) the emerge amid
physical law. Even though they seem to contradict our previous understanding of law, they are not
opposed to it and QM theory is the business of showing how we can assume their harmonious existence
with physical law; (2) They emerge in time; since we have no counter observation we must assume so;
(3) They emerge from VF. Skeptics have howled and said "that must means more particles." But so
what? that's still something. It means they aren't coming form real nothingness. As long as
something exits prior to the "first" existent, that existent is not first and what prior to it must
be accounted for. IF we don't wish to end up in an infinite causal regress, then we have to assume
that there is some prior conditions which is the basic condition of all existence.
It's like fish. Fish are not caused by water. You can't say "water = fish." But, fish are always
found in or near bodies of water. You dot' find fish living in the sand in the desert. There are
fish which are native to the North American desert, but they live in water deep in caverns and have
actually lost eyes because they live in total darkness. But again, the one prior condition we have
for fish is water. Now someone will say "but there is causal relationship there." Yes, but my
argument doesn't require that there be no causal relation, but I don't have to push the causal
relation to win the argument; all I have to do is demonstrate that there must be some eternal prior
condition that is necessary for all contingent conditions to be; and of course we construe this
"eternally prior condition" as God.
Another important aspect of this argument is to get away form time. We must get over the simplistic
idea that BB is the moment of creation and "before" that (which there is no "before") is God in
eternity. That treats time like a place that one could go, where God is. Time may be running
eternally, it has a "reassert" with the Big Bang but it doesn't' have to be a "place" one could go
to visit. Thus it may not be that we can think of the timeless void as a realm beyond the natural
In this argument I set up the contingency of the universe as the predication of an ultimate prior
condition. Anything naturalistic is automatically contingent (this can be backed up by Carol Popper
and many others). Thus the ontological necessity which predicates these contingencies is a priori
some from of prior condition which must be understood as eternal and boundless, otherwise the idea
of a contingent universe filled with individual contingencies makes no sense.
From there the argument that this eternal prior condition is equivalent to or can be construed as an
object of religious devotion is easy. Of course atheists will fight tooth and nail to keep from
accepting the notion that the universe is contingent. They will charge that this is the fallacy of
composition. Don't let them! The fallacy of composition only works when the parts are different. In
other words, if a brick wall is made up of all bricks then it is not a fallacy of composition to say
"this is a wall of bricks." Thus, one case say "this is a universe of contingencies, thus, it is a
contingent universe." Moreover, Dr. Kooks (Univ. Texas--our fine main branch in our Glorious UT
system) uses mereology (a funky kind of math stuff) to argue that wholly contingent parts make for a
wholly contingent situation. In other words, a universe made up of all contingent parts is a
contingent universe. Establishing this point will be the hardest part of the debate, but the skeptic
will be scratching his head and asking "what's mereology?"
From there one directs them to Dr. Koons' Website.
I think this approach offers some unique features that get us way from the 1690s and put Christian
apologetics in the 21st century.
1) Quantum Theory does not prove something from
2) Hawkins's Theory Not
3) Not fallacy of Composition.
The fallacy of composition is when one reasons from the parts to the whole. In this case my argument
(P2a) reasons from the fact that the universe is a collection of contingent things to the conclusion
that the universe is contingent. But this is not my only argument for the contingency of the
universe, be that as it may, it is not the fallacy of composition. The fallacy doesn't happen just
any time one reasons in this way. It is not fallacious to argue form the parts to the whole if the
parts are all alike.
Robert Koons on Leadership
Contemporary Christian Philosophy
Fall 2000, University of Texas
The argument commits the fallacy of composition: from the fact that each part of the cosmos is
caused, it fallaciously draws the conclusion that the whole cosmos is caused. Response: this is a
misstatement of the argument. The argument assumes that all wholly contingent situations are caused.
We can prove that the cosmos is wholly contingent, so it must have a cause.
The Nizkor Project
The second type of fallacy of Composition is committed when it is concluded that what is true of the
parts of a whole must be true of the whole without there being adequate justification for the claim.
More formally, the line of "reasoning" would be as follows:
The parts of the whole X have characteristics A, B, C, etc.
Therefore the whole X must have characteristics A, B, C. That this sort of reasoning is fallacious
because it cannot be inferred that simply because the parts of a complex whole have (or lack)
certain properties that the whole that they are parts of has those properties. This is especially
clear in math: The numbers 1 and 3 are both odd. 1 and 3 are parts of 4. Therefore, the number 4 is
odd. It must be noted that reasoning from the properties of the parts to the properties of the whole
is not always fallacious. If there is justification for the inference from parts to whole, then the
reasoning is not fallacious. For example, if every part of the human body is made of matter, then it
would not be an error in reasoning to conclude that the whole human body is made of matter.
Similarly, if every part of a structure is made of brick, there is no fallacy committed when one
concludes that the whole structure is made of brick.
Thomas Rauchenstein. Copyright
The argument (Cosmological) does not commit the fallacy of composition. Just as every part of a
puzzle is red, so must the whole be red; if every part of a structure consists of stone, so must the
whole consist of stone. Likewise, if every possible being is in potentiality, so the whole of all
possible beings is in potentiality, and thus, needs to be actualized (caused). The very nature of
the parts demand that the whole be caused as well.
By Metacrock. Used with Permission.
For more articles by the same author, see Doxa.