Origins: A Philosophical Argument

Aristotle's Unmoved Mover

Aristotle

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is an obvious feature of the universe we live in. It’s hard to see how it could ever fall out of favor as a proof for theism. Likewise, Big Bang Cosmology is one of the most rigorously tested and accurately confirmed theories in history. Opponents of theism may dislike the implications of these scientific proofs but the fact is that scientific support for theism is very strong. That said, there is always a liability that comes with using scientific arguments like these to ground our case. Namely, the science could change. Fortunately, science isn’t all we have.

There are several philosophical arguments for theism. I am no philosopher but let me present what I believe is the best, and most compelling, of them in the best way I can.

When you and I talk about “motion,” we think about physical things like baseballs transitioning from one point in physical space to another point in physical space. But when philosophers talk about “motion,” they mean something very different. Motion to a philosopher is more like change. Things are constantly changing so the world we observe is constantly “in motion” in that sense. This idea of motion includes objects moving through space but it also includes phenomena like leaves changing color, falling off trees, and reappearing in the Spring or bodies that form, grow, get old, and then die and decay. The world is constantly in motion.

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Origins: Cosmological Argument

Beginnings Require Beginners

For a more general discussion of how the origin of the universe gives strong evidence in support of a theistic God, those who don’t already have it can download my document, “Getting To God,” from the resource page elsewhere on the True Horizon website (Directly available here: “Getting To God Download”)

Instead of reinventing that wheel here, I would like to offer a brief overview of the most powerful arguments on this topic and some links to video and other resources I have found helpful. Readers can pursue whichever ones they would like to know more about.

As the subtitle of the post puts it succinctly, beginnings require beginners. Effects require causes. Events don’t just occur without something to make them happen. The universe is not exempt from these facts.

With that in mind, the three most powerful and simple arguments you should be familiar with are:

  • The Cosmological Argument (The Big Bang)
  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics
  • Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover

The first two are scientific; the third is philosophical. Don’t get scared off by “Aristotle” or “philosophical.” The concept is simple to comprehend and actually the most indisputable of the three. As someone interested in defending a theistic view of the world, being able to discuss each of these should become second nature to you.

I will discuss each argument in a separate post to avoid being cumbersome.

Big Bang Cosmology

For thousands of years and with few exceptions, the consensus view of the universe was that it was “static and eternal.”

  • “Static” – while we observed things moving around in the heavens, the common assumption was that the universe itself was not moving at all. It was thought of as a giant “blob” of space that contained all the heavenly objects within it. The blob didn’t move or change; the stuff we could see just swirled around inside it.
  • “Eternal” – the universe had always been here. It had no beginning or end, it just “was.”

No one had much reason to question this view until Albert Einstein came along with his Theory of General Relativity (GR). GR was his attempt to find an explanation for gravity. The mathematics of the problem led him to discover a connection between matter, energy, space, and time. His equations made sense of everything, with one exception.

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The “Faith” Thing

Many of us have understood atheism to be defined as a claim that God does not exist. This, in fact, is the primary definition of atheism we find in the dictionary, and is based on the simple fact that a (Greek: not), attached to theos (Greek: God) forms a compound word meaning “not God.”

noun
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

The new atheists, however, have become fond of insisting that their stance regarding deities is that they “really just believe in one less God than you do.” Another way of putting it is that atheism is not really a belief at all; it’s just a “lack of belief in any god.” This video is supposed to explain this point of view for those of us who just don’t seem to get it.


From The Video

“Belief and Faith are not the same thing … Faith can be thought of as confidence in that claim in the absence of evidence … The more faith they have, the further away from evidence they travel.”

On the first point (“belief and faith are not the same thing”) I would have to agree. I have often illustrated the differences between some of these concepts like this:

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