Posted on 23 October 2010.
In my recent article regarding the Kalam Argument on the existence of God, I have a…well…a reaction from a certain Christian reader. Ok…let me address his comments and at least the said comments can serve as an update on how Filipino Christian apologists approached the Kalam argument (as I have said in the last article, we all need an upgrade).
Christian: on Premise 1, William Lane Craig has already answered the atheist’s question. (Link: Question 106: Is God Actually Infinite?)
Is that the answer of premise 1? Let see…
(1) Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
I don’t even see any question to this premise.
I think what the premise is saying is that everything that came to existence has a cause.
Now going back to the issue, it seems the Christian taught that I was talking about the infinite existence of God. The issue here is if actual infinity cannot exist and God is infinite then how did He have lived through an infinite number of hours. I’m not talking about God but on the infinite “hours” that God have lived His life in another dimension.
Well, the best response here that a Christian can used is that God is outside time.
So again, that brings us to the problem of a God that is outside time.
Another response is that God’s time is different from the time in our universe. God’s time is different than our way of viewing things. It is much larger. Really?
So how can we be certain of this “God time?” Well, Dr. Craig calls this a “God’s metaphysical time.” (For more about Craig’s metaphysical time see this link.
According to Dr. Craig, metaphysical time is tensed, dynamic, and non-relative. There is an ever changing fact of the matter about which events are future, which present, and which past. Future events become present, present events become past, and past events sink further and further into the past. Now does this metaphysical time have a beginning? Yes according to Dr. Craig and the very first event in metaphysical time must be a timeless person.
If I’m going to accept this God could have created this metaphysical time long before creating the space-time of our universe, it follows that there could have been something temporally prior to the earliest point in space-time, and Dr. Craig’s argument for creation ex nihilo would then be false.
Anyway, according to Dr. Craig, “denying that God is actually infinite in the quantitative sense in no way implies that God is finite. This inference does not follow, since the quantitative sense of infinity may be simply inapplicable to God.” In short, only finite things are under that rule (pwera ang diyos).
So here’s the problem. Actual infinite cannot exist, yet an absolute infinite time can exist (that’s the time when God created the metaphysical time of course)..weh?
Those who started the Kalam argument feels that time is finite…for example, al-Kindi felt that time was finite because an actual infinite is impossible and time is a quantitative thing that must be finite in measure (1979, 25). Saadia also felt that the concept of infinite time is reduced to absurdity because of the problem of regressing an actual infinite (Craig, 1979, 39).
So that’s it…time is finite, yet God existed for an “infinite time”…oh well…
The Christian may not have been updated after all when he said: “God is outside our universe. He is also not subjected to time.” For WLC, God is “timeless, spaceless”(http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5180), which is different from the Christian’s response.
Moreover, I wonder where the Christian got the idea when he said,“God created this ‘place’ on his own being.” Actually he was led into it by the previous answer of the atheist, because he himself gave the wrong answer to the atheist.
On timeless and spaceless:
“For as the cause of space and time, this entity must transcend space and time and therefore exist atemporally and non-spatially, at least sans the universe. This transcendent cause must therefore be changeless and immaterial, since timelessness entails changelessness, and changelessness implies immateriality. Such a cause must be beginningless and uncaused, at least in the sense of lacking any antecedent causal conditions. Ockham’s Razor will shave away further causes, since we should not multiply causes beyond necessity. This entity must be unimaginably powerful, since it created the universe out of nothing.” —WLC (http://www.euroleadershipresources.org)/resource.php?ID=51)
What are the problems to such claims? According to John R. Lucas, “To say that God is outside time, as many theologians do, is to deny, in effect, that God is a person.” (Concepts of Person and Christian Ethics by Stanley Rudman p. 154) He continues, “if I will try to resolve the problem of God’s omniscience by making him timeless, I may create a worse problem by denying to Him the essence of what it means to be a person.”
Ah OK…so a timeless and space less God is not a person. I can’t make a relationship with a non-person, can you?
The western Christian God is a personal god. He is a deity who judge people. This god in not a mere impersonal being – he thinks, imagine, act, he has emotion – he can be jealous, happy, sad and angry (a lot)
Being outside time.
The guy to be blamed here is the pagan philosopher Plotinus (204-207 CE). Plotinus took the idea from Plato who took it from guys like Parmenides. So, if you guys want a God who is quite beyond intellectual discourses, you can always rely on Plotinus to do the job right (Yep, Plotinus is also the guy who invented the Trinity Doctrine).
Now, since God is considered immutable (cannot and does not change) it was deem to be compatible on being timeless (again…thanks to the Neo-Platonists). Immutability and being eternal are Greek ideas of a perfect god.
If you believe that God is a person, well…you might encounter some problems.
A timeless being cannot think since mental events and successions of thought use up time. He doesn’t have any intelligence since thinking and planning requires time. Also, a timeless being is a block of stone since time is necessary for movement. In relation with space, a being who is timeless and space-less will be trapped in his own attributes.
On Premise 2:
With the introductory statement:
Pinoy Atheist just dumped Physics’ own definition of the universe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe). I wonder how he could even start discussing about the universe with an atheist-physicist, if he could not even agree with the physicist in the definition of the universe.
With Pinoy Atheist’s question:
“Now if the universe is not included (or the same as) everything, then how can its beginning (the universe) the same with the beginning of everything?” he should ask a physicist, because that is physics’ claim.
Defining the Universe.
The Christian seems to define the word universe base on a physicist’s definition…now, how can we define the word “universe?”
According to his own source, the Wikipedia, it defines the universe as commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all physical matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space, although this usage may differ with the context. The term universe may be used in slightly different contextual senses, denoting such concepts as the cosmos, the world, or nature.
The word universe was derived from the Old French word Univers, which in turn derives from the Latin word universum.The Latin word was used by Cicero and later Latin authors in many of the same senses as the modern English word is used. The Latin word derives from the poetic contraction Unvorsum — first used by Lucretius in Book IV (line 262) of his De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) — which connects un, uni (the combining form of unus’, or “one”) with vorsum, versum (a noun made from the perfect passive participle of vertere, meaning “something rotated, rolled, changed”). Lucretius used the word in the sense “everything rolled into one, everything combined into one”.
So what’s the difference between everything and the universe?
Well just look at your dictionary folks. Everything means, “All things or all of a group of things.”
Now again…is the universe included with everything or is it separate? If ‘universe’ is defined as the same as ‘everything’ (or vice versa) then a set should not be considered a number of itself. Now if the universe is not a member of itself, its beginning is not the same with the other beginning. Simple rule huh? And of course I don’t need to bother a physicist about it.
Pinoy Atheist claimed he dumped Premises 1 & 2. I did not even see any falsification that “The universe began to exist” in his presentation/imaginary discussion. I can’t even trace what he believes about the universe: if it eternal or temporal or what? So how does this dump the idea that “the universe began to exist,” if Pinoy Atheist affirms spontaneous cause of the universe? Did he not just agree with Premise 2?
Now let’s see, did I agree with Premise 2? In syllogism, the axiom or premises are not independent with one another. That means each premise is in relationship with each other. Now let see… In premise one: Everything that exists has a cause must follow premise 2 that the universe began to exist so we can have the conclusion that the universe has a cause.
Let’s review the following syllogism:
(1) Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
(2) The universe has a beginning of its existence.
So how did I eliminate those two?
In Premise (1) we found a problem in the word “everything”. 1.) It doesn’t include God. Remember that the Kalam argument is proving the existence of God, right? So why he is already excluded in the argument?
In Premise (2) I am questioning if the universe and “everything” (in premise 1) is the same entity?
So if Premise (1) and Premise (2) has a problem, how can we arrive at the conclusion?
If he says that I agreed to premise two that…”the universe began to exist in spontaneous cause” that violates premise one and that will have an effect with the conclusion. Oh, and why talk about what I believed? The article is not about me.
There are at least 10 possible interpretations of quantum mechanics, including determined and indeterminate. It cannot be conclusively said that quantum mechanics are spontaneous and accidents, not yet! Moreover, physicists are having a hard time proving that quantum mechanics can cause a universe. Probabilistic Causation is not WLC’s own. It is part of Philosophy
Who’s saying the term probabilistic causation is Dr. Craig’s own invention? You can find some references about this on Dr. Craig and Dr. Smith discussion on that matter (Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology By William Lane Craig, Quentin Smith).
Dr. Craig claims that quantum events are caused in a non predetermined manner which he calls probabilistic causality. That means the cause could be accidental, spontaneous – not predetermined.
I’ve already wrote a response to this base on David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779)
According to David Hume, “In such a chain too, or succession of objects, each part is caused by that which preceded it, and causes which succeed it. Where then is the difficulty? But the whole, you say, wants a cause. I answer that the uniting of these parts into a whole, like the uniting of several distinct counties into one kingdom, or several distinct members into one body, is performed merely by an arbitrary act of the mind, and has no influence on the nature of things. Did I show you the particular causes of each individual in a collection of twenty particles of matter, I should think it very unreasonable should you afterwards ask me what was the cause of the whole twenty. This is sufficiently explained in explaining the cause of the parts.”
That means when we speak of causes there must be an explanation for an event. Spontaneous events don’t have any explanation. No explanation, no cause.
Let’s be a little scientific here… According to Quintin Smith, “The wave function of the universe in Hartle and Hawking’s paper gives a probabilistic and noncausal explanation of why our universe exists. More precisely, it provides an unconditional probability for the existence of a universe of our sort (i.e., an expanding [and later contracting] universe with an early inflationary era and with matter that is evenly distributed on large scales). Given only their functional law of nature, there is a high probability that a universe of this sort begins to exist uncaused.” (Philo: A Journal of Philosophy, Volume 1, Issue 1, 1998, pp. 75-94.)
Until next time.