Saturday, February 07, 2015

Philosophical Evidence for Premise 2 of the Cosmological Argument

A popular version of the cosmological argument goes like this:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe had a cause. [1]

Now, as we have previously written, premise (1) enjoys at least 3 lines of reasoning that support it:
  • Something cannot come into being from nothing.
  • If something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything and everything doesn't come into being from nothing.
  • Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the truth of premise 1.
And while there are excellent scientific reasons to accept premise (2), there is also compelling philosophical evidence that suggests the universe had a beginning.  Philosopher J.P. Moreland explains:

"One philosophical argument for premise 1 involves the impossibility of creating an actual infinite number of events.  For example, if you start counting 1,2,3,...., then you could count forever and never reach a time when an actual infinite amount of numbers had been counted.  Your counting could continue forever but would always be finite; that is, it would have some point of ending.  If the universe had no beginning, then the number of events crossed to reach the present moment would be actually infinite because the universe would be infinite.  If would be like counting to zero from negative infinity.  Since one cannot have an actual infinite, then the present moment could never have arrived if the universe had no beginning.  Since the present is real, it had to have been preceded by a finite past; therefore, there was a beginning or first event!" [2]

So it seems that we have excellent scientific evidence and philosophical evidence to affirm that the universe did indeed have a beginning.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. For those interested in learning more about what makes a good argument, see here.
2. J. P. Moreland, "Does the Cosmological Argument Show There is God?," The Apologetics Study Bible, p. 806.



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