The universe can't have come from nothing
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02-01-2014, 10:19 PM
RE: The universe can't have come from nothing
(02-01-2014 08:08 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 02:53 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  First Cause Argument - Everything that exists in our world is the result of some sort of "first cause" which brought about its existence. Therefore, there must have been a force which created the universe. That "first cause" is what we call God. Also known as Cosmological Argument.

My standard reply is what caused god, and when they reply he has always been, it is too easy to say "prove it", or even "so following that logic, so has the universe..."

That isn't quite how the argument goes, though. The claim is that all contingent things (i.e., things that have the possibility of existing or not existing) must have a cause. This leads you to postulate either an infinite regression of causality, or a "first cause" which is not contingent -- i.e., it necessarily exists. Those who make this argument consider the infinite regress to be an absurdity; therefore, there is a first cause -- "and this we call God". God doesn't need a cause because he is not contingent.

My standard response to this used to be (following Bertrand Russell) that if there has to be something that has always existed and wasn't caused, it might as well be the universe as God. But that doesn't seem to work, either, because we have very good evidence that the universe had a beginning -- the Big Bang. So it hasn't always existed. Therefore it is contingent and must have had a cause, etc.

I don't find this argument at all convincing -- I don't believe in God with or without the argument -- but I can't exactly refute it either. The best I can do at the moment is to ask: (1) Is it necessarily true that all contingent things must have a cause, or is that an unwarranted assumption? and (2) Why is an infinite regression any more absurd than the concept of an eternally existing, entirely non-material being who has the power to create the entire universe out of nothing?

Of course the infinite regression runs into the problem that the universe seems to have had a beginning. And the "bouncing universe" model (Big Bang followed by expansion, then contraction ending in a "Big Collapse", followed by another Big Bang, and so on) supposedly doesn't work due to entropy (although I don't see how any defined value of entropy survives the singularity between the big collapse and the big bang).

Anyway, I don't have the answer. But I don't think it's quite as simple as "If God created the universe, who created God?"
Big bang is not the beginning of the universe, only the beginning of the universe in its current state.

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03-01-2014, 02:44 AM
RE: The universe can't have come from nothing
(02-01-2014 10:17 PM)Lemonvariable72 Wrote:  I think I don't know is a great answer. Why? Because it makes zero assumptions.

'I don't know' is an answer lacking assumptions, yes, but you started this thread to specifically discuss Christianity's view of this topic. Christianity makes SO many assumptions about SO many different things....well, write your own punchline honey.

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03-01-2014, 06:04 AM
RE: The universe can't have come from nothing
(02-01-2014 10:19 PM)Lemonvariable72 Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 08:08 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  That isn't quite how the argument goes, though. The claim is that all contingent things (i.e., things that have the possibility of existing or not existing) must have a cause. This leads you to postulate either an infinite regression of causality, or a "first cause" which is not contingent -- i.e., it necessarily exists. Those who make this argument consider the infinite regress to be an absurdity; therefore, there is a first cause -- "and this we call God". God doesn't need a cause because he is not contingent.

My standard response to this used to be (following Bertrand Russell) that if there has to be something that has always existed and wasn't caused, it might as well be the universe as God. But that doesn't seem to work, either, because we have very good evidence that the universe had a beginning -- the Big Bang. So it hasn't always existed. Therefore it is contingent and must have had a cause, etc.

I don't find this argument at all convincing -- I don't believe in God with or without the argument -- but I can't exactly refute it either. The best I can do at the moment is to ask: (1) Is it necessarily true that all contingent things must have a cause, or is that an unwarranted assumption? and (2) Why is an infinite regression any more absurd than the concept of an eternally existing, entirely non-material being who has the power to create the entire universe out of nothing?

Of course the infinite regression runs into the problem that the universe seems to have had a beginning. And the "bouncing universe" model (Big Bang followed by expansion, then contraction ending in a "Big Collapse", followed by another Big Bang, and so on) supposedly doesn't work due to entropy (although I don't see how any defined value of entropy survives the singularity between the big collapse and the big bang).

Anyway, I don't have the answer. But I don't think it's quite as simple as "If God created the universe, who created God?"
Big bang is not the beginning of the universe, only the beginning of the universe in its current state.

That is an assumption, though. Nobody knows what (if anything) existed before the Big Bang, or even if the phrase "before the Big Bang" is meaningful. Some physicists consider that time itself began with the Big Bang.

And then there is the entropy argument. If entropy is always increasing (which is agreed by all physicists), and the universe has always existed, entropy should be infinite. But it's not. Ergo, the universe had a beginning. As I said, though, it's not clear to me that entropy would persist through a singularity.
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03-01-2014, 07:21 AM
RE: The universe can't have come from nothing
(02-01-2014 10:17 PM)Lemonvariable72 Wrote:  Because it makes zero assumptions.


Oh the irony..............

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03-01-2014, 08:35 AM
RE: The universe can't have come from nothing
(03-01-2014 06:04 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  That is an assumption, though. Nobody knows what (if anything) existed before the Big Bang, or even if the phrase "before the Big Bang" is meaningful. Some physicists consider that time itself began with the Big Bang.

And then there is the entropy argument. If entropy is always increasing (which is agreed by all physicists), and the universe has always existed, entropy should be infinite. But it's not. Ergo, the universe had a beginning. As I said, though, it's not clear to me that entropy would persist through a singularity.

I've heard the theory that once the universe has suffered its "heat death", that everything would actually be in the most ordered possible state, and that any further entropy would unleash another big bang.

Of course, it's just a theory, and it's in no way observable or testable, but it could theoretically be possible that any one given particular universe is finite, the number of consecutive universes would be infinite.

More assumptions, of course. This is why I favor the "I don't know" answer and don't bother assuming there is an intelligent first cause or naming the universe "God".
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03-01-2014, 10:03 AM
RE: The universe can't have come from nothing
(03-01-2014 07:21 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 10:17 PM)Lemonvariable72 Wrote:  Because it makes zero assumptions.


Oh the irony..............

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No irony there. Have your irony detector checked and adjusted. Drinking Beverage

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