Worldview

Creation, Fall, Redemption

From http://www.freeimages.com/photo/stone-faces-1555881

As we survey the stories around us, we start to see that certain authors put into their writing their views of the world. This is normal and expected. Dr. Seuss’s whimsy comes through on every rhyme, even though his World War 2 political cartoons were hard-handed against isolationism. The macabre of Alfred Hitchcock is in every dark and foreboding scene of his films – and it is said that it came from him being punished in a jail cell at a young age. The wonder of C.S. Lewis in his fictional works is very apparent, so much in fact that arguably it brought both science fiction and children’s fantasy away from pulp and into the mainstream. (more…)

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Weighing Worldviews: Naturalism

Welcome to the fourth article in my series about weighing worldviews. In part 1 we discussed what a worldview is and in part 2 we answered the key questions that help you identify your worldview. In part 3 we examined the Christian worldview and I explained how I think that is the true worldview that matches reality. In this article we will look at another worldview that is competing for dominance in the West: naturalism. (more…)

Weighing Worldviews: Christianity

EarthWe’ve learned what a worldview is and the key questions that determine your worldview. Now we’re going to examine some worldviews, beginning with Christianity. We tend to think of Christianity as just a religion, limiting it to Sunday mornings and cheesy bumper stickers. But it is an all-encompassing view of all of reality. To understand it, let’s look at the whole Christian story. (more…)

The Kalam (Part 3)

I have recently been defending one of my favorite arguments for God’s existence known as the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA). The argument is based on two simple premises that lead to a logical conclusion with theistic significance. The KCA looks like this:

1- Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2- The universe began to exist.

3- Therefore, the universe had a cause.

(more…)

The Kalam (Part 2)

In my last article we examined one of my favorite arguments for God’s existence known as the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA). The argument is based on a simple syllogism utilizing only two premises. The argument is simple; however, it leads to a logically deductive conclusion with significant theistic implications. The KCA looks like this:

1- Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2- The universe began to exist.

3- Therefore, the universe had a cause.

In my previous article I provided logical support for both premises. I believe logic is always the best evidence to have as science itself is based on logic. That is to say, a scientist cannot even get the scientific method off the ground without first assuming the laws of logic. I appealed to logic alone to prove the space-time universe had an absolute beginning. Be that as it may, many today ignorantly dismiss logic and won’t accept a statement as true unless they have scientific data supporting the proposition in question. This assumption is based on a logically incoherent philosophy called “scientism” (that science is the only way to know things).[1] Although this worldview is logically bankrupt, it is always nice to possess scientific data supporting the conclusions we have already reached based on logic. We have exactly that when it comes to supporting the second premise of the Kalam.

Scientific Validation 

Let’s look at scientific data that the universe is not infinitely old. Take the second law of thermodynamics, for instance. It states that all of the useful energy that already exists in the universe is being used up and is being transformed into non-usable energy. This refers to a process called entropy. If the universe were infinitely old, then it would have already used up all of its usable energy an infinite amount of time ago. Therefore, we would have reached a temperature of absolute zero, and the heat death of the universe an infinite amount of time ago.[2] There would be no heat, no light, no life, not just in our galaxy, but also anywhere in the entire universe.

Now, since there are pockets of useful energy left in the universe, the universe had to have had a starting point. Moreover, scientists can show us through the study of big bang cosmology that we live in an expanding universe.[3] Imagine watching a video of the expansion of the universe. Push “pause,” and then hit the rewind button. Eventually you will come to the beginning of what was expanding. It must have had a starting point.

Moreover, if this wasn’t enough, three of the leading physicists in the world today, Arvind Borde, Allan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, constructed a theorem (the BGV theorem of 2003) which reaches the same conclusion – nature had an absolute beginning. No matter what model one holds, none of them can be extrapolated into past infinity. Dr. Guth (The “G” in BGV) concluded there was a “mother of all beginnings” and stated: “… Even within the context of inflation with many bubbles forming, there would still be somewhere an ultimate beginning.”[4] Dr. Vilenkin makes this point even stronger:

“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”[5] 

Therefore, if nature had an absolute beginning, it is incoherent to state, “Nature existed before nature existed.” Therefore, the cause of nature must be something other than nature. This is what philosophers call “supernatural.”

The Logical Conclusion 

So if the two premises that we have examined are true, it leads us to a startling, but very logical conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause. The definition of the word “universe” is anything and everything that is in time and space, including time and space, that is physical, material, and can be tested scientifically.[6] Given this definition, the “cause” cannot be anything that fits within the definition of the universe. Otherwise the universe would have had to exist before it existed. But, what could have caused the universe to exist if nothingness (not anything physical) existed before the universe began to exist?

“Nothingness” is causally impotent, so what could have caused the universe to “bang” into existence? This leads to some very important questions. What could exist apart from space-time and matter and still have a causal relation with the material universe? If so, what attributes or properties must this cause possess? This will be the focus of my next article.

Stay tuned…

Tim Stratton

 

NOTES 

[1] A.J. Roberts (our fellow Apologer) talks about the difference between science and scientism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N4Y411HE3U

[2] Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008), 97

[3] Tim Stratton, Stealing Defeat From the Jaws of Victory, http://freakengministries.com/stealing-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory/

[4] Closer to the Truth, http://youtu.be/Z79FGmh50Xo (Accessed 8-30-14)

[5] Alexander Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 176.

[6] JP Moreland, Arguments For the Existence of God, The Christian Apologetics Program Biola University