How Yesterday’s Coffee And A Life-Permitting Universe Point to God

How Yesterday’s Coffee And A Life-Permitting Universe Point to God

In this article I will introduce two independent arguments to believe that God does exist. First, I will briefly develop the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God. Secondly, I will briefly develop the Fine-tuning Argument for God’s existence. These arguments are easy to remember and profound in their implications.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

This argument was developed by the medieval Muslim philosopher al-Ghazali in the eleventh century. Recently, however, Dr. William Lane Craig has popularized the Kalam cosmological argument through his many debates, interviews and books. This argument can be formed into the following syllogism:

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

This concise yet powerful argument is logically airtight and if the premises are true then the conclusion follows necessarily.

The first premise in the argument depends on the laws of causality. Things do not pop into existence —uncaused— out of nothing; that is not how we experience the world around us every day. Modern science would not be possible without the laws of causality. Thus, everyday experience and the functionality of the scientific method, show the first premise to be plausible.

The second premise reflects the scientific and philosophical reasons to believe that the universe is finite in the past, and has not existed eternally. Firstly from science, Edwin Hubble discovered, in 1929, the expansion of the universe predicted by Alexander Friedman and Georges Lemaître, on the basis of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, by observing the red-shift in light from receding galaxies.[2] The expansion indicates that our universe had an initial starting point, some finite time in the past. Secondly, if the universe is infinite in the past then we should have run out of usable energy ­­—an infinite time ago— according to the second law of thermodynamics. We do not expect to burn our mouth on yesterday’s coffee! Why then, should we expect an infinite-in-the-past universe to be superheated? Since we have not yet reached heat death,[3] though we realize it is inevitable, and we still have usable energy available to us we can confidently say that the universe was finite in the past.

Given that we have good reason to believe the first two premises in the argument are true the conclusion follows logically, that there was a cause to the universe; as Alexander Valenkin states, we must face the fact of a “cosmic beginning”.[4] Whatever caused the universe has to be outside space, time, and matter. Since God is beyond any temporal reference points he does not have a beginning himself but rather He brought universe into being ex nihilo[5]

The Fine-Tuning Argument

The Fine-tuning argument for the universe can be put into the following syllogism:

  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
  3. Therefore, Fine-Tuning is due to design. [6]

The first premise lays out all the possibilities available for the appearance of fine-tuning in the universe. ‘Fine-tuning’ in this premise does not mean ‘deliberately adjusted’ or ‘designed’ because that would be question-begging. Rather, consider ‘fine-tuning’ as a neutral expression accounting for the existence of intelligent life by observing the constants and quantities which happen to be just so.

The second premise identifies the limitations of chance and necessity and rules them out as unable to account for the appearance of fine-tuning in the universe. Firstly, let’s consider why physical necessity is an unlikely explanation. To say that the universe must be life-permitting is implausible because a life-prohibiting universe is not impossible —it is far more likely that the universe is not life-permitting. There is no reason to think that showing every constant and quantity to be physically necessary is anything more than a pipe dream. [7] Secondly, the probabilities are so remote that chance alone cannot account for the infinitesimal likelihood of a life-permitting universe. The constants and proportions of the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetic force, and the force of gravity must exist within very narrow ranges in order for life to exist in the universe.[8] It is the enormous, specified improbability of a life-permitting universe that presents the hurdle for the chance hypothesis.[9] Chance is ruled out because it lacks explanatory power with regards to the cumulative nature of the variables and the delicacy of their interrelationships.

The third premise follows from the first two premises that the most reasonable explanation for a life-permitting universe is design. In chapter two of God’s Crime Scene, J. Warner Wallace evaluates how these constants and quantities —cumulatively— point to design.

While the appearance of fine-tuning in any one of these cosmic parameters might not be all that compelling, the cumulative nature of these conditions obligates us to seek an explanation.”[emphasis original] [10]

It is clear that our observations about the universe compel us to look for an explanation.[11] Hoyle perfectly captures the essence of the argument when he stated, “the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics” putting “this conclusion almost beyond question”.[12] The fine-tuning of the universe points to a designer, as the most plausible explanation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Cosmological Argument points to a personal Creator of the universe who is uncaused, beginingless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful. From the Fine-Tuning Argument we can conclude that the most plausible explanation for life to exist is a Designer of the universe who is a ‘superintellect’. These attributes are associated with what everyone means by “God”.

 

 


1. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics —3rd edition (Crossway, 2008), 111.
2. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics —3rd edition (Crossway, 2008), 126.
3. The heat death of the universe is a possible ultimate fate of the universe in which the universe has diminished to a state of no thermodynamic free energy and therefore can no longer sustain processes that increase entropy (including computation and life). Accessed May 13th. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe)
4. Alexander VilenkinMany Worlds in On (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 176
5. Craig, William Lane, The Kalam Cosmological Argument (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2000), 149.
6. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics —3rd edition (Crossway, 2008), 161
7. Ibid. 164.
8. J. Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines The Evidence For A Divinely Created Universe (David C Cook, 2015), 52.
9. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics —3rd edition (Crossway, 2008), 165
10. Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines The Evidence For A Divinely Created Universe (David C Cook, 2015), 60.
11. Ibid. 216.
12. Sir Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Engineering and Science 45 (Nov 1981): 8–12
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