Ask Augustine with Dr. Paul Tambrino
Ask Augustine is a weekly column where professor/author Dr. Paul Tambrino discusses various theological questions with wit, clarity and substance.
Question #6 – Does the Kalam Cosmological Argument Prove That the Universe Was Created by God?
Actually, in the final analysis it does not. Let’s first back up and consider what the Kalam cosmological argument is.
The Kalam argument says that: 1) whatever begins to exist has a cause, 2) since the universe exists, 3) the universe therefore has a cause to its existence.
This makes sense rationally. The idea that anything can come from nothing sounds absurd; if it could, it would completely undercut the notion of cause and effect that we experience in our day-to-day lives.
However, quantum theorists claim the universe has some sort of random, acausal nature that is fundamentally unknowable.
While we can imagine some deterministic, cause-and-effect underlying everything, quantum theorists do not conclude that the universe created itself; because acausality is a central feature in their theory. But even quantum theorists will agree that to say “the universe began to exist” is unsupported.
If those theorists are honest, they will agree that it is impossible for the universe to come into existence from non-existence (unless God created it ex nihilo? *wink*), but they also say such does not negate other possibilities.
So one possibility those theorists must allow is that the universe has a cause; which cause is God — if one defines God as “that which caused the universe to come into existence from a state of non-existence.” And isn’t that exactly the view expressed in Genesis?
However, the quantum theorists will contend “possible does not equal proof.” Until then, the Kalam cosmological argument will only convince those of us who already agree with its conclusions.
Or perhaps the old adage will prove true; when quantum scientists reach the apex in their search for how the universe began, they’ll find a group of us theologians sitting there wondering what took them so long.
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