More Theology

This is a reply to comments made by Kevin Torkelson, friendly neighborhood atheist.
“Thanks for your in-depth reply.”

You are welcome. As I say, it is a refreshing change to talk to an atheist who does not stoop to personal attacks. I wish I could have given you a more satisfactory answer.

The Deist argument is stronger than you makes it out to be, in my humble opinion. Science tells us entropy is inevitable. While it is true that no matter-energy can be created or destroyed, it is also true that energy continually runs from useful and organized states to useless and disorganized states.

There are only two possibilities for the universe: (1) it is infinitely old  (2) it had a starting point.

It cannot be infinitely old because, logically, entropy would have reduced any amount of energy, no matter how large, into a universally useless state by now. The amount of time it takes for any amount of energy, even a universe’s worth, to be reduced to useless waste heat, is finite. If the universe is infinitely old, any finite magnitude of time has already passed.

Possibility (2) is that the universe had a starting point. By happy coincidence, modern science deduces that at one point in time, 15 billion years ago, all matter-energy of the visible universe was gathered together at one point in time-space, and expanded outward: the Big Bang.

There are only two possibilities here: (1) something came before the Big Bang or (2) nothing came before the Big Bang.

The pre-cosmic “something” cannot have been another material universe like this one, unless we are willing to abandon the idea of entropy, as well as the idea of conservation of matter and energy. This is tantamount to abandoning science. While it makes a good science fiction story, it makes as little sense, on close examination, as the idea that time can run backward.

If nothing came before the Big Bang, then the cosmos does not now exist, because nothing can come from nothing. Ex nihilo nihil fit. If something can come from nothing, not just science, but all human reasoning is futile (including this argument). A self-creating object is a flat contradiction in terms, it is analytically impossible, like a three-sided square or a married bachelor.

Esteemed scientists like Stephen Hawkings talk about the Big Bang as an “event” that creates time. In other words, at one time, time did not exist, then an event happens, and after this event happens, time, which is our name for the continuum of events happening, happened: and now time is time. In a previous time, before time was time, time was not time. It is merely meaningless rubbish. It is proof scientists should talk to philosophers before they dabble in metaphysics.

If the universe is not infinitely old, and not self-created, than it was created by something or someone which is not the universe: an uncaused First Cause.

Unlike the material universe, the concept of God does not involve entropy and decay. Unlike the material universe, a concept is not something that exists in time and space. We cannot point to God any more than we can point to the number four or to the ideal of Justice or to the Law of Non-contradiction or to any other formal idea.

The elegance of this solution is that is also gives warrant for belief in objective morality. It explains the beauty and goodness and rationality of creation, which, in the atheist universe, it either arbitrary or an accident. In a created universe, scientific reasoning is theoretically possible. In an atheist universe, scientific reasoning rests on assumptions about the rationality of the universe that cannot be justified.

You live in a universe, in an emotional life, where you are grateful for a gift with no giver. A giverless gift is analytically impossible, like a married bachelor. Your emotion of gratitude, which is the best part of you, has no intellectual justification.

I can only report that I used to talk like you, when I talked about the ability of the unaided human mind to make itself happy in any circumstance. I no longer wrestle with those fears, because I am no longer unaided. There is a spirit that is helping me to improve my life: back when I was a stoic, I was unable to endure pain. Now that I am a Christian, I have been able. Make of that what you will.

As for proof, what proof would satisfy you? All you see is a physical construct. Of course. The purpose of the eye is to show you material things around you. You cannot use your eyes to see true and false, logical and illogical, beautiful and ugly, moral and immoral, being and nothingness. You cannot use your eye to hear music either– because music does not reach the soul through the organ of the eye. You are looking for something no one has ever seen with his eye.

The organ is not meant to show you these things. Why do you assume your eye is accurate and your conscience is not? When your conscience tells you right from wrong, why do you assume this is an illusion? When the best part of you tells you, without any intellectual justification, to be grateful for the gift of life, why do you assume the best part of you is lying?