Monday, September 24, 2007

Who created God?

In a blogpost on Casey's critical thinking blog, I found an interesting titbit regarding the eternal question of God's existence and how to explain it without having to resort to an endless succession of Gods, one creating the next one. Always one for wanting to debate the finer and more universal points of religious thinking, I tried to place a comment but a technical glitch (God?) prevented that. Perhaps the author will notice my link to his writing and surf my way... Here's Casey's point and my response to it:
If you ask an evolutionist what was there before the Big Bang, they’ll likely ask you who created God. Everyone knows that every effect must be preceded by a cause. This only applies, however, when time is a factor. The Bible teaches that God created the universe. The universe is comprised of space, matter and time. For God to have created the universe he would be required to be outside the universe–not part of it. We do not need to ask what was before God, because it is nonsensical to ask what was before what when before the creation of the universe there was no time by which to measure precedence. God is the uncaused cause. He has no beginning because he is outside of time.

The laws of thermodynamics tell us that the universe had to have a beginning. The 1st Law tells us that the total amount of mass and energy in the universe is constant, and the 2nd tells us that the amount of energy available for work is running out. If the total amount of mass and energy is constant and yet the amount of usable energy is decreasing, then the universe cannot possibly have existed forever, or all usable energy would be gone by now.

Everyone knows you can’t get something from nothing. If there was ever nothing, then there would never be anything. There has to be something outside the universe, i.e. supernatural, that brought it about. That something is God, and God has no beginning and no creator.

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Whilst the argument Casey makes isn't without merit, it strikes me as trying to exploit a loophole and then getting stuck a little further down the way.

In the three Abrahamic faiths, God isn't just supposed to be a Creator but also a living God, capable of interfering in Man's affairs (up to the point even of being able to offer redemption and eternal life). How could such an interventionist God exist outside of time and therefore outside of the universe he would have created? The "God outside of space-time" is clearly reminiscent of Platonic and Aristotelean concepts of the Divine, as a Deity unable to intervene in, and possible uninterested in, Man's affairs.

Personally the idea of God as outside of time and space, with no beginning or cause, strikes me as being easily replaced with my preferred notion that the physical world (the Multiverse, of which our own space-time bubble would be part in that scenario) has always been, always is and always will be. This notion also requires no beginning (and possibly no end). But it requires no creator... And expect no salvation either...

I think we also have to be very careful to apply the physical laws that rule our part of the physical world (our universe) to what may lie outside of it, i.e. the totality of the physical world. Certainly physicists agree that our particular set of laws may apply only locally and that other universes may look entirely different.


At 4:07 PM, Blogger Becky C. said...

Is there a sound in a forest when a tree falls and no one is present?

At 1:47 AM, Blogger Casey said...

Thanks for stopping by. Sorry the comment form didn't work for you.

I don't understand your point. You're saying that God can create the universe but cannot manipulate it? Why does he have to be a part of the universe in order to intervene?

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Hi Casey,

You don't find it counter-intuitive that the Creator of which you speak would be completely outside the universe's space-time, yet would be able to act in it? That's a serious contradiction to me: it would require magic (the supernatural), yet your reasoning is careful to avoid that.

No, a Creator that would be outside our space-time would be one that sets the conditions for a universe (with observers) to arise, yet would be a powerless observer (at best) after things have been set in motion.

But I still prefer the notion of an eternal physical world, without beginning.


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