There is no such thing as a free lunch, or a free universe. One of the biggest problems for atheists is that the universe had a beginning. We know that you can’t get something from nothing, so where did the universe come from? This is a big problem for anyone who thinks the universe is all that exists.
Philosophers will frame this type of argument this way:
1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore the universe has a cause.
Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
As we said above, there is no such thing as a free lunch. If something could come from nothing, then why doesn’t just anything pop into existence out of nothing all the time? Why just universes and why only once? All of our experience is in favor of this premise, so it certainly seems more reasonable to believe it than to reject it.
Some may try to say that we only know that things inside our universe need a cause, so how can we know that the universe itself needs a cause? You can overcome this sort of objection by pointing out that we aren’t trying to prove anything, we’re just saying it is more reasonable to believe in cause and effect. All of our experience is in favor of cause and effect, so what reason do we have to reject it for the Big Bang?
The universe began to exist.
Not too many people are likely to doubt this one. Think about what it would mean if the universe never began to exist. Time would just stretch out forever in the past. If that were the case, then there would have been events so far in the past that an infinite amount of time has passed since they occurred. But how can that be? If there were an infinite amount of time between some past moment and now, then it would never become now no matter how long it has been. There would always be more time that had to pass first. But it is now! This gives us good reason to think that there is no moment infinitely far in the past, that time hasn’t been running forever. Time itself must have had a beginning, which means the universe had a beginning.
Even if someone suggested some higher realm of existence that created our universe (like the multiverse) time still had to have an absolute beginning. Time still could not have been running forever. This would apply to the multiverse as well. There is no getting away from it, the universe had an absolute beginning.
Therefore the universe has a cause.
You might ask, wait a tick, what does any of this have to do with God? Keep in mind that whatever cause brought the universe into existence has to transcend the universe. It can’t very well be made of matter if it brought matter into existence. It must have been timeless too since it brought time into existence. This means that it had to be supernatural (beyond nature as we know it). Since we can infer logically that an immaterial, timeless, supernatural creator brought the universe into existence then it seems reasonable to believe in God. He would certainly fit the bill.
If you liked this post, check out Wes Morriston vs the Cosmological Argument.
Below is a short video created by www.ReasonableFaith.org that summarizes the argument.
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