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There must have been a first cause (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (There must have been a first cause (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CI200:

Every event has a cause. The universe itself had a beginning, so it must have had a first cause, which must have been a creator God.

Source:

  • Craig, W. L., 1994. Reasonable Faith: Christian truth and apologetics, Crossway Books, Wheaton IL.
  • Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 19-20.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The assumption that every event has a cause, although common in our experience, is not necessarily universal. The apparent lack of cause for some events, such as radioactive decay, suggests that there might be exceptions.

This is not true. The causes of radioactive decay are part of Quantum physics. For example, Alpha decay is caused by an Alpha particle repeatedly hitting a potential barrier until it tunnels through. Just because we can't find the cause of an event does not mean there was no cause. Several interpretations of Quantum physics provide a cause for all Quantum events, and those that do not, simply do not care what the cause is.

One possibility is that these events simply do not have a natural cause, but a supernatural cause as suggested by General Intelligent Design. In such a case, a search for a natural cause would fail to find one. But that does not mean there is no cause.

There are also hypotheses, such as alternate dimensions of time or an eternally oscillating universe, that allow a universe without a first cause.

The eternally oscillating universe model has been falsified by recent evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. This is the exact opposite of what is predicted by the oscillating universe model, which would require it to be slowing.

The alternate dimension of time theory only sidesteps the issue, because it still requires a cause to the dimension of time as we know it.

2. By definition, a cause comes before an event. If time began with the universe, "before" does not even apply to it, and it is logically impossible that the universe be caused.

Time as we know it is more than sequential events, it is a physical dimension. It is this physical dimension that began with the Universe. Eternity would still have sequential events, but it is simply not time as we know it. In this sense there can be a cause before the time of our universe.

Furthermore, our notions of causation are restricted to what we know about the material world. Non-material causes are not necessarily restricted to the same rules as material causes.

Finally, Big bang cosmologists (atheists or not) have come to a consensus view that something made the original "singularity" go bang, but they don't—and probably never will—have a clue as to what it was. So they'll ignore it.

3. This claim raises the question of what caused God. If, as some claim, God does not need a cause, then by the same reasoning, neither does the universe.

Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

  • God never began to exist, since He is outside time, and therefore needs no cause.
  • All things that exist in time, including the universe itself, began to exist, and as such had a cause.

It has been established that the universe had a beginning, but there is no evidence to suggest that God is not eternal. In fact, the very definition of God as being the ultimate/highest Being in existence would imply that He could not be produced by any other being.

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