God’s existence has long been debated. Atheists and Christians alike argue forcefully for their position, but the argument I will give in this post is one of the arguments I find convincing. In fact, this argument has never been adequately answered. This post is my ‘spin’ on an argument put forth by both William Lane Craig and James Patrick Moreland, among others.
God is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. This is foundational for a popular argument for God’s existence. Reason demonstrates that something in the past must have always existed.
It is not possible to count to the end of the series of real numbers. You can always count one more. It is an infinite series of discrete things. You can’t count to the end of a series like that. It has no end. There is always one more.
Let’s assume the common understanding of time as an example (please see the note at the bottom on time). It is just as impossible to reach the end of time as it is to count to the end of a series of real numbers. There’s always one more moment. If time has no end, we will never reach the end of it.
What if we move backwards through time? If time had no beginning, it would be like counting backwards to the end of the negative numbers. We would never reach the end. There would always be one more.
Time, in the common understanding, would have to begin at a certain moment. If it had not, the series of moments that had to expire in order for us to get to this moment would have been an infinite series. The end of an infinite series cannot be reached.
Similarly, we cannot expect that an infinite regress of finite causes exists either. That is, if we move backward from ourselves to the things that caused us, to the things that caused those things, to the things that caused those times, and so on, we must find something that did not have a beginning. Otherwise, the end of the infinite series of causes, namely us, would never have been reached. We would never have moved through the series of causes to get to ourselves.
Whatever the first cause was, it must have always been. If it had no beginning, it would be able to start the series of causes. The series would not extend infinitely into the past.
This first cause must also have the power and ability to bring about all we see in the universe. The universe came from something that has always existed. Something, or someone, has always been here. It was not caused to be by something that existed before it. It is self-existent; it has the power of being in itself.
As J. P. Morland points out, nothing outside this first cause can cause it to either act or not act. There was a “time” when there was nothing outside it, so there was nothing to cause its actions. It acted independently of anything else. This is how we define the power of choice. Only a person has the power of choice.
Now we have a being that has always existed, is super-powerful, and displays intention. This fits the Christian notion of God quite well, but not perfectly.
I expand more on what this being must be like in my next post.