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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Who created God? Is faith in a Creator God logical?

Now I have posted this information before, but it logically follows the last post.   I will provide a relatively short preface summarizing what I believe to be truth.   Then I will present Jonathan's argument that addresses the question of the the origin of God.

The last post presented a few worldviews that are common to mankind.  This post below mine by Dr. Sarfati presents a logical and valid argument for a Creator God.  The concept of a Creator God does not violate any laws of thermodynamics.  It does not violate the law of biogenesis.  It doesn't violate any natural laws in any way because the uncreated Creator, self-existent, is the only logical entity capable of providing not only the natural world but the laws by which that world would be ruled.  An entity to provide the Universe is logical because the Universe itself is ordered and ruled by logical laws and processes.   A major problem with any theory that posits a randomly occurring Universe has no explanatory power for the theme of logical and rational processes nor how it could be that mankind would be possessed with a mind that can comprehend said Universe and use logic and reason to explore it.

 

It is entirely logical to suppose that a Creator God would have a reason to create.   Since God has provided the Bible to mankind we have evidence that explains the reason.  God wanted to have fellowship with mankind and share the glories and wonders that are His characteristics with us.   He created a Universe designed to support man on a planet within a Solar System precisely placed to support life in a temporal paradise.  We are able to know this because of the Bible, a book transmitted through men by God to provide answers to people and by which we have an avenue to relationship with God.   The Bible tells us when the Universe was created, why, in what order and the state of the Earth in the beginning.   It also tells us that God created a world in which there was no death and that man had relationship with God from the beginning.

The Bible is a message to mankind.   It is historically accurate.  Archaeologists in the Holy Lands have long used the Old Testament as a handbook to help them identify ruins of cities and traces of races and empires long departed.  Genesis tells us how and why death entered into the world.   Adam and Eve were given free will and they chose to disobey God and thereby lost their innocence and ability to be in perfect harmony with God.    When people ask why evil can exist in a world created by a loving God, the reason is that a loving God provided man with free will and the ability to choose even to the point of rebellion.  Man's rebellion against God brought consequences.   God decided to provide a way to save mankind from those consequences.   Although this fallen world has been judged and every covenant that mankind would make with God would be broken by man, God in His timing provided a way of salvation for every man at every point of history.   His blood sacrifice of animals to clothe Adam and Eve was the first death experienced on Earth and a statement to mankind that sin produced death and that only the shedding of blood could pay for sin.  I sometimes wonder to myself about the first sacrifice.   Did Adam and Eve have to wear fresh, slimy, bloody skins immediately or did God clean them first?  What went through their minds when they saw the first deaths ever?  In any event, God's covenant with man required faith on the part of man and blood sacrifices for sin.  

Throughout the history of man sacrifice and faith has been the formula for man to restore relationship to God.  With faith came rules of conduct.   I am quite sure that Moses compiled the beginning of his five books from literature carried by Noah on the Ark.  It is unthinkable that mankind spent almost two thousand years building a civilization before the Flood without written and oral languages.  It is also unthinkable that an accurate genealogy of the family of Noah had been kept accurately only by word of mouth.  Word of mouth always garbles messages.  Yet the genealogy of the Bible appears accurate.  For instance, the year of death for Noah's father and grandfather is the same year that the Flood came upon the Earth.   Many cultures reference Noah and his family in their genealogies and some go back before Noah back to Adam.  It is logical that writing was not "invented" by the Phoenicians (a Semetic people) but rather the media upon which men wrote was not designed to last for hundreds and thousands of years so that virtually all ancient manuscripts on any common media are no longer extant.   Furthermore any traces of the prediluvian civilization were intentionally destroyed by God during the Flood, so, beyond anything Noah's family took with them on the Ark was lost.   

 

In the course of providing covenant relationship with mankind, God presented them (via Moses) with the Ten Commandments and many other laws concerning not only right and wrong but also appropriate justice and discipline for violations of law.   You can easily document that these laws and judicial statements were the basis for the moral code of Western civilization, including England and the United States of America.  Also in these five books of Moses were the codes specifying sacrifices to be made to God as symbols of forgiveness and atonement and keeping in relationship with God.  The sacrifices and the statements of the writers of Biblical books of wisdom and prophecy predict the coming of a Messiah who would fulfill prophecy and establish the Kingdom of God.

Daniel 2:44
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
 

Matthew 6:31-33

Therefore take no thought, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `Wherewith shall we be clothed?'  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek.) For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

John 3:3
Jesus answered and said unto him, "Verily, verily I say unto thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."


Romans 14:17
for the
Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Jesus was and is that Messiah.   Some of the Jews believed and became followers of Christ and some did not.   But the ruling body of Judaism, the priesthood, saw Jesus as a threat to their authority and place and position in the hierarchy of their Roman-ruled nation.   So to be very clear, Jesus was a Jew, his followers were almost entirely Jews and those who wanted him dead were also Jews.   The enemies of Christ were able to convince the Romans, specifically Pontius Pilate, that to pardon Jesus Christ would be tantamount to rebellion against Caesar (with the implied threat that they would make sure this message would be carried to Rome) because Jesus Christ was being called King and He was preaching about the Kingdom of God.  Pilate complied, but required that a sign above the crucified Christ would proclaim Him as "King of the Jews." 

Jesus had a mission that His disciples had not clearly understood.  It was His job to be The Sacrificial Lamb for the atonement of all sins of all of mankind.  While most Jews expected a Messiah to establish a Kingdom on Earth as a temporal government over that temporal world, thus deposing the Romans and putting Jews in control, Christ had actually come to establish an eternal Kingdom whose citizens would enter in as frail members of a fallen human race and become Children of God by choice.   By choice, by exercising free will, mankind had become subject to death and the world had become a fallen and chaotic realm.  By exercising that same free will, we can receive citizenship in a Kingdom without end and be born again into new life.  It requires faith in Jesus Christ and the desire to receive forgiveness through His blood sacrifice and the humility to recognize your own inability to save yourself.   In other words, saying a prayer is meaningless unless you understand the gift God offers to you and by faith accept that gift and desire entrance into that Kingdom.  Naturally God would then become your King.  

My experience receiving Christ is my own.  Not everyone "feels" anything change when they pray.  I did.  Not everyone can name the day when they became Christians.   For some it is a realization of what they understand to be the Truth and acceptance without taking notice of the precise day and hour.  Many others have been church attendees who gradually come to accept and receive without any attendant feelings or major life changes because they were already outwardly living a life that now matched their inward reality.  For me a life lived for Christ was almost entirely opposite to the lifestyle of the worldly man who had been.  For me, a lifelong desire to find actual meaning to existence and the underlying truth behind it all had been an unquenched thirst since I had been old enough to consider abstract concepts.  Although I was predisposed to reject Christianity because of my perceptions of "church people" as hypocritical 'sticks in the mud' it was the message of Christ as presented to me by a good man who was both courageous and intelligent and in tune with the Spirit of God that changed my life forever.

Pastor Wood had heard that my nickname was "Caveman" and that I had a reputation as a rough character.  He didn't realize that my nickname was a football nickname rather than being based on a life as a brawler.  I was a party animal but tended to be a "happy drunk" and, when high, liked joking around and chasing women rather than knocking heads.  In fact because of my appearance and build (I was a steel tubing mill worker at the time) people just didn't mess with me and I never felt like challenging anyone.  So he had a misconception that he was endangering himself by coming to witness to me.  In truth my reaction to him would have almost certainly have consisted of a bored audience who would eventually just usher the guy out of my front room without violence...but God knew better.   God knew that although I had given up on looking for the truth inside I had a nagging discomfort that no drink or drug could satisfy.  God sent a man who was able to draw me out by talking philosophy and could get me to discuss those matters I had considered abandoned and, with my defenses down, God was able to reach in and touch my heart just in time.  I had just decided to give up on my marriage and begin making a series of bad decisions when Jesus Christ ushered me into His Kingdom and everything changed.  Therefore you understand why I blog this blog.  I am completely convinced that Biblical Christianity is Truth, my life has been entirely rebooted by God and if I can help just one person find what I have found then hours upon days upon weeks upon months of  mashing keys on the keyboard will be eternally worthwhile.  And now, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati:  

If God created the universe, then who created God?

Answering the Critics


A number of sceptics ask this question. But God by definition is the uncreated creator of the universe, so the question ‘Who created God?’ is illogical, just like ‘To whom is the bachelor married?’

So a more sophisticated questioner might ask: ‘If the universe needs a cause, then why doesn’t God need a cause? And if God doesn’t need a cause, why should the universe need a cause?’ In reply, Christians should use the following reasoning:
  1. Everything which has a beginning has a cause.1
  2. The universe has a beginning.
  3. Therefore the universe has a cause.
It’s important to stress the words in bold type. The universe requires a cause because it had a beginning, as will be shown below. God, unlike the universe, had no beginning, so doesn’t need a cause. In addition, Einstein’s general relativity, which has much experimental support, shows that time is linked to matter and space. So time itself would have begun along with matter and space. Since God, by definition, is the creator of the whole universe, he is the creator of time. Therefore He is not limited by the time dimension He created, so has no beginning in time—God is ‘the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity’ (Is. 57:15). Therefore He doesn’t have a cause.

In contrast, there is good evidence that the universe had a beginning. This can be shown from the Laws of Thermodynamics, the most fundamental laws of the physical sciences.
  • 1st Law: The total amount of mass-energy in the universe is constant.
  • 2nd Law: The amount of energy available for work is running out, or entropy is increasing to a maximum.
If the total amount of mass-energy is limited, and the amount of usable energy is decreasing, then the universe cannot have existed forever, otherwise it would already have exhausted all usable energy—the ‘heat death’ of the universe. For example, all radioactive atoms would have decayed, every part of the universe would be the same temperature, and no further work would be possible. So the obvious corollary is that the universe began a finite time ago with a lot of usable energy, and is now running down.

Now, what if the questioner accepts that the universe had a beginning, but not that it needs a cause? But it is self-evident that things that begin have a cause—no-one really denies it in his heart. All science and history would collapse if this law of cause and effect were denied. So would all law enforcement, if the police didn’t think they needed to find a cause for a stabbed body or a burgled house. Also, the universe cannot be self-caused—nothing can create itself, because that would mean that it existed before it came into existence, which is a logical absurdity.

In Summary

  • The universe (including time itself) can be shown to have had a beginning.
  • It is unreasonable to believe something could begin to exist without a cause.
  • The universe therefore requires a cause, just as Genesis 1:1 and Romans 1:20 teach.
  • God, as creator of time, is outside of time. Since therefore He has no beginning in time, He has always existed, so doesn’t need a cause.

Objections

There are only two ways to refute an argument:
  1. Show that it is logically invalid
  2. Show that at least one of the premises is false.

a) Is the argument valid?

A valid argument is one where it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false. Note that validity does not depend on the truth of the premises, but on the form of the argument. The argument in this paper is valid; it is of the same form as: All whales have backbones; Moby Dick is a whale; therefore Moby Dick has a backbone. So the only hope for the sceptic is to dispute one or both of the premises.

b) Are the premises true?

1) Does the universe have a beginning?

Oscillating universe ideas were popularized by atheists like the late Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov solely to avoid the notion of a beginning, with its implications of a Creator. But as shown above, the Laws of Thermodynamics undercut that argument. Even an oscillating universe cannot overcome those laws. Each one of the hypothetical cycles would exhaust more and more usable energy. This means every cycle would be larger and longer than the previous one, so looking back in time there would be smaller and smaller cycles. So the multicycle model could have an infinite future, but can only have a finite past.2

Also, there are many lines of evidence showing that there is far too little mass for gravity to stop expansion and allow cycling in the first place, i.e., the universe is ‘open’. According to the best estimates (even granting old-earth assumptions), the universe still has only about half the mass needed for re-contraction. This includes the combined total of both luminous matter and non-luminous matter (found in galactic halos), as well as any possible contribution of neutrinos to total mass.3 Some recent evidence for an ‘open’ universe comes from the number of light-bending ‘gravitational lenses’ in the sky.4 Also, analysis of Type Ia supernovae shows that the universe’s expansion rate is not slowing enough for a closed universe.5,6 It seems like there is only 40-80% of the required matter to cause a ‘big crunch’. Incidentally, this low mass is also a major problem for the currently fashionable ‘inflationary’ version of the ‘big bang’ theory, as this predicts a mass density just on the threshold of collapse—a ‘flat’ universe.

Finally, no known mechanism would allow a bounce back after a hypothetical ‘big crunch’.7 As the late Professor Beatrice Tinsley of Yale explained, even though the mathematics says that the universe oscillates, ‘There is no known physical mechanism to reverse a catastrophic big crunch.’ Off the paper and into the real world of physics, those models start from the Big Bang, expand, collapse, and that’s the end.8

2) Denial of cause and effect

Some physicists assert that quantum mechanics violates this cause/effect principle and can produce something from nothing. For instance, Paul Davies writes:
spacetime could appear out of nothingness as a result of a quantum transition. … Particles can appear out of nowhere without specific causation … Yet the world of quantum mechanics routinely produces something out of nothing.9
But this is a gross misapplication of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics never produces something out of nothing. Davies himself admitted on the previous page that his scenario ‘should not be taken too seriously.’
Theories that the universe is a quantum fluctuation must presuppose that there was something to fluctuate—their ‘quantum vacuum’ is a lot of matter-antimatter potential—not ‘nothing’. Also, I have plenty of theoretical and practical experience at quantum mechanics (QM) from my doctoral thesis work. For example, Raman spectroscopy is a QM phenomenon, but from the wavenumber and intensity of the spectral bands, we can work out the masses of the atoms and force constants of the bonds causing the bands. To help the atheist position that the universe came into existence without a cause, one would need to find Raman bands appearing without being caused by transitions in vibrational quantum states, or alpha particles appearing without pre-existing nuclei, etc. If QM was as acausal as some people think, then we should not assume that these phenomena have a cause. Then I may as well burn my Ph.D. thesis, and all the spectroscopy journals should quit, as should any nuclear physics research.

Also, if there is no cause, there is no explanation why this particular universe appeared at a particular time, nor why it was a universe and not, say, a banana or cat which appeared. This universe can’t have any properties to explain its preferential coming into existence, because it wouldn’t have any properties until it actually came into existence.

Is creation by God rational?

A last desperate tactic by sceptics to avoid a theistic conclusion is to assert that creation in time is incoherent. Davies correctly points out that since time itself began with the beginning of the universe, it is meaningless to talk about what happened ‘before’ the universe began. But he claims that causes must precede their effects. So if nothing happened ‘before’ the universe began, then (according to Davies) it is meaningless to discuss the cause of the universe’s beginning.

But the philosopher (and New Testament scholar) William Lane Craig, in a useful critique of Davies,10 pointed out that Davies is deficient in philosophical knowledge. Philosophers have long discussed the notion of simultaneous causation. Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) gave the example of a weight resting on a cushion simultaneously causing a depression in it. Craig says: The first moment of time is the moment of God’s creative act and of creation’s simultaneous coming to be.

Marc Kay’s critique of Davies The Mind of God points out further logical and physical fallacies of Davies’ reasoning.11

Some skeptics claim that all this analysis is tentative, because that is the nature of science. So this can’t be used to prove creation by God. Of course, sceptics can’t have it both ways: saying that the Bible is wrong because science has proved it so, but if science appears consistent with the Bible, then well, science is tentative anyway.

Further Reading

More information can be found in the following works. Unfortunately they are too friendly towards the unscriptural ‘big bang’ theory with its billions of years of death, suffering and disease before Adam’s sin. But the above arguments are perfectly consistent with a recent creation in six consecutive normal days, as taught by Scripture.
  1. Craig, W.L., 1984. Apologetics: An Introduction,Chicago: Moody.
  2. Craig, W.L. online article The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe.
  3. Geisler, N.L, 1976. Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker).

References

  1. Actually, the word ‘cause’ has several different meanings in philosophy. But in this article, I am referring to the efficient cause, the chief agent causing something to be made. Return to text
  2. Novikov, I.D. and Zel’dovich, Ya. B., 1973. Physical Processes Near Cosmological Singularities. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 11:401–2. Return to text
  3. Schramm, D.N. and Steigman, G., 1981. Relic Neutrinos and the Density of the Universe. Astrophysical Journal 243:1–7. Return to text
  4. Watson, A., 1997. Clusters point to Never Ending Universe. Science 278(5342):1402. Return to text
  5. Perlmutter, S. et al., 1998. Discovery of a supernova explosion at half the age of the universe. Nature 391(6662):51. Perspective by Branch, D. Destiny and destiny. Same issue, pp. 23–24. Return to text
  6. Glanz, J. New light on the fate of the universe. Science 278(5339):799–800. Return to text
  7. Guth, A.H. and Sher, M., 1983. The Impossibility of a Bouncing Universe. Nature 302:505–507. Return to text
  8. Tinsley, B., 1975. From Big Bang to Eternity? Natural History Magazine. October, pp. 102-5. Cited in Craig, W.L., 1984. Apologetics: An Introduction,Chicago: Moody, p. 61. Return to text
  9. Davies, P., 1983. God and the New Physics, Simon & Schuster, p. 215. Return to text
  10. Craig, W.L., 1986. God, Creation and Mr Davies. Brit. J. Phil. Sci. 37:163–175. Return to text
  11. Kay, M., 1996. Of Paul Davies and The Mind of God. Journal of Creation 10(2):188–193. Return to text
~~~~~~~
"Relatively short?"  I guess not.  I tried.  But imagine the verbiage if I had intended to make a long post?  Anyway, the cartoons were found on this page.   You are welcome.

7 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

"Is faith in a Creator God logical?"

No.

Next question?

Ema Nymton said...

.

Man created god. God created man.

God exist solely for the sake of man.

Next question.

Ema nymton
~@:o?
.

Anonymous whatsit said...

""Is faith in a Creator God logical?"

No.

Next question?"

That may be a little too curt. Faith in a creator god by itself is not irrational. However, faith in a creator god who created the world 6,000 years ago etc. is irrational, since it contradicts a great deal of observable evidence, as even a creationist like Hawkeye has noted.

Is faith in a creator god logical? I have yet to see a logical argument that doesn't make at least a little leap somewhere to abandon mere logic and favor the religious view.

In the syllogism presented by Sarfati above, it's "The universe had a beginning". This by itself is actually based on another logical argument based on the Newton's LOT.

That argument in turn goes something like this:

1. From what we can observe from our present position in space and time, we can deduce that the entropy of a closed thermodynamic system never decreases.

2. From this we deduce that there must have been a time when entropy was zero.

3. Therefore the universe had a beginning.

There are simply too many unknowables here to make the conclusion anything other than speculative, and the leap from assertion 2 to assertion 3 doesn't hold, since we are still discovering natural laws and exceptions to natural laws. The Laws of Motion seemed unassailable until it was discovered that they did not apply under certain extreme conditions.

The same may well apply to the Laws of Thermodynamics. What happens when entropy approaches zero or infinity? We don't know.

AmericanVet said...

At least the last commenter tried to reason a bit. First two? Failed the course for lack of trying.

Jon Woolf said...

"Faith in a creator god by itself is not irrational."

Welll... that's debatable. See, there's faith in a creator-god, and there's belief in a creator-god. Some would say that in this context "faith" and "belief" are synonymous. I'm not one of them. Hebrews 11:1 -- "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Or to put it another way, I think faith is what you have in the absence of evidence, while belief is what results when you have evidence to work with. So I conclude that it isn't logical to have faith in a creator-god -- because logical reasoning requires some sort of evidence, and faith by definition has none. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily wrong to have faith in a creator-god. It's only wrong, as you point out, to have faith in a creator-god if that faith contradicts the known evidence.

Anonymous said...

"At least the last commenter tried to reason a bit. First two? Failed the course for lack of trying."

And so did your response. How ironic.

Anonymous said...

"So I conclude that it isn't logical to have faith in a creator-god"

I did notice that whatsit used the words "logical" and "rational", but not interchangeably.