My Father Worketh

Science, particularly the physical sciences, can be thought of as a search for causes. We want to understand how things work, the interactions and interdependencies between events so we can better understand and predict our world.

When some particular behavior or event (effect) is observed there’s an implicit assumption it was caused. We call this the Law of Causality (Cause and Effect); it’s so fundamental to the rational mind that violating it is absurd. It’s not only true — it’s formally true by definition: an effect is by definition something caused.

However, as we pursue probable causes to find an initial root cause, especially when examining historical events which we cannot replicate, we inevitably go back in time until we reach an event or state where there seems to be no possible natural cause: we then deduce that there must be an uncaused Cause. We call this observation the Kalam Cosmological Argument; it is formal proof of God’s existence.

One need not go all the way back to the beginning of Creation to find God causing effects: God has continued acting since Creation. (Jn5:17) While we should not presume God is the cause when we don’t yet understand how something works (God of the Gaps logical fallacy), we should be willing to acknowledge God as the Cause (a miracle) when this is implied by science itself: when any other probable cause violates scientific law.

Certainly, if we conclude a miracle has indeed occurred, we might later develop further scientific understanding and be able to explain it naturally, but this does not mean concluding an event is miraculous is unscientific any more than if we provide a plausible naturalistic explanation which later turns out to be false. In either case, we are being reasonable and honest based on our current understanding of science.

For example, a personal friend was shot in the chest multiple times at point blank range and survived. In analyzing his wounds, the attending surgeon found multiple instances where a bullet track terminated at the surface of a vital organ and the organ was undamaged; there was no bullet anywhere in the track, nor any alternate route found where the bullet might have exited the body. How does one explain the cause of such an event?

We may deduce the following: either [1] the surgeon lied (or was careless in his examination, which seems unlikely given his expertise, character and willingness to document and testify of the result – the x-rays are still available), [2] bullets ricocheted off vital organs and exited the body through the same path they entered (violating the physics of bullets fired at bodily organs), [3] the bullets vanished (violating the Law of Conservation Energy), or [4] this is a miracle.

Once we eliminate [1] by having multiple, authoritative witnesses interview the surgeon and examine the x-rays (which should be done with rigor, given the significance of the event), we must either conclude the laws of physics have been violated or accept this event as a miracle. (Jn 3:2)

Refusing to acknowledge the miraculous based on an a priori presumption of Philosophical Materialism is dishonest and irrational (Jn 12:37-38); it is simply a stubborn, willful refusal to acknowledge evidence, which is unscientific. Such bias will eventually be exposed as enmity against God by God Himself and punished accordingly. (Ro 1:18-21)

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4 thoughts on “My Father Worketh”

  1. It is inappropriate to challenge the KCA by asking, “If everything has a cause, then what caused God?” This is a non sequitur since it misstates the KCA.

    The KCA does not state claim everything has a cause (which precludes an uncaused Cause), but that every effect has a cause.

    An uncaused Cause is not an effect, by definition. Every event or action or behavior is presumed (by the Law of Causality) to be an effect, which therefore has a cause.

    An infinite, eternal, omnipotent Being is not an event, therefore His existence does not imply He had a cause. The initial creation of the universe was an event, therefore an effect which implies a cause.

  2. The below quotes are from Chat GPT. My comments are interspersed without quotes.

    “Bertrand Russell’s critique of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, particularly in his debates and writings, focused on several key points:”

    Rejection of the Causal Principle: Russell questioned the principle that ‘everything that begins to exist must have a cause.’ He argued that there is no inherent reason to assume this principle applies universally, especially when considering the universe as a whole.”

    This is a non sequitur since there is no basis for expecting the universe as a whole to behave differently than that which comprises it. Expecting the entire universe to appear spontaneously ex-nihilo without a cause simply violates the Law of Conservation of Energy more profoundly than violating this law for a single particle.

    Special Pleading: He pointed out that if proponents of the Kalam Cosmological Argument exempt God from the need for a cause (claiming that God is uncaused), it might be special pleading. Russell argued that if God can be uncaused, then it’s also possible for the universe to be uncaused.”

    This is also a non sequitur since the universe is always decaying (the Law of Entropy), so it must have had a Beginning; it cannot be infinitely old. To exist as the uncaused Cause, God cannot always be decaying. So, this isn’t a special pleading — it is stating the obvious.

    Fallacy of Composition: Russell noted the fallacy of composition, where what is true for individual parts is assumed to be true for the whole. Just because every individual component within the universe requires a cause does not necessarily mean that the universe as a whole requires a cause.”

    This is also a non sequitur, equivalent to his earlier rejection of the Law of Causality. It presumes the universe as a whole is something other than the sum of its parts, or that the sum should somehow behave differently than its parts. The universe, as a concept distinct from that which comprises it, does not exist.

    Concept of Infinite Regress: He questioned the dismissal of an infinite regress of causes. Russell argued that just because an infinite regress might be conceptually challenging, it doesn’t mean it is logically or metaphysically impossible.”

    This is a non sequitur since it violates what we know about the universe from the laws of physics, particularly the Law of Entropy; we know the universe had a distinct beginning – it cannot be infinitely old. (see next note below)

    “These points form the core of Russell’s philosophical stance against the Kalam Cosmological Argument. He emphasized the need for more rigorous reasoning and evidence before accepting such metaphysical claims about the universe’s origins.”

    However, in dismissing the KCA Russell evidently refused to be rigorous and ignored or dismissed the evidence available to him.

  3. Here is Chat GPT’s analysis of Russell’s Infinite Regress argument.

    So, your saying that physical laws support the idea that the universe has a finite beginning, and therefore that the concept of an infinite regress does not follow from the laws of physics?

    Yes, that is correct. The physical laws and evidence we observe support the idea that the universe has a finite beginning, which challenges the concept of an infinite regress of causes or events within the context of the universe’s history.

    Supporting Points from Physical Laws and Observations:
    Big Bang Theory: The Big Bang theory is the leading explanation for the origin of the universe. It posits that the universe began approximately 13.8 billion years ago from an extremely hot, dense state and has been expanding ever since. This implies a definite starting point for the universe, countering the notion of an infinite regress of past events.

    Cosmic Expansion: The observation that the universe is expanding, with galaxies moving away from each other, suggests that this expansion can be traced back to an initial singularity. This is consistent with a finite beginning rather than an infinite past.

    Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation: The CMB is residual thermal radiation from the early universe, providing strong evidence for the Big Bang. It indicates that the universe has evolved from an initial hot, dense state, supporting the idea of a finite beginning.

    Thermodynamics: The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time. If the universe were infinitely old, it would have reached a state of maximum entropy (heat death) by now. The fact that we observe a universe still undergoing significant processes and changes suggests it has not been around infinitely long.

    General Relativity: According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the equations describing the universe’s expansion point to a beginning in time, where the spacetime curvature becomes infinite (a singularity). This theoretical framework aligns with the concept of a finite beginning.

    Infinite Regress and Physical Laws:
    Given these points, the physical laws and empirical evidence do not support the concept of an infinite regress of causes within the universe’s history. Instead, they indicate a finite starting point. Therefore, from the standpoint of contemporary physics, the idea that the universe had a definite beginning is well-supported, and the notion of an infinite regress does not follow from the laws of physics.

    In summary, physical laws and observations provide strong support for the idea that the universe has a finite beginning. This challenges the concept of an infinite regress of events or causes, making it inconsistent with our current understanding of cosmology and thermodynamics.”

  4. I suppose there are other uncaused causes besides God. I would say Man’s behavior is not caused by God, but by Man himself in his Free Agency. Animals and plants may also have free agency, and be capable of making choices freely. This may be a good definition of consciousness, or at least a characteristic of consciousness, having the ability to make free choices.

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