Proof of a Creator: A Replica to Theodore Schick, Jr
This essay is a replica of an article written by Theodore Schick, Jr., professor of philosophy, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania. The 1998 article is titled * “The ‘Big Bang’ Argument for the Existence of God” * and is a rebuttal to the views held by prominent Christian astronomer and apologist Hugh Ross, as expressed in his book * The Creator and the Cosmos *. The article was originally published in * Philo, the Journal of the Society of Humanist Philosophers *.
The impetus for Dr. Schick’s article is to debunk Dr. Ross’s claim that acceptance of the “big bang” theory as the beginning of the universe implies that it must have had a cause beyond the event itself, and the corollary Dr. Schick’s claim that such a claim is nothing more than a scientifically up-to-date variation of St. Thomas Aquinas’s “first cause uncaused” argument to prove the existence of God. As blasphemous as it may seem coming from a Catholic like myself, I admit that Aquino’s reasoning left something to be desired in this case. I do not contest Dr. Schick’s views on this point.
As a Catholic high school student, I once had the gall to ask a priest in religion class, “If it’s enough to say that ‘God always was, always is, and always will be,’ then why can’t we just say the same thing? About the universe? “(The priest’s response was less than memorable). In his article, Dr. Schick echoes my youthful curiosity:
“But if we are willing to admit the existence of things without cause, why not simply admit that the universe has no cause and eliminate the middle man? David Hume wondered the same …”
The essence of Dr. Schick’s rebuttal to Dr. Ross’s views is that Dr. Ross positions a higher dimensional time, a time in which the space-time that we know and live in was created: the creator time. Since the Big Bang is considered to be the beginning of time, Dr. Ross argues, that implies that it must have had a cause, just like the beginning of everything else. Since the Big Bang is the beginning of our time, then its cause cannot have been within our time (because an effect must follow its cause); rather, it must have been within the creator’s higher dimensional time that Dr. Ross positions.
Dr. Schick rejects this argument as follows:
“This argument concludes that the universe has a beginning in time by assuming that the universe has a cause. But the Big Bang argument uses the premise that the universe has a beginning in time to conclude that that the universe has a cause. Ross is arguing in a circle. He is assuming that the universe has a cause to prove that the universe has a cause. Because Ross raises the question of whether the universe has a cause, he fails to prove existence of a higher dimensional time, not to mention the existence of a transcendental god. “
Dr. Schick is right. Therefore, my intention within this essay is to attempt to provide the justification that Dr. Ross’s argument lacks the assumption that the big bang (and therefore the universe) had a cause. For the benefit of my argument, I appeal to none other than the most revered and self-proclaimed atheist in scientific history, Albert Einstein himself! It is an understatement to judge it ironic that I perceive that such a renowned atheist demonstrated, albeit unknowingly, the existence of God or, more precisely, a creator of at least some kind.
It was Hermann Minkowski, Dr. Einstein’s former mathematics professor, who first pointed out to him that his special theory of relativity involved a four-dimensional universe, now commonly referred to as the “universe of blocks.” In this scheme of reality, time is reduced to a mere fourth dimension, with the result that the universe can no longer be seen as composed of space and time, but rather as a unified structure called “space-time”, with all the events inside. the universe (including particles that are apparently created without cause through fluctuations in vacuum) occurring at the confluence of four-dimensional points.
(For example: September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center on the exact floor and the instant the first plane crashed).
Dr. Einstein himself was at first very reluctant to accept such a view of reality, but he eventually came to embrace it. Here lies the most relevant point for the central idea of this essay: within the scheme of the reality of the universe of blocks, the past, the present and the future of space-time all exist contemporaneously and there is no privileged moment within space- As long as you only have the right to call yourself “the present” or “now.”
(Some attempt to argue that such a view is a misinterpretation of the theory. However, Dr. Einstein himself certainly seemed to accept its validity, as there is a letter written by him to the widow of a recently deceased associate in which tries to comfort her by pointing out that she and her late husband were enjoying many happy times together in other parts of the universe.)
I think it is safe to say that we all accept the existence of the phenomenon of cause and effect. For each baby (effect) there was a transaction (cause) between a sperm and an egg. But here’s the problem: if the past, the present, and the future all exist at the same time, and if by definition a cause must precede its effect, then how could the cause in this example have preceded its effect when the baby and his parents exist at the same time? and eternally
The only sustainable answer I can discern is: it wasn’t. That is, it was not like that in our space-time. Just as the obvious orderly composition of a painting is not the result of any event within the canvas, but rather of the order imposed from outside (that is, by the artist), the undeniable order that permeates our reality and makes our very existence possible. , it must also have been imposed. from the outside, by a creator of some kind.
The concept of cause and effect implies a sequential creation. If the universe is static (with movement (and change) being a mere illusion, exactly as Parmenides and Zeno argued, along the lines of a film depicting the illusion of motion from a series of still frames), then nothing within our space-time could have been created within it more than a now static Rembrandt masterpiece could have created and ordered itself.
Rather, the reality in which we live and perceive must have been created sequentially (taking into account the obvious causes and effects that we observe) in higher dimensional time, exactly as Dr. Ross argues, and then became static, exactly as a painting does. at the end. In short, a cause must precede its effect within existence, which cannot be the case if both the cause and the effect have always existed simultaneously.
As a thought experiment, suppose that the characters in a novel could somehow gain sensitivity and intelligence, and that their universe, contained in the pages of the book, appears to them as real as our universe (or “multiverse” if the MWI of mechanics quantum should be correct indeed) makes us (in our higher dimensional time). Unless the author could and chose to communicate with his creations, then by what means would they have to discover the true nature and origin of their existences if not by deducing that whatever logic and order they perceive must have been imposed from without, insofar as to them, their universe seems simply to have always been and therefore cannot have been created within their own dimension of time?
The alternative would be for them to reason as Dr. Schick and many others do. That is to say, that his – unknowingly – literary universe simply “just is.” In this hypothetical scenario, they would be very wrong; just as I believe that Dr. Schick and others are for the reasons I have presented. Dynamic forces cannot exist within a stagnant universe. To argue otherwise would be a contradiction in terms. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the dynamic force that forged our now static universe through cause and effect (i.e. the laws of physics) must have come from outside.
So how can the origin of the creator be explained? How to avoid an infinite regression of creators? That is what I call the “ultimate mystery” of existence. How can anything exist at all? As incomprehensible as the mystery is, the only answer I can suggest is that somewhere along the line, someone or something “just is”, and on their plane of existence, the answer to these questions can be scientifically probed, since it is not possible. be here within the logic of our reality.
It is not my argument that I can solve the last mystery I referred to. Rather, I only assert that if Dr. Einstein’s theory is correct – as it certainly appears to be from an empirical point of view – then it is evident that our space-time had a creator (exists or once), whose nature or what is beyond the scope of this essay. Dr. Schick is certainly not arguing for one creator’s version over another. Rather, he argues against the existence of any creator, a view this essay attempts to disprove as scientifically illogical.
In summary, while my arguments could be transposed into a typical “intelligent design” thesis, I contend that my conclusion cannot simply be dismissed as such because my basic argument goes beyond the normal intuitive attitudes that intelligent design advocates often present in support. of their views. . My basic point stems from the prevailing paradigm in which contemporary physicists work: relativity and the universe of blocks that it implies.