First Sub-Premise – “If they are mutable, then they are created”
Before explaining how things that are mutable are also created, we should first seek to understand what it means to change or be mutable. To change means to change in one’s nature or being, that is, to get better or worse. A rock can be bigger or smaller. One rock might be bigger than the other. A beast can beget another beast, so that within the nature of the beast there is the ability to multiply. For instance, two rabbits can form another rabbit so there are three rabbits. Within the nature of “rabbit” we then see the ability to change; today there might be 3 rabbits, tomorrow there might be 300 rabbits, and the day after there might be 150 rabbits.
Change also occurs to free-will creatures. A human can become more or less good. They can embark on actions that cause them to have a greater moral standing or a lower moral standing. They can also increase and decrease in wisdom. The same stands true for angels who can also make free-will choices to be good or bad and who can also increase or decrease in wisdom. This shows that both physical (animals) and non-physical (rational) entities can be subject to change in some form.
Regardless of the type of change, the key factor in change is movement. If two rabbits become three rabbits, then there was a movement that caused the third rabbit to come about. Thus, a movement caused the change. With free will creatures who become wiser, it is their desire to become wise that can cause the change in their wisdom. For non-sentient creatures, there is something else that causes them to move.
The implications of movement causing change would indicate that objects that change are not eternal. For instance, if x moves y, then y cannot be eternal. The reason is the chance indicates that y is not perfect; in some way it multiplied, it increased, it decreased, it became better, and so on. An example is if Peter taught Paul that it was morally wrong to steal. In this case, Paul was moved by Peter and increased in his moral knowledge and became more moral. Such knowledge and morality were not inherent within Paul’s existence to begin with. If Paul existed for eternity, then we must wonder how he would ever obtain the knowledge that Peter taught him or why Paul did not have said knowledge to begin with.
For the naturalist, the idea that mutable items indicate a creation is problematic. The reason is that energy, which is said to be eternal, is quite mutable. Energy comes in different degrees and can take different forms. The energy released from a car accident is smaller than the energy released from an atomic bomb. Matter is also found in different forms and degrees (there is more matter in you than in an ant).
If it is true that what is mutable is created, then naturalism lacks a proper standing. Naturalism would be untenable as all material elements are complex and therefore subject to change. The only way a naturalist can avoid the conclusion that God is the unmoved mover is to claim that an infinite regress is possible.
On the Infinite Regress
Before continuing, many would like to argue that an infinite regress is a realistic possibility. Certainly, if an infinite regress is actually possible, then the Damascene Cosmological argument should go by the wayside. However, I believe that an infinite regress is impossible and therefore would require a creator. It could be summed up in the following syllogism:
If an infinite regress were impossible, then the unmoved mover would be God
An infinite regress is impossible
Therefore, the unmoved mover is God
If an infinite regress were impossible, then the unmoved mover would be God –
This is a premise that few should object to. If we find that an infinite regress is impossible, then we must conclude that at the beginning of all things is an immutable intelligent creator. Such a creator would have to be powerful enough to bring matter into existence ex nihilo, simple in essence (that is, not compounded or composed of parts as matter is), wise enough to know how to form matter once bringing it into existence, and necessarily eternal by being immutable. Such an unmoved mover would be by definition God.
Some might want to argue that I am being too exclusive in my argument. They might argue that my belief that a monotheistic God created all things holds no more evidence than the belief that multiple gods created all things or an unintelligent spiritual force created all things.
The problem with believing in multiple gods as creators is that such an idea is not tenable. If there are multiple gods, then each god would be circumscribed, that is, limited. If not limited, but not the same, then we would have a multiplicity of individual essences, which leads to chaos. If Zeus and Thor are both attempting to govern the universe, then certainly there would be chaos, such chaos that the universe should fall into disorder. Or, if we say that Thor respects Zeus, we should ask why this is. Who established such a rule and ordered the gods to act in such a way?
An unintelligent force is even less likely than the idea of multiple gods. An unintelligent force moves to and fro, but if matter does not exist then there’s no reason to suppose the unintelligent force would bring matter about. After all, if matter is an extension of the unintelligent force, then the unintelligent force is complex and composed of moving parts, requiring that the unintelligent force is mutable and therefore in need of a creator. If the unintelligent force created matter, then how did something that is unintelligent beget intelligence (humans or other rational creatures)?
So in the premise, “If an infinite regress is impossible, then the unmoved mover would be God” does necessarily exclude polytheism or pantheism. Instead, only Theism provides a logically consistent explanation upon the premise.
If we apply Anselm’s belief that we can think of no being greater than God (and there’s good reason to accept Anselm’s definition on this matter), then by definition the unmoved mover would be God. If an infinite regress is impossible, then the unmoved mover would need to be:
1) Immutable – if the mover changed, then the mover would be part of a series of changes, even if there were only one step involved in that change. By necessity the mover would need to be immovable.
2) Timeless – that is, if the mover could be measured in terms of time (if time is the measure of events) then the mover would be subject to an infinite regress. Thus, the mover would need to be outside of time in that he did not move from event to event.
3) Simple – the mover could not be composed of multiple parts, such as a human who has a heart, lungs, or any material being that is composed of multiple atoms.
4) Omnipotent – the mover would need to have the ability to do all that is logically possible (even if the mover did not exercise this ability to its fullest extent). If the mover lacked such ability, then there is no guarantee that he could maintain his creation, that is, it could fall apart.
5) Omnipresent – the mover would need to be in all things created, not in a pantheistic understanding of “in all things,” but rather always aware of all things. If the mover could be located within his creation, then he would be subordinate to his creation. If, however, he is above his creation, then by logical necessity he is constantly present at every aspect of his creation.
6) Omniscient – the mover would need to know with full comprehension his creation and even know if said creation would or could ever get out of hand for him. Such knowledge would be necessary for a creator.
The above all compose the definition of “God.” While this definition doesn’t limit it to the Christian God, it does show that theism is the only viable alternative if an infinite regress is impossible.
The naturalist must be willing to admit that if an infinite regress is impossible, then God is the logical conclusion to, “Then how did the universe begin?” If naturalism isn’t tenable and is impossible (due to the impossibility of a natural regress), then the only other alternative is that God is the creator. If a naturalist is unwilling to admit this, then they should read no further. They have shown themselves to have accepted naturalism blindly and that even if proven incorrect, they would still adhere to naturalism before admitting belief in a God. There is no intellectual honesty or openness in such thinking, therefore they would merely be wasting their time by reading this essay any further.
 The opposite doesn’t necessarily hold true for Theists. At worst, if an infinite regress proves probable, a Theist must admit the possibility that nature brought everything about, but is still open to question how nature imposed order upon itself.
This was a scheduled post. I am currently out of town and subsequently have turned comments off since I cannot moderate or interact with commenters. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this post, please feel free to contact me.