Second Sub-Premise – “If they are immutable, then they are uncreated”
As the first sub-premise says that anything that is created is also mutable (which implies the need for a creator), the second sub-premise provides the opposite, that if something is uncreated, then it is immutable.
The first thing to understand about immutability is that if a being is immutable, it does not require a creator. If an immutable being had a creator then we could posit that at one time the immutable being was created; this would mean that the immutable being was no longer immutable. If something came into existence it went from one state S1 to another S2. That is, the being went from non-existence to existence, which is a change of state for the being. Thus, to be immutable, by definition a being must be without a creator or without a beginning.
This means that whatever is immutable is also eternal. If we accept Aristotle’s explanation that time is motion (that is, the measurement of things) and combine it with Einstein’s theory of relativity, then it would seem that time can speed up or slow down depending upon the motion of matter, meaning that time is the measure of the motion of matter.
If the above is true about time then if matter does not exist and motion does not exist, then time does not exist. By definition, anything that is immutable would not change. As we saw previously in looking at an infinite regress, a material object cannot be eternal because material objects are always complex. A simple objec t- which would not be material – would hold the capacity to be immutable. If such a being were immutable then the being would exist “outside of time,” in the sense that the being has no physical motions that can be measured.
Based upon our understanding of God, we know that He is simple (that is, not complex) and therefore does not move. If God moved or was changed then He woud not be God. To prove that God changes isn’t to disprove the Damascene Cosmological argument, but rather to disprove God as God.
By being immutable, God cannot be measured by time and is therefore outside of time. We cannot point to a specific event and say, “At this event God changed.” That is, we cannot say that we gained two Gods, that God becomes wiser or less wise, that He became more moral or less moral, that He grew up up or got old. In all that He is, He has not changed and therefore is not subject to an infinite regress.
Some might argue that saying God is not subject to an infinite regress is a case of special pleading. They would argue that it’s unfair to argue that material must always be immutable, but God must be immutable. Such an accusation is understandable, but the accusation is still misguided.
As explained previously, a material object must be complex. We base this on the fact that every material object we have encountered is complex. To argue for a non-complex material object that caused the Big Bang would beg the question. In such a scenario, we are asked to assume naturalism is true so that we can prove naturalism is true, which is absurd and quite unfair.
Likewise, we are saying that since an infinite regress is impossible, that all matter is complex and thus mutable, it is necessarily true that God would need to be immutable. This is not a case of special pleading, but instead of following the logic where it leads us; that the beginning requires God.
Some might want to argue further that God changed at creation and therefore He is mutable, which makes Him subject to an infinite regress. Certainly by creating something, especially something that has free will agents, God opens Himself to change how He operates, but this does not designate a change within His being:
Let us suppose that agent S is immutable and moves agent T (who is mutable), who is a free will agent. In the case of movement, nothing has changed about S. By moving T, S has not duplicated, has not changed his purposes, has not increased or decreased in any attribute, or gained anything. In this case, S is the cause of T, but is not changed by T’s existence.
In a more practical example, if John forms a clay pot, nothing is changed about John. John’s being gains nothing from the clay pot even though John changes the clay. In this instance, though the clay is changed, John remains unchanged by the clay. This is how it is with God, who though He moved and created, He was unaffected (in terms of His being) by His creation.
With all of the points in mind, we have sufficiently proven the first premise and sub-premises of the Damascene Cosmological argument. We begin by acknowledging that all things are either mutable or immutable, for there is nothing in between the two. We show that if something is mutable then – since an infinite regress is impossible – it requires a creator. Since we know that all physical objects are complex and therefore mutable, we know that no physical object can partake in an infinite regress, meaning that God must be the cause of physical things. We know that God is not subject to an infinite regress because He is necessarily simple and therefore outside of time in that He cannot be measured by one event to another. With this now settled, we can move onto the second premise of the Damascene Cosmological argument.
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.