Damascene Cosmology – Introduction


Introduction

There is a great benefit to reading the ancient writers of Christianity. As I come from a Protestant background, I feel I have been robbed of quite a bit by not being introduced to the Fathers and that in my recent exploration of the Patristics I have come across an ancient treasure trove. Unfortunately, as I share what I have learned with my Orthodox and Roman Catholic brethren, they too seem ignorant of these writings. While such great writings are mimicked in their liturgies and catechisms, few have actually taken the time to read these great thinkers. I believe that modern philosophy and theology have suffered greatly for their neglect of Patristic study.

In reflecting on how ancient knowledge helps modern philosophical and theological understanding, I think of the modern apologist William Lane Craig, who is famous for bringing back the Islamic Kalaam Cosmological argument. The argument goes:

Everything that begins to exist has a cause

The universe began to exist

Therefore, the universe has a cause

Such an argument is quite brilliant and simple. During the time of the Muslim philosophers, it was quite difficult to prove the second premise. In our own day, however, the second premise is all but given due to the cosmological explanation of the “Big Bang.” The name “Big Bang” might be a bit of a misnomer, but the event is still just as spectacular; we now know that approximately fourteen billion years ago our universe began at a specific point in time. The discoveries of the modern age have confirmed the wisdom of the ancients.

While some have attempted to offer an explanation for how the material world is still eternal despite the Big Bang (most notably the scientist Stephen Hawking), it appears that all theories have come up short both logically and evidentially. Craig has done an excellent job arguing against such explanations and showing them to be wrong.[1]

With the success of the Kalaam Cosmological argument some might question why we need another ontological argument. Does presenting St. John’s cosmological argument lessen the impact of the Kalaam argument? Am I saying that while I like the Kalaam argument I view it as inadequate and therefore in need of another cosmological argument? I answer the above questions with a resounding no. The Kalaam argument is adequate and sufficient by itself, but being adequate and sufficient does not mean it is the only cosmological argument out there. I can see three reasons why we should still study St. John’s cosmological argument in light of the Kalaam argument: Continue reading

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New Approach to Theories on the Origins of the Universe


Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking have been instrumental in supplying alternative theories to the creation of matter. The late Sagan proposed the idea of an eternal universe and Hawking has supplied his own theories on how the Big Bang is not actually the beginning of the universe. Of course, due to recent evidence, it’s becoming more and more clear that the universe does in fact have a finite beginning. This poses a problem because it inevitably raises the question of God.

It seems proponents of an eternal universe, or one that doesn’t have a finite beginning, have found a new way to teach their methods…via T-Pain (yes, I know the video is a joke, an absolutely hilarious one that needed a serious introduction):

Does God exist? (Part 2)


I hadn’t intended on making this into a series, but I received an email from an atheist concerning my previous post. So I am putting up his arguments to my arguments and then supplying my defense.

Here was my response:

Issue 1 – Kalam Cosmological Argument

Me:

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Atheist:

Why do you assume that the universe had a cause?

“Our” universe came into being however many billions of years ago, but who is to say what was there before. The matter within this universe could have always existed, just not necessarily in its current form.

Me:

It is necessarily true that in any universe where matter decays it must also have a beginning. Thus, even if we say there was something prior to the universe, we’re still left with the problem of infinite regress – at some point, there has to be something beginning everything. Continue reading

Does God exist? (Part 1)


Considering the overwhelming evidence we have for the Big Bang…wouldn’t such a belief nullify any possible theories in naturalistic evolution? Especially if we apply it to the kalam cosmological argument:

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

If we combine this with Leibnizian cosmology:

1) Anything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
2) If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
3) The universe exists.
4) Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence.
5) Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God.

If I remember correctly, Leibnitz is assuming that Aquinas is correct in saying that the “unmoved mover” is what people call “God.”