So, I’m terribly tired of the Kalam Cosmological argument, as I imagine are many of you. But I’m particularly tired of people who use the Kalam in the service of a larger argument not merely that the universe is caused, but also that the cause of any universe/multiverse/sum-of-existence must be something timeless.
This idea of a timeless god is, in my opinion, too infrequently and too insufficiently challenged. If people accept the Kalam, they should also accept that anything outside of time is infinitely impotent:
The Kalam asserts:
- Everything that began to exist has a cause
- The universe began to exist
- Therefore, the universe has a cause
My argument for infinite impotence asserts:
- Everything that causes an effect precedes that effect in time
- A timeless God is by definition not “in time”
- (Restating 2:) Therefore a timeless God has not preceded anything in time.
- and Therefore, a timeless God has literally caused nothing and could never cause anything; i.e. God is infinitely impotent.
I think it’s also useful to note that Kalam’s premise 2 is quite obviously problematic:
- A thing begins to exist if there is a moment of time where something does not exist that precedes a moment of time where that thing does exist.
- Since the universe is made up of spacetime, unless it makes sense to speak of time existing without space existing, there cannot be a moment of time where the universe did not exist that preceded (in a continuous dimension of time) a moment where the universe did exist.
- Therefore, the universe did not begin to exist.
Note that this is an argument against the universe having a beginning to its existence even when there is no such thing as a multiverse (or against a multiverse having a beginning to its existence even when there is no greater context for that multiverse).
Most of the time I hear atheists arguing against the 2nd premise of the Kalam they rely on our ignorance of whether or not a larger context for the universe exists (this larger context frequently referred to as a multiverse).
Unless a user of Kalam wishes to argue for the existence of spaceless time, they must accept that the universe (or its larger multiverse) must have a finite regress that ends at a moment 0 or moment 1 which does not permit a previous cause or any time without a universe. Unless they argue for the existence of spaceless time, they must accept finite regress and an uncaused universe is true.
Even if they don’t argue for spaceless time, however, they must still concede that it is logically required that anything outside of time is infinitely impotent. If a cause of anything, including the universe, existed in spaceless time, it sure as heckfire wasn’t a timeless god – or a timeless anything else.
CORRECTION NOTE: Minor edits, identified by chigau below. 10:50 PDT Mon 10 July, 2017.