The Cause of it
Here is an obvious fact — the causal phenomenon is apparent in our reality! One throws a hammer at a glass window and the glass window shatters as a direct result of the force of the hammer being thrown and having contact with it. We expect the world to operate according to this law called the Law of Causality. We say it is a law because of the uniform occurence of causal connections within our time space continuum. Cause and effect relations are set as a law of the universe. For instance, if I move my arm, accidentally hitting the can of soda on my desk causing it to spill onto the ground, my arm hitting the can is the cause of the can falling, and a connection has been made for an immediate instance of cause and effect. We can cancel out the can of soda falling on its own, or someone flinging a book at it, or someone else at that moment coming in and knocking it off of the desk–if we know the cause, then we also know these were not the causes. With everyday circumstances, it’s easy to come by causal connections and explanations for the cause of various effects around us.
What about the universe? Surely, like the can of soda, it also stands in need of a causal explanation for its existence. And, just because a material object like the universe is much grander scale does not mean it escapes an needing explanation for the cause of its existence. What, then, is an adequate cause for the universe? Some answers come to the forefront:
- The universe is the cause of itself.
- There is no cause for the universe.
- The universe was caused by someone.
With respect to (1) the universe being its own causal initiator, it is easily seen that such an answer, while convenient for some, is absurd. For the universe, being a material substance and subject to the principle of cause and effect, cannot have the properties of causation actualized upon itself if there was no universe to be the self-actualizer of its own existence! Such an explanation is incoherent.
Well then, what about option (2) that there is no cause for the universe. This too, seems rather odd, for in the absence of an explanation of the large mass of time and of all space, which is the universe, why be confident in the disciplines of science on which we rely for explanations of the causal phenomenon if there is no such thing as an explanation for causal phenomenon! If we are prepared to say that the universe has no cause, either relying upon its own eternal duration, or of it springing into existence out of nothing, uncaused, we must withhold judgment on the reality and methods of science. For why couldn’t an adequate explanation of anything, be answered by saying ‘there is no such cause for anything!” I do not think the scientist or the atheist is even prepared to claim that. Yet, why claim that the universe is not in need of any explanation? Why hold onto such prejudices with the universe? Is it not a property existent thing? Is it not a physical object capable of being reduced to its fundamentals of physics and chemistry? Does it not abide by the laws of cause and effect? And therefore, relied upon for scientific inquiry? And lastly, isn’t the universe itself, an event?
Well then, what about option (3) that the universe was caused by someone. This may be a plausible explanation for an immaterial, first causal agency responsible for the universe and life within that universe, such as human persons.
God stands in the category of a necessary cause. He is an adequate causal explanation for the universe, of all matter time and space.
There is this puzzle of mental causation. How is it that a physical thing, such as the Human being, can choose to initiate a causal effect, that is a simple mental act, upon the physical? It is not just brain states causing brain states, there definitely is a mental state that is non-material in order for personality to even exist. Enter in agent causation. Human persons are not merely the product of their bodies and brains, they do indeed interact with brain and mental states, however, the soul, a non-physical entity, is the bearer of consciousness, and within consciousness we have mental states. My ability to initiate a causal act by freedom of the will, thus willing my arm to move by the use of the tendons and motor functions of my body, is the mental acting upon the physical. I desired (thirst), had a purpose for the moving of my arm (to pick up a can of soda) and it was accomplished, by grasping the can and raising my arm and the can close to my mouth for a thirst quenching gulp. Mental states, which are non-physical, have no spatialness or weight to it, as physical objects do, can indeed interact causally upon the physical. So then, it is not difficult to see that God, an unembodied mind, Spirit, and thus invisible, can will to have a causal effect upon the universe at the moment of his creating it. Therefore, a sufficient explanation for the cause of the universe is God, which theist and Christians have consistently maintained and so we are justified in the belief of the existence of God.