A question of theology, philosophy, and quantum physics
So what did happen before the Big Bang?
The big bang was an explosion of an extremely small, hot, and dense body of matter that, according to some cosmological theories, gave rise to the universe between 12 and 20 billion years ago. Essentially it is considered the ultimate creative force or being behind the universe.
But isn’t there always something that happens or exists before the “first thing”?
This is the big question? What happened before the Big Bang? The exploration of this very question is called “the question of the First Cause”.
Throughout-history great thinkers, theologians, and philosophers have all grappled with this question, even before the idea of the Big Bang was ever considered.
There are many different arguments for various answers to this question yet the basic premises of all of these arguments involve the concept of causation.
Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274) adapted and enhanced the argument he found in his reading of the Greek philosopher Aristotle and the Islamist theologian Avicenna to form one of the most influential versions of the cosmological argument — an argument in which the existence of God is inferred from alleged facts concerning causation, explanation, change, motion, contingency, dependency, or finitude with respect to the universe or some totality of objects.. His conception of First Cause was the idea that the Universe must be caused by something that is itself uncaused, which he claimed is that which we call God.
Aquinas offered a second way for his beliefs to appear rational — from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense, we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes, it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause is several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore, it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.
The conclusion of these arguments is that there is a First Cause for whichever group of things it is being argued must have a cause or explanation, subsequently deemed to be God.
The philosopher Leibniz’s argument from contingency is one of the most popular cosmological arguments in the philosophy of religion. It attempts to prove the existence of a necessary being and infer that this being is God. The Canadian mathematician, and philosopher, Alexander Pruss formulates the argument as follows:
1. Every contingent fact has an explanation.
2. There is a contingent fact that includes all other contingent facts.
3. Therefore, there is an explanation of this fact.
4. This explanation must involve a necessary being.
5. This necessary being is God.
I researched this argument and sought out what an atheist’s or quantum physicist's response might be?
I found this quote on the Athiest Alliance Website:
“Every effect we have observed in nature has a cause. We have extrapolated from that incomplete data set the idea that it’s reasonable to assume that EVERY effect must have a cause and we’ve named this the Law of Causation. Of course, we haven’t observed all of the causes of all of the effects that have ever happened, so we are making an inductive argument. Inductions are not absolutely certain but in the macro-world that we directly experience, we have never observed an effect that had no cause. Things are different at the quantum level where ‘virtual’ particles (they’re real but temporary) have been observed popping into and out of existence uncaused, and where some events rely on probabilities rather than causes.”
Of course in Aquinas’ time, there was no quantum physics.
So put that in your Tea Cup and sip on it Thommy Aquinas! Maybe there was a First Cause and maybe there wasn’t one!
Author: Lewis Harrison is an Independent Scholar with a passion for knowledge, personal development, self-improvement, and problem-solving. He is the creator of Harrison’s Applied Game Theory.
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