Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Kalam Cosmological Argument for God's Existence

By Ryan Hemelaar

  1. Everything that has a beginning has a cause
  2. The universe had a beginning
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

The first premise seems obviously true as it is deeply rooted in the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing. To say that something can pop into being uncaused out of nothing I think is worse than magic. For at least in magic, you have the magician and maybe a hat, but here you have nothing being caused by nothing, yet coming into existence. It seems absurd.

However, some people try to object by saying, "Ah, so that means God would have to have a cause as well". Simply, no. Remember, the first premise is: "Everything that has a beginning has a cause", God never had a beginning, thus needs no cause. I'll explain later in this article why God cannot have a beginning.

Now I will present two philosophical arguments and one empirical argument as to why the second premise is true, that the universe had a beginning.

  1. An actually infinite number of things cannot exist in reality.
  2. A beginningless series of events is an actually infinite number of things.
  3. Therefore, a beginningless series of events cannot exist in reality.

A distinction needs to be made here from things that are potentially infinite, and those that actually are. For example, a line of finite distance could potentially be subdivided infinitely. You can just keep on dividing parts in half forever, but you will never arrive at an actual "infiniteieth" division. Now the first premise asserts, not that a potentially infinite number of things cannot exist, but that an actually infinite number of things cannot exist.

If actual infinities could occur in reality, absurdities would occur. For instance, let's take a look at David Hilbert's brain-child, appropriately dubbed, 'Hilbert's Hotel'. Imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms that are all occupied. A new guest arrives at the hotel wanting to check in, and the clerk says, "Why of course!" and shifts the person in room 1 to room 2, the person in room 2 to room 3, the person in room 3 to room 4 and so on... So that means room 1 has become vacant and the guest gladly checks in.

But now let's suppose that an infinite number of the new guests arrive to this fully occupied hotel asking for rooms to stay in. The clerk says, "Of course, we can fit you in", and proceeds to move the person in room 1 to room 2, the person in room 2 into room 4, the person in room 3 into room 6, and so on (by moving the existing guests to a room that is double their old room number). We see that now all the odd-numbered rooms become free (doubling of any number becomes even) and the infinite number of guests happily move into their rooms. Yet all the rooms were occupied before the guests arrived.

We see that the hotel clerk's actions are only possible if the hotel is a potential infinite, such that new rooms are created to absorb the influx of guests. For if the hotel has an actually infinite number of rooms and all the rooms are full, then there is no more room. Therefore, an actually infinite number of things cannot exist in reality. A beginningless universe has an infinite number of past events, therefore, the universe has a beginning.

Now the second philosophical argument I will present does not deny that an actually infinite number of things cannot exist. However it argues that a collection of an infinite number of things cannot be formed by successive addition. The argument can be stated as follows:

  1. The temporal series of events is a collection formed by successive addition.
  2. A collection formed by successive addition can never reach an actual infinite.
  3. Therefore, the temporal series of events cannot be an actual infinite.

The first premise is obvious. If the universe never had a beginning then in order for us to have arrived at today, temporal existence has had to traverse an infinite number of past events, one event after another. However before the present event could occur, the event immediately prior would have to occur, but before that one could occur, the event prior to that one has to occur, and so on ad infinitum. So as one gets driven back and back into the infinite past, no event could ever occur as they are all dependent on a prior event. Thus, if the series of past events were beginningless, the present event could have never occurred, which is absurd. But the present has occurred so thus there must have been an independent cause at the beginning, also known as a first cause. Being the first cause, it therefore must be uncaused (meaning it can have no beginning, it must always be).

The second premise can also be described as the impossibility of counting to infinity. For if we count each new element that we add to a collection, we can always add one more. Therefore, one can have a potential infinity, but can never reach an actual infinity.

Someone might say that while it is impossible for a collection to reach an infinite number of items by having a beginning and adding members one by one, an infinite could be formed by never beginning but having an ending point. However, this view seems equally absurd, for if you cannot count to infinity, why would you be able to count down from infinity?

Imagine if someone counted down from infinity one number per day, and they finally finished counting today. The question I want to ask is, why did they only finish counting down today? Why not yesterday, or the day before, or a year ago? For since the same amount of time would have had elapsed on any of those other days as today, namely an infinite amount of days. In fact, if we look back at any day in past, we should see the person will have already finished, which is absurd.

Since an actually infinite number of things cannot be reached by successive addition, it shows that there are not an infinite number of past events, meaning the universe had a beginning and there must be a first cause.

Now I will turn to a discussion regarding the empirical proof for the second premise. The second law of thermodynamics states that anything left to itself will tend towards more disorder/entropy. Since the universe is a closed system, the amount of entropy in the universe will be constantly increasing. So therefore, if the universe was infinite in age by never having a beginning, the amount of entropy in the universe would be an infinite amount. The universe should be at complete equilibrium with uniformity everywhere, and with absolutely nothing occurring. Is the universe in such a state today? Obviously not. Therefore, the universe had a beginning.

Now that we have firmly established that the two premises in the Kalam Cosmological argument are more plausibly true than false, the conclusion necessarily follows that the universe has a cause. The next step is to discover, what can we know about this cause? Well, obviously the cause must be outside both space and time, so thus immaterial and timeless. If the cause is timeless then the cause must also be changeless, as changes can only happen within time. A changeless being can never change, so that is another reason why God cannot have a beginning.

But not only can we know that the cause of the universe is transcendent, but I would contend that it must also be personal. For how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect, such as the universe? If the necessary and sufficient conditions for the production of the first event are present from eternity then the effect should exist from eternity as well, that is to say, the universe should be eternal. But as we've seen, that is impossible. The only way for a timeless cause to create an effect in time is if the cause is a personal agent who freely chooses to create the universe in time. So not only are we brought to a timeless, immaterial, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, spaceless and unimaginably powerful cause, but also to a personal Creator. This, as Thomas Aquinas would say, is what everybody defines as "God".

For more information on this argument, please see Dr. William Lane Craig's book, The Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Have Bacteria Evolved?

By David Gee

Dear Mr Atheist,

Just a few questions for you from an “untrained” theist. I see that you and many other evolutionary minded folk have quickly claimed that E.coli have evolved before the eyes of scientists. I would like to have a few points clarified by you if that is OK.

Firstly, isn't an increase in genetic information required for evolution to be “proved” in the experimental setting? If you are therefore claiming that E.coli using citrate as an energy source is entirely new information, mustn't it mean that this was never possible before?

Please tell me if citrate is a substrate found in the TCA cycle (or citric acid cycle)? Also is this cycle the main method of all aerobic organisms (which includes E.coli I believe) to produce energy from various substrates?

On the topic of citrate, could you please tell me if E.coli facultatively use citrate in an anaerobic (low oxygen) setting? Do E.coli have all the necessary mechanisms to use and utilise citrate but will only transport it through their cell walls in certain settings (such as an anaerobic one)? If this is the case, then has E.coli truly “become” able to use citrate?

Is it possible that this is yet another example of point mutation in an organism to modify already present methods of operation? Is it also possible that this experiment's results are yet another example of good press for bad scientific conclusions?

Are you possibly just clinging to another poor excuse of a support for a dying theory? Have you perhaps overstretched your assumption that the world is all chance and no design? Are you betraying just a little of your unrighteous and unjustified bias that there is no God by forcing science to be your unwilling ally? Are you not merely running from what you know? (That you are responsible to God who made you, the absolute law giver who determines absolute right and wrong).

Don't you a mortal man stand this very moment on a flimsy perch over the fiery judgement for your rebellious unbelief and sins? That said though, aren't you and all atheist offered freely the gift of eternal life and peace with God if you will abandon your sin and trust in Jesus; in His work of atoning death and glorious resurrection?

Well that's all my questions for now, I would love to know your thoughts. Please be honest and consider carefully your response, I would hate to see you make a monkey of yourself.

Think on it, God Bless,

David (theist)

P.S. If you do the research I think you will find the answer to all the above is “yes”!

David Gee BVSc MRCVS

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dr. Richard Dawkins accepts Evolution by FAITH!

By Josh Williamson

Richard Dawkins

The atheists and evolutionists will often at times argue that creationists accept the belief in God, and Creation by faith alone. As a result of this line of thinking, it has led many atheists to believe that they are 'bright' and the rest are 'dim' because they are not built upon the realm of faith.

But is that the truth? Or do atheists have a double standard and accept their own view points solely on faith?

Dr. Richard Dawkins is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer, who is championed among many of the atheists camps as being a leader in the charge against theism, yet Dr. Dawkins admitted in an interview, that he does not have any evidence for evolution.

Below is the question and answer:

Question: What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

Answer: I believe that all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all 'design' anywhere in the universe, is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection. It follows that design comes late in the universe, after a period of Darwinian evolution. Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe.[1]

Why the double standards? One cannot help but wonder if this is hypocrisy from the atheist camp, or is it admittance that their belief in evolution is nothing more than a faith based belief system?

Since it is clear that, at least deep down, Dawkins knows that he accepts evolution by faith, why this pretence among atheists that it is scientific.

If Dr. Dawkins can admit that there is no proof for Darwinian evolution, why then don't the other atheists come out of the closet and admit it also? Why do they keep the act going?

From a Christian perspective, I believe that they do not want to admit it, because, the moment they do they will have to acknowledge that there could be a God, and once that is acknowledged they will realise that they are accountable to Him. The natural man does not want to acknowledge their Creator due to the fact that they love their sin, and they hate God. This is nothing more than an atheist deliberately overlooking (2 Peter 3:5) the facts, and choosing to ignore the Creator who made them and currently sustains their life.

"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools." – Romans 1:19-22 (ESV)

  1. [1] (1 March 2005)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Did Constantine Give Us the Bible?

By Josh Williamson

There is much confusion and debate over the origin of the Scriptures as we know them today. Dan Brown has added to the confusion with his book “The Da Vinci Code”. This book contains the following assertion “The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.”[1]

This statement has led many to believe that before Emperor Constantine we didn't have a copy of the Bible. This notion is simply false, being based on an ignorance of history.

Despite claims in the prologue to the contrary, The Da Vinci Code is a book of fiction with historians widely denouncing its claim of historical accuracy.

We will examine the historical evidence showing that the Bible existed before the days of Constantine. First, however it would be wise to look at the man at the centre of the controversy.

Emperor Constantine was born in the year 274 AD[2], in what is now Serbia and Montenegro. He was the son of the commander Constantius Chlorus (later Constantius I) and Helena (later Saint Helena). Constantius became co-emperor in 305 AD. Constantine, who had shown military talent in the East, joined his father in an invasion of the British Isles in 306 AD. He was popular with the troops, who proclaimed him emperor when Constantius died later the same year. Over the next two decades, however, Constantine had to fight his rivals for the throne, and he did not finally establish himself as sole ruler until 324 AD.[3]

Constantine served as the Roman Emperor from 306 – 337 AD[4], however, he did not experience his ‘conversion’ until 312 AD, at Milvian bridge. There is still some debate weather this was a true conversion to Christianity, or if it was merely a political move. History has shown us that from this point onwards the persecution of the Christians within the Roman Empire decreased.

Prior to his conversion in 312 AD, Constantine was a worshipper of the sun. It can be safely concluded that during this time he was opposed to Christianity, which would deem him an idolater.

Constantine was a true historical figure and appears to have converted from paganism to Christianity.

Back to the question of “Did Constantine give us the Bible?” The simple answer is no. Manuscript evidence (below) shows very clearly, that prior to the conversion of Constantine the Bible was being widely distributed.

For the purpose of this article we will focus on the New Testament rather than the Old Testament. The Old Testament was in wide circulation long before this time and even before the time of Christ, so there is little value in us exploring this avenue in regards to the question at hand.

Below are the names, and details of the many Papyri and Uncials that we have which show that we have had the Scriptures long before Constantine was even born:


Papyri refer to a manuscript that is made of papyrus. It is referring to a type of ‘paper’ and not a style of writing. Papyri itself is easily destroyed when exposed to the elements, that is why only a few manuscript fragments survive. Most of these were found in drier regions, in the deserts of Egypt and the Middle East. In most cases the papyri content contains only portion of books, the reasoning for this is because of the age and fragility of the papyri we have lost the other sections.


Uncials are manuscripts that are written in capital letters. This style of writing took a lot of work, and was normally reserved for literary works.

Name Date Location Content[5]
0162 3rd or 4th Century New York, USA John 2:11-22
0171 300 AD Florence, Italy
Berlin, Germany
Matthew 10;
Luke 22
0189 2nd or 3rd Century Berlin, Germany Acts 5:3-21
0220 3rd Century Oslo, Norway Romans 4:23-5:3, 5:8-13


Name Date Location Contents[6]
P1 3rd Century Philadelphia, USA Matthew 1
P4 3rd Century Paris, France Luke 1 - 6
P5 3rd Century London, UK John 1, 16, 20
P7 3rd or 4th Century Kiev, Ukraine Luke 4
P9 3rd Century Cambridge, USA 1 John 4
P12 3rd Century New York, USA Hebrews 1
P13 3rd or 4th Century London, UK
Cairo, Egypt
Hebrews 2-5, 10-12
P15 3rd Century Cairo, Egypt 1 Corinthians 7-8
P16 3rd or 4th Century Cairo, Egypt Philippians 3-4
P18 3rd or 4th Century London, UK Revelation 1
P20 3rd Century Princeton, USA James 2-3
P22 3rd Century Glasgow, UK John 15-16
P23 3rd Century Urbana, USA James 1
P27 3rd Century Cambridge, UK Romans 8-9
P28 3rd Century Berkley, USA John 6
P29 3rd Century Oxford, UK Acts 26
P30 3rd Century Ghent, Belgium 1 Thessalonians 4-5 2 Thessalonians 1
P32 200 AD Manchester, UK Titus 1-2
P37 3rd or 4th Century Ann Arbor, USA Matthew 26
P38 300 AD Ann Arbor, USA Acts 18-19
P39 3rd Century Rochester, USA John 8
P40 3rd Century Heidelberg, Germany Romans 1-4, 6, 9
P45 3rd Century Dublin, Ireland
Vienna, Austria
Matthew 20-21, 25-26; Mark 4-9, 11-12; Luke 6-7, 9-14; John 4-5, 10-11; Acts 4-17
  P46   200 AD   Dublin, Ireland
Ann Arbor, USA
  Romans 5-6;
1 Corinthians;
2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians;
1 Thessalonians; Hebrews
P47 3rd Century Dublin, Ireland Revelation 9-17
P48 3rd Century Florence, Italy Acts 23
P49 3rd Century New Haven, USA Ephesians 4-5
P52 125 AD Manchester, UK John 18
P53 3rd Century Ann Arbor, USA Matthew 26;
Acts 9-10
P64 [+67] 200 AD Oxford, UK
Barcelona, Spain
Matthew 3, 5, 26
P65 3rd Century Florence, Italy 1 Thessalonians 1-2
P66 200 AD Cologny, Switzerland
Dublin, Ireland
Cologne, Germany
P69 3rd Century Oxford, UK Luke 22
P70 3rd Century Oxford, UK Matthew 2-3, 11-12, 24
P72 3rd or 4th Century Oxford, UK 1 Peter; 2 Peter; Jude
P75 3rd Century Cologny, Switzerland Luke 3-18, 22-4; John 1-15
P77 2nd or 3rd Century Oxford, UK Matthew 23
P78 3rd or 4th Century Oxford, UK Jude
P80 3rd Century Barcelona, Spain John 3
P87 3rd Century Cologne, Germany Philemon
P90 2nd Century Oxford, UK John 18-19
P91 3rd Century Sydney, Australia Acts 2-3
P95 3rd Century Florence, Italy John 5
P98 2nd Century Cairo, Egypt Revelation 1
P101 3rd Century Oxford, UK Matthew 3-4
P102 3rd or 4th Century Oxford, UK Matthew 4
P103 2nd or 3rd Century Oxford, UK Matthew 13-14
P104 2nd Century Oxford, UK Matthew 21
P106 3rd Century Oxford, UK John 1
P107 3rd Century Oxford, UK John 17
P108 3rd Century Oxford, UK John 17-18
P109 3rd Century Oxford, UK John 21
P111 3rd Century Oxford, UK Luke 17
P113 3rd Century Oxford, UK Romans 2
P114 3rd Century Oxford, UK Hebrews 1
P115 3rd or 4th Century Oxford, UK Revelation 2-3, 5-6, 8-15

Note that where the dates are recorded as 2nd century, this equates with years 100 AD-199 AD, and so for the 3rd 200 AD -299 AD and the 4th for 300 AD-399 AD. Thus, the evidence overwhelmingly shows that the manuscripts we have predate Constantine. History shows clearly that all the Scriptures existed for over 200 years before the birth of Constantine. This easily dismisses the claims of those who state that Constantine gave us the Holy Bible.

The Bible is the most tested book in all of history, and many would try and discredit it by giving it a late writing date. God however, in His Sovereign protection has preserved His word, so that we today are able to read the Scriptures and know that contained within them are the words of eternal life.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)

  1. [1] Dan Brown, ‘The Da Vinci Code’, Corgi Books (2004): 313
  2. [2] (Cited: 8 December, 2007)
  3. [3] Ibid: (Cited: 8 December, 2007)
  4. [4] Ibid: (Cited: 8 December, 2007)
  5. [5] (Cited: 3 December, 2007)
  6. [6] (Cited: 3 December, 2007)