# A proof for an eternal, external cause to the universe

This proof has the usual contingency aspect to it, but I have worded it so that it makes sense to me. Perhaps it will to others as well.

1. The existence of something is either inherent to that thing or is a result of something already existing.

2. If a thing’s existence is inherent, then that thing cannot not exist, for it exists by its very nature.

3. Every state of the universe (a “snapshot” of the universe in time, with all the associated positions, energy distributions, momentums, etc.) has ceased to exist.

4. Therefore, no state of the universe has inherently existed. Each state’s existence has come from without.

5. Consider if each state’s existence came from a previous state. The previous state’s existence is not inherent, because it ceased to exist. Since it is not inherent, its existence must depend on a previous state. But then we end up in the familiar, illogical infinite regress of contingent beings. It’s like hanging a chandelier from an infinitely long chain.

6. There must be something which exists and gives the universe its existence, and it must be eternal. Its existence must be inherent.

“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.” -Exodus 3:13-14

Interesting argument, definitely many cuts above the norm. However, it is flawed,.

Item #3 is where you crash: “Every state of the universe (a “snapshot” of the universe in time, with all the associated positions, energy distributions, momentum, etc.) has ceased to exist.

The implication in this declaration is that the universe is a state machine, and that increments of time (perhaps Planck time units? — You did not specify.) correspond to discrete states of the universe.

This idea works fine when applied to your computer, except that you’ll notice that despite the fact that your computer’s internal states are clocked according to discrete units of time (determined individually for each computer by divisors of its specific clock frequency) the computer nonetheless continues to exist. Even when powered down.

It does so, despite your argument, because there is an underlying structure which supports the computer’s discrete, digital states. That structure is independent of time and power.

Apply this same concept to the universe. Suppose that the universe is digitized and can be regarded, in some respect, as a state machine. It cannot be a synchronous state machine— relativistic effects prohibit that. It would have to be an asynchronous state machine, to which your hypothesis #3 does not apply. (There would never be one single state which defines everything in the universe at a given point in time, because the state would need to be defined in terms of vectored space-time rather than scalar time, and would depend upon the existence of an observer who would see the exact same state from every space-time position.)

Even if the universe can somehow be treated as a synchronous state machine, there must be an underlying non-digital structure which supports the digital state machine’s existence between states.

In order for your argument to apply, #3 is insufficient by itself. You must first make a case that the universe is a synchronous state machine (which would force Einstein to reincarnate and do the math showing that this is relativistically impossible), and that the observed digitized states (particles of matter) exist without any support structure.

Good try though.

Why not simply accept the obvious— the Creator is integral to the universe He created, as you are to his universe which you have the power to modify, for good or ill?

Since you are smart enough to ask that level of question, you must be asking questions. So you’ll figure this out eventually without my help. Might as well get on with it sooner than later.

Is this a refined version of the Cosmological Argument? What is to say that the First Cause was even “God”, or the Abrahamic God at that? Why not any of the other “gods”?

Thank you,
**Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
**

You’re moving too fast, friend. The argument first properly seeks to prove the First Cause, and then in later steps, further arguments, the First Cause’s attributes are discovered.

What if we don’t only consider the computer’s internal states? The exterior of the computer changes also.

ps, I haven’t forgotten about our earlier discussion. I’m just in essays right now and can’t think too hard

THe Existence the OP is talking about is defined as A Necessary Cause. It the Uncaused cause to all things.

All things are reducable to an uncaused cause because infinte regression is repugnant and unscientific: Matter is not eternal; for it does not display any qualities in keeping with eternity such as timelessness and unchanging permanence. Since all things are subject to the second law of thermodynamics (Decay), all things are wearing down from a universal starting point.

This is obvious, because the second law of thermodynamics says that all things expend more energy trhan they can retain. Now, could you reassemble all the matter in the universe to equal MORE than it began with?

No, therefore all things have a singular point of origin, and are not infinitely regressive.
THerefore matter is NOT eternal.

In which case, due to the fact that an effect can only be generated by a cause at least equal to, or greater than the effect in potency, you run up against an agent which must be greater than or equal to the effects it causes.

Now one of the effects of the uncaused cause is the generation of man, and the general ordering of the universe.

Like produces like: THe universe does not behave randomly, in fact science is revealing more and more that true randomness does not exist in nature, it is an entirely human conception.

THerefore the Universe was ordered byh something orderly.

Man is a Person who is capable of abstract argument and logic and reasoning.

Therefore the Universal origin of all things must be inherently capable of abstract reasoning and logic.

THerefore, all things being said, the universe was cause by something outside itself which is orderly and functions in a way synonymous with what we understand “personhood” to be.

THerefore, there is a God.

Excuse me, I’m quite ignorant of this stuff. But isn’t it true that, as every component of the computer is composed of matter, it is changing at every moment, even if only at the atomic level? And, if you were to come back and observe that computer in,say, a 1000 years, it will be different, interior changes having occurred, even with/without external forces working on it?

I don’t see why your objections make a difference. We can define a state of the universe to be any length of time, and that state has still ceased to exist. Define a state as 13 billion years. It has ceased to exist, and therefore did not inherently exist.

[quote=Bohm Bawerk]Is this a refined version of the Cosmological Argument? What is to say that the First Cause was even “God”, or the Abrahamic God at that? Why not any of the other “gods”?
[/quote]

Notice the thread title. I did not specifically say a proof for “God,” although I did point out that the God of the Israelites is written as having revealed his name as “I Am who Am.”

Your question is a good one.

I would never propose to ignore the “exterior of the computer.” I find it to be of greater interest than the computer itself, at both real and figurative levels.

I believe that the core workings of any computer can elucidate the nature, quality, and intent of its engineers. The structure of a computer’s instruction set differentiates the ordinary designer from the rare genius. That notion applies to the people at Intel trying to understand the company’s management policy, and to humans trying to understand their God. We can extrapolate from observations made about ourselves and the universe in which we live, to whatever, and whoever, lies beyond.

Now consider your comment, “The exterior of the computer changes also,” in this light. By analogy, within the context of this discussion, the exterior includes the Creator.

I agree completely with your comment, but I’ll bet that you are not fully aware of its implications, and would disagree with your own statement if it came from another source. The exterior includes God, or whomever the Creators be. IMO God changes, as does any competently functioning intelligent being.

A given computer does not change. It cannot. Your Intel or AMD chip lacks consciousness, a requirement of mind, which is in turn a requirement for change.

God thinks, therefore God learns, and in the process God changes.

I apologize for my non-Christlike reply, particularly for having tossed pearls to the wrong critter. Your OP struck me as having thought and merit behind it, which implies insight. I was mistaken. It is clear that you understood nothing of my reply. Please forgive the distraction and go about your normal way of processing information.

Thank you for your reply. I love people who admit to a measure of ignorance, because they imply a willingness to learn. I will answer any honest question of yours to the best of my ability, myself learning in the process.

Computers change internally at the level of electronic states when they are running. There are circuits inside it called flip-flops which “remember” their previous state. States are defined by voltage levels within the circuit, either zero or, for example, 3.3 volts. The 3.3 volt level might denote a binary “1” and the 0 volt level a binary “0.”

These are electronic states, not atomic states. Only the outer shell electrons in conductive materials are involved.

Were we to return to a computer after a millennium, it probably would not work. Many of the internal components, particularly in the power supply area, are subject to environmental degradation, oxidation in particular. Atoms are constantly vibrating, even in solid material, and some will migrate a few microns over time. If they stray too far, the chips containing them may not work.

It is the nature of change within any given machine to follow the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, reducing the machine’s ability to function as designed. So yes, after a time the machine will be “different.” It won’t function.

I don’t think that any of this is related to my post, but it seemed an honest question nonetheless.

After re-thinking your post, it appears you are saying that my proof doesn’t work because a given set of events are not simultaneous between different observers, and there is no single-defined state for everyone at any time. But that still is irrelevant to the nature of the proof. Define a state as any system, for any length of time, for any observer, and that state no longer exists. It spontaneously ceases to exist, both because of the momenta of the particles and the increasing entropy.

If someone clearly does not understand your post, you shouldn’t give up in trying to explain it. I made this thread for discussion, after all.

I am always willing to explain, so long as there appears to be someone home to receive and discuss the explanation. Thanks for coming back. I invite you to stick with me on this question, because your OP was a good one, worth discussion, and either you or I is at the wrong end of it.

More likely it is I who am mistaken, but no matter. I like to deal with my errors early, else they preclude further thought. Throughout this discussion I will pretend that I am absolutely right, and confess when shown otherwise.

Seems like we first need to get clear about meanings and definitions, else we’ll be arguing apples and fish. When you refer to a “state” I assume a fixed, determinable set of conditions which exist, unchanging, for a specific unit of time which may be as short as a Planck time unit, but no shorter.

In the real world we know of only a few such states. The quantum states of small isolated physical systems, and the modern digital computer. Computers are what I would call, de facto state machines. They shift from one state to another under control of an analog clock, from which timing signals are digitized and used to set the “real world” time interval between states.

If that description of physical states matches yours, we can proceed with what I anticipate to be a quality conversation. Otherwise, we need to get clear on definitions first, else risk coming across as silly and irrelevant to the millions of CAF members reading our conversation from the sidelines. I can abide looking silly, but from experience I know that normal humans are sensitive to embarrassment.

Here’s a talking point. You mentioned momentum. This is one of the properties of matter which precludes definable states. Within a computer, a given state is determined by points at which momentum is dissipated, or nearly so.

If you are speaking of “state” in a non-quantized manner, you are not speaking of true states. That is because non-quantized states cannot be defined. If your understanding of the nature of state cannot be defined, the point of this discussion needs to be reworded.

For example, consider the movement of a baseball from pitcher to hitter/catcher. At the end of its path, the momentum of the baseball will be momentarily zero, whether it is hit or caught. In broad terms, that represents a state.

Now consider the baseball’s flight path. Is it continuous, traversing every spacetime point between pitcher and catcher, or does it consist of a series of definable states, meaning specific positions in spacetime?

We can proceed according to your answer to that question, which will allow us to address the notion of “state” from a common perspective. If we cannot find such a perspective, our failure may evaporate the discussion into the never-never land of unstable conceptual grounds, where the intellectually damned are given the task of building precision instruments while floating in a raft off the tip of Cape Horn.

Incidentally, since it would be helpful to future discussions, are you familiar with digital design concepts and the theory behind state machines? Okay if not, of course.

I like this one:

A Proof of the Existence of God

My idea of a state is from thermodynamics, where a given system (the universe) can be defined by state variables such as entropy and volume. But I also know there are other definitions of state, such as an electron’s quantum state, and your computer state definition.

Here’s a talking point. You mentioned momentum. This is one of the properties of matter which precludes definable states. Within a computer, a given state is determined by points at which momentum is dissipated, or nearly so.

If you are speaking of “state” in a non-quantized manner, you are not speaking of true states. That is because non-quantized states cannot be defined. If your understanding of the nature of state cannot be defined, the point of this discussion needs to be reworded.

They can be defined by thermodynamics, can’t they? Entropy is defined by the distribution of quantum states occupied by the particles, for example.

For example, consider the movement of a baseball from pitcher to hitter/catcher. At the end of its path, the momentum of the baseball will be momentarily zero, whether it is hit or caught. In broad terms, that represents a state.

Now consider the baseball’s flight path. Is it continuous, traversing every spacetime point between pitcher and catcher, or does it consist of a series of definable states, meaning specific positions in spacetime?

We could define its state as its kinetic energy, not necessarily its position. But I still don’t think this quibbling over the definition of state is all that important to the nature of the proof (not to disparage your interest in the issue). The simple fact of the matter is, the universe ain’t what it used to be. Whatever the universe was, is now, or will be, does not inherently exist. Consider the state of the universe to consist of all the time between the big bang and now, and it has already ceased to exist.

Incidentally, since it would be helpful to future discussions, are you familiar with digital design concepts and the theory behind state machines? Okay if not, of course.

I know that computer logic consists of ones (voltage/signal is there) or zeroes (it’s not there), and that’s about it. I’m familiar with electronic properties of matter, though, if that’s relevant to what you’re talking about.

Well, you would. Neurolinguistic programming is a wonderful invention, serving to elect scumbag politicians and keep them in office. It works on those who are ruled by their brains, and fails when mind is engaged.

You’ll see it at work in Item #6 of your cherished argument, wherein the arcane, non-English noun “esse” replaces the more common term, existence, which is half adjective, half noun, confused by philosophers and generally used in the context of something else— e.g: existence of… (matter, energy, geniuses, nincompoops, etc.).

The argument turns on this redefinition, and is good enough to fool the ordinary, well-informed and easily programmed brain.

Call me fooled.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.