Thanks for the response. I agree with your analysis.
[quote=reggieM] Another old argument that convinced me goes something like this:
An actual infinite set of events has always existed.
Therefore, anything that was possible to happen in that set of events, would have happened.
If it was a billion to one chance – that chance arrived an infinite number of times already.
One possibility is that the set would cease to exist.
If the set ceased to exist, it could not exist again.
Since the universe exists today, it cannot be infinite.
Because an infinite set exhausts all possiblities and non-existence is a possibility.
I think St. Thomas’ argument against this is that the universe could never be anhilated to total non-existence. So, that’s not a possiblity. Something would remain (since matter cannot be destroyed?).
Even still, if it was possible for elements necessary for creating a universe from randomness ceased to exist (that would have to be possible), then the universe would be reduced to that level and never be able to exist again.
Since the universe exists today, it cannot, therefore be infinite.
This is actually much like Thomas’ third way. Everything that can not-be would at some point in the past be non-existent if, in fact, the past were infinite. However, since something exists, then something must also exist necessarily, e.g. God.
The dilemma for the atheist, then, is having to choose between a necessary entity on an infinite universe, and a first cause of a finite universe. Of course, Thomas offers even more arguments for God’s existence which assume the possibility of an eternal universe; so no matter how we look at it, there are solid intellectual reasons to believe in God.
I just hate to have to choose between two great saints.
I know what you mean!