One of the best argument for God’s existence comes from Islamic philosophers, and has received a good deal of attention recently given our understanding of Big Bang cosmology.
William L Craig’s formulation of the cosmological argument is clean and if you think postulating a material reality outside this universe is a step of faith unwarranted by scientific observation, then the argument below seems decisive to me.
- The Universe began to exist.
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The Universe has a cause, and this cause we call God.
But the materialist may put on his skeptical hat and suggest that there is a larger unknown material reality that began our universe, unobservable, and separate from all that was created in the big bang. Because we are familiar with matter in motion, if we are going to take a step of faith, such a thinker may argue, it is better to choose more matter in motion than an unobservable deity.Craig pushes back at this point and argues for premise one mathematically, showing that an actual infinite number of events in the physical world is impossible, so whatever the size of the material order it must have begun to exist.
In response one might argue that something must be infinite otherwise something began to exist that was uncaused (that is, if God has always existed, why not the universe?). Craig suggests that God’s nature is helpful in resolving this problem because God is outside of time and therefore is not susceptible to arguments from infinity, but why that solution may work (or fail) requires a great deal more space.
Wes Morriston has also suggested that the way causation works prior to the big bang is unknown. Premise 2, therefore, is doubtful because it relies on an understanding of causation in a our context which may have been different prior to the inception of the universe.
Because of such interplay, I leave this argument out of the Top 5.