TMA | KCA 12 | Time | Part 4

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

Welcome to Tuesday Morning Apologetics (TMA). Let’s talk about the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA):


1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.


I’m working on wrapping up this challenge to the first premise of the KCA and it occurred to me that maybe I ought to explain why I think this is important. After all, there are people who hold to the B-Theory of Time and are fine with the notion that things “begin to exist”. And even that whenever those things do begin to exist, there is a cause for their “beginning-to-be”. They acknowledge that, for at least some existing things, there is an “earlier-than” Time coordinate in which we won’t find certain things (i.e. stars, planets and/or humans). Therefore, those types of people have no trouble granting or even agreeing with the first premise of the KCA, at least from a chronological perspective. At that point, this B-Theory of Time challenge moves to being relevant to the second premise of the KCA.

So, why keep focusing on the first premise?

Because right now I’m laying the groundwork for things that will become relevant when we move into the second premise. I also think it’s important to note that while the B-Theory of Time is great for explaining the universe or making physical predictions, it fails to explain everything that we experience. Or, really, as I explained in Part 3, anything that we experience. The B-Theory of Time, by itself, fails to explain why we experience Time in an A-Theory like manner or why we experience anything at all.


When it comes to the B-Theory of Time we have several metaphors that can be used to describe what it’s like. We can talk about film reels or DVDs or video games or the countless YouTube videos out there. Every single one of them have their stories or worlds completely enclosed in their own particular medium. For example, all the events on the film reels are equally “real”. All the events that take place in the video game are all contained in its cartridge or disc. However, in every single instance an external mechanism is required to unlock the information of the film reel or the video game cartridge (i.e. a projector or console). Only when that mechanism is used do we get to see the events of the film or the game happening in an A-Theory like manner. Temporal becoming appears to be real even though it’s just an illusion.


...Or is it?


When it comes to these types of metaphors, my favorite one is the book. I like to use the fiction series Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling, because almost everyone is familiar with it. The metaphor runs as follows:


Our Universe is similar to a Harry Potter book (1). The "world" of Harry Potter with all its people and all their decisions, all its things and all its events are contained between the covers of the book. They are all equally “real”. However, there’s not only a chronological sequence or order to the book but it’s also intended to be experienced in an A-Theory like way and in that chronological order. The same way that we see and experience our real world. But without the reader, even though the events are still equally “real”, there will be no experience associated with those events.


The book requires something outside of itself in order for the experiences to manifest. That’s because none of the characters in the Harry Potter universe has the power to actualize any change whatsoever. They are completely dependent on a power outside of their universe to actualize each moment of the story. Likewise, no-one in our universe has the power to actualize any moment of our universe or timeline. We too are dependent on a power outside of our universe. And I think that power is God.


In this way, it seems to me that there is a difference between Physical Time and Metaphysical Time. And that Metaphysical Time is necessarily more fundamental than Physical Time. The evidence of my experience points to A-Theory describing Metaphysical Time and the evidence of the physical sciences points to B-Theory describing Physical Time. Therefore, it can be said that both theories of Time are correct at the same time.

 

NOTES:

  1. The world of Harry Potter is often called the "Harry Potter universe".

SOURCES:

  • McTaggart, J. Ellis, The Unreality of Time, MIND: A Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philosophy. October 1908

  • Gott, J. Richard. Time Travel In Einstein’s Universe: The Physical Possibilities Of Travel Through Time (pg. ). Mariner Books.

  • Mareland, J.P.. Scaling The Secular City: A Defense of Christianity (pg. 89). Baker Book House

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