Welcome to Tuesday Morning Apologetics (TMA). We’re talking 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.
Our focus is now on the second premise of the KCA. Which has lead us to a little excursus exploring a challenge to Naturalism. Specifically, the difficulties that arise with the idea that there is an actually infinite number of Events contained in any Finite Interval AND we are able to traverse them all. Thus, moving on to the next finite interval.
A few weeks ago, I gave a list of ways to avoid the problems I presented in parts 2 and 3 of this series. Obviously, anyone is allowed to add to the list. Those are just the ones I’ve come up with. I should also mention that these problems are not the type that can be ignored. They need to be addressed somehow in order for a worldview to be viable. And that’s where I think Naturalism struggles.
Let’s look at the second way to avoid the problems.
2. Finite Intervals do contain an infinite number of Events but the vast majority are ignored. Those Events aren’t “counted”.
Regarding this solution, some questions immediately spring to mind. Like, how does that even work? How can an existing Event be skipped over? Which Events are skipped? And, why those ones instead of others?
On Naturalism the answer isn’t clear. Even if we were to discover/develope some kind of algorithm that could explain a way in which Events can be skipped over, would it be another indeterministic component of the physical world? If so, then the selected Events are essentially random. If they are, then why are those Events selected in a manner that seems to preserve chronological coherence? On top of that, if there are an actually infinite number of events, then why are the randomly selected Events finite? If there are an actually infinite number of Events and then a finite number of selected Events for "counting", doesn't that constitute a change? The very thing in question here?
Isn't stepping from an actually infinite number of Events to a finite number of selected Events for "counting" some kind of Finite Interval? Seems like it is to me. That means that there is no answer here. Just more problems with traversing actual infinities.
And if it’s not indeterministic, then we need to have a reason for why some Events are physically necessary but others aren’t. And that’s gonna be tough to do.
These questions have nothing to do with the limitations of humanity’s ability to perceive reality. They are about how the Physical World is fundamentally constituted. If it is the case that there are an actually infinite number of existing Events, then the only way that there can be change or motion is if the vast majority of actually existing Events are ignored. But since the Events are part of the Physical World, the Physical World can’t simply ignore them. After all, “ignoring” something is a conscious act and the Physical World, itself, isn’t conscious, right?
But let’s just say that the Physical World actually is somehow conscious, how does it go about ignoring actually existing Events in its actually existing self? Each one would be, presumably, equally real and equally conscious... Right?
It all becomes muddled due to the limitations of the worldview.
However, those questions are either not applicable or easily answered on a Christian worldview. For example, the Events that are skipped are the Events God wants to skip. Also, a God like the Christian God would have reasons for selecting certain Events over others and it wouldn’t bother me, personally, if the reason was arbitrary most of the time. The Events preserve Chronological coherence because God intended it that way. It’s not a problem that God ignores certain Events rather than others because He is a conscious entity. And since the Physical World is distinct from God and contingent on God, that means that when God ignores certain aspects of the Physical World there’s no problem, because the Physical World is not equally real nor equally conscious to God.
God has the power to actualize all Events of the Physical World. But the only Events that matter to us in regard to our experience are the ones that God “focuses” on. Our experience is directly tied to God’s intellect. I explained this model in Part 4 of my series on Time. This is one way in which the Christian worldview has more explanatory power and scope than a more limited worldview like Naturalism. Let me know what you think!