A Philosophical Approach to God
For what is Time: An Argument for the Existence of an Intelligent Designer
“For what is time? Who can readily and briefly explain this? Who can even in thought comprehend it, so as to utter a word about it? But what in discourse do we mention more familiarly and knowingly, than time? And, we understand, when we speak of it; we understand also, when we hear it spoken of by another. What then is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not: yet I say boldly that I know, that if nothing passed away, time past were not; and if nothing were coming, a time to come were not; and if nothing were, time present were not.”
This great quote by Saint Augustine helps usher in some of my thoughts and research. Saint Augustine illustrates how much we know of our universe and conversely how little all at the same time. Our small perspective only allows us to see what we physically experience. We are born with many senses to which we spend most of our lives coordinating and fine tuning. However I would argue that we are born with a sixth sense. This sixth sense is a combination of thoughts and what it means to be human: a sense of consciousness, a sense of existence, and a sense of reason and morals. We as human beings, since the beginning of our known existence, have tried to make sense of something larger and more significant than ourselves. We spend our whole lives attempting to figure out what exactly that is and what it means to us. This concept varies and differs vastly across the world. For the sake of generality I will call these Deity/Deities an intelligent designer. One of the greatest philosophical struggles among many great minds is that of an intelligent designer. I will be utilizing many of the theories and ideas of philosophers, theist apologetics and scientists mingled with my own thoughts and application. Through articulating belief, morality, the Kalam/cosmological argument, and the teleological argument I can strongly argue for the existence of an intelligent designer.
Evolutionarily, traits and genes that improve survivability and increase the likelihood that successful reproduction occurs are what are favored in nature. Through natural selection and positive mutations this ensures these traits are kept within a population of a given species. With these theories already accepted by the science community it leaves a few humanistic traits unresolved. This begs an answer to the evolutionary purposes to the ability of epistemic analytics, belief, guilt, and the phenomena of altruism just to name a few. These traits don’t serve a purpose in nature so why does the homosapien species possess them? For the sake of this argument I will only be focused on discussing belief. William P. Alston states that beliefs are items we find ourselves with, not items we choose to have. Alston’s article makes valid points about belief being something that is obtained through physical experience and validation. He employs the idea that you also cannot conjure belief on your own accord meaning you can’t force yourself into believing in anything you have not experienced. Alston uses the example of a Blue Jay. Those who have heard and/or seen a Blue Jay know that it is real however I can say that I believe in Blue Jays but if I have never experienced a Blue Jay I can never truly believe they exist.
When we think of morality we tend to think of it as what we think or judge to be right and wrong. Initially this is not a strong support to the argument for the existence of an intelligent designer so, for clarity’s sake, I will define morality from an agnostic standpoint. First morality, to put simply, is a judgment call and judgment is moral only if it makes reference to proper human flourishing (Moreland & Craig). Meaning, if I choose an action that hurts me or others, whether that is dignity or welfare, this in turn would create a moral dilemma thus the induction of judgment. Judgment, is then deciding on the given action as “right” or “wrong”. The sole purpose of us possessing morality is so that we, humankind, can progress together. With morality in place you could counter argue that it’s all in eye of the beholder. Some cultures are more utilitarianistic who throw our ideas of morality out the window by practicing infanticide. These cultures employ this in order for the tribe as a whole will survive the difficult seasons and famine. But for the remaining 99% of the world’s population we can safely say that the killing of babies and rape is morally wrong. Now evolutionarily speaking most atheists would agree that the sole purpose of our own existence is for the replication of our own DNA ie sexual reproduction. This idea was expressed in a book called the Selfish Gene written by Richard Dawkins. In his book he extensively discusses the extreme drive we all posses to reproduce. If this is the goal, then what is it that keeps us from killing our competition and raping post menses women? It is our innate moral judgment that allows us to see the value in ones dignity and welfare. J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig stated in their book Philosophical Foundation for a Christian Worldview state that we all either conscientiously or sub-conscientiously analyze whether we should accept this idea of morality. “What rational judgment can be given to me as to why it would be reasonable for me to adopt the moral point of view?” The general preoccupation for another is what I would call a divine principle. It’s a divine perspective given to us by a creator, a God, or intelligent designer. Furthermore, the principle of morality is re-enforced by positive feedback not only by other individuals but also physiologically. In addition, we get a sort of proverbial “pat on the back” or social acceptance within our population when we do accept morality. Also physiologically we experience a rush of endorphins, a sort of high, if you will, by correctly making moral judgments within this point of view. This isn’t something that always occurs but the frequency is higher in a right moral judgment than it is in a wrong.
The Big Bang Theory is one of the biggest issues in question as to the existence of an intelligent designer. The Big Bang Theory suggests that all matter came into existence from a violent cataclysmic event. All of the elements that we know of that make up our physical world, time past present and future, and space came to be. The atheistic argument is that the universe came into existence from nothing and by nothing. There is obviously a contradiction within this view. How can something simply come from nothing? The only way around this is by completely redefining what nothing means? This makes for a weak argument for this view. A theist’s argument would state that an initiator is needed to cause the Big Bang, in essence from something by something. This would also mean that this initiator works beyond space and beyond time. This brings me to my next point, the Kalam cosmological argument. The Kalam cosmological argument consists of three main concepts: Everything that begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist, and therefore the universe has a cause. A second premise to this argument is that an actual infinite is impossible. If this were not true there would be no reason for a beginning or a Big Bang. Matter would already exist somewhere else in space, eliminating the need for a Big Bang but since this does not hold true, time and space are proven to come to a point or beginning. Behind this point of space and time resides an initiator, someone or something that holds all of the keys to creation. As a theist it is it is more probable than not that this initiator is the intelligent designer.
G. J. Whitrow, though not a well known contributor of intelligent design, has brought significant support to the table that is accepted by most of the mainstream apologists. His greatest contribution is that intelligent life would be impossible save it were a few crucial dimensions. Within these dimensions are natural constants which seem to be fine tuned for the support of intelligent life namely electromagnetic interactions, gravitation, the weak force and the strong force. With each of these natural forces there is a very miniscule range of tolerability that allows for basic function for life. For example, if we were able to increase these systems ever so slightly we would change our environment as we know it. Carbon dioxide would burn into oxygen and an even slighter increase would prevent the existence of atoms altogether (Craig). If we were to do just the opposite and weaken the system our entire universe would be made primarily of helium an inert gas rendering our universe completely unproductive. Another significant scenario is the exact distance the earth is from our sun. If we were to reduce this distance all living organisms would be sterilized and any further away all of the processes would move too slowly to support life. Craig strongly stated that the delicate balance of conditions upon which life depends is characterized by the interweaving of conditions, such that life depends for its existence. Craig goes on to say that it’s not merely upon each individual condition possessing a value within narrow limits, but also upon ratios or interaction between values and forces which must likewise lie with narrow parameters. In other words each of the natural laws is dynamically interacting within the bounds that even allow for life to exist. An atheist’s approach to this would be that with as much time is available within the amount of time that has existed, though improbable, has a miniscule probability of occurrence. It then would make that probability even more improbable because that would have had to occur at the exact moment of the Big Bang event. Deducing a counter argument could be, isn’t it more likely that an intelligent designer exists putting into place these exact interactions so that life could exist? The absolute improbability that all of these constants are within the allotted limits, then to make things more complex, the fact that they have to be married together in harmony in order to support life is an utter testament to a grand designers role in our universe.
We are a special species of the animal kingdom. Our mental capacity far exceeds that of any other species. With this capacity we under appreciate the capability of being able to tie up our laces when we get up in the morning for the day or to be able to cognitively organize our day’s events with great precision and efficiency. Our complex mind is what allows us philosophize, emperialize, and debate ideas even the existence of an intelligent designer. These seemingly insignificant capabilities are one of the many thought out complex architectural pieces of genius. Throughout my life I have experienced God. This allows me to believe is such a personage. Much of my life has been spent analyzing and learning what it means to be human. My scholastic career has been dedicated to the sciences which have increased the challenges I face with a belief in such a being. Emperialistic methods have, for some time, successfully removed the coexistence of science and religion. I am grateful to live in a time where that barrier is being challenged significantly. If you accept the claim of a grand designer, then you can accept that our life is spent learning about the purpose of a designer. Through our experiences, both physical and cognitive, we come closer to understanding that purpose. As far as we can comprehend our universe has been perfectly designed to support life. I believe I have successfully argued that through the points addressed; belief, morality, Kalam cosmological argument, and the teleological argument that somewhere behind space and time and far beyond our current understanding exists such being.