In the previous session we discussed the ontological argument in regard to the existence of God, now we move to the other approach and methodology and that is normally known in the courses of theology as the cosmological argument.
In the cosmological argument we rely heavily on the concept of causality, and causality which has been accepted by most of the philosophers and logicians that every effect needs a cause, and that cause is for itself the one without which the effect never comes into existence.
Let's assume we have a piece of wood and there is a fire, but the distance between the fire and the piece of wood is such that the flames of the fire do not reach the wood, of course burning will not take place. It only takes place when we bring the piece of wood or whatever any piece of paper, anything which can be burnt close to or in contact with the fire and that fire becomes as in logic or philosophy the cause of burning and the wood is the one which is affected by that fire.
In reality David Hume for example, a British philosopher denies the idea of causality and tries to interpret it in a different way. We are only concerned with the Islamic theology and to say(see) that it is natural, it is commonly and naturally accepted that nothing happens for itself. The accident doesn’t take place; otherwise there is no way to have any scientific investigation or progress, why? Because only whatever progress is made in medicine, in chemistry, in physics is based on tracing the appropriate cause of that particular incident or whatever effect. So, causality is something commonly accepted.
Now, here in the cosmological argument, we start with the first idea and that is whatever begins to exist needs a cause. Then, the second step is the universe has begun to exist so the conclusion is therefore there is a cause behind the existence of the universe. How do we conclude or convince ourselves that there is a beginning or there was a beginning for the universe? Nowadays we see that the scholars try to base their understanding on the radioactive decay of the substances to measure the time that existence began on this universe. Some say that the Earth started approximately 4.5 billion years ago and the other opinion is that life appeared on Earth 1.8 billion years ago. A third theory is that human beings first walked upon Earth some thirty billion years ago. And the last one is that the universe was a result of a big bang that took place about 13.75 billion years ago. We are not going to argue about which of these opinions are true or not because we take it on the face value of whatever the scientists talk about, whatever was mentioned, but all of them agree on one point that there was a beginning for the universe.
None of them talk about the universe has been existing from the beginning never was a time when the universe did not exist. No they don’t say that. No one says it did exist all the time, they say there was a beginning for it.
Once we agreed that the universe began to exist then we (up toward) the logical statement that whatever begins to exist needs a cause. So the universe needs a cause.
There are three different approaches to this idea or methodology of cosmological argument. One is based on the motion and it says that every movement or motion needs a mover because, it doesn’t move for itself. And it is obvious if you leave anything for years and years still there without a cause to move it; it remains stationary still without any change. The only movement happens when somebody moves this book, that box, that item, this car and whatever item there. So the need for the mover in order to move then from this we must end with the unmoved mover, why? Because if we continue to find things which are moving and there is a mover, and that mover is still or moving. If it's still, full stop. If it's moving, then it needs a mover, and it goes on and on and on.
We said in the previous lecture that the infinite regress which means that continuous cause and chain of movers without stopping somewhere is impossible logically, so we must stop somewhere and that is the unmoved mover.
Indeed this was the methodology that was supported strongly by the Greek philosopher Aristotle but Imam Ali (as) put that in a different way, he says that when you look at any machinery and you see that for example you have to move it, when you stop it stops. When you try to move it, it circulates. So how do all these stars, all these galaxies, all these moving entities in space are continuously moving without someone to move them?
So always we are giving examples which we can become familiar with to help us understand the ideas which are considered to be important in philosophy or logic.
So, in this way we refer to the unmoved mover in a sense that every motion needs a cause, needs a mover and if this continuous chain of movers without stopping somewhere that is impossible logically so we have to end up with the unmoved mover and that unmoved mover is what the Quran, the divine scriptures, the believers consider as God or Allah.
We spoke about the unmoved mover and now we speak about the uncaused cause. By accepting that every effect needs a cause to bring it into existence and the other fact that we can't go for infinite causes without stopping somewhere, so we have to stop somewhere and that is the uncaused cause.
So if we start with the simplest thing. The simplest thing needs a cause and what is the cause for it and it goes on and on and on and we move the same discussion until whatever was the beginning of the materialistic causes for the whole universe, we ask that did that happen for itself as the big bang? By accident? Without something to cause it or definitely it needed a cause?
Here, some people may think of the accident in a sense that something happened by chance. Why this idea of accident or happening by chance is rejected? It is very simple, one of the authors who wrote the book Man Does Not Stand Alone, A. Cressy Morrison says that if you put ten pieces of coin for example and you mark them 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, then put them in your pocket and mix them together, by the mathematical probability if you want to pick up from your pocket the first coin and it turns out to be number 1, the attempts needed to be done in order to take the first one is 1 to 10. Put it again in your pocket and to withdraw number 1 and immediately number 2 after it, it becomes 1 to 100 attempts. And if you want to take 1 then 2 then 3 in sequence one after another by accident, by chance, without looking at them, without choosing them the possibility will be 1 to 1000. And if you want to bring them all together 1 to 10 all in order without looking at them, the possibility will be very very insignificant in a sense that in comparison with the number of attempts that you need to do in order to do that.
We can turn that example in a different way. Let's say that there a book of 100 pages and those pages are of course numbered 1-100 or 200, then if you take all the pages and try to disorder them then give it to someone who is illiterate, who can't read or he is blind and ask him to put them in order 1-2-3. It has been calculated that the attempts you need to bring 100 sheets or 200 pages, bringing them together by a blind person or illiterate will be 1 to 18 with 36 zeros! Which means that it is even less opportunity than jackpots in any possibility of the way that people try to win jackpots there.
This proves that there is order, there is design, and there is something which is carefully studied. If you look at your immune system, in your organs, in all the ways that different organs work, just by looking at yourself without looking at the universe. If you look at yourself and your limbs and organs, everything, every cell is well designed in itself in a way that any change will lead to a disease or difference in your blood, your sugar, your cholesterol, your hemoglobin or similar things. Everything is measured in the right way so any change of them means that there is a wise, intellectual entity with full awareness, full power who causes all these things to happen. None of them will happen by chance, by themselves otherwise you can expect anything from anything. Why do you repeat something in the laboratory? If you repeat it tens of times or hundreds of times the results will be the same. Why? Because there is order, there is a system, there is some sort of link between the effect and the cause otherwise if you believe in chance and accidents which means that anything will become a result of anything and that is impossible and logically not acceptable.
So, let's go back to the idea of the uncaused cause since that everything needs a cause and that cause, if we say ok, so why don’t we think of mother nature? The nature does this. Normally scientists talk about this or the atheist scientists say that nature did this, we ask them, does this nature have the full awareness of its doing? Is this nature fully aware of everything it is omnipotent and omniscient with full knowledge and full power? Does this what you call nature have the ability to control everything in the right way? If they say yes, it's ok.
Now you admit that there is that absolute existent who is the source of every order you call it nature, we call it God. It is a matter of difference in naming and labeling. But if you say that it lacks awareness, it lacks understanding, it lacks the wisdom, this nature doesn’t understand what it's doing so you say how can design and order become the result of what lacks the awareness and order. This is very simple in understanding which everybody will believe in.
To summarise that we say that of course the ontological argument and the cosmological argument both the unmoved mover and the uncaused cause lead us to one fact and that is to believe in the Almighty creator who is the source of knowledge, the source of wisdom and the source of every design and Allah subhannahu wa talaa tells us (سنريهم اياتنا في الافاق و في انفسهم حتى يتبين لهم انه الحق)
And whatever is related to this type of argument in the Quran inshaAllah we will discuss it in the next session.