In this last feature, I present his argument against the creation of the universe. Many theists are wont to ask, if there are no gods then where does the universe come from. I have without resorting to cosmology and astronomy argued that what exists necessarily does not need to be created and matter being thus did not have to be created. I cannot imagine the annihilation of matter leave alone it’s creation. This being the case, an immaterial god who is said to leave outside of time and space[William Craig please explain what you mean here] couldn’t have been the cause of all causes[our natural universe].
I have included a video by world renown cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, which I hope you will find both informative and entertaining.
Our philosopher had this to say
They tell us gravely that there is no effect without a cause; they repeat to us very often that the world did not create itself. But the universe is a cause, not an effect; it is not a work, has not been made, because it was impossible that it should be made. The world has always been, its existence is necessary. It is the cause of itself. Nature, whose essence is visibly acting and producing, in order to fulfill her functions, as we see she does, needs no invisible motor far more unknown than herself. Matter moves by its own energy, by the necessary result of its heterogeneity; the diversity of its movements or of its ways of acting, constitute only the diversity of substances; we distinguish one being from another but by the diversity of the impressions or movements which they communicate to our organs.
In some post I wrote a while a back, a theist commented and asked who am I to question god, a mere mortal. I did at that time show that since I didn’t apply to be born, I have every right to examine the behavior of this pretended god whom am told I must obey or perish and here the good priest eloquently demonstrates why it would be absurd to not question god’s conduct.
We are told that the enormous distance which separates God from men, makes God’s conduct necessarily a mystery for us, and that we have no right to interrogate our Master. Is this statement satisfactory? But according to you, when my eternal happiness is involved, have I not the right to examine God’s own conduct? It is but with the hope of happiness that men submit to the empire of a God. A despot to whom men are subjected but through fear, a master whom they can not interrogate, a totally inaccessible sovereign, can not merit the homage of intelligent beings. If God’s conduct is a mystery to me, it is not made for me. Man can not adore, admire, respect, or imitate a conduct of which everything is impossible to conceive, or of which he can not form any but revolting ideas; unless it is pretended that he should worship all the things of which he is forced to be ignorant, and then all that he does not understand becomes admirable.
Priests! you teach us that the designs of God are impenetrable; that His ways are not our ways; that His thoughts are not our thoughts; that it is folly to complain of His administration, whose motives and secret ways are entirely unknown to us; that there is temerity in accusing Him of unjust judgments, because they are incomprehensible to us. But do you not see that by speaking in this manner, you destroy with your own hands all your profound systems which have no design but to explain the ways of Divinity that you call impenetrable? These judgments, these ways, and these designs, have you penetrated them? You dare not say so; and, although you season incessantly, you do not understand them more than we do. If by chance you know the plan of God, which you tell us to admire, while there are many people who find it so little worthy of a just, good, intelligent, and rational being; do not say that this plan is impenetrable. If you are as ignorant as we, have some indulgence for those who ingenuously confess that they comprehend nothing of it, or that they see nothing in it Divine. Cease to persecute for opinions which you do not understand yourselves; cease to slander each other for dreams and conjectures which are altogether contradictory; speak to us of intelligible and truly useful things; and no longer tell us of the impenetrable ways of a God, about which you do nothing but stammer and contradict yourselves.
In speaking to us incessantly of the immense depths of Divine wisdom, in forbidding us to fathom these depths by telling us that it is insolence to call God to the tribunal of our humble reason, in making it a crime to judge our Master, the theologians only confess the embarrassment in which they find themselves as soon as they have to render account of the conduct of a God, which they tell us is marvelous, only because it is totally impossible for them to understand it themselves.
In continuing to argue against free will our philosopher friend, using his simple logic shows us that even god if one were to exist wouldn’t act different to his nature and please if any of you can refute this, am game!
The world is a necessary agent; all the beings which compose it are united to each other, and can not do otherwise than they do, so long as they are moved by the same causes and possessed of the same qualities. If they lose these qualities, they will act necessarily in a different way. God Himself (admitting His existence a moment) can not be regarded as a free agent; if there existed a God, His manner of acting would necessarily be determined by the qualities inherent in His nature; nothing would be able to alter or to oppose His wishes. This considered, neither our actions nor our prayers nor our sacrifices could suspend or change His invariable progress and His immutable designs, from which we are compelled to conclude that all religion would be entirely useless.
I have on several occasions written statements that most of our species have elevated themselves above other animals with whom we share the same nature which I say is a folly and I think the good philosopher says it best.
What is the exact line of demarcation between man and the other animals which he calls brutes? In what way does he essentially differ from the beasts? It is, we are told, by his intelligence, by the faculties of his mind, by his reason, that man is superior to all the other animals, which in all they do, act but by physical impulsions, reason taking no part. But the beasts, having more limited needs than men, do very well without these intellectual faculties, which would be perfectly useless in their way of living. Their instinct is sufficient for them, while all the faculties of man are hardly sufficient to render his existence endurable, and to satisfy the needs which his imagination, his prejudices, and his institutions multiply to his torment.
The brute is not affected by the same objects as man; it has neither the same needs, nor the same desires, nor the same whims; it early reaches maturity, while nothing is more rare than to see the human being enjoying all of his faculties, exercising them freely, and making a proper use of them for his own happiness.
We may be asked if atheism can suit the multitude? I reply, that every system which demands discussion is not for the multitude. What use is there, then, in preaching atheism? It can at least make those who reason, feel that nothing is more extravagant than to make ourselves uneasy, and nothing more unjust than to cause anxiety to others on account of conjectures, destitute of all foundation. As to the common man, who never reasons, the arguments of an atheist are no better suited to him than a philosopher’s hypothesis, an astronomer’s observations, a chemist’s experiments, a geometer’s calculations, a physician’s examinations, an architect’s designs, or a lawyer’s pleadings, who all labor for the people without their knowledge.
The metaphysical arguments of theology, and the religious disputes which have occupied for so long many profound visionists, are they made any more for the common man than the arguments of an atheist? More than this, the principles of atheism, founded upon common sense, are they not more intelligible than those of a theology which we see bristling with insolvable difficulties, even for the most active minds? The people in every country have a religion which they do not understand, which they do not examine, and which they follow but by routine; their priests alone occupy themselves with the theology which is too sublime for them. If, by accident, the people should lose this unknown theology, they could console them selves for the loss of a thing which is not only entirely useless, but which produces among them very dangerous ebullitions.
It would be very foolish to write for the common man or to attempt to cure his prejudices all at once. We write but for those who read and reason; the people read but little, and reason less. Sensible and peaceable people enlighten themselves; their light spreads itself gradually, and in time reaches the people. On the other hand, those who deceive men, do they not often take the trouble themselves of undeceiving them?