What is the simplest and most commonly accessible argument for the existence of God? Ofcourse , The answer is the perennial question "If there is no God , where did it all come from?". Though its more of a question than a response but the obvious ancillary proposition which follows from this question is "As there is all this , hence God must have done it and therefore God exists". Any lay believer if encountered with the question "Why do you believe that God exists?" would abruptly and impromptu give this reply.
This line has been the historical line of defense of all believers in all cultures. And why not? Virtually Every serious creedal documentation of religion has exclaimed that in the beginning God created the universe. Not only that God created the universe , God invites human imagination to ponder over the universe and in an intellectually provocative tone asks the believers to look around if they doubt the existence of God. And it is this simple act of looking around that has forced humans historically to believe in God.
"If there is no God , where did it all come from?". Though this question is a simple line and lacks in all sorts of philosophical numbo-jumbo , it encompasses the depth of most subtle and sublime human experiences. No matter how unembellished and undemanding this argument for the existence of God is , it successfully and satisfactorily responds to some of the pinching inquisitiveness rhythms of human soul. It not only tells you that why and how this gigantic sun hovers over the horizon of our galaxy? , why starts glitter during the dark nights? Why is there that odd looking moon in the sky? What fills the eyes of a new born with all that innocence and inexplicable beauty? Where did my affiliation with my mother come from? And so on.
The question not only addresses the why question related to the ontology of various galactic and universal physicality and abstracts , it explains the connection between human necessities and material possibilities. Even if Cellular dehydration and osmoreceptor stimulation causes my thirst , why is there water to quench my thirst? Even if the shifts of sun and moon explains the length of shadows , why is there a day and night sequel befitting my biology? Even if there are rods and cones in my retina , why are there colors out there whose' differntial wave length when reaches my optical lobe through electro-chemical wave enables me to see? If atoms explain my being , Not stones but why after all am i experiencing the whole set of reality? Yes , Why? What else can respond to all this perplexity than the undecorated perennial answer God did it?
Neil turok is a theoretical Physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics Canada. Having born in Africa , which is something odd for a modern day phycist , he has decided to embark on an odd adventure. Contrary to the borde-guth-vilenkin theorem which necessitates a singularity at the beginning of any expanding universe , Neil has proposed a "Two clapping universes theory" (which is an attempt at the renewal of the long forgotten cyclic universe theory).
Just a few months back , he was invited at a university symposium during which he adressed a crowd educating them on his new theory. The speech was full of metaphors , semantic contradictions , doubts , Ifs and Buts , stochastic prepositions , observational limitations and cautions in reference to the heisenberg uncertainty principle. Most of the audience was seen yawning after the first twenty minutes. Those who managed to stay awake could not manage to keep the incredulity off their faces.
At the end of the speech the audience was asked to pose any questions if they had in their minds.
One buffoon rose to the challenge and for whatever odd reasons asked the extraneous question "Sir , what forces the electrons to follow it's path?". Neil , astonished and bewildered , in return unsuccessfully made an appeal to the incomplete "Quantum stability model" but the guy had an ancillary question "What makes matter at quanta stable" and Neil , having just delivered an enriching and scholarly speech about the the universal event which took place some 14 billion years ago , was left clueless about an ongoing visible and reachable phenomena.God of the small things was laughing at his face.
Though the affirmation of the existence of God through an appeal to the creation of the universe has been common in every culture , skeptics ever since Aristotle have rejected the idea of the beginning of the universe. The reason for the doubts are obvious. The universe that we inhibit seems to be quite old and solid. The rusty mountains , the grand old sun , the numerous stars which seem to be obediently stationed in the upper sky and the very ground on which we roam around are things so firm that it is hard to imagine of an event which might have initiated them.
It seems to be more natural to assume that they have always been around eternally than to assume that they came into being as the result of some event. If the event is affirmed , it must have been the strangest metaphysical event ever. It must have been an event not only transcending the nature but originating nature. Things of such a nature have run currents of anxieties in the minds of the naturalists since time immemorial. The creation of the universe trans-natural hence utterly rejected.
Naturalism , though has never been defined in some unequivocal way , has been portrayed by most as the spirit of science. After all , if one goes through every single theory of science very carefully , the word God has never been mentioned there. So how can someone champion atheism in the name of science? Definitely a scientific atheist shall have to make an appeal to something outside science and that outsider is Naturalism. Some sort of naturalism has been around since long and the first of the naturalists with in the ranks of Muslims were the Mutazillites.
Armed with Aristotelian logic and the rudimentary science of that time , they took the onus of defending the laws of nature (Read as naturalism) upon themselves.They hardly understood anything about the laws of nature then but establishing causal relations and not going contrary to observation was what the Mutazillites perceived as naturalism. Under the influence of this unripe naturalism , Contrary to the common Islamic belief of a created universe , they followed the path of Aristotle. They affirmed the existence of God but rejected the creation of the universe. The kind of intellectual gymnastics that was undertaken by the mutazallites to affirm these two contradictory propositions is a matter of past now but ignorance in abundance , if the universe did not have a beginning , their benighted arguments did not have an end. Just like their peaceful successors , the Mutazzilites were ready to enforce their doctrine on the reluctant Muslims with the patronage of the state.
It was precisely this turbulent era that Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali was born in Tus, Persia. Born as an orphan , he was soon admitted in a religious ceremony where he would spend his time listening to the heated debates between the orthodox Muslims and the Mu'tazallites. As an obedient student , he was much influenced by his mentor Al-Juwayni. Al-Juwayni was a distinguished theologian and an ardent opposer of the Mu'tazallites. Al-Ghazali went through a period of skepticism during the coming years and went into a long seclusion which will end upon something remarkable.
Al-Ghazali is important for two reasons. He was the first to defend the basic doctrines of Islam after going through the doctrines of the philosophers (Read Naturalists). Secondly , both his religious nature and intelectual gifts were of such a nature that the combination hardly ever surfaced again in the Muslim world after him.Commenting on the depth of the soul , the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus once remarked "One would never discover the limits of the soul , should one travel down every road--so deep a measure does it posses".
If not all , Al-Ghazali had proceeded on most of the roads down towards the soul. Having carefully examined the texts of the Mu'tazallites , Al- Ghazali somewhere around 1098 AC penned down his ground breaking book "The incoherence of philosophers (read Naturalists)". The first chapter of the book is titled "Refuting the doctrine of the world's past-eternity" in which he debunks the Mutazallite's doctrine of a universe uncreated. Al-Ghazali argues that if the universe if uncreated then it must be past infinite universe. But as infinity does not exists in the real world hence time or past events can not be infinite hence the universe must have had a beginning. Commenting on the infinite regress problem Al-Ghazali writes
"They (Naturalists) say that the universe is eternal and the precedence of God over the universe is in rank than in time. They negate the initiation of the universe and hence they negate the temproral precedence of God over the universe (ie He existed before the universe came into being). I say that this is contradictory for the reason that the affirmation of the infinity is impossible as infinity does not exist in the real world and translating mathematical infinity into the real world leads to paradoxes , hence time must be finite and the universe must have a beginning"
After giving an affirmative argument , the attention of the sage diverts towards a naturalist's objection to this argument. In a menacing sibylline tone , Al-Ghazali remarks.
"They (naturalists) say that if the universe had a beginning then time must be infinite and if we (naturalists) are being accused of affirming an eternal universe with God , our opponents affirm an eternal time with God hence we are doing the same thing. I (Al-Ghazali) say that Time is originated and created, and before it there was no time at all. We mean by our statement that God is prior to the world and time"
Al-Ghazali was just being logical.Without any empirical observation and mathematical modeling, it was hard to digest for the naturalists what he was saying. His words were taken as an expression of his faith and his mind as a victim of the circumstances.He survived an era in which his faith was under attack and left without any option , the humble Al-Ghazali was forced to strike back with all his mental faculties.For the naturalists , few centuries after Al-Ghazali , Ibn Rush while trying to write a refutation of Al-Ghazali wrote "The rational people had an issue with the beginning of the universe and he (Al-Ghazali) has only added to the problem as according to him not only the universe but Time was created as well and this is utterly unacceptable". What makes it unacceptable? That Ibn Rushd never explained.
The debate continued and almost every notable thinker had to say something about it. Immanuel kant discussed the issue in his "critique of pure reason" and after affirming and dismissing various propositions , at the end was overwhelmed by his skepticism to conclude that "The debate is not settled and can never be settled ". David Hume out of the blue attacked the causality principle and Bruttarnd Russell when cornered in a debate by the Christian theologian Frederick Copleston , setting aside his delicacies and lordship , made a remarkable claim with a palpable irritation " I should say that the universe is just there, and that's all".
Sometime around 1910 , Einstein discovered that gravity is a geometrical function of space and time. That is to say that the space-time fiber's deformation yields into what we perceive as gravity. In 1915 He introduced the field equations modeling his general relativity. In 1920's Aleksandr Friedman and Georges Lemaitre discovered solution to the field equations and to Einsteins painful surprise they hinted at an expanding universe. For reasons that he could never make clear , Einstein regarded a past eternal universe more satisfying. It has been reported that towards the end of his life , he regarded an expanding universe with a certain fastidious distaste.
In the early years of the twentieth century , the signature of hydrogen was discovered in the light coming from far off galaxies. An American astrophysicist Vesto Slipher was the first one to note that the light coming from distant galaxies was shifting towards the red portion of the spectrum. This meant that the frequency of hydrogen atoms in the upper space was declining. In 1930's Edward Hubble using a far more sophisticated telescope made the same observation with more precession and unlike Slipher , Hubble knew that he had struck pure gold.
The conclusion from this observation was simple and obvious. The light source (Galaxies) were moving away from us and hence the red shift. If the galaxies were receding then the universe was expanding and if it was expanding it must have been expanded from a state of lesser expansion and there must have been a point of beginning (known as singularity today). What was conceived as a mere expression of faith of Al-Ghazali had gained an empirical and scientific credibility. Al-Ghazali had entered into the troubled imagination of the naturalists in a very odd fashion and as this time his entrance had been empirical, he could not be thrown out for being just faithful.
This was unacceptable. The dogma of "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" had become a soaring reality. The ardent atheist physicist Fred Hoyle rejected the idea by mocking it as the "Big Bang" and ever since his mockery has given the name to the mystery. The expression "Big Bang" has captured a hold of its own over the public imagination just like "If there is no God then where did it all come from?". No matter whether one can understand it or not , most of the laymen have heard of the event and whether they can understand its mathematical modeling or not , almost everyone can conceive of the event. In 1964 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson accidentally discovered the microwave background radiation which confirmed the "Big Bang". The thermal radiation left over by the mysterious event is still there in the space to be measured.
By 1960s Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking had demonstrated that insofar the backward contraction of the universe was controlled by the equations of general relativity, almost all the lines of conveyance came to an end at the singularity. And all lines of conveyance does not only include time and space , actualization Ibn Rushd's fears , time had a beginning. Not only this but singularity itself has become a term of its own kind. A mystery , a stupefying fact and bewildering expression which donates an infinitely dense and infinitely compact with an infinite gravity.
Read together with the fine tuning of the universe , the medieval cosmological argument of Al-Ghazali has marked a triumph of faith. The connection between God and the universe has become so plain that it glows with its own energy and can even be seen in the dark. On the rostrum of the history , Al-Ghazali stands aloof , noble and uncorrupted but his ardent foes The Naturalists have resurfaced as atheists and the current of anxiety has traveled down all the way from Ibn Rushd et al to the modern day atheists. Astrophysicist Christopher Isham puts it best:
“Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation or an oscillating universe, being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual desire of a theorist to support his or her theory.”