Many times, you can hear the so-called “first cause” argument and that it supposedly proves the existence of God.
The argument goes something like this:
- The Universe had a Beginning
- If the Universe had a beginning, it must have had (transcendental) cause that is outside of our reality – first cause
- The Universe has a first cause that is outside our limits
- This cause must be powerful
- This cause is God
On the first glance, the argument it does look powerful.
But, sometimes if one is witty enough, one can remember what was written by various philosophers before.
First of all, as Russell pointed out, argument kind of contradicts itself. The argument is basically that everything must have a cause, even those things like the multiverse. OK. But the conclusion of the argument is that there exists something which does NOT have a cause, therefore contradicting the very first premise.
OK, this might sound like a cheap dismissal, but by human experience, minds arise later than normal "matter", so it doesn't seem likely that any mind, even a "powerful" or "timeless" one could have arisen before some kind of "timeless matter".
Also, as has been argued before by various people, we have been shown by the beginning of the Universe that simple matter comes into existence before anything complex. We have been shown by evolution that simple life forms come into existence before complex ones. So, if we are going to argue from experience that everything must have a cause, we cannot and should not ignore our experience that simpler things come before complex ones. In other words, it should be easier to imagine some kind of matter coming into existence before some kind of mind.
The thing is, these kinds of arguments are not evidence, but philosophical thoughts. We all might enjoy philosophy, but, ultimately, we as a species know too little to go to these kinds of conclusions. After all, even if you accept God as an explanation, if you are really curious, you would like to know, is this the "final" God, or he has his own God ... Also, even if it was proven that it was some eternal mind (but as has been argued, this is less likely than simply eternal matter), there is no possible correlation between this deity and the God who listens to prayers, answers them and watches you masturbate.
So, even if you accept this argument as the ultimate proof of god, you still don’t get Christian or Muslim or Buddhist God from this god.
The point is, as majority of atheists would say … not enough evidence. Certainly philosophical thought which can be more-or-less successfully turned around is not enough evidence.
There are a lot of things left to explain even if you accept God as the explanation of the Universe. There are various other angles one can come about this, they will quote possibly be tackled in another post.