Monday, October 31, 2011

The Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem and William Lane Craig

One of the best evidence that  Dr William Lane Craig uses for the existence of God is that the universe had an absolute beginning is The Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem. Dr Craig often states it like this:

…three leading cosmologists, Arvin Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, were able to prove that any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary. -W.L Craig “Contemporary Cosmology and the Beginning of the Universe”

Recently,  Dr Craig debated Dr Peter Millican and tried to counter by quoting Dr Vilenkin as explaining that maybe the universe was contracting before it was expanding. To which Craig pointed out that Vilenkin had also said that the universe would be unstable.with so many singularities that expansion would be unlikely.  Added further, Dr Craig has quoted Vilenkin as saying:

It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.


[I]f someone asks me whether or not the theorem I proved with Borde and Guth implies that the universe had a beginning, I would say that the short answer is “yes”. If you are willing to get into subtleties, then the answer is “No, but…” So, there are ways to get around having a beginning, but then you are forced to have something nearly as special as a beginning.

But Dr Vilenkin is not in agreement that the expansion of the universe  suggesting that the universe has an absolute beginning is evidence for God.

Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist.

I disagree with Dr Vilenkin. Luke Muehlhauser has posted an interesting article on this and quotes a Jain poet as an example of a logical paradoxes in believing the universe was created,

The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised, and should be rejected.
If God created the world, where was he before creation? …
How could God have made the world without any raw material? If you say he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression…
Thus the doctrine that the world was created by God makes no sense at all…1

Where was God before creation? God is omnipresent - spatially, temporally, and simultaneously.  There has never been a point at which God does not exist. This is what God told Moses.  God sustains God's self with God's stuff. This is what YHWH means.I have always been amazed about how atheists are really quick to try to assert that God should be subjected to time as we are.God isn't.

Here is an article written by Dr William Lane Craig called Contemporary Cosmology and the Beginning of the Universe.

Here is another article that attempts to refute Dr Craig called Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin’s Past-Finite Universe. Both of these articles are better than Dr Millican did, but not well enough to be convincing.

If you want to see the paper Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin wrote check out this link.

Also here is a video presentation on The Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem

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