Another Argument for A Created Universe

This argument dovetails nicely with the Kalām argument that I mentioned earlier. My little brother (who is 14, by the way), mentioned it to me, and he got it from St. Thomas Aquinas, more or less. It’s based on the argument from contingency, and the easiest way to explain it is this: given enough chances, anything that happens just by chance will happen. Successfully guessing a random number between one and a billion is virtually impossible the first time, but if you live for a billion years, and every few minutes you try a new round of “Guess the number between one and a billion,” you’re bound to nail it. In fact, it would be virtually impossible not to – and that’s with the other party choosing a new number each time. It’s like the popular saying: a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters will eventually make Hamlet by sheer chance (insert obligatory Simpsons reference).

So here’s the argument:

  1. Given an infinite number of chances, anything that may happen as a result of chance will happen.
  2. The universe, as a system capable of producing environments capable of life, can be irreversibly destroyed. Whether this is through “heat death” or a million other ways, it’s possible for the universe to collapse or explode so completely that the conditions to self-correct are impossible. To use the monkey analogy, a thousand monkeys in a room with the big red button will eventually push it.
  3. Therefore, the universe cannot be an infinite number of years old.

The reasons’ simple. Since this could happen, over an infinite number of years, with an infinite number of chances, it would have. #2 is as true for one universe as for a billion universes, so the multiverse theories. All of this serves to show that the universe has a starting date. And that ties into the earlier argument that anything with a start date has a creator/Creator.

One argument I foresee against this is the argument that since God is infinite, this applies to Him as well. But God isn’t a series of random chances, nor is He governed by chance, so it doesn’t apply. Or to put it another way: if you’re firing a gun wildly in the air, with a 1% chance of hitting someone, you’ll eventually hit them. But even given an infinite series of chances, someone dead-set on not shooting someone won’t. That’s because the first is governed by chance, and the latter by will. So the only Infinite must have a will.

5 Comments

  1. “Successfully guessing a random number between one and a billion is virtually impossible the first time, but if you live for a billion years, and every few minutes you try a new round of “Guess the number between one and a billion,” you’re bound to nail it.”

    But if I ask you to guess a number without stipulating an arbitrary range ( between one and a billion) you might never get it, since numbers are infinite. In the same way, if the universe is infinite, the one chance for it to be irreversibly destroyed may not have come up yet.
    Your analogy seems to fall short, but I don’t disagree with the conclusion.

  2. The universe ISN’T infinite, though. It’s currently expanding, which is possible precisely because it’s bounded. With numbers, though, there are the same number of numbers now that there were a billion years ago, because they’re infinite.

  3. Ok, so the universe is not infinite, it’s getting bigger all the time. That would suggest that the one chance for it to be irreversibly destroyed is a “moving target”, and that the one chance that the monkey will hit the big red button may never occur. Again, I’m only questioning the analogy, not whether God created the Universe.

  4. I know you’re not questioning whether God created the Universe, and I think that these details are good to hash out. Yes, the Universe is expanding, but it’s the same (finite) quantity of matter, just spread out over a larger area.

    I’ve already accounted for the fact that it’s a moving target by making the analogy involve a new secret number each time you guess. Obviously, if the number were constant, you could guess it just by guessing in sequence. My point was that even if the number changed, so that *each time* you guessed you were equally unlikely to guess it right (1 in a billion), you’d still guess it randomly if you played the game enough times.

    Besides that, even if theoretically, it’s *harder* to destroy a large universe than a small one (and I’m not sure that that’s true at all, since overexpansion – universal heat death – is premised off of this trend continuing for too long), it’s still possible.

    It’s definitely true that it would have been easier to destroy a very young, very tiny universe. So even if the odds of destroying the universe today are 1 in a trillion or more, the odds in the first few seconds of Creation, the odds were really a trillion to one in the other direction. Had even slight things been off, the whole thing would have collapsed.

    But let’s handicap ourselves, and assume that at all points in the past, the odds were 1 in a trillion (or 1 in a googleplex, it really doesn’t matter). The fact is that at EVERY point, there was some minute risk that universal destruction would happen, and from an atheist perspective, it was sheer luck that it didn’t. That argument makes sense over a finite range of time, but it’s literally impossible over an infinite range of time. Given infinite chances, if a thing doesn’t randomly occur, it *couldn’t have* randomly occurred.

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