I ran across an interesting question the other day. The claim was made that because of the behavior of electrons at quantum level that "the first cause argument for the existence of God is now irrelevant or is not required to explain how things require a beginning."
Now, I’ve heard the argument made that the indeterminacy of quantum measurements implies that the world we observe is simply an illusion or that observers actually create reality by the act of observation. Because of this, some have concluded that “God is all and all is God” (similar to Hinduism) or even that there is no God (i.e. even God would be illusory). While it is true that there is a fundamental limitation to our measuring ability, due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP), it is doubtful that we are creating reality by measurements that didn’t already have some existence prior to our actions. Unpredictability does not equate to unreality, nor does it necessarily follow that because non-deterministic events happen that a transcendent God, not confined to our space-time continuum, could not also be omniscient and omnipresent.
The concept of causality is fundamental to our understanding of modern science. It stems from the philosophical idea that any effect must have a cause. As far as we can tell, this is a universally observed and accepted principle of physics. This is the basis for one of the classic arguments for the existence of God, the Kalam Argument, which William Lane Craig states as follows:
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.
The argument here is for ultimate existence, not simply chains of effects. Something never comes from a true nothingness. Even quantum mechanical fluctuations occur in realm of some space-time reality, which is not “no” thing. There are physical laws that have a real existence and must have come from somewhere. They didn’t write themselves! The burden of proof lies with someone that claims otherwise, since it is contrary to both logic and observation.
One final consideration might be appropriate. Virtual particle pairs have been shown to be real in laboratory measurements. These particles arise from the vacuum state of space. It has been suggested that the universe and/or the Big Bang creation event was caused by such a fluctuation. However, and this is a big “BUT”, empty space (vacuum) was not preexistent to this event – it was created then as well! Before, there was no space to fluctuate in. (Even a hypotheical multiverse would require the pre-existence of some laws or "space", so the causality problem would simply be pushed back further, but not eliminated.) Further, these particles only exist for brief periods of time (inversely proportional to the amount of energy/mass of the particles), as allowed by the HUP, and only if they are not actually measured or observed. Also these particles occur as matter/anti-matter pairs in equal amounts, which would promptly annihilate each other. Finally, extrapolating this effect to a scale that would encompass the entire mass/energy balance of the universe is problematic, and most likely, unrealistic. Even though the universe was small then, the number of particles is very large, so statistical effects should predominate quantum ones.
So even in a quantum mechanical universe, the Kalam argument is still valid. For further reading on this subject, I found some articles that might be of interest:
Remember to give thanks to the God who created you this Thanksgiving holiday.