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Salaamualykum, I would like this argument to be strengthened by criticism: Everything has a cause, by cause I mean mean something that "therefores it" regardless of your definition. if something happened without that, the therefore would be the fact it can happen in a possible reality, thus showing that this is impossible in a possible reality.

We know time exists as a line in some way, regardless of any physics model or philosophical suggestion, it can’t be infinite because it would take infinite time to complete, which is impossible. Infinity cannot end. Therefore the first thing that existed was caused by an uncaused cause as if that thing was caused an infinite regress would happen making it impossible, if something begins to exist you can apply second to it, which means an infinite amount of second would happen if there were infinite causes, thus the first thing to exist needs a cause that is uncaused so that time could be complete.

With that out of the way, the being is obviously transcendent and not physical, you can apply second sot physical things, the uncased thing is eternal, as it has no cause, a cause is needed. In every possible reality where something that began to exist it would have to have been caused by the first cause, and there are many different possible realities in which a different firstly caused thing would come to be, therefore the being is very powerful.

The being is transcendent as it isn't physical, physical things exist in time, so it’s powerful, eternal, and transcendent. The attack you can bring to the possible reality equating to power part is that there are mutlipe eternal causers, but this part is from ibn sina : "if A is distinct from B as a result of something implied from necessity of existence, then B would share it, too (being a necessary existent itself), and the two are not distinct after all. If, on the other hand, the distinction resulted from something not implied by necessity of existence, then this individuating factor will be a cause for A, and this means that A has a cause and is not a necessary existent after all."

Because the logical law is that no two things can be exactly the same therefore the possible reality part of the argument can be used to imply power, as only one first cause can cause the first thing to begin to exist. Thus there are not multiple necessary existents, and there is definitely one necessary existent, massively powerful, non physical transcendent entity.

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  • this isn't a complete argument for god, i might ending using it to lead to god
    – loopit
    Sep 1, 2023 at 14:09
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    "The therefore would be the fact it can happen in a possible reality, thus showing that this is impossible in a possible reality" is unintelligible. That it can happen shows that it is impossible? "Time exists as a line in some way" contradicts relativity theory, there is 4D spacetime, not a line. "It cant be infinite because it would take infinite time to complete, , which is impossible" is circular. And so on. You are better off with one of the standard versions of the cosmological argument instead. Why reinvent the wheel?
    – Conifold
    Sep 1, 2023 at 14:55
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    I'd highly suggest separating your question into paragraphs to make it easier to read.
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 1, 2023 at 15:01
  • "contradicts relativity theory" i said it exists in a line in some way, meaning a continous sequence of events, that's like a line. As for infinity, you have to explain how infinity can end. "Why reinvent the wheel" as or the therefore part, please understand that I mean this: a cause means something that therefore's, brings about something, gives rise to something, if something happened without something giving rise to it, what gives rise to it is the fact that it can happen, thats what it means.
    – loopit
    Sep 1, 2023 at 15:03
  • if time isn't a line according to relativity theory, understand that time still holds seconds, seconds apply to things that begin to exist, there's no other way around this, seconds apply to it, obviously, once it begin to exist you can set a timer that shows how many seconds it has begun to exist
    – loopit
    Sep 1, 2023 at 15:06

7 Answers 7

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We know time exists as a line in some way . . . it can’t be infinite because it would take infinite time to complete, which is impossible. Infinity cannot end.

There are two problems with this stage of the argument. First, it presumes that our subjective experience of time as a "flow" is objectively correct. Under certain philosophies of time (e.g., eternalism), the very language used here is inapplicable to objective reality. You'll need to show how eternalism is false first. Second, this argument appears in Kant's section on the antinomies in his Critique of Pure Reason, which can be equally opposed by a just as intuitive argument that time must be finite. The upshot being, we cannot rely on common-sense premises to argue either way, because they fail us here (i.e., produce mutually exclusive conclusions).

With that out of the way, the being is obviously transcendent and not physical, you can apply second sot physical things, the uncased thing is eternal, as it has no cause, a cause is needed.

Why non-physical? "Obviously" is not an argument. Relying on premises that seem self-evident is no longer passable anymore, given the physics of the early 20th century onward. The counter-intuitive is, in some cases, what we observe about reality.

The being is transcendent as it isn't physical, physical things exist in time, so it’s powerful, eternal, and transcendent.

What is meant by power here? If it has any relevance to the physical world, this needs to be defined in a way compatible with modern physics, and not Aristotelian physics (which is where first cause arguments largely come from, and continues to be worded in).

Because the logical law is that no two things can be exactly the same . . .

Again, what do you mean here? Leibniz's formulation is woefully out of date (Ibn Sina even moreso). For example, every electron has the same properties of mass, electric charge, and spin. You'll want to clarify on what exactly is meant by two things cannot be exactly the same.

In brief: the argument is still worded in a centuries old way of doing so, and thus the terminology is not equipped to handle modern physics. This is essential because, it is a hypothesis that postulates something in a preeminent causal relation to all of physical reality.

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  • "What is meant by power here? " are you serious? Power is simply ability to cause here
    – loopit
    Sep 11, 2023 at 14:07
  • @loopit Quite serious. That definition says to a physicist “God can do magic.” If this is unacceptable, you’ll want to work on a definition that’s in the language of modern physics. Aquinas worked with the physics of his day.
    – Hokon
    Sep 11, 2023 at 14:48
  • power is the ability to cause and create and do things
    – loopit
    Sep 11, 2023 at 15:39
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How is juggling abstractions supposed to allow us to infer something of this magnitude? But a perhaps deeper problem is the contention that time past is not infinite as that would mean a full infinite time was passed over to reach the present. But time is not absolutely real, so it's enough that our personal sense of time goes back a finite way; time in itself can be infinite and there is no need to suppose a singular universal present (but only relative presents for we who dwell within time).

The other problem I see is the argument for the uniqueness of the initial cause. If the cause is known through an abstract concept, then it has only qualitative differentia to its name. But if it is a real object, it can be differentiated by numerical identity/haecceity, which being non-qualitative therefore does not lend itself to conflation of its definienda per their qualitative overlap. Now granted, if we speak of a perfectly well-ordered set of causes, then a distinction of haecceity will yet mean a distinction of ordertype, among the set's elements, but then well-ordered infinities are relatively completable, so that postulate, here, would go back and undermine the premise about infinite past time even more than it was already undermined.

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@JMac "But do you think time will continue on forever, if not, why not? – JMac 1 hour ago

@loopit Also, why would infinity need an end or beginning? We can still use numbers like 1, even though you can extend the number line infinitely in any direction." So this is basically because of the fact that, thin of this: say time was infinite , the time we know of basically applies seconds to soemthimg, if something begins to exist you can apply seconds to it, therefore if there was an infinite amount of seconds, before this moment, you would be sayng that there was a never ending amount of time before this time started, and in order for there to be another time, the never ending timehas to end, which is impossible because the time does not en by definition.

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Your argument contains a number of steps to which a nit-picker might object.

You say that time cannot be infinite, and you seem to be basing that claim on the view that if time were infinite then we would never have reached today. That doesn't follow.

You say that the first thing that existed must have been caused by an uncaused cause. If you are going to allow an uncaused first cause, then why not allow the Universe, or some earlier equivalent, to be uncaused?

You say the being is 'obviously' not physical. Why do you say that?

You say the being has been around forever. That seems to conflict with your logic about the impossibility of time being infinite. OK, you might dodge that criticism by saying that the being is transcendental and exists out of time, but as a physicist I take the view that those words are utterly meaningless, so I won't give you any credit for them.

Your argument for having one, and not multiple, all-powerful transcendental beings seems pretty hard to swallow. If the beings are transcendental, why should they be subject to human logic anyway?

Why does the being need to be massively powerful? How do you know what sort and amount of powers would be needed to spark the creation of the Universe?

Why do you think the being is still around? Maybe the being converted his or herself into the Universe.

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  • "that doesnt follow" i almost died when hearing this but realized you said a nitpicker would say that no, think about it, can time somehow be infinite and also end, meaning, can the past be infinite and also end when infinity is defined by no ending? The being isn't physical if its eternal, physical things have colors, you can apply seconds to colors, physical things exist in time, eternal things can't end, ending involves time
    – loopit
    Sep 5, 2023 at 11:54
  • "if the beings are trancendal why do they need to be subject to human logic" because trancendence is doesnt have to be complete, it just means beyond the realm of common experience, howver can you say it can be timeless and exist in time, that makes no sense, logic is very obvious and is a valid way of acquiring things, everyhting is rectricted by logic, can a being be and not be? th
    – loopit
    Sep 5, 2023 at 12:02
  • I appreciate that you have commented on my answer, but I am afraid that I cannot work out what your comments are intended to mean. Sep 5, 2023 at 12:25
  • oh sorry, I mean a trancendent thing is by definition is something that is beyond normal experience, but for example some laws of logic apply to it, can it exist in time and NOT exist in time? can it be and not be? and so on, so trancendence means different, but if we categorize it under reality or think of it as an abstraction rules apply to it
    – loopit
    Sep 5, 2023 at 13:03
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This is essentially a cosmological argument, and subject to all of the criticisms thereof.

What you are describing is essentially a type of Cosmological Argument. Your argument is therefore subject to all of the criticisms of general cosmological arguments. Wikipedia has a fairly decent summary of the general form of the argument and the common form of possible counterarguments.

While there are several viable responses to a cosmological argument, perhaps the most important of them, particularly given the way you have phrased your version, is that there is no proof that it is impossible to have a causal loop. In other words, it is not necessarily true that time is a straight line and it could in fact loop back on itself. This challenges the assumption in your first step.

Now, I should be clear that we do not know for certain that time is a loop. (I myself am a Christian and believe both in the existence of God and that time in the physical reality is mostly a line subject to certain relativistic weirdness). But the fact we cannot rule it out calls your first step into question.

Another significant issue, particularly with the way you have phrased the argument, is that it can not lead to evidence of a theistic God. You somewhat acknowledge this in comment saying that it isn't a complete argument for god. But the problem goes deeper than that. Even if we accepted most of your argument (I'll deal with the word transcendent shortly), it at best establishes that there was something external to the universe which caused the universe. But it says absolutely nothing about what that thing is other than outside our universe as we know it. Its possible that it is the equivalent of a computer simulation, or it could be a natural phenomena in another earlier universe that spawned this one, etc. (Notably, Thomas Aquinas attempted to address this issue in his Summa Theologiae, but even as someone who is already a theist, I don't think it is overly persuasive).

Finally, and a little more particularly to your version of the argument, you claim that the being in question is obviously transcendent. But first, transcendent is not a well defined term in isolation. In other words, its not clear what is even meant by it here. Also, the word "obviously" is dangerous in an argument. In some cases it can be a time saver if the formal steps are genuinely obvious, but that is usually used in instruction where there is no serious question as to whether the proof is correct and you are trying to help students understand the new and interesting parts of the proof. In any situation where there might be a genuine question as to whether something is a valid argument in the first place, it is best to avoid that word and instead explain why you think a step is obvious.

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I see a number of problems with this approach. First, you are inserting your own definition of “cause” into your argument, rather than using the generally accepted definition of “cause.” I think that this is self-evidently problematic, as it can mislead those who examine your argument. A cause is something that gives rise to another — something that the universe may not necessarily have.

There is no reason to assume that everything requires something that “therefores” it. This is not a provable idea.

Second, the analogy between a line and time is not a good one. Time itself is neither linear nor circular. It does not flow or move but allows others to do so. So, the cycles we observe have nothing to do with time, except that time will enable them to exist. Even if time were linear, there is no reason to assume that infinite regress is not possible. It may seem silly, but a sequence of infinite events is not out of the question. After all, matter is a prerequisite for time. Without it, time cannot exist — thereby forcing us to conclude that matter existed before time, at least in some form. Either (A) matter existed before time or (B) time and matter both came to be at the same point (can’t call it time).

It can’t be infinite because it would take infinite time to complete, which is impossible. Infinity cannot end.

This is a circular line of reasoning. Your argument assumes that time is a finite quantity, which is the very thing that it is trying to prove.

The “non physical, transcendent, and powerful” bit is just a blatant non sequitur. How did we arrive at this conclusion? It does not logically follow the previous statements. “Non physical” I get, but “transcendent and powerful” seems quite poorly defined and unclear.

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The OP's post is somewhat incoherent so I'm picking fragments.

"the first thing that existed was caused by an uncaused cause"

One such uncaused cause is the principle of reason, so if a principle causes a thing that is a solution to the OP's puzzle, because only things have causes; principles don't. Can laws (principles) of nature actually necessitate stuff though?

Why principles don't need causes I commented on here (re. reason applies only to 'things') and here (re. the absurdity of the reason of reason of reason etc.) – so to effect this a principle is not a 'thing', apparently.

Whether a law of nature can imply the necessity of 'something' is a great science question.

"if A is distinct from B"

If principle is distinct from thing. That is also consistent.

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