William lane craig arguments

(Luca) #182

I personally don’t mind this discussion going on. But i need a little explanation about what T=0 is.


My age is given as an absolute value based on measurements. The age of the meteorites is given as an absolute value based on measurements, and is considered to reflect the age of the solar system.

Those same laws of physics also break down in the singularity found in black holes. Do we say that time starts over each time a black hole forms?

We fundamentally disagree, but I have no problem with that. :wink:

(GJDS) #184

When we make a measurement that includes time, we are using a scale, and for mundane matters, we can stipulate a beginning of the event as t=0 (or when we commence to measure). So @T_aquaticus is correct when he says our age can be given, with our birthday as t=0. But when we discuss the universe, we mean everything we can measure (cosmological); for this measurement to be valid, we must assume t=0 as the beginning. However, the measurements support a theory that is favoured (because of the data) by scientists (the big bang), and so we are bound by this measurement to believe it began in the past as expressed by the age.

Our difficulties stem from the usual disagreements; the big bang is a theory that equates a beginning with a singularity, and this theory/model breaks down at such a singularity (laws of physics do not apply, relativity and gravitation are not fully understood, and so on).

Discussions obviously move from the speculations of science to worldviews, philosophy and theology. This leads to controversy and debate.

I prefer to state my theology as a statement of faith, and try to identify if this is in harmony with current science, or in conflict. This is my take on what science is currently showing, and it includes accepting the limitations of scientific models and controversies therein.

(Luca) #185

I understand. Im just going to put here what i believe the arguments are about.
The big bang came from an initial singularity. we don’t know if this singularity began or not.
But is the singularity used in the multiverse theory and or string theory? And if quantum mechanics made the singularity/caused the big bang. How can that be when there is nothing?
Don’t quantum mechanics need space to work? Sorry if i repeat things alot but i am super interested in this all. And its veeery confusing. I just personally don’t see how a mechanism can come from absolutely nothing. Laws could be something but if there is nothing for those laws to work upon you still have nothing?


Just to make this all clear, we both agree that about 13-14 billion years ago our universe began to inflate from a singularity.

I would say that our current theories are incomplete and don’t accurately model or explain what happened prior to the initial expansion of the universe. I don’t view it as laws being broken, but a matter of not knowing what those laws are. With quantum mechanics and relativity we are getting closer to an accurate model, but we aren’t quite there yet.

(GJDS) #187

Initially there were two general views on the universe, (1) an expanding/contracting model which essentially made the ‘age’ infinite, and (2) the big bang which made the universe of a finite age, which requires a beginning.

With measurements (such as the background radiation and expanding rates - you can google for information on these), the big bang model was shown to be consistent with the various measurement. There are many areas that are speculative, but things such an age are now widely accepted.

The big bang model seems to deal with data to a point (and this is a small fraction of the time) which is mostly considered a singularity. I am sceptical on this as often people equate this with back holes, but we can ignore this for our discussion. There are attempts by theoretical cosmologists and astrophysicists to deal with this ‘event’ - so we can regard these as speculation (a legitimate part of science), and most non-physicists like myself are happy to leave them to their speculation. I am trying to show that some matters, such as the age of the universe, are accepted and are outside the realm of speculation. Others such as @John_Dalton and @T_aquaticus seem to me to disagree on this, and that is the reason for our debate.

If the conversation moves from cosmology, to philosophy and theology, we are confronted with opposing views. A beginning and a given time for the universe is consistent with the Christian doctrine that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.

Obviously an atheist cannot agree with this, so instead he would seek another explanation, or propose speculation that would for him, avoid talk of a beginning.

The theological view includes ‘creation from nothing’, and this is based on the eternity of God, and the transcendence of God, so the material is made from nothing, and an expression of the power of the Word of God. When some of us try to combine this doctrine with science, we as scientists are confronted with what is an impossible concept for science, an absolute nothingness.

Thus we have interesting discussions.

(GJDS) #188

As I mentioned previously, I try to separate speculation from accepted data - beyond this we can choose to believe - if we do not know, than that is where I leave discussions such as these.

(John Dalton) #189

I don’t. I’m of the impression that the age of the universe is well accepted. What I am saying is that it is unclear what physical state (or none) the universe arose from. Therefore, the age etc. of our physical reality is unclear. For the purpose of the argument in this thread, the latter facts are what is important.

Not here. Tell me that this is simply a Christian doctrine and the conversation is over for my part. Tell me that this is your view of cosmology: the same. Tell me that we’re talking about a logical necessity based on premises inconsistent with available evidence, which creates exactly as many problems as it solves, and I indeed cannot agree and “seek another explanation”.

I agree that at such points we must, at present at least, make do with belief.

(GJDS) #190

This is confusing. I think you need to be clear on a major point: do you accept that by giving the universe an age (a finite time) that you must necessarily accept this age comes with a beginning? If you do not, than your statements appear incoherent.

This is also ambiguous - it is physically necessary to consider a finite value of the age of the universe as beginning and coming to the present time. Other matters on how and why are just that, other matters.

Now if we use science to debate worldviews and theology, I too would not see the point of a debate, for the reasons we have given in previous posts.

Our present discussion is more on the physical meaning of “the age of the universe”. If we can agree on this, we would make progress in this thread.

(John Dalton) #191

I’m sorry, but have you read through the thread? Everything I’m saying is related to Craig’s arguments. For example, in a video that was posted in this thread, he explains that a specific definition of “beginning” is required for his argument. For you to use the word without any clarification above makes me wonder if you’ve followed the arguments in this thread. That could be the cause of your confusion.

Ditto. I don’t see what this has to do with what we’re talking about.

Here I can agree: the physical meaning of the age of the universe is the entire question. To me, that meaning is as yet unknown. What do you think it is?

(GJDS) #192

I thin this discussion has gone past its use-by date. Thanks for your thoughts on the subject (which seems to differ for us). :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #193

If I may respond to this question and I understand it properly, the physical meaning of the age of the universe is, When did the universe begin or when did matter, energy, time and space emerge?

I and it seems to me that the Big Bang Theory Official Web site think that the universe came from absolute nothing. @Korvexius I think agrees. Others think that there was something before such as quantum fields, membrane, or the laws of physics.

The Beginning is one of the few areas where Science, Philosophy, and Theology come together. This is not a problem except there are some who reject the possibility that Theology has any reality.

Science in the form of the Big Bang theory brings us to the Beginning, but cannot identify the Source of the universe. Theology can and does identify the Source of the universe as God. Philosophy is the discipline that can make the logical connection between God as the Source and the Big Bang.

Craig made a philosophical argument for God as the Creator, but it is short. I brought up the Big Bang which is the scientific argument, which does need the philosophical aspect. GJDS has made the theological argument. Put them all together and one has a comprehensive argument. The biggest problem would be if one denies the reality of God, which of course many do.


The Big Bang model can still incorporate the expanding/contracting model. The Big Bang model only talks about how the universe changed over time since it started expanding 13.7 billion years ago. It says nothing about where the singularity at the beginning of this expansion came from.

I don’t disagree that the age of our universe is 13.7 billion years. Where we disagree is on the speculation that the singularity that gave rise to our universe came from nothing and with the speculation that there was no spacetime prior to the beginning of our universe.

I had a beginning. Clouds have a beginning. Solar systems have a beginning. Atheists really don’t have a problem with beginnings.

Mixing religious beliefs with science usually isn’t a good mix.


You are under the false assumption that a beginning must be preceded by an absolute nothingness. I have a finite age and I have a beginning, yet I don’t think spacetime came into existence upon my conception.

It would appear that we all agree that our observable universe began as a singularity containing all of the space, time, and energy we can currently see and began expanding about 13.7 billion years ago.


When we say “universe” we mean “everything we can see”, or to put it another way we are talking about the observable universe. Due to horizon created by an expanding space we can’t say that our observable universe is everything that exists.

The classic analogy is the horizon caused by the curvature of the Earth. If you are out on the ocean you may see a handful of other ships, but there is no way that you can see the entire Earth because the Earth curves away. In fact, no matter where you are on the ocean you will observe that you are smack in the middle of your observable space with the horizon equidistant in all directions, and every other ship will observe the same. If the Earth were also expanding, and expanding at a rate faster than any ship could travel, then you would never see any other ships even if they exist. Of the ships you could see, they would all move away from you evenly, and all other ships would observe the same thing.

(Luca) #197

But if the big bang gave rise to space and time then the only possible answer is that maybe singularity had spacetime in it? If the singularity wasn’t infinite then spacetime didn’t exist yet if you say that the universe is all of space and time.

(Luca) #198

The universe is everything than could be? There cannot be a beyond?

this really boggles my mind lol.


The Big Bang gave rise to an expanding universe. The age that we give the universe is the time since it began expanding. The Big Bang says nothing about what gave rise to space and time since space and time were already present when the expansion began.


The universe is everything that we can see, and it is possible that there is something beyond the universe that we can’t currently see.

(Luca) #201

Wait i said it wrong. the big bang gave rise to space and time as we know it?
Does that concur with what you are saying?