Cosmological arguments are prime examples of the corrosiveness of apology. These are arguments by analogy. They state that, for a primary or non-contingent cause to participate in subsequent causal relations or contingencies, it must be like those subsequent causes or contingencies, though it is not a subsequent cause or contingent object itself. From this likeness, the arguments then deduce other qualities – purpose, intent, intelligence – as necessary precursors unique to the primary cause or non-contingent base. Such deductions are not valid. The ‘uncaused cause’ in question is, by definition, essentially unlike and independent of subsequent causes and contingencies. To examine the problem from another perspective, there is no way for us to make sense of the phrase, “before the beginning” or anything that follows it. The realm of possibilities is certainly wide open – one assertion is as valid as the next – but they all remain unjustified assertions. If God created something without being beholden to the dictates of causal relations himself, i.e. God was not in a specific location relative to the event, God’s identity was not altered by the event, the event took nothing from god, then can we claim to know what God did? Can we claim to say God ‘did’ anything as we understand ‘doing something’? What we are claiming is that a miracle occurred, and the claim that a miracle occurred is a hermetic statement. The problem with all theological apologies, as in the Cosmological ones, lies in the habit of deducing from analogies. The practice implies that there is not just an explanation from God, but that there is a science of God. It implies that there are things which we can deduce about God’s workings. It’s a tempting way to be. It seems so decisive and satisfyingly self-righteous. But it’s ultimately limiting, fearful and inconsistent. The above is why, in a nutshell, theologians resort to the sensus divinitatis, whose only explanation is – the sensus divinitatis. It is the only sensible option.
Uncaused Causes? (one more time…)