The Instigator
Con (against)
13 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

The finitude of the past of the universe does not necessitate that the universe had a creator

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,354 times Debate No: 53055
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)



I assert the finitude of universe requires an deity like agent to bring about it's creation.

Burden of proof will be shared.

1st Round Pro can produce his argument.

4th Round will be only rebuttals and closing statement.

I appreciate the challenger accepting and look forward to his wit and understanding.


Assuming The A-Theory Of Time

If something comes into being, then this entails that prior to the first state of that thing existing, that thing was out of being. This seems like a self-evident truth. For example, we know I came into being because prior to the first state I existed, I was out of being. I existed in 1987, but not in 1986; there is a transition. Basically, what I am saying is that there must be a transition from "out of being", to "in being" for the term "came into being" to have any meaning in context. I will concede that most things that have a finite past do come into being, as there was a point prior to it's first state at which it was out of being. With the universe however, it is self-evidently possible that there is no "prior" to it's first state at all. According to our best science, the universe is around 13. 7 billion years old[1]. This entails that 13.7 billion years ago was the universe's first state (whether it be a singularity at t=0, or something else). What if there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe all that time ago? Then there could be no "prior" to the first state of the universe at which the universe did not exist, meaning that we cannot say it came into being if that was the case; that would be a harsh misnomer. It seems at least possible that there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago, at which there was no universe (whether a temporally prior, or an atemporally prior), simple Modal intuition tells us this. It is possible that "the buck stops" as they say, at the first state of the universe at t=0. It would then not make sense to ask whether there was nothing or something prior to the universe, as that question would assume there was a "prior" to the universe in the first place.

In the diagram below, I will use "e" to describe the universe. (i) shows a universe with a finite past that comes into being (as there is a "prior" to it at which the universe is out of being), and (ii) shows a universe with a finite past that doesn't come into being (as there is no "prior" to it at which the universe is out of being).

Since both are self-evidently metaphysically conceivable scenarios, then it cannot be true that (i) is necessary assuming a finite past of the universe. However, (i) has to be necessary assuming a finite past in order for Con's position to be true; there is nothing about a "prior" to the universe that makes it metaphysically necessary. The problem is, for the universe to have come into being, there must have been a "prior" to it in which it was out of being. We have no reason to think that a "prior" to the universe had to have been the case. Thus, it is more than reasonable to conclude that I established the resolution assuming the A-Theory of time.

Assuming The B-Theory of Time

If the ontology entailed by the B-Theory Of Time is true, then nothing at all comes into being (and this holds even if the universe as a finite past). This is because The Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago would just represent the edge of a 4d or n+1d space-time block that exists tenselessly eternally. If it exists eternally, then it self-evidently cannot come into being. As Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig states:

"From start to finish, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived." - William Lane Craig[2]

This is not even controversial. If the B-Theory of time is true, then the universe did not come into being even if it has a finite past. To make this easier to conceptualize, William Lane Craig uses the analogy of a yard stick to show that a finite past of the universe (which extends back 13.7 billion years ago) doesn't necessitate that it came into being 13.7 billion years ago assuming B-Theory.

"On the B-Theory of time, nothing really comes into existence. The universe 'begins to exist' on the B-Theory only in the sense that a yard stick begins to exist at the first inch; it just has an edge... The yard stick doesn't come into existence at the first inch." - William Lane Craig


I have proven that a finite past of the universe doesn't automatically mean that the universe came into being. Why? Well, it is possible that there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago (its possible because it entails no metaphysical or logical contradictions or problems).If there was no "prior" to the universe 13.7 billion years ago, then the universe did not come into being, even with a finite past, as there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe at which it did not exist. The universe could very well have a "prior" to it, I am not arguing that it does not. However, the very mere possibility of it not having a "prior" is enough to establish the resolution. Another reason that a finite past of the universe doesn't necessarily entail that the universe came into being is that the B-Theory of time could be true. If this theory is true, then time is tenseless; and nothing comes into being. This holds whether or not the universe has a finite past or not.

Due to my two arguments, the resolution has clearly been established.


[2] The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, pp. 183-184
Debate Round No. 1


Salam, hello, hola, shalom, to our readers and Rational_Thinker9119. I want to thank my opponent for agreeing to debate this issue and I appreciate the immediate use of this argument. In hind site I wish we had 10 rounds to investigate this together. It was an argument I saw presented in a previous debate. Rational_Thinker's challenger at that time conceded rather early on the grounds they lacked sufficient understanding to give worthy rebuttals. I found the case interesting and I think deserves a proper investigation in this forum.

Rebuttal 1 The metaphysical is necessary to describe this event

On the surface my opponent's case appears semantic[1]. I summarize it as: The question of what happened “before” the Big Bang is an impossible question, because time, the temporal dimension did not exist until the Big Bang. Therefore there was no “before” states or events to consider. They by definition would have to exist outside of time. Existing outside of time would be metaphysical [2].

My opponent rightfully did not refer to the big bang as the beginning to the temporal dimension. He kept his argument to point in dealing only with the temporal dimension. The finite of the universe includes the 3 spatial and the temporal dimension, so the consideration of all average dimensions is within scope of this debate. He uses the same argument outlined in my above summary for both the A-theory and B-theory of time[3]. It is interesting to note that if you take the chart for B-theory (ii) you can overlay it upon A-theory (i). It was thorough to investigate both theories. The premise and conclusion apply to the T0 event and "before". The T0 event is different in B-theory. In that B-theory being a more deterministic[4] view of time, eliminates cause and effect relationships. Some have used B-theory to scientifically back the philosophy of predestination. So the event does not need a before. Given if all events from past, present, future are real it follows that when a pool que ball hits another pool ball, the object ball did not move because of this event. The phrasing is that T0 the object ball was at point A and at T+1 the object ball was at point B. Therefore I understand arguing from each theory.

However, the real question is does the modal reasoning, cause and effect, in the scenario of at the beginning of space-time require a metaphysical understanding? I argue it does. That very question has been raised about the modal intuition being adequate to describe metaphysical attributes. Such as the action of thinking. Then where does an epiphany[5] come from? Materialism and modal intuition is forced to say there are no epiphanies that originate spontaneously. Tho that is debatable as well [6].

Burden of proof is shared so I feel I have to make this case. If my opponent feels my reasoning is subject to many rebuttals that would lead this debate off topic, I am willing for a mutual concession scored as tie and a new debate started with Does materialism reasoning allow for the existence of the metaphysical? Certainly there may be better paraphrasing.

Example 1 The 2 dimensional measurement of a 3 dimensional object with a 2 dimensional instrument

If you take a basketball and want to measure the length of it's seam with a straight metal ruler, you run into problems. When you lay the ruler along the seam you will read 0 inches and be unable to measure the basketballs seam. when you move the ruler you can have the indication of 3 inches but lose the zero. in affect you lose the reference point from which you are measuring. The result is erroneous. I call this the stiff ruler dilemma. If the ruler is wood (slightly more flexible) you can push the end down and curve the ruler along the seam. You can now accurately measure about an inch from zero, but readings past that become increasingly less accurate. If you push the ends too far, you will break the ruler.

I call this the "Rule of Rules": Rules are like guidelines, they can bend so much for increasingly less accuracy until they break. When they break, it is instant and utterly catastrophic. There is no single snap shot or picture you can take of the ruler that will produce a correct reading on the ruler.

There is a way around this. You can lay the ruler down and roll the seam along it. Marking where you began and ultimately finish again. This requires that you utilize 2 additional dimensions for your measurement to be accurate. A dimension of time and a spatial dimension along the vector of travel the rolling basketball takes. Interesting enough if this is filmed, and you look at each slide of the film, you will see the erroneous snap shots as described above coalescing to produce a correct measurement.

Rebuttal 2 Failure of current experience to describe the Time=0 event.

If the above logic is sound then I move on to clarify the correlation to our reality. The Big Bang Theory and (the charts my opponent presents) do not start at Time=0. The vertical line in my opponents charts more accurately should be T+1 plank second. This is because all kind of issues arise at T=0 [7]. Formulas shatter, axioms make no sense, it is catastrophic to understanding. The "Rule of Rules" in full effect. To illustrate a simple formula. Speed is distance over time. At T=0 there was no time, so time =0. There was no spatial dimensions so distance =0. This means any speed measured at the universes T=0 event would be x 0 miles / 0 hours. 0/0 is mathematical erroneous.
I don't think my opponent was playing semantics with his argument. I think the words failed because tense is irrelevant at T=0. I think his presumption fails because other extremely well established laws of nature and formulas fail at T=0. That failure is not an indication of a lack in a creation event. It is a lack of understand on our part. A lack of knowledge to sufficiently describe such an event.


So to properly describe the event of the universe being created would require the addition of extra-dimensional descriptors. As was the case with the basketball. So I reason, A reasonable mind would have to consider the metaphysical in such events. The reasoning mind does not have to make assertions about the nature of these extra dimensions. Merely consider they're possible interactions, constraints, or context may impact the observable.

I intend to shoulder my burden of proof of how this necessitates a creator in a latter round. But I feel I should pause and give my opponent the chance to refute any claims so I can address such rebuttals in the explanation I will deliver.

[2] definition 1.1
[4] definition 1.b; 2
[ 6]



My opponent claims that my argument is that because there is no "before" The Big Bang, that asking about causal states of affairs "before" The Big Bang is meaningless. The problem was that this was not really my argument. My argument is that there is nothing impossible about the first state of the universe being being that which there is no "metaphysically prior" to. It is possible that there is no ontological room for a cause.

Confusion Regarding The Charts

Con claims that (ii) describes B-Theory, and (i) describes A-Theory. This is false, they both were meant to describe A-Theory, as the chart was under the A-Theory headline. The difference between the two is that only in one does the universe come into being, assuming A-Theory, even if the universe has a finite past.

Does B-Theory Eliminate Cause And Effect Relationships?

"In that B-theory being a more deterministic[4] view of time, eliminates cause and effect relationships"

The above is false. Under B-Theory there would still be causal relations, but they would be tenseless.

Modal Intuition And Epiphanies?

This section from my opponent seemed to have very little relevance to the debate, as they don't rebut any of my arguments or support Con's case.

Example 1 The 2 dimensional measurement of a 3 dimensional object with a 2 dimensional instrument

All my opponent did was give an example of how a measuring device is not equipped to measure something unless something about it changes. At this point, Con has not tied this into an argument against the resolution. So, there is no point in rebutting it until this occurs.

Rebuttal 2 Failure of current experience to describe the Time=0 event.

Even if there does not have to be a t=0 like my opponent states, there is a still a first state of the universe which is the first interval of time. My argument is that may very well be where the "buck stops" metaphysically. Therefore, asking for a metaphysical explanation would be futile if there is no room for one! This has been my argument from the beginning, and Con straw-manned it without responding sufficiently. Basically, the universe couldn't have been created if there is not metaphysical room for a creator. Con would have to show that the first state of the universe is not a state that is there is no "metaphysically prior to". As he has not done that, he has not met his burden of proof.


My opponent's whole argument begs the question and assumes that the first state of the universe is something that needs explaining or describing. My argument is that there doesn't seem to be any reason to think that is the case. It is prima facie possible that the explanations stop at the very first interval of time, or state of the universe.


Most of my opponent's sources in his last rounds were definitions, I could do the same to gain source points but I feel the voters are smart enough not to give out source points for definitions when that is clearly just to "fill space". I should only be docked source points if my argument required them and I lacked them. I do not think that is the case.
Debate Round No. 2



R Straw-Man

No Straw Man was implied. I apologize if I misconstrued his argument. It has been used for in a argument based on semantics. I was merely covering my bases. The rest of my arguments such as the Basketball example was to show that there is ontological room for a creator and that to properly describe the creation of the universe one must accept a casual effect from outside of this universe.

R Confusion regarding the charts

I concede. Chart (ii) looks like a good description for B-theory and I admit the confusion is on my part.

R B-theory Eliminate Cause and effect Relationships

I see my opponent meant B-theory in the presenterism as opposed to the Eternalism view. Being now clarified an investigation in how eternalism can negate cause and effect is irrelevant.

R Modal Intuition

I was arguing that a metaphysical cause is necessary.


I completely reject that the sources were just to fill space. I'm sure the voters know the difference between definitions and content. Which still leaves 2. I don't cite for space. I included all of them because I don't want my opponent wasting time arguing over a misunderstanding of a word. This matter could be subjective as some voters have suggested to include more sources for such arguments. I leave it to the voters to decide on sources I won't tell them what to ignore.

The last 2 rebuttals will be evident in the following arguments.

My opponent is asserting, "poof" the universe exists. And that there is no reason to think that action requires a cause or is subject to any reality.

The idea that the universe was caused by the interactions of a multiverse or extra-dimensional membrane is not new. Many scientist have gone in different directions. The holographic being this 3 dimension is founded on 2 dimensions. There is also a proponent that states this 3 dimension is the event horizon to a 4 dimensional black whole. So the acceptance of a metaphysical space that produces the observed universe is not an unreasonable stance to take.

My opponent asserts according to the best science the universe is 13.7 billion years old. But why even believe that. If the universe "poof" into existence as a closed system with no "metaphysical" outside casual influence then there is nothing stooping the universe from spontaneously existing 5 seconds ago. The universe came into existence with all the quantum states to produce the appearance of 13.7 billion year old age and all the quantum states to account for false memories of what you think you were doing one week ago or yesterday. Occam's razor is a tool to find the simplest situation, because that tends to b the correct answer. It is not a measure of whether in reality that situation or true or not because it does not infer this from the evidence just the amount of assumptions or lack of evidence.

Given if the universe popped into existence with the least amount of assumptions for quantum states, then this situation is only met by the beginning universe. When the universe had no time or spatial dimensions and the quantum state was the same through out. Even more so all the matter and energy in the universe was a singularity and had the properties of a Bose-Einstein condensate. This is the most likely time of spontaneous existence.

The B-theory of time can be described as being the interactions between quantum states. The illusion of the passage of time is from those interactions propagating through the universe.[1] [2] I think this view is supported by the Wheeler-Dewitt equation, which has no temporal integer. If this homogeneous Bose-Einstein condensate is a closed system then it would remain in such a state "indefinitely". As stated earlier for this state to change and transform into the present universe a quantum change must occur. In fact good evidence supports that the universal singularity was driven into expansion by a quantum fluctuation.

This quantum fluctuation would have to be greater than possible to arise from quantum perturbations so as not to be negated by the fluctuation-dissipation theorem. The evidence for the propagation of this wave can be seen in things like the gravitational ripples of the CMB, as well as the temperature differences in the CMB. If this force erupted from inside the Bose-Einstein like condensate of the universe then it would be symmetrical and rather even in its distribution. The observations say otherwise. Which is why explanations involving extra universes and membranes (like M-theory) are necessary to accurately describe the creation event of the universe. This is like measuring the basket ball.

In the next round after answering rebuttals I will discuss how this force is related to being evidence for a creator.



Rational_Thinker9119 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I extend my arguments and hope my opponent is doing well.


Rational_Thinker9119 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Tweka 7 years ago
Why you don't use an arrow of time.
Posted by tahir123 7 years ago
I agree with the bellow
Posted by Dishoungh 7 years ago
Think of it this way, everything is caused directly or indirectly by someone or something. Nothing happens because they feel like it. You don't see trees or buildings fall to the ground because they feel like it. God is the embodiment of that someone or something.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by tahir123 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: The universe must have a Creator
Vote Placed by lannan13 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.

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