I'm sure you know better than to just take Hugo at his word, but not everyone reading here will share that idea. And before I begin, I want to say that I can understand you not accepting some or even most of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. I get that. But to go further and throw out the existence of a Creator and by implication what we know about Jesus, well, to me at least that doesn't make sense. It's like ignoring what Jesus taught about Himself because people like me are lousy examples of what He taught. Anyhow - to Hugo's replies.
“ It implies your conclusion that God did not begin to exist and that he is thus uncaused.”
The statement stands, “Whatever begins to exist has a cause for it’s beginning to exist AND an explanation of how it began to exist.”
If you can think of any exceptions, this would be a good place to state them and explain them.
Either matter / energy is eternal (which we know cannot be true) or the Cause of matter / energy is eternal. Nothing material just pops into existence uncaused out of nothing. "Oh look!" A Zebra in my living-room." You probably know this Bret but as is evidenced by Hugo’s comments, that’s not true for everyone.
Some atheists, and I see this includes Hugo, think themselves quite clever by asking the absurd and incoherent questions:
What caused this eternal Being (God) to begin to exist? Or
When did this eternal Being (God) begin to exist?
"[...]The material universe began to exist out of literally nothing.
If space and time did not exist then neither did your infinite density with a mass equal to that of the entire universe. It did not exist because there was no place for it to exist. Nothing material with no space and no time; nothing mathematical, nothing gravitational - nothing.
“Then, you reach a point where you start to define the "currently unknown cause of the universe":”
It’s a process of elimination Hugo. If nothing material existed then the cause was immaterial. You say this is a false dichotomy but refuse to give any other options other than to say, "I don't know." Well, yes, whenever we reject the correct answer we must say, "I don't know."
“Not scientific means personal, with a big 'P'?”
No, by not scientific I mean that at one point, nothing material / matter / energy nor the laws of physics or anything for these laws to act upon existed. That's what I mean by the cause of the beginning of the universe not being scientific.
Then, in an instant everything material existed. Something purposely caused that to happen. Matter / energy or the material does not possess the property or characteristic of purpose or plan. Something external to and transcendent to matter decided to bring it into existence. Only Something personal carries the characteristic of purpose.
As for the capital P personal, I happen to think that a Being that is eternal, immaterial or Spirit (not spirituality which describes our interaction with the Spirit), that is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent deserves a capital P.
And while I’m on the subject I think that an event that as far as science knows has happened only once (I’m not talking about a gravitational or mathematical singularity), in which everything material, including the laws that govern matter (including the first and second laws of thermodynamics) came from nothing in an instant is a working definition of a "event singularity" with a capital S.
Your protests about my explanations being too simplistic suggests that you think we’d get further sitting around describing how the Planck threshold is characterized by the Planck length: (–hG/c3).? 10–33cm; the Planck time: (h–G/c5). ? 10–44 s; and the Planck density: c5/ h–G/2 ? 1093 g/cm3. All these magnitudes are constructed out of fundamental constants: velocity of light c, Planck’s constant –h, and the Newtonian gravitational constant G.
It reminds me of the arrogance of newbies in collage sitting around in the lounge trying to impress, not just each other but mostly themselves with how clever they can sound. In fact it sounds exactly like you, Hugo. “How much math have you studied? I’ll bet I’ve studied more.” Gag!
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made from what is unseen so that people are without excuse.”
“your reasoning is flawed and dependant on your acceptance of the conclusion a priori.”
Are you suggesting that, for example, police who walk into a house and observe a dead man on the floor, and another man standing over the body with a gun in his hand and blood spatters on his face and clothes who says, “I did it,” are not allowed to identify this person as someone they believe shot and killed the deceased, and THEN look for evidence that either rules in or rules out their belief? They must somehow ignore the body, the man with the gun and the confession and only look for extraneous evidence that leads them back to the body and the man with the gun?
Because it sounds like you’re trying to tell us that that’s what you do and I for one don’t believe it.
The reason that I cannot rule out a Creator God is because the evidence that I present confirms my belief that such a Being exists. I happen to think that my belief and awareness of the evidence came roughly at the same time but to me it does not matter - the One confirms the other and visa versa.
Not only that, but the evidence that I present rules out an infinitely old material universe or the final material universe of an infinite number of previous universes.
I understand that you believe something different but that belief is most certainly not grounded in what we know scientifically.