Post Author: Bill Pratt
Everything around us is changing, moving from one state to another in time. My son was less than 5 feet tall two years ago, and now he is greater than 5 feet tall. The grass in my yard is growing every week so that I have to cut it. The paint on my house is fading.
Now, all of these things that are changing are moving from one state to another. What could move a thing from one state to another? It doesn’t seem like the thing itself could do that, all by itself.
Food, air, and water contribute to my son’s changing height. The sun and water grow the grass. The environment acts on the paint to cause it to fade. My son cannot be the sole explanation for his change, nor can the grass or paint change themselves. These things all have the potential for change, but there is always something external that acts on that potential to make the change occur.
It doesn’t stop there, though, because food, air, water, the sun, and the environment also need an explanation for why they change. They cannot actualize their own change either.
So, what we have is a universe full of changing things that each need an explanation for that change. Said another way, we have a universe full of potentialities, all of which need things to actualize them.
The universe, though, is the sum total of all these changing things. It is the sum total of all time, space, and matter. If everything in the universe is changing, then logically the universe is also changing. What, then, is the explanation for the universe changing? It cannot change itself, as we’ve seen. There must be something outside of it, and that something cannot be in time, in space, or material. The theist responds that God is outside time, space, and matter, and is therefore a great candidate for the explanation of the changing of the universe.
One last thing, if the explanation for the changing of the universe is also changing, then it also needs an explanation. But Christians have always held that God is unchanging. Therefore, God is the immaterial, nonspatial, eternal, and unchanging Source of all change.
Here is the argument in a syllogism:
- Everything that changes needs an explanation for that change outside of itself.
- The universe is changing.
- The universe needs an explanation of its change outside of itself.
Note: Credit for this form of the argument goes to Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli in their book, Handbook of Christian Apologetics.