The Universe As A Whole Uncaused Philosophy
In order to even consider the question of how the universe was formed or "caused" one has to come to grips with the question, "Does everything have a beginning?" The concept of there being a beginning to everything argues that there must be an initial cause for that thing to come into existence, otherwise, using the universe itself as an example, it must have come into existence on its own.
Theists, philosophers, and scientists have debated this subject for centuries.
Still the question remains.
Was there an initial "first cause" that created the universe, or was the universe as a whole uncaused?
First cause, or the argument for existence, is at the root of the cosmological argument for the existence of God in that the inescapable end result is that the cosmological argument acts as a strong proponent for theists belief that the universe was created by God.
One of the premises that give strength to this argument rests on the issue philosophical platform that there cannot be an infinite regress or causal chain going backwards.
At some point there has to be a beginning; there has to be, what Aristotle calls, a "first actualizer" (the initial thing or event that begins the chain of events that culminate in the creation of, in this case, the universe).
In other words, motion, a change of state from potentiality to actuality, becomes a critical factor and needs to occur to start the chain of events.
According to Aristotle, "An infinite regress of actualizers is impossible (for the whole series would not be actualized unless there is a first actualizer)." Or, stated simply, when you investigate (regress) the history of any chain of events, you eventually arrive at the first event in the chain that caused the rest.
This is what Aristotle, and others, refer to as being the First Actualizer.
If it can be agreed that there has to be an initial mover or actualizer, the question then becomes, what is the nature of that first actualizer?
Augustine's approach to the issue of this first mover was from the perspective of God being that first mover.
His Argument for Truth offers that there is intelligence at the core of "immutable truths": "There are immutable truths common to all human beings (such as math, existence, and thought).
There must be a cause for these truths." He suggests that the source of these immutable truths must come from a superior or immutable mind; which argues for the existence of God.
But, is Augustine's approach consistent with the Cosmological Argument? There seems to be no disconnect here because the cosmological argument is specific about there not being an uncaused-cause.
And both arguments culminate with the same result, that God must necessarily exist.
So, is it safe to agree to the results of their arguments that God is the First Cause? Maybe not.
According to David Hume, "There is no way to establish the principle of causality." Hume expresses his argument with examples such as: "We know B occurs after A but not because of A." Or, The sun rises after the rooster crows but not because the rooster crows." And concludes with, "The cosmological argument is built on a post hoc fallacy." Hume also argues that "the universe as a whole does not need a cause; only the parts do." This statement suggests that the universe existed before movement and that the initial mover was within the universe and caused by a part of the universe.
Without a doubt, Hume is not a proponent of God being a first mover.
However, Hume's argument lacks a definitive response to address the issue of the existence of the universe; if there is no first mover, how was the universe itself caused?
Hume's argument points out the divide between believers (theists) and non-believers.
Both sides argue that there is an initial mover, however, each side offers a different suggestion as to where that mover exists.
For the agnostic, that first movement is within the universe and is caused by something within the universe; which argues the universe as a whole uncaused.
For the theist, the first mover exists beyond the universe and caused the universe itself to exist.
They posit God as the first actualizer and that their argument is substantiated by the Bible.
The divide becomes a question of one's belief in God.
Is it possible to submit that these two opposing views might have something in common that may answer the question of the beginning of the universe, one way or the other? From a purely objective view, the answer has to be, yes.
I submit the following supposition.
If, as Hume suggests, the universe is uncaused and that something within the universe, one of its parts, initiated the action that created the world, then there is no answer to the original question or to the question, how did the part(s), if you will, come into existence and create movement? As long as the universe is viewed from an inside-the-universe perspective, that question cannot be answered.
Speculating on the creation of the universe requires that an outside-the-universe perspective be at least considered.
Once one admits to that proposition, then he also admits to the possibility that the universe was caused, and not as a whole, uncaused.
However, as long as there are believers and non-believers, it will remain a circular argument; one that provides only a philosophical result.
It is only reasonable to consider the universe as a whole uncaused if one stops short of questioning the beginning of the universe?