Did the Universe have a beginning? Is there a necessary being?

Essay by seanlvn November 2007

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It is in my humble opinion that neither did the universe have a beginning, nor is there a necessary being. This belief, as championed by Bacon, is in opposition to that of Aquinas, who believes that although the universe did not have a beginning, there is a necessary being. It is also in opposition to Albert the Great’s belief that the universe had a beginning and has a necessary being. And it is counter to Bonaventure and the belief that the universe had a beginning but no necessary being exists.

As for the argument that the universe did not have a beginning, the rationale behind my belief is that for the universe to have had a beginning, the Law of Conservation of Energy and Matter would be contradicted, thereby resulting in a paradox. This discord leaves me with the latter belief—that the universe must have not had an existence.

To elaborate on the previous statement, the Law of Conservation of Energy and Matter is a scientific postulate stating that matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but that the two just change in form. Thus when paper burns, it is not destroyed but rather converted into a gaseous compound through the addition of oxygen. The relationship between this law and the fact that the universe could not have had a beginning is that for the universe to have had a beginning, something would have had to be created from nothing—spacetime. Since it is an accepted law of physics that this could not happen, I am of the opinion that the universe was eternal and therefore did not have a beginning—as proposed, or rather promoted by, Bacon.

To address the second proposition, I believe that there is not a necessary being. Contrary to popular belief, I do not believe that a god exists and that there must be a supreme being in order to explain the workings of the universe. Many a people are convinced that the universe could not have come about without a god, and that miracles cannot be explained by science, and so on and so forth. I'm a fervent believer that science has logical explanations for all these events, and that it is perfectly sound to not believe in a necessary being. I also feel that there is little to no proof for the existence of a god, and therefore cannot base my way of life on a leap of faith.