Have You Heard of the “Borde, Guth, Vilenkin” Theory?

This post will be of most interest to my apologetics readers and physics geeks. In a classic argument for the existence of God like the Kalām cosmological argument you will discuss the evidence that our universe did at some point begin to exist. William Lane Craig is a one of the premier proponents of this argument and uses it often in his debates with atheists. Craig employs both philosophical and scientific arguments to support the premise that the universe did begin to exist. Contemporary physics has made incredible advances in the past generation and offers considerable support for the universe’s beginning. One attempt to avoid this conclusion has been for some to claim that since physics cannot describe the first moments of the universe and therefore we can’t conclude that it did have a beginning. But in 2003 three physicists, Arvin Borde, Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin, provided a theory which states that “anyuniverse which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a space-time boundary.” A major advantage of the theory is “that it holds regardless of the physical description of the universe prior to the Planck time.” (These quotes are from William Lane Craig’s website which you can find here.)

In the video below you will see William Lane Craig employing this in a debate with Peter Millican. The video also includes apologist Robert Spitzer on the same topic. In the debate footage Millican attempts to circumvent the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin theory to which Craig responds. If you enjoy this type of discussion Craig coauthored an essay in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology in which he addresses the philosophical arguments and James Sinclair addresses the scientific evidence. (Be advised: this book is an advanced discussion of many of these issues and requires considerable knowledge on the part of the reader.) In the article Sinclair addresses the various attempts that have been made to get around the Borde, Guth, Vilenken theory which he groups into three categories: 1) Closed Timelike Curves, 2)Violation of Strong Energy Condition (Eternal Inflation), and 3) Falsity of General Relativity (Quantum Gravity). See the above link to the Craig website for a nice summary of Sinclair’s points.


About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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