The most certain and universal of all scientific principles is that of causality, or the law of cause and effect. The implications of this principle have been fought vigorously in the theological and philosophical disciplines, but there is no question of its universal acceptance in the world of experimental science, as well as in ordinary experience.
In ordinary experience, one knows intuitively that nothing happens in isolation. Every event can be traced to one or more events which preceded it and that, in fact, caused it. We ask: “How did this happen?” “What caused this?” “Where did this come from?” “When did it start?” Or, more incisively, “Why did this happen?”
When we try to trace the event to its cause, or causes, we find that we never seem to reach a stopping point. The cause of the event was itself caused by a prior cause, which was affected by a previous cause, and so on back.
Police investigators on an accident scene, for instance, use the principles of cause and effect every day to determine who was ultimately responsible and how it happened.
Eventually, we must face the question of the original cause—and uncaused First Cause.
A scientific experiment specifically tries to relate effects to causes, in the form of quantitative equations if possible. Thus, if one repeats the same experiment with exactly the same factors, then exactly the same results will be reproduced. The very basis of the highly reputed “scientific method” is this very law of causality—that effects are in and like their causes, and that like causes produce like effects. Science in the modern sense would be altogether impossible if cause and effect should cease.
This law inevitably leads to a choice between two alternatives: (1) an infinite chain of nonprimary causes (nothing ultimately responsible for all observable causes and effects); or (2) an uncaused primary Cause of all causes (the One absolute Cause that initiated everything).
There are two other “Universal Laws” that we see demonstrated in everything we examine in the world around us.
1. There is no new mass/energy coming into existence anywhere in the universe, and every bit of that original mass/energy is still here.
2. Every time something happens (an event takes place), some of the energy becomes unavailable.
The First Law tells us that matter (mass/energy) can be changed, but can neither be created nor destroyed. The Second Law tells us that all phenomena (mass/energy) continually proceed to lower levels of usefulness.
In simple terms, every cause must be at least as great as the effect that it produces—and will, in reality, produce an effect that is less than the cause. That is, any effect must have a greater cause.
When this universal law is traced backwards, one is faced again with the possibility that there is an ongoing chain of ever-decreasing effects, resulting from an infinite chain of nonprimary ever-increasing causes. However, what appears more probable is the existence of an uncaused Source, an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and Primary, First Cause.