Can something begin to exist outside of time?

You know how I said I'd never, ever, ever blog about William Lane Craig again? Me neither. But I'm pretty sure I said something similar, like that I'm not going to retread the same old arguments a million different times. Y'know, like Craig's pet argument, the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I've already made it my bitch on several occasions (exhibits a, b, c, d). But there's one aspect of the second premise – "The universe began to exist" – that I was pondering today.

In the semi-recent Discovery special Did God Create the Universe?, Hawking addressed the old cosmological argument not by talking about his No Boundary proposal (see A Brief History of Time), but simply by suggesting that it's nonsensical to suggest that God created the universe because you can only talk about something beginning in reference to time. If the universe was non-existent, so was time, so the universe can't 'begin' to exist. Sounds reasonable to me. But wait! My favorite apologist punching page objects:
The claim seems to be that since the initial cosmological singularity is a boundary point to spacetime rather than a point of spacetime, therefore there was no time at which God could have created the singularity. But this conclusion follows only if we equate time with physical measures of time.
Stupid scientists, trying to understand stuff by using reality. What other measures of time might there be, Professor Craig?
A sequence of mental events alone is sufficient to generate relations of earlier and later, wholly in the absence of any physical events. So if God were counting down to creation, “. . . , 3, 2, 1, Let there be light!” God would exist in time even if He were not in physical time
Mental events are the products of neurological activity in the physical brain, so I'm not sure what Craig is thinking here. But let's take that last sentence, because I think it illustrates what he's really getting at: "God would exist in time even if He were not in physical time."

Clearly this sweater is the product of non-physical causality.
In some of my past critiques of the Kalam, I mentioned the inanity of "non-physical causality". Now we can add "non-physical time" to the mix. One of my biggest criticisms of the argument is the way Craig plays fast and loose with the meanings of words. What exactly he means by "cause", "thing", "begin", etc., all varies ever so slightly depending on which meaning he finds most convenient.

Here's an important rule of logic: You cannot use conjecture as the basis for the premise of a logical proof. Logic has to be based on reality. I'll be charitable and agree with Craig that "non-physical causality" and "non-physical time" might exist. It's certainly possible. But... so what? Nobody's ever observed either one. Both are entirely speculative. And you can't include either as part of the definitions of "cause" and "beginning" in the premises of your arguments – partly because they're conjectural, but also because they're what you're trying to prove! Another important rule of logic: you cannot assume your conclusion (not even part of it!) in your premises. In other words, you don't get to assume that  "non-physical time" exists just so you can prove that the universe was created in it.


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