1. God caused it
2. There is no explanation
I’ve often been accused, simply on the grounds that I’m a theist, of attempting to halt inquiry. This strikes me as odd, of course, in that those making the accusation are generally of the position that “there is no explanation” or “we don’t know, and should therefore change the subject” is the correct answer to this issue. Surely, I could be forgiven for thinking that as inquiry goes, there isn’t much here to be halted.
But this doesn’t really defend the theist, and I think the more important point here is this: “God caused it” is not a halt to inquiry at all. To be certain, it is not a material explanation. It doesn’t further science to say that God did something without also saying how, in terms of matter and physical laws, he brought it about.
Still, that doesn’t mean that this is not an explanation, let alone a halt to all explanation. To insist that all explanation is scientific is to embrace materialism, which presumes that God does not exist. To use this as an argument against God, then, is wholly circular.
Rather, I find that most who argue that “God caused it” is a halt to inquiry are completely unaware that there is more to be said and discovered about that. I’ve even been told that God is a vague concept. I think this is mostly owing to our current poverty in theology (to which I cannot claim to be immune). The idea of God has been discussed, defined, argued over, and refined for millennia, to say that this is a vague answer or a “semantic cop-out” is simply to announce one’s own ignorance of the history of western academics.
How did God cause the universe?
What does that say about his traits?
Has he created other universes?
These are all interesting questions, and, so long as one is willing to let others ask and attempt to answer them, it can’t be said that one is halting inquiry by proposing God as a cause of the universe.
To halt inquiry is, literally, to stop asking. It seems to me that the dismissive way some suggest that we don’t know what caused the universe, and shouldn’t try to look at what that might be, are attempting to stop inquiry. But (falsely) suggesting that one’s opponent wants to stop asking questions right after concluding God acted is no reason to stop asking just before this.
Of course, most who make this argument are (in my experience) fond of saying that they are “okay with not knowing”. But it is hard to see how this is any different than saying one is “okay with halting inquiry” or “okay with being ignorant”.