The Quantum Vacuum and God’s Existence
A common contention to the existence of God is that the assumption – whatever begins to exist has a cause – is false, and therefore invalidates the cosmological argument for the existence of God. This contention has arisen due to the apparent observations in the quantum vacuum that sub-atomic events behave spontaneously without any causes. In light of this common contention there are some good objections we can raise:
1. Firstly, the view that some events just happen, also known as indeterminism, for no reason at all is impossible to prove conclusively. Our inability to identify a cause does not necessarily mean that there is no cause.
2. Secondly, there are deterministic perspectives adopted by physicists to explain these so-called spontaneous sub-atomic events. For instance in the 1950s David Bohm showed there was an alternative formulation of quantum theory that is fully deterministic in its basic structure.  Commenting on Bohm’s theory Polkinghorne explains,
“In Bohm’s theory there are particles which are as unproblematically objective and deterministic in their behaviour as Sir Isaac Newton himself might have wished them to be. However, there is also a hidden wave, encoding information about the whole environment. It is not itself directly observable, but it influences in a subtle and highly sensitive manner the motions of the particles in just such a way as to induce the experimentally observed probabilistic effects.”
What this means is that the apparent indeterminism present at the quantum level can be explained deterministically by this hidden wave that produces observed indeterministic or probabilistic effects.
However, since these two interpretations of quantum theory are empirically equivalent the choice between them will not be based on a scientific decision but on a metaphysical one. This leads to the philosophical objection to this contention.
3. Thirdly, from a philosophical perspective it is extremely difficult for these physicists (who adopt an indeterministic explanation of sub-atomic events) to justify their conclusions. This is because without the concept of causality we will not have the mental framework to understand our observations and experiences. In philosophical terms causality is a priori, which means knowledge we have independent of any experience. We know causality is true because we bring it to all our experience, rather than our experience bringing it to us. It is like wearing yellow-tinted glasses, everything looks yellow not because of anything out there in the world, but because of the glasses through which we are looking at everything. Take the following example into consideration; imagine you are looking at the White House in Washington DC. Your eyes may wonder to the door, across the pillars, then to the roof and finally over to the front lawn. Now contrast this to another experience, you are on the river Thames in London and you see a boat floating past. What dictates the order in which you had these experiences? When you looked at the White House you had a choice to see the door first and then the pillars and so on. However, with the boat you had no choice as the front of the boat was the first to appear.
The point to take here is that you would not have been able to make the distinction that some experiences are ordered by yourself and others are ordered independently, unless we had the concept of causality. In absence of causality our experience would be very different from the way it is. It would be a single sequence of experiences only: one thing after another. So to accept that sub-atomic events do not correspond with causality would be tantamount of denying our own experience!
 See D. Bohm and B. J. Hiley. The Undivided Universe. Routledge, 1993.
 John Polkinghorne. Science and Religion in Quest of Truth. SPCK. 2011, page 39