My friend is an atheist and a strong believer in science. Arguing in favour of God's existence, I pointed him to the various marvels, intricacies, and complexities of earth and even the universe and questioned what their cause could have been. While he had no answer, he did build on my own. He said that if God was the cause of everything, who is God's cause? "Why can't there be a cyclical chain of causes or an infinite number of causes? To apply a universal theory of causation and then suddenly stop it at the 'First Cause' is inconsistent."
How can we use t he argument that everything should have a cause, and then say that t hese causes should just stop at one point (i.e., Krsna)? How does that make sense? (Anonymous)
Our reply: Consciousness is an eternal reality. Everything is produced from the Supreme Consciousness. The Supreme Consciousness has no cause. Where does your friend say consciousness comes from? If the brain produces it, what is it about the brain that does so? Under what conditions is consciousness produced? Can you make a conscious machine?
Scientists have not explained consciousness, but the Vedic literature offers a whole science of consciousness. The phenomenal world emanates from the Supreme consciousness, Krsna. Both Krsna and we souls, who are part of Krsna, are eternal. We are not material products caused by other material products. It is not unreasonable to say that there is a first cause. With our imperfect senses, we can trace causes back only so far and cannot tell whether there is or is not a first cause. So a first cause is possible.
The important point is that the Vedas teach that consciollsness is the source of matter, not that matter is the source of consciousness. It is difficult to explain how matter could produce consciousness, so it is possible that consciousness is an irreducible principle, as the Vedas say it is.
On the other hand, how can your friend prove there is an infinite number of causes or a cycle of causes? Proposing a theory and offering no evidence to support it is unscientific. Krsna consciousness is scientific because by performing devotional service you can realize Krsna, but your friend's speculation cannot be demonstrated. It is merely a guess and should not be presumed to be accurate.