Donald, the first problem right off the bat is the assumption that anything can ever
be proved using logic. Logic, and the language used to express it, can be a neat and tidy tautology if articulated well enough -- but if it's a tautology, and therefore without any link to external verifiability, it can be simultaneously logically
sound and yet false
in the real world. Or more accurately, its logical soundness has nothing to do with its truth or falsehood in the real world.
Next, as has been true with all god proofs in history (which was a major project during the Middle Ages), there are always assumptions embedded into the proof that are necessary to the proof but are not necessarily sound unto themselves.
Some assumptions in your essay:
1. "I think it can be safely asserted that we all accept the existence of the phenomenon of cause and effect."
This is NOT something that can be safely exerted except metaphysically. Notwithstanding colloquial use of those words, there is NOT a physical phenomenon of "cause" or "effect". There are interactions and there is a transfer of energy, but to organize it as cause and effect is physically and logically arbitrary and incoherent.
2. "here is the rub: If the past, present and future all exist contemporaneously, and if by definition a cause must precede its effect, then how could the cause in this example have preceded its effect when the baby and his or her parents exist contemporaneously and eternally?"
You're not only in error about the nature of cause and effect in physical terms, but as I understand it our mudern understanding of physics does not
state that past, present, and future are simultaneous. It states that time relating two different objects is different, it's variable based on their relative position, velocity, and mass, and time is not fixed like a grid throughout the universe.
3. Quite simply, a cause must precede its effect within existence
NO. Potentiating conditions must exist for a sequentially discernable new conditions to arise. That's it. Those are internal conditions, not external agents. If the Big Bang happened, that's because in the moment before it happened the potentiating conditions existed within whatever singularity existed at the time.
4. Dynamic forces cannot exist within a stagnant universe. To argue otherwise would be a contradiction in terms. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the dynamic force that forged our now static universe via causes and effects (i.e., the laws of physics) must have come from without
Here's where I think your argument really unravels. First, you're wrong that physics sees the universe as stagnant. Thus, your "dynamic forces" versus "stagnant universe" is a false dichotomy. Second, even if that were true, you're being completely arbitrary in choosing one over the other. Third, to say that a force must be external
betrays a real lack of understanding about physical processes as scientists understand them. Gravity does not act on things externally
-- it consists in their mass. Electromagnetism doesn't act on things externally -- it consists in their charge.
I could go on, but you're building up a logical system that doesn't bear much resemblance to the actual
universe -- so all I can say is that a creative force is necessary only in the imaginary universe you've proposed in your thought experiment. But even Aristotle knew better than to try and understand the world solely through thought experiments -- that's why he was really more of a scientist
than a philosopher. His metaphysics were a way of filling in blanks in what he could observe and understand. But the punctuation marks were always observations -- like observing things happening in sequence, observing heavenly bodies in orbit, observing things in motion, observing living things growing.