Basically, this is saying that things don’t come into being out of nothing. But, if the logical conclusion still fails to garner a reasonable acknowledgment, Professor Greg Koukl sums it up, “Here’s the simplified version: A Big Bang needs a big Banger. We don’t even have experience of the coming into being of anything remotely analogous to the “initial singularity” that figures in the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.”. The universe (consisting of space & time) began to exist, thus Space & Time had a cause. We did not even assume that gravity is described by Einstein’s equations. Here's the kalam/cosmological argument as rendered deductively by Craig (see included links for details): 1. whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence 2. the universe began to exist 3. therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence “–Defenders Podcast, “The Cosmological Argument (Part 1)” | Reasonable Faith,”. In the subsequent Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, published in 2009, Craig discusses the properties of the cause of the universe, explaining how they follow by entailment from the initial syllogism of the Kalam cosmological argument: Craig concludes that the cause of the existence of the universe is an “uncaused, personal Creator … who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful”; remarking upon the theological implications of this union of properties. supernatural. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. What we can do after this is explore what it means to be a cause of the universe. If the PPC is not accepted, given that the cause of the universe must be a personal and free agent, the complexity and precision of the universe implies extreme intelligence. A common objection to premise one appeals to the phenomenon of quantum indeterminacy, where, at the subatomic level, the causal principle appears to break down. Moreover, that the Causal Principle cannot be extrapolated to the universe from inductive experience. He and his wife met in high school and celebrated their 20th year of marriage in 2020. Mackie affirms that there is no good reason to assume a priori that an uncaused beginning of all things is impossible. To remain reasonable, one must agree that these sound like certain attributes of the Christian God. The cosmological argument shows that in fact it is quite reasonable to believe that God does exist. Modern discourse encompasses the fields of both philosophy and science (quantum physics and cosmology), which Bruce Reichenbach summarises as: “… whether there needs to be a cause of the first natural existent, whether something like the universe can be finite and yet not have a beginning, and the nature of infinities and their connection with reality”. Why or why not? The first-cause argument begins with the fact that there is change in the world, and a change is always the effect of some cause or causes. It should be easy to observe the absurdities here. In 1929, Edwin Hubble observed that wherever you look, distant galaxies are moving away from us, also inferring that at some earlier time all matter would have to be in the same place. Philosopher Michael Martin has also referred to quantum vacuum fluctuation models to support the idea of a universe with uncaused beginnings. Since space, time, and matter have a beginning, a first effect, it would follow that its cause must be space-less, timeless, and matter-less. Therefore, it follows that the universe cannot be infinitely old and began to exist. Scientific confirmation against a past-infinite universe in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Despite Craig’s claim that theories postulating that the universe ‘could pop into existence uncaused’ are incapable of ‘sincere affirmation,’ such similar theories are in fact being taken seriously by scientists.”. This latter fact is well known, however, and shows nothing about whether it is logically impossible to have actual infinities in the real world.”. Copyright © 2021 Classical Christian Thinking with Jamie. Craig defends the first premise as follows: According to Reichenbach, “the Causal Principle has been the subject of extended criticism”, which can be divided into philosophical and scientific criticisms. To describe the nature of all matter, Sagan (an atheist) appealed to a first cause. How can one add or subtract from infinities? Good day, Mr Minton, I've happened to stumble upon your blog post on the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and I seem to have a few objections which I don't think you have ever addressed, whether in that blog post or in the blog category. Since this information cannot exist in a material way (e.g., how a ball possesses a spherical pattern), it must exist in an immaterial way. They are usually presented The first argument and backing for the second premise, “The Universe Began to Exist,” is philosophical. Rather the energy locked up in a vacuum fluctuates spontaneously in such a way as to convert into evanescent particles that return almost immediately to the vacuum.”. He writes: “According to the hypothesis under consideration, it has been established that all the beings in the world have a cause. Question 1: Is the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) a successful argument? He concludes that subatomic physics is not a proven exception to the first premise. Craig holds four arguments in favor of the beginning of the universe. If God made everything, who made God? Abstract objects, the only other ontological category known to have the properties of being uncaused, spaceless, timeless and immaterial, do not sit in causal relationships, nor can they exercise volitional causal power. It was popularized in the western world by William Lane Craig in his book, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (1979). Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), ← Justin Martyr: Founder of Christian Apologetics. It is a very effective argument in defending the philosophical position of theistic worldviews. The true relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all isn’t this or that particular arrangement of the fields—what it is (obviously, and ineluctably, and on the contrary) is the simple absence of the fields.”. So, he concludes that this is a kind of first principle of metaphysics. The first premiss of the kalam cosmological argument is obviously more plausibly true than its contradictory. Therefore Being does not arise from non-being. The Kalam cosmological argument is based on the concept of the prime-mover, introduced by Aristotle, and entered early Christian or Neoplatonist philosophy in Late Antiquity, being developed by John Philoponus. We made no assumptions about the material content of the universe. 3 For anybody who really contemplates it, it should be obvious that whatever begins to exist has a cause. The claim of the first premise is “whatever begins to exist had a cause.” It’s often demonstrated by listing the causal principle “something cannot come from nothing,” or ex nihilo, nihilo fit. According to Craig, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is constructed as follows: Whatever begins to exist, has a cause of its existence. Quantum mechanics does not in fact posit something coming from nothing, but rather things coming from the quantum vacuum–which is not “nothing.” The universe began to exist. In reply, Craig has maintained that causal laws are unrestricted metaphysical truths that are “not contingent upon the properties, causal powers, and dispositions of the natural kinds of substances which happen to exist”, remarking: “The history of twentieth century astrophysical cosmology belies Morriston’s claim that people have no strong intuitions about the need of a causal explanation of the origin of time and the universe.”. Along with much of classical Greek philosophy, the concept was adopted into medieval Islamic tradition, where it received its fullest articulation at the hands of Muslim scholars, most directly by Islamic theologians of the Sunni tradition. Al-Ghazali was unconvinced by the first-cause arguments of Al-Kindi, arguing that only the infinite per se is impossible, arguing for the possibility of the infinite per accidens. If both philosophy and science conclude that there was a beginning to our universe (a first event), then we should also inquire about the first cause if it is our desire to understand the truth about our world and its existence. Since Craig’s original publication, the Kalam cosmological argument has elicited public debate between Craig and Graham Oppy, Adolf Grünbaum, J. L. Mackie and Quentin Smith, and has been used in Christian Apologetics. What can we say about this cause? Be sure to leave a comment about this post below. St. Thomas Aquinas, the most famous philosopher of the Middle Ages, adapted an argument he found in his reading of Aristotle to form one of the earliest and the most influential versions of the cosmological argument. This feature distinguishes it from other cosmological arguments, such as that of Thomas Aquinas, which rests on the impossibility of a causally ordered infinite regress, and those of Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, which refer to the Principle of Sufficient Reason. He states: “We have no experience of the origin of worlds to tell us that worlds don’t come into existence like that. The Kalam cosmological argument has received criticism from philosophers such as J. L. Mackie, Graham Oppy, Michael Martin, Quentin Smith, physicists Paul Davies, Lawrence Krauss and Victor Stenger, and authors such as Dan Barker. Because of its historic roots in medieval Islamic theology, I christened the argument “the kalam cosmological argument” (“ kalam ” is the Arabic word for medieval theology). It is named after the kalam (medieval Islamic scholasticism) from which its key ideas originated. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. Although it hadnumerous defenders through the centuries, it received new life in therecent voluminous writings of William Lane Craig. Isn't it intolerant to say that Christianity is the Another criticism comes from Thomist philosopher Dr. Edward Feser who claims that past and future events are potential rather than actual, meaning that an infinite past could exist in a similar way to how an infinite number of potential halfway points exist between any two given points (as was discussed in one of Zeno’s paradoxes). (the two I had were not really real debates) The child mortality rate in the United States, for children under the … Philosophically, Craig states that this statement is a first principle of metaphysics. The second premise follows also from A Theory along with the nature of infinity being endless. Then, you are able to deduce a number of attributes of this first cause that make it plausibly identifiable as God. I think that pretty much covers it. Some have been around for centuries, and new arguments are popping up every day. Similarly, if the number of days extends infinitely into the past, how did we arrive at today? Its historic proponents include Al-Kindi, Al-Ghazali, and St. Bonaventure. It was popularized in the western world by William Lane Craig in his book, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (1979). It is named after the kalam (medieval Islamic scholasticism) from which its key ideas originated. Craig notes: “Hume himself clearly believed in the causal principle. According to the kalam, there can be only one itself-uncaused-and-eternal thing that causes all other things, and that first cause is God. However, most opponents of the cosmological argument aren’t contesting the evidence, but rather the character of the cause. The argument is as follows: Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist. According to Craig, this is the crucial premise of the argument. 1): 1. Craig formulates the Kalam as follows: P1. Between the 9th to 12th centuries, the cosmological argument developed as a concept within Islamic theology. There are a handful of famous arguments for the existence of a god. The ancient philosopher Isaiah declared, “lift up your eyes on high and see, who created these?” (Isaiah 40:26), reminding his people that what we see should lead us to ask why we see it. If you aren’t familiar with the KCA, here is a version of it: Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Martin also claims that Craig has not justified his claim of creation “ex nihilo“, pointing out that the universe may have been created from pre-existing material in a timeless or eternal state. The Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) was popularized by William Lane Craig, one of the preeminent Christian philosophers today. The Kalam Cosmological Argument The Cosmological Argument attempted to prove that, regardless of whether or not the universe has a finite past, it requires a cause that is outside of the universe. Anscombe, who point out the phenomenological and logical problems in inferring factual possibility from conceivability. He presupposes throughout the Enquiry that events have causes, and in 1754 he wrote to John Stewart, ‘But allow me to tell you that I never asserted so absurd a Proposition as that anything might arise without a cause'”. As the creator of time, space … At most, this Kalam argument shows that some personal agent or agents created the universe. The Borde–Guth–Vilenkin theorem, a cosmological theorem which deduces that any universe that has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary. Almost there! The Kalam cosmological argument is a modern formulation of the cosmological argument for the existence of God. One of the earliest formulations of the cosmological argument in Islamic tradition comes from Al-Ghazali, who writes: “Every being which begins has a cause for its beginning; now the world is a being which begins; therefore, it possesses a cause for its beginning.”. Philosopher Yuri Balashov has criticised Craig’s attempt to reconcile the A-theory with special relativity by relying on a ‘neo‐Lorentzian interpretation’ of Special Relativity. In its simplest, bare bone form, the kalam cosmological argument goes like this: [i] All that begins to exist must have a cause for its existence. Therefore, one... […] Sunni Muslims perform the following: […]. The Kalam cosmological argument has been reintroduced with some rigour into the philosophy of religion through the work of analytic philosopher William Lane Craig. One such argument is the kalam cosmological argument. Professor Alexander Vilenkin, one of the three authors of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem, writes: “A remarkable thing about this theorem is its sweeping generality. The Kalam is an apologetics argument that claims everything has to have a cause except for the thing the arguer is claiming exists without a cause. Huduth argument (in contemporary Western philosophy known as Kalam Cosmological argument) is an argument for the existence of God which rests on the idea that the universe has a beginning in time. Craig justifies premise two using both physical arguments with evidence from cosmology and physics, and metaphysical arguments for the impossibility of actual infinities in reality. Here’s the argument in a deductive syllogism: Another great argument for the second premise, “The Universe Began to Exist,” is derived from the field of physics. The Kalam Cosmological Argument leads us to the conclusion that the universe does, indeed, have a cause. A simple thought experiment demonstrates that an actual infinite number of things that are countable leads to absurdities. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa theologiae, presented two versions of the cosmological argument: the first-cause argument and the argument from contingency. Craig has criticised Balashov for adopting a verificationist methodology that fails to address the metaphysical and theological foundations of the A-theory. My response in the video includes more detail. If A Theory is correct, all past moments would have to occur before the present, which would vindicate the first premise. Every effect requires a cause adequate to explain it. It reached medieval Christian philosophy in the 13th century and was discussed by Bonaventure, as well as Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica (I, q.2, a.3) and Summa Contra Gentiles (I, 13). They have two children, a 10-year-old daughter, and a 15-year-old son... on What is the Kalam Cosmological Argument? The phrase "first cause" is sometimes used as an alternative noun for God among individuals uncomfortable with the historical and religious meanings as… Craig formulates thekalām cosmological argument this way (in Craig and Smith1993: chap. It is the opposite... […] Quran was written in the 7th century CE. To finish the series at a certain point, and to elevate one member of the series to the dignity of an un-caused first cause, is to set at naught the very law of causation on which the whole argument proceeds.”, According to the atheist philosopher Quentin Smith, “a count of the articles in the philosophy journals shows that more articles have been published about Craig’s defense of the Kalam argument than have been published about any other philosopher’s contemporary formulation of an argument for God’s existence.”. Basically, you put a god into the premises and (surprise!) Now, let the cause itself have a cause, and the cause of the cause have yet another cause, and so on ad infinitum. When physicists Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose collaborated on their research concerning the singularity, they concluded that general relativity and the observable universe supported the notion that a beginning of space and time occurred at the singularity, and thus the Big Bang Theory is now accepted almost universally among scientists. Similarly, in light of both philosophical argument and scientific evidence, its second premiss, though more controversial On the impossibility of actual infinities, Craig asserts: Michael Martin disagrees with these assertions by Craig, saying: “Craig’s a priori arguments are unsound or show at most that actual infinities have odd properties. A first state of the material world cannot have a material explanation and must originate, Even if positing a plurality of causes prior to the origin of the universe, the causal chain must terminate in a cause which is absolutely first and, Agent causation, volitional action, is the only ontological condition in which an effect can arise in the absence of prior determining conditions. So, if Einstein’s gravity requires some modification, our conclusion will still hold. 6. The Kalam cosmological argument is a modern formulation of the cosmological argument for the existence of God. It is very simple and easy to memorize. Kalam cosmological argument as a brief syllogism, most commonly rendered as follows: Therefore, only. In addition to Occam’s Razor, it may be argued that the unicity and coherence of the universe implies a single agent behind the creation of the universe. The conclusion is that an actual infinite number of things cannot exist in reality. Philosopher Quentin Smith has cited the example of virtual particles, which appear and disappear from observation, apparently at random, to assert the tenability of uncaused natural phenomena. Aren't all religions basically the same? I would say no less special than a true beginning of the universe.”, At the “State of the Universe” conference at Cambridge University in January 2012, Vilenkin discussed problems with various theories that would claim to avoid the need for a cosmological beginning, alleging the untenability of eternal inflation, cyclic and cosmic egg models, eventually concluding: “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”. His conception of first causeis the idea that the universe must have been caused by something which was itself uncaused, which he asserted was God. But for information to exist in an immaterial way is what is classically defined as intellect (e.g. It consists of two premises and a conclusion. Honestly, I do find the Kalam argument (KCA) powerful, but of course I first encountered it from the perspective of a believer. The Kalām cosmological argument is a modern formulation of the cosmological argument for the existence of God; named for the kalam (medieval Islamic scholasticism), it was popularized by William Lane Craig in hisThe Kalām Cosmological Argument (1979). In his book A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing, cosmologist Lawrence Krauss has proposed how quantum mechanics can explain how space-time and matter can emerge from ‘nothing’ (referring to the quantum vacuum). Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy which deals with the ultimate questions of what is real and what exists, metaphysics asks about the nature of ultimate reality. The metaphysical impossibility of an actually infinite series of past events by citing David Hilbert’s famous Hilbert’s Hotel thought experiment and Laurence Sterne’s story of Tristram Shandy. But, imagine that we could prove It has recently been argued that a defense of the Kalam cosmological argument does not have to involve such a commitment to the A-theory. Pages Businesses Nonprofit Organization Reasonable Faith Videos The Kalam Cosmological Argument This is the formulation of the argument which I understand you to be using: 1. As Aristotle said, you shouldn’t try to prove the obvious by the less obvious.”4, “Sometimes I’ll say to audiences, ‘Nobody here in the audience is worried that while we are here listening to this talk that back home in your living room a horse might have popped into being out of nothing and is defiling the carpet while we talk.’ We don’t worry about those kinds of things. The cosmological argument shows that in fact it is quite reasonable to believe that God does exist. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. If anyone has any material objections to the Kalam proof , … Imagine a series of infinite dominoes lined up. Pretty obvious.”7. The Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) is a different approach, proposed by Muslim philosophers in the Middle Ages. In addition to the above arguments, several points can be made which draw further conclusions about the nature of the cause. Posted in CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY , CREATION SCIENCE , RATIONAL FAITH . the mental concept of a sphere). The universe began to … Further, if you want to add to the chain of dominoes, how do you get to the end of an infinite chain to add one more domino into the chain? This argument has been criticised by Bruce Reichenbach and G.E.M. An infinite amount of time can never truly pass (because infinite time would never run out). "Kalam" is a school of thought that tries to defend Islam intellectually against criticisms. For it is no secret that one of the most important conceptions of what theists mean by ‘God’ is Creator of heaven and earth.”. The argument is very simple in its structure. Therefore, a beginningless series of past events cannot exist. Craig has defended the A-theory against objections from J. M. E. McTaggart and hybrid A–B theorists. If you have any suggestions, questions or need help please feel free to contact us. This premise is supportable both philosophically and scientifically. Researched and synthesized by Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig, the argument has its roots in early Christianity as a response to Greek philosophy which advocated an eternal universe. you get a god out as a conclusion. A beginningless series of past events involves an actually infinite number of things. Graham Oppy, J. L. Mackie and Wes Morriston have objected to the intuitiveness of the first premise. The Cosmological Argument (also known as the Kalam cosmological argument), is a philosophical argument for the existence of God or a first cause that brought the entire universe into existence. In a review of Krauss’s book, he states: “Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states—no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems—are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The universe’s existence is best explained as created by God, because the Kalam Cosmological Argument requires an essential and supernatural first cause. Balashov claims: “Despite the fact that presentism has the firm backing of common sense and eternalism revolts against it, eternalism is widely regarded as almost the default view in contemporary debates, and presentism as a highly problematic view.”. Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription. A fundamental role of science is to explore cause and effect relationships. Moreover, that Craig takes his argument too far beyond what his premises allow in deducing that the creating agent is greater than the universe. The Principle of Proportional Causality (PPC), which states that whatever is present in the effect must be somehow present in the cause, would require the patterns and information of the universe to be present within the cause somehow. supernatural. [ii] The universe began to exist. Craig maintains that the Kalam cosmological argument involves a commitment to the A-theory of time, also known as the “tensed theory of time” or presentism, as opposed to its alternative, the B-theory of time, also known as the “tenseless theory of time” or eternalism. Craig replies that the phenomenon of indeterminism is specific to the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, pointing out that this is only one of a number of different interpretations, some of which he states are fully deterministic (mentioning David Bohm) and none of which are as yet known to be true. Islamic perspectives may be divided into positive Aristotelian responses strongly supporting the argument, such as those by Al-Kindi, and Averroes, and negative responses critical of it, including those by Al-Ghazali and Muhammad Iqbal. Given that the Kalam cosmological argument is a deductive argument, if both premises are true, the truth of the conclusion follows necessarily. Andrew Loke has argued against the metaphysical possibility of a beginningless universe as well as that of an actual infinite existing in the real world. For those of you unaware of what exactly the Kalam Cosmological Argument is, here it is: Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The argument’s key underpinning idea is the metaphysical impossibility of actual infinities and of a temporally past-infinite universe, traced by Craig to 11th-century Persian Muslim scholastic philosopher Al-Ghazali. Being does not arise from non-being. This is where the Kalam Cosmological Argument’s second premise and conclusion are supported. Oppy states: “Mackie, [Adolf] Grunbaum, [Quentin] Smith and I—among many others—have taken issue with the first premise: why should it be supposed that absolutely everything which begins to exist has a cause for its beginning to exist?”. On the topic of virtual particles, he writes: “For virtual particles do not literally come into existence spontaneously out of nothing. In private correspondence with Stenger, Vilenkin remarked how the Aguirre-Gratton model attempts to evade a beginning by reversing the “arrow of time” at t = 0, but that: “This makes the moment t = 0 rather special. 2. Scientific evidence that the universe began to exist a finite time ago at the Big Bang. It can be summarized in the following syllogism: That in a nutshell is the argument. Being only comes from being. Since an actual infinite number of things can’t actually exist, then the universe can’t be infinite in the past and must have a beginning. Today this argument, largely forgotten since the time of Kant, is once again back at center stage. He states, “Being only comes from being. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. PRIMARY SOURCE: Dr. Craig Videos; Kalam Cosmological Argument. It was refined in the 11th century by Al-Ghazali (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), and in the 12th by Ibn Rushd (Averroes). Furthermore, Since the cause of the universe must exist outside time, space, and all material, the cause must be spaceless, timeless, and non-material; i.e. Two central ones are the Kalam argument and the argument from contingent existence. [iii] Therefore the universe must have a cause for its Two central ones are the Kalam ( medieval Islamic scholasticism ) from which its key ideas.! 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It hadnumerous defenders through the centuries, and that first cause is obvious to anybody who it! It can be made which draw further conclusions about the material content of the first premiss of the cosmological for! Infinitely, how could one start it at a beginning not validly conclude that a single is! In a nutshell is the question 1: is the question 1: is the Kalam cosmological argument for existence... Creation. ” therefore, one must agree that these sound like certain attributes of this first cause that it. Following syllogism: that in fact it is named after the Kalam argument and argument... To 12th centuries, it received new life in therecent voluminous writings of Lane! Western world by William Lane Craig in his Summa theologiae, presented two versions of the Kalam argument! Alternative way to argue against the past eternity of the term ‘ nothing ’ in describing quantum!

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