what is the kalam cosmological argument

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. 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. According to Craig, this is the crucial premise of the argument. He made this statement implying that the only thing made “from scratch” or out of nothing is the universe itself, therefore, everything else in existence is contingent on the universe’s beginning. A fundamental role of science is to explore cause and effect relationships. The mathematical impossibility of forming an actual infinite by successive addition. This is basically just another way of claiming something has always existed, and The Kalam Cosmological Argument leads us to the conclusion that the universe does, indeed, have a cause. Its historic proponents include Al-Kindi, Al-Ghazali, and St. Bonaventure. An actually infinite number of things cannot exist. PRIMARY SOURCE: Dr. Craig Videos; Kalam Cosmological Argument. Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. Today this argument, largely forgotten since the time of Kant, is once again back at center stage. 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. 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. The argument generally goes something like this: This argument presupposes presentism or the A Theory of time. 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. The first premise seems to be self-evident, which any rational person would take as true without dissent. As the creator of time, space … 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. 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). That is the purpose of the Kalam Cosmological argument, to explore the possibility of a supernatural first cause. The phrase "first cause" is sometimes used as an alternative noun for God among individuals uncomfortable with the historical and religious meanings as… Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa theologiae, presented two versions of the cosmological argument: the first-cause argument and the argument from contingency. The Kalam cosmological argument is a modern formulation of the cosmological argument for the existence of God. Craig cannot validly conclude that a single agent is the creator. On the topic of virtual particles, he writes: “For virtual particles do not literally come into existence spontaneously out of nothing. 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.”. 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. It was popularized in the western world by William Lane Craig in his book, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (1979). 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. There have been many versions of the cosmological argument, but the KCA hearkens back to a Muslim theologian named Al-Ghazali. The Kalam Cosmological Argument leads us to the conclusion that the universe does, indeed, have a cause. Then, it was used by Islam to argue for the existence of a theistic worldview and the Islamic religion and became unfavored by Christians. Whether evaluating simple cells or the entire universe, the scientist’s role is to determine a cause to the observable evidence. Craig has defended the A-theory against objections from J. M. E. McTaggart and hybrid A–B theorists. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), ← Justin Martyr: Founder of Christian Apologetics. The argument is that unless God exists, this question is unanswerable. 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. Therefore Almost there! 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.”. Basically, you put a god into the premises and (surprise!) 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. 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. Imagine a series of infinite dominoes lined up. To describe the nature of all matter, Sagan (an atheist) appealed to a first cause. Scientists and Philosophers alike are engendered to ask the questions why and how. One such argument is the kalam 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. The first premiss of the kalam cosmological argument is obviously more plausibly true than its contradictory. A second type of cosmological argument, contending for a first orbeginning cause of the universe, has a venerable history, especiallyin the Islamic mutakalliman tradition. 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 argument is as follows: Whatever begins to exist has a cause. 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. In a critique of Craig’s book The Kalam Cosmological Argument, published in 1979, Michael Martin states: “It should be obvious that Craig’s conclusion that a single personal agent created the universe is a non sequitur. 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. 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.”. Since the two premises of the kalam cosmological argument are true, the conclusion necessarily and inescapably follows – namely, that the Universe has a cause for its existence. Any defense you could give of the principle would be based upon premises which are less obvious than the principle itself. Pretty obvious.”7. Now, let the cause itself have a cause, and the cause of the cause have yet another cause, and so on ad infinitum. 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? 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. 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. So, if Einstein’s gravity requires some modification, our conclusion will still hold. Honestly, I do find the Kalam argument (KCA) powerful, but of course I first encountered it from the perspective of a believer. This is where the Kalam Cosmological Argument’s second premise and conclusion are supported. It was popularized in the western world by William Lane Craig in his book, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (1979). We made no assumptions about the material content of the universe. 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. Therefore, only. Things don’t just pop into existence uncaused out of non-being. 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?”. Morriston asserts that causal laws are physical processes for which we have intuitive knowledge in the context of events within time and space, but that such intuitions do not hold true for the beginning of time itself. It is very simple and easy to memorize. 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 The argument is very simple in its structure. 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.”. Therefore, it follows that the universe cannot be infinitely old and began to exist. Some have been around for centuries, and new arguments are popping up every day. He states: “We have no experience of the origin of worlds to tell us that worlds don’t come into existence like that. Finally, if you wanted to observe the fall of the dominoes, where does one start since there is no beginning or no ending to the chain? He and his wife met in high school and celebrated their 20th year of marriage in 2020. supernatural. Further, Aristotle described metaphysics as the study of being. The universe’s existence is best explained as created by God, because the Kalam Cosmological Argument requires an essential and supernatural first cause. 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. the mental concept of a sphere). 2. 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. They are usually presented 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. Why does our worldview matter? Philosopher Michael Martin has also referred to quantum vacuum fluctuation models to support the idea of a universe with uncaused beginnings. Jamie is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, and a father He currently resides in the state of Florida. My response in the video includes more detail. It consists of two premises and a conclusion. Scientific evidence that the universe began to exist a finite time ago at the Big Bang. While refutation exists from those who hold to a philosophy of naturalistic materialism, the rationality of a supernatural cause of all things is evident from both philosophical reasoning and scientific evidence. Answer: This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the claim. A beginningless series of past events involves an actually infinite number of things. Quantum mechanics does not in fact posit something coming from nothing, but rather things coming from the quantum vacuum–which is not “nothing.” If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived.”. 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). Be sure to leave a comment about this post below. Therefore, a beginningless series of past events cannot exist. The conclusion is that an actual infinite number of things cannot exist in reality. “–Defenders Podcast, “The Cosmological Argument (Part 1)” | Reasonable Faith,”. So, he concludes that this is a kind of first principle of metaphysics. It is at this point in space-time where all known physical laws break down.5, This point is called a singularity in mathematics, where formulas reach an undefined amount- in this case an infinite, and as we’ve already determined is irrational because an actual infinite set of things is an impossibility. I think the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God is one of the strongest defences for Theism that I have read. He writes: “ Hume himself clearly believed in the following syllogism: that in a nutshell is argument... Popping up every day argument which I understand you to be using: 1 we did not even assume gravity., Aristotle described metaphysics as the study of being with invalid or unvalidated.... Since the time of Kant, is once again back at center.! Hadnumerous defenders through the Kalam cosmological argument leads us to the first premise: that in fact is... Commonly used form is “ horizontal, ” is philosophical intolerant to say that Christianity the... 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