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Cosmological Argument

Cosmological Argument - What Is It?
The Cosmological Argument or First Cause Argument is a philosophical argument for the existence of God which explains that everything has a cause, that there must have been a first cause, and that this first cause was itself uncaused. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is one of the variants of the argument which has been especially useful in defending the philosophical position of theistic worldviews. The word "kalam" is Arabic for "speaking" but more generally the word can be interpreted as "theological philosophy."

Cosmological Argument - History
'First cause arguments' were set forth by Plato and Aristotle in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. These arguments maintain that everything that exists or occurs must have had a cause. So if one would go back in time far enough, one would discover a first cause. Aristotle, a deist, posited that this first cause was the creator of the universe. Thomas Aquinas, a Christian, then expanded on Aristotle's ideas in the 13th century AD and molded the first cause-concept into a framework in which the cause of the universe itself is uncaused: the First Cause is God. Founded on similar reasoning, the Kalam Cosmological Argument was developed by Muslim philosophers in the Middle Ages, but has not lost any of its philosophical power over the centuries. In recent years, Christian philosopher William Lane Craig has brought the Kalam Cosmological Argument back into the spotlight.

Cosmological Argument - Kalam Argument
According to Craig, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is constructed as follows:

  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 second of these premises requires some more explanation. With today's knowledge, we may think this is a given, but we should keep in mind that for the longest time secular scientists thought the universe itself was eternal. Now, most scientific models for the origin of the universe, such as the Big Bang model, support the view that the universe had a beginning, but the Kalam Cosmological Argument uses a philosophical approach towards the concept of 'infinity' to show that the universe indeed had a beginning. Two separate philosophical arguments are used in this approach:
  • The first argument states that an actual infinite cannot exist. A part of an infinite set is equal to the whole of the infinite set, because both the part and the whole are infinite. Imagine for example an infinite collection of red and black balls. The number of red balls in this set is equal to the total number of all balls in the set, because both are infinite. The same holds for the number of black balls in the collection. Thus, the number of red balls equals the number of black balls equals the sum of all red and black balls. Obviously, the idea of an actual infinite collection leads to absurdities. This is also true for a set of historical events: it can be derived that the occurrence of a truly infinite set of events happening before a certain moment in time is impossible.

  • The second argument states that an actual infinite cannot be formed. History, or the collection of all events in time, is made up by sequentially adding one event after the other. It is always possible to add another event to history, which means the history of the universe is a potential infinite but can never be an actual infinite.
It is interesting that Craig also argues that the cause of the universe must be a personal Creator. In his words: "The only way to have an eternal cause but a temporal effect would seem to be if the cause is a personal agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time."

Cosmological Argument - What Does The Bible Say?
The Bible tells us, from the very first verse, that God created the universe. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). "The LORD made the heavens" (1 Chronicles 16:26). We know that God is not Himself a physical part of the universe. 2 Chronicles 2:6 states: "...the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him". We also know that "the LORD, the everlasting God" (Genesis 21:33) is eternal and infinite. "His mighty power rules forever" (Psalm 66:7). The Bible teaches very clearly that God is the uncaused First Cause who created the universe by willing it into existence.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is consistent with the biblical account of the beginning of the universe and of the 'First Cause'. However, it is only one of many indicators and evidences pointing to the existence of God the Creator as revealed by the Bible.

Does God Exist - Learn More!

"The Kalam Cosmological Argument" New York: Barnes and Noble, 1979, by William Lane Craig.

The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe: a defense of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, by William Lane Craig -

Cosmological Argument Video - Watch this short video clip

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