Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Here at The Cumulative Case, we are working towards developing the case for God's existence (and specifically the Christian God) from several different lines of argument.  In this post, I will introduce the Kalam Cosmological argument, as popularized by apologist Dr. William Lane Craig.

(Note I have already talked about it in previous posts, such as here, but will introduce it anew.)

This is a philosophical/logical argument, whose premises are based on evidence from both science and philosophy.  It is set up as a syllogism, so if the first two premises are true, the conclusion logically follows.  The syllogism goes like this:
  1. Everything that comes into being has a cause.
  2. The universe came into being.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This argument of course does not get you all the way to the Christian God.  However, from this argument, we can deduce many different attributes of this cause, and these attributes go a long way towards specifying what the cause is like.  We find that this cause is a lot like the Christian God.

For example, if there is a cause to the universe, it must be outside the universe (transcendent).  It must be timeless, spaceless, eternal, powerful, and intelligent.

The one that is most difficult to grasp is that it must be personal.  That is, it is not just a "force" of nature.  It must have mind and will, in order to choose to create.  This is because, a force of nature does not choose.  As soon as the right ingredients and conditions are in place, the effect (the universe) flows from the cause (the putative "force").  But how would this force exist by itself for all eternity in a timeless state, then suddenly (out of nowhere) find itself with the right ingredients and right conditions to birth the universe?  Only a personal agent, with the freedom to choose, could do such a thing.

In later posts, we will look more deeply into the individual premises and also objections.