3 For anybody who really contemplates it, it should be obvious that 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. An alternative way to argue against the past eternity of the universe is through the impossibility of traversing (counting/crossing/completing) infinity. Mackie affirms that there is no good reason to assume a priori that an uncaused beginning of all things is impossible. Craig formulates thekalām cosmological argument this way (in Craig and Smith1993: chap. 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? The only assumption that we made was that the expansion rate of the universe never gets below some nonzero value, no matter how small.”, Victor J. Stenger has referred to the Aguirre-Gratton model for eternal inflation as an exemplar by which others disagree with the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem. Craig has defended the A-theory against objections from J. M. E. McTaggart and hybrid A–B theorists. The Kalam cosmological argument has been reintroduced with some rigour into the philosophy of religion through the work of analytic philosopher William Lane Craig. The argument is that unless God exists, this question is unanswerable. Every effect requires a cause adequate to explain it. According to Craig, this is the crucial premise of the argument. 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.”. I think the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God is one of the strongest defences for Theism that I have read. Kalam is a valid logical syllogism with invalid or unvalidated premises. Craig notes: “Hume himself clearly believed in the causal principle. We made no assumptions about the material content of the universe. 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. 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. 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. 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. If you aren’t familiar with the KCA, here is a version of it: According to Craig, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is constructed as follows: Whatever begins to exist, has a cause of its existence. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence. 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. The universe’s existence is best explained as created by God, because the Kalam Cosmological Argument requires an essential and supernatural first cause. So, if Einstein’s gravity requires some modification, our conclusion will still hold. The phrase "first cause" is sometimes used as an alternative noun for God among individuals uncomfortable with the historical and religious meanings as… The law of causality suggests that every effect that begins must have a prior cause. It was popularized in the western world by William Lane Craig in his book, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (1979). The most commonly used form is “horizontal,” also known as the kalam cosmological argument. 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.”. 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.”. 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). http://reasonablefaith.org - Hear special guest Dr. William Lane Craig walk us through the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Pretty obvious.”7. 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. As the creator of time, space … 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. Whether evaluating simple cells or the entire universe, the scientist’s role is to determine a cause to the observable evidence. He and his wife met in high school and celebrated their 20th year of marriage in 2020. The mathematical impossibility of forming an actual infinite by successive addition. 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. Philosopher Michael Martin has also referred to quantum vacuum fluctuation models to support the idea of a universe with uncaused beginnings. Things don’t just pop into existence uncaused out of non-being. Therefore, only. What is the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God? 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. Being does not arise from non-being. It should be easy to observe the absurdities here. I’ll outline two of the arguments used as backing for the second premise here and recommend you read Craig’s books to explore further. If anyone has any material objections to the Kalam proof , … Any defense you could give of the principle would be based upon premises which are less obvious than the principle itself. Therefore, the universe cannot be infinitely old. It consists of two premises and a conclusion. The Kalam Cosmological Argument, edited by Paul Copan with William Lane Craig, focuses excluaively on one of the a posteriori arguments for the existence of God: the Kalam cosmological argument. The second premise follows also from A Theory along with the nature of infinity being endless. Likewise, Craig has argued that the quantum vacuum, in containing quantifiable, measurable energy, cannot be described as ‘nothing’, therefore, that phenomena originating from the quantum vacuum cannot be described as ‘uncaused’. you get a god out as a conclusion. 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. Then, you are able to deduce a number of attributes of this first cause that make it plausibly identifiable as God. 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. The Kalam cosmological argument is a modern formulation of the cosmological argument for the existence of God. What is the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God? This latter fact is well known, however, and shows nothing about whether it is logically impossible to have actual infinities in the real world.”. "Kalam" is a school of thought that tries to defend Islam intellectually against criticisms. It was popularized in the western world by William Lane Craig in his book, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (1979). Similarly, if the number of days extends infinitely into the past, how did we arrive at today? How can one add or subtract from infinities? In addition to the above arguments, several points can be made which draw further conclusions about the nature of the 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.”. If you have any suggestions, questions or need help please feel free to contact us. The universe began to exist. Question 1: Is the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) a successful argument? Aren't all religions basically the same? 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. A simple thought experiment demonstrates that an actual infinite number of things that are countable leads to absurdities. (the two I had were not really real debates) The child mortality rate in the United States, for children under the … 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. The cosmological argument shows that in fact it is quite reasonable to believe that God does exist. Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin has stated that even “the absence of space, time and matter” cannot truly be defined as ‘nothing’ given that the laws of physics are still present, though it would be “as close to nothing as you can get”. supernatural. 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'”. 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. The Kalam Cosmological Argument leads us to the conclusion that the universe does, indeed, have a cause. Why or why not? Question 2: Should I try to do another debate on the KCA? Pages Businesses Nonprofit Organization Reasonable Faith Videos The Kalam Cosmological Argument Through-out history, man has looked at the star-filled night sky and wondered at the purpose behind its existence. Being only comes from being. Scientists and Philosophers alike are engendered to ask the questions why and how. Therefore Therefore, one... […] Sunni Muslims perform the following: […]. Therefore, a beginningless series of past events cannot exist. This is basically just another way of claiming something has always existed, and The argument is very simple in its structure. 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.”. 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. Philosopher of science David Albert has criticised the use of the term ‘nothing’ in describing the quantum vacuum. The first premise seems to be self-evident, which any rational person would take as true without dissent. Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 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. 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. Popular astronomer Carl Sagan, when explaining how stars contain the necessary materials for life, once said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” 1. Basically, you put a god into the premises and (surprise!) Scientific confirmation against a past-infinite universe in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It was refined in the 11th century by Al-Ghazali (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), and in the 12th by Ibn Rushd (Averroes). They have two children, a 10-year-old daughter, and a 15-year-old son... on What is the Kalam Cosmological Argument? 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. What can we say about this cause? The latter would allow the universe to exist tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block, under which circumstances the universe would not “begin to exist”: “From start to finish, the kalam cosmological argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. But for information to exist in an immaterial way is what is classically defined as intellect (e.g. 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. Graham Oppy, J. L. Mackie and Wes Morriston have objected to the intuitiveness of the first premise. Scientific evidence that the universe began to exist a finite time ago at the Big Bang. 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? 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. Posted in CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY , CREATION SCIENCE , RATIONAL FAITH . Everything that begins to exist has a cause of itsexistence. 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. The Spiritual Life © 2020. 2. For this, he cites the example of a parent “creating” a child who eventually becomes greater than he or she. Honestly, I do find the Kalam argument (KCA) powerful, but of course I first encountered it from the perspective of a believer. There are different forms of the argument. According to Michael Martin, the cosmological arguments presented by Craig, Bruce Reichenbach, and Richard Swinburne are “among the most sophisticated and well argued in contemporary theological philosophy”. The Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) is a different approach, proposed by Muslim philosophers in the Middle Ages. Moreover, that the Causal Principle cannot be extrapolated to the universe from inductive experience. The term kalam is Arabic and means “eternal.” 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.”. It is named after the kalam (medieval Islamic scholasticism) from which its key ideas originated. 2. 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). He states, “Being only comes from being. Its historic proponents include Al-Kindi, Al-Ghazali, and St. Bonaventure. Craig cannot validly conclude that a single agent is the creator. 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). the mental concept of a sphere). The universe began to … This premise is supportable both philosophically and scientifically. So, he concludes that this is a kind of first principle of metaphysics. Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and infinitely powerful. All Rights Reserved. 1): 1. A second type of cosmological argument, contending for a first orbeginning cause of the universe, has a venerable history, especiallyin the Islamic mutakalliman tradition. That is the purpose of the Kalam Cosmological argument, to explore the possibility of a supernatural first cause. 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. Although it hadnumerous defenders through the centuries, it received new life in therecent voluminous writings of William Lane Craig. To remain reasonable, one must agree that these sound like certain attributes of the Christian God. Almost there! [iii] Therefore the universe must have a cause for its There are a handful of famous arguments for the existence of a god. A beginningless series of past events involves an actually infinite number of things. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. Therefore, the cause must possess all information in the universe and is thus all-knowing. A classic which has recently been re-polished and re-popularized, it has withstood the test of time in its field. Imagine a series of infinite dominoes lined up. 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.”. 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. 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. He states: “We have no experience of the origin of worlds to tell us that worlds don’t come into existence like that. Let’s begin: The Kalam Cosmological Argument 2 is currently one of the most researched and referred to arguments for the existence of God because its formulation encapsulates a philosophical and scientific evaluation on the origins of the universe and causality. [ii] The universe began to exist. Jamie is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, and a father He currently resides in the state of Florida. An infinite amount of time can never truly pass (because infinite time would never run out). It can be summarized in the following syllogism: That in a nutshell is the argument. Craig has criticised Balashov for adopting a verificationist methodology that fails to address the metaphysical and theological foundations of the A-theory. 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. PRIMARY SOURCE: Dr. Craig Videos; Kalam Cosmological Argument. Referring to the implications of Classical Theism that follow from this argument, Craig writes: “… transcending the entire universe there exists a cause which brought the universe into being ex nihilo … our whole universe was caused to exist by something beyond it and greater than it. 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 Answer: This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the claim. 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. This is where the Kalam Cosmological Argument’s second premise and conclusion are supported. 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. Then, it was used by Islam to argue for the existence of a theistic worldview and the Islamic religion and became unfavored by Christians. Something cannot come into existence out of nothing. Some have been around for centuries, and new arguments are popping up every day. The first argument and backing for the second premise, “The Universe Began to Exist,” is philosophical. What we can do after this is explore what it means to be a cause of the universe. 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. The argument generally goes something like this: This argument presupposes presentism or the A Theory of time. 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. 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.”. Between the 9th to 12th centuries, the cosmological argument developed as a concept within Islamic theology. 6. “–Defenders Podcast, “The Cosmological Argument (Part 1)” | Reasonable Faith,”. supernatural. The Kalam Cosmological Argument leads us to the conclusion that the universe does, indeed, have a cause. It is very simple and easy to memorize. 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. 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. Let’s take a brief look at the two premises. My response in the video includes more detail. If God made everything, who made God? Craig formulates the Kalam as follows: P1. The conclusion is that an actual infinite number of things cannot exist in reality. Similarly, in light of both philosophical argument and scientific evidence, its second premiss, though more controversial 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. On the topic of virtual particles, he writes: “For virtual particles do not literally come into existence spontaneously out of nothing. This is the formulation of the argument which I understand you to be using: 1. Being does not arise from non-being. That is why Craig describes the first premise of his argument as a first principle of metaphysics. 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.”. At most, this Kalam argument shows that some personal agent or agents created the universe. He writes: “According to the hypothesis under consideration, it has been established that all the beings in the world have a cause. Basically, this is saying that things don’t come into being out of nothing. […] This literature was highly treasured by many Jewish enthusiasts, in... […] Judea and the Therapeutae in Egypt, were said to have a “secret”... […] (طهارة‎, ṭaharah) is an essential aspect of Islam. 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. Craig has revived it as a tenable and viable argument for today’s time and culture, in its original use to argue for the existence of God. However, most opponents of the cosmological argument aren’t contesting the evidence, but rather the character of the cause. 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). The first two are purely philosophical arguments; the second two are scientific confirmations of the conclusion reached by the philosophical arguments. 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. 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?”. Copyright © 2021 Classical Christian Thinking with Jamie. Sound like certain attributes of this first cause is God Kalam cosmological argument for the of... Of Kant, is once again back at center stage things, St.... Aren ’ t come into existence uncaused out of nothing leave a comment about this post below Aquinas! Criticised Balashov for adopting a verificationist methodology that fails to address the and! 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