A Question I Was Asked:



What is the "Kalam Cosmological Argument" for God's Existence?

Can This Argument Never be Refuted?






The Actual Question in Full:

'What is the "Kalam Cosmological Argument" for God's existence? I recently heard that this argument can never be countered by any atheist. Is this a W.L. Craig argument? I ask, because I admire his defence of Christianity.'


UK Apologetics Reply:

Yes, William Lane Craig has used this argument, as have Dr Phil Fernandes and other Christian apologists and philosophers. True, the argument cannot be defeated by atheists but don't expect any of them to roll over and meekly submit because they are a stubborn, hard-headed lot. Also, this argument presents Theism over above atheism but does not set out to specifically uphold Christianity.
This argument is also known as the 'beginning of the universe' argument. It goes like this:

1) Whatever began to exist must have had a cause.
2) The universe once began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe must have had a cause.

The first point amounts to this:

Non-being cannot cause being. In other words, from nothing, nothing will ever come. Since nothing is nothing, it can do nothing and it can produce nothing. Therefore, it can also cause nothing. Hence, whatever began to exist needs a cause for it's existence. If you press atheists and evolutionists about the beginnings of the universe, they always start off with matter as a 'given,' they will refuse to answer any question as to where this matter came from.

Regarding the second point:

Scientific evidence for the beginning of the universe includes the second law of thermodynamics (this is the law of energy deterioration which points out that everything - energy-wise - is breaking down and becoming less structured and more chaotic over time). The other evidence is the Big Bang Model.

Firstly, the second law of thermodynamics is one of the most firmly established laws of modern science. It states that the amount of usable energy in a closed system is running down. This means that at some point in the future all the energy in the universe will be useless (unless there is some sort of outside intervention). In other words, if left to itself, the universe will have an end. But if the universe is going to have an end, it must have also had a beginning. At one time, in the finite past, all the energy in the universe was usable. Since the universe is winding down, it must have been wound up. The universe is not eternal; it had a beginning. Since it had a beginning, it needs a cause, for from nothing, nothing can ever come.

Due to energy deterioration, if the universe is eternal it would have reached a state of equilibrium in which no change is possible an infinite amount of time ago. All of the universe's energy would already have been used up. Obviously, this is not the case. Therefore, the universe had a beginning.

The Big Bang Model also indicates that the universe had a beginning. Around 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding at the same rate in all directions. As time moves forward, the universe is growing apart. But this means that if we go back in time, the physical universe would get smaller and smaller. Eventually, if we go back far enough in the past, the entire universe would be what scientists call "a point of infinite density." However, if something is infinitely dense, it is non-existent, for existent things can only be finitely small. The same can be said for points of dimensionless space. If a point has no dimensions, it is non-existent for it takes up no space. Therefore, if the Big Bang Model is correct, it shows that the universe began out of nothing a finite time ago. There have been two or three attempts to refute all this but none are considered very persuasive.

There is also an argument from philosophy which Dr Fernandes, being a very good philosopher, has used. It goes something like this:
If the universe is eternal, then there would be an actual infinite number of events in time. However, 'Zeno's paradoxes' have shown that that cannot be logically held as a valid viewpoint, for it is impossible to traverse (to traverse: to survey, a method of establishing basic points in the field), an actual infinite set of points. If we assume the existence of an infinite amount of actual points between two locations, then we can never get from location A to location B, since no matter how many points we have passed, there will still be an infinite number of points left. If the universe is eternal, then there must exist an actual infinite set of events in the past, but then it would be impossible to reach the present moment. Since the present moment has been reached, there cannot be an actual infinite set of events in the past. There could only be a finite number. Therefore, there had to be a first event. Hence, the universe had a beginning.

Yep, I know that the above argument may seem pretty much close to incomprehensible at first, but read through it a few times and it does start to make sense.

The sum total of all this must be:
The universe definitely had a beginning and so it must have been caused by something greater than itself. As Theists and Christians we hold that that first cause was God.
Robin A. Brace, June 19th, 2009.

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