I have had a lot of comments, objections and concerns on Craig’s Explanation of
Cosmological Argument(Contingency Version) which most I believe is because of misunderstanding between Cosmological Argument Contingency Version and Temporal Version also known as The Kalam Cosmological Argument.
Craig is mastermind behind the revival of The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Bring this almost forgotten Argument for Existence of God back to the top of Religious Philosophy. Craig has answered most of the objections rose against this Argument from both the Historical Atheists and the New Atheists most Richard Dawkin’s popular work The God Delusion.
William Lane Craig, a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. The number one(my number one) Christian Debater of our time.
(Bold is my way of ask you to pay much attention)
The Kalam Cosmological Argument Based on the Beginning of the Universe
William Lane Craig
Here’s a different version of the cosmological argument, which I have called the kalam cosmological argument in honor of its medieval Muslim proponents (kalam is the Arabic word for theology):
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Once we reach the conclusion that the universe has a cause, we can then analyze what properties such a cause must have and assess its theological significance.
Now again the argument is logically ironclad. So the only question is whether the two premises are more plausibly true than their denials.
Premise 1 seems obviously true—at the least, more so than its negation. First, it’s rooted in the necessary truth that something cannot come into being uncaused from nothing. To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is literally worse than magic. Second, if things really could come into being uncaused out of nothing, then it’s inexplicable why just anything and everything do not come into existence uncaused from nothing. Third, premise 1 is constantly confirmed in our experience as we see things that begin to exist being brought about by prior causes.
Premise 2 can be supported both by philosophical argument and by scientific evidence. The philosophical arguments aim to show that there cannot have been an infinite regress of past events. In other words, the series of past events must be finite and have had a beginning. Some of these arguments try to show that it is impossible for an actually infinite number of things to exist; therefore, an infinite number of past events cannot exist. Others try to show that an actually infinite series of past events could never elapse; since the series of past events has obviously elapsed, the number of past events must be finite.
The scientific evidence for premise 2 is based on the expansion of the universe and the thermodynamic properties of the universe. According to the Big Bang model of the origin of the universe, physical space and time, along with all the matter and energy in the universe, came into being at a point in the past about 13.7 billion years ago (Fig. 1).
Figure 1: Geometrical Representation of Standard Model Space-Time. Space and time begin at the initial cosmological singularity, before which literally nothing exists.
What makes the Big Bang so amazing is that it represents the origin of the universe from literally nothing. As the physicist P. C. W. Davies explains, “the coming into being of the universe, as discussed in modern science . . . is not just a matter of imposing some sort of organization . . . upon a previous incoherent state, but literally the coming-into-being of all physical things from nothing.”1
Of course, cosmologists have proposed alternative theories over the years to try to avoid this absolute beginning, but none of these theories has commended itself to the scientific community as more plausible than the Big Bang theory. In fact, in 2003 Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin proved that any universe that is, on average, in a state of cosmic expansion cannot be eternal in the past but must have an absolute beginning. Their proof holds regardless of the physical description of the very early universe, which still eludes scientists, and applies even to any wider multiverse of which our universe might be thought to be a part. Vilenkin pulls no punches:
It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.2
Moreover, in addition to the evidence based on the expansion of the universe, we have thermodynamic evidence for the beginning of the universe. The Second Law of Thermodynamics predicts that in a finite amount of time, the universe will grind down to a cold, dark, dilute, and lifeless state. But if it has already existed for infinite time, the universe should now be in such a desolate condition. Scientists have therefore concluded that the universe must have begun to exist a finite time ago and is now in the process of winding down.
It follows logically from the two premises that the universe has a cause. The prominent New Atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett agrees that the universe has a cause, but he thinks that the cause of the universe is itself! Yes, he’s serious. In what he calls “the ultimate boot-strapping trick,” he claims that the universe created itself.3
Dennett’s view is plainly nonsense. Notice that he’s not saying that the universe is self- caused in the sense that it has always existed. No, Dennett agrees that the universe had an absolute beginning but claims that the universe brought itself into being. But this is clearly impossible, for in order to create itself, the universe would have to already exist. It would have to exist before it existed! Dennett’s view is thus logically incoherent. The cause of the universe must therefore be a transcendent cause beyond the universe.
So what properties must such a cause of the universe possess? As the cause of space and time, it must transcend space and time and therefore exist timelessly and non-spatially (at least without the universe). This transcendent cause must therefore be changeless and immaterial because :
(1) anything that is timeless must also be unchanging and
(2) anything that is changeless must be non-physical and immaterial since material things are constantly changing at the molecular and atomic levels.
Such a cause must be without a beginning and uncaused, at least in the sense of lacking any prior causal conditions, since there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. Ockham’s Razor (the principle that states that we should not multiply causes beyond necessity) will shave away any other causes since only one cause is required to explain the effect. This entity must be unimaginably powerful, if not omnipotent, since it created the universe without any material cause.
Finally, and most remarkably, such a transcendent first cause is plausibly personal. We’ve already seen in our discussion of the argument from contingency that the personhood of the first cause of the universe is implied by its timelessness and immateriality. The only entities that can possess such properties are either minds or abstract objects like numbers. But abstract objects don’t stand in causal relations. Therefore, the transcendent cause of the origin of the universe must be an unembodied mind.4
Moreover, the personhood of the first cause is also implied since the origin of an effect with a beginning is a cause without a beginning. We’ve seen that the beginning of the universe was the effect of a first cause. By the nature of the case that cause cannot have a beginning of its existence or any prior cause. It just exists changelessly without beginning, and a finite time ago it brought the universe into existence. Now this is very peculiar. The cause is in some sense eternal and yet the effect that it produced is not eternal but began to exist a finite time ago. How can this happen? If the sufficient conditions for the effect are eternal, then why isn’t the effect also eternal? How can a first event come to exist if the cause of that event exists changelessly and eternally? How can the cause exist without its effect?
There seems to be only one way out of this dilemma, and that’s to say that the cause of the universe’s beginning is a personal agent who freely chooses to create a universe in time. Philosophers call this type of causation “agent causation,” and because the agent is free, he can initiate new effects by freely bringing about conditions that were not previously present. Thus, a finite time ago a Creator could have freely brought the world into being at that moment. In this way, the Creator could exist changelessly and eternally but choose to create the world in time. (By “choose” one need not mean that the Creator changes his mind about the decision to create, but that he freely and eternally intends to create a world with a beginning.) By exercising his causal power, he therefore brings it about that a world with a beginning comes to exist.5 So the cause is eternal, but the effect is not. In this way, then, it is possible for the temporal universe to have come to exist from an eternal cause: through the free will of a personal Creator.
So on the basis of an analysis of the argument’s conclusion, we may therefore infer that a personal Creator of the universe exists who is uncaused, without beginning, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful.
On the contemporary scene philosophers such as Stuart Hackett, David Oderberg, Mark Nowacki, and I have defended the kalam cosmological argument.6
Now, fortunately, Dawkins does address this version of the cosmological argument. Remarkably, however, he doesn’t dispute either premise of the argument! Instead, he questions the theological significance of the argument’s conclusion. He complains,
Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts.7
Apart from the opening dig,8 this is an amazingly concessionary statement. Dawkins doesn’t deny that the argument successfully demonstrates the existence of an uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful, personal Creator of the universe. He merely complains that this cause hasn’t been shown to be omnipotent, omniscient, good, creative of design, listening to prayers, forgiving sins, and reading innermost thoughts. So what? The argument doesn’t aspire to prove such things. It would be a bizarre form of atheism— indeed, one not worth the name—that conceded that there exists an uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful, personal Creator of the universe, who may, for all we know, also possess the further properties listed by Dawkins!9
Dawkins does have a bit more to say about the kalam cosmological argument. He asserts, “it is more parsimonious to conjure up, say, a ‘big bang singularity,’ or some other physical concept as yet unknown. Calling it God is at best unhelpful and at worst perniciously misleading.”10 I take it that the objection here is that something else of a purely physical nature can be regarded as the cause of the universe reached in the argument’s conclusion. But as we’ve seen, this objection won’t work. For the initial singularity is just the beginning point of the universe. So our very question is why the singularity came into being. It would be a fundamental misunderstanding to think of the singularity as some sort of super-dense pellet that has been lying dormant from eternity and that blew up a finite time ago. Rather, according the Big Bang theory, the singularity is the point at which physical space and time themselves, along with all matter and energy, began to exist. So there can be no physical cause of any sort of the Big Bang singularity. So what brought the universe into being? The principle of parsimony (or Ockham’s Razor) advises us not to multiply causes beyond necessity; but the principle of explanatory adequacy requires us to posit such causes as are necessary to explain the effect, otherwise we would never seek any causes for anything. We must therefore posit a transcendent cause that is beyond space and time and is therefore non-physical in nature. We needn’t call the personal Creator of the universe “God” if Dawkins finds this unhelpful or misleading; but the point remains that a being such as described above must exist.
1“In the Beginning: In Conversation with Paul Davies and Philip Adams” (January 17, 2002). http://www.abc.net.au/science/bigquestions/s460625.htm.
2Alex Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 176.
3Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (New York: Viking, 2006), 244.
4For a discussion of the possibility of atemporal personhood, see my Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001), 77–113.
5 Such an exercise of causal power plausibly brings God into time at the very moment of creation.
6 Stuart Hackett, The Resurrection of Theism: Prolegomena to Christian Apology (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982); David Oderberg, “Traversal of the Infinite, the ‘Big Bang,’ and the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” Philosophia Christi 4 (2002): 303–34; Mark Nowacki, The Kalam Cosmological Argument for God (Studies in Analytic Philosophy; Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2007); William Lane Craig and James Sinclair, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument,” in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (ed. William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland; Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 101–201.
7 Dawkins, God Delusion, 77.
8 The argument’s proponent doesn’t arbitrarily conjure up a terminator to the infinite regress and give it a name. Rather, as we have seen, he presents philosophical and scientific arguments that the regress must terminate in a first member, arguments that Dawkins doesn’t discuss. Dawkins himself recognizes that many regresses cannot be infinitely extended (God Delusion, 78), but he insists it is by no means clear that God constitutes a natural terminator to the regress of causes. But proponents of the kalam argument provide justification for what properties such a terminator must possess, and no name need be given to the first cause: it is simply the personal Creator of the universe.
9 We needn’t be worried by Dawkins’s little argument that omniscience and omnipotence are logically incompatible (God Delusion, 78). The impossible task Dawkins envisions for God is just a replay of the old chestnut, “Can God make a rock too heavy for him to lift?” The fallacy of such puzzles is that the task described is logically impossible, and omnipotence doesn’t mean the ability to bring about the logically impossible.
10 Dawkins, God Delusion, 78.