Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some thoughts on the Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Cosmological Argument is an argument which both J P Moreland and William Lane Craig stress in Scaling the Secular City and Reasonable Faith(it is only natural for Craig to spend a lot of time arguing for it since he more or less invented it). Craig’s simplified version (without the nifty set of sub-arguments) goes as follows:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

The first cause is an uncaused, timeless, immaterial being—namely God.

The first problem with this argument is that it isn’t always the case that it is true to say that objects begin to exist according to the B-theory of time, but I am not to sure as to what theory of time I subscribe to so I will move on to another objection. The second problem has to do with the nature of causality. This brings up what may be known as the anti-creation argument, and has to do with the temporality of causes. When someone usually things of a cause they think of the conditions that must obtain for a certain event to occur. For example when I observed snow today I could gather that it is snowing because of the cold temperature and position of the clouds, if the temperature was warmer then I would not have witnessed snow because it is one of the important conditions for snow to obtain in order to occur. It may also be noticed that it takes time for these circumstances to actualize. So returning to premise one “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” involves a sense of temporality. But does that really make sense? Can time really begin to exist? This brings up the anti-creation argument as formulated by Theodore Drange:
(a) If X creates Y, then X must exist temporally prior to Y.
(b) But nothing could possibly exist temporally prior to time itself (for that would involve existing at a time when there was no time, which is a contradiction).
(c) Thus, it is impossible for time to have been created.
(d) Time is an essential component of the universe.
(e) Therefore, it is impossible for the universe to have been created.

It then seems like according to the KCA we must thinking about causes in an atemporal way—but does that really make sense? Even if it were the case that the universe can be said to be caused in an atemporal sense doesn’t that refute the 1st premise since something cannot be said to begin unless it exists in time?

Moreland, J P. Scaling the Secular City. Grand Rapids,        MO: Baker Books, 1987. N. pag. Print.
Craig, William L. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and      Apologetics. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL:      Crossway Books, 2088. N. pag. 1 vols. Print.
Drange, Ted. "TEN ATHEISTIC ARGUMENTS:." Infidel Guy. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. <>.