Kalam Cosmological Argument

(An argument that the world had to have a beginning and that God was the cause of that beginning
developed by Medieval Arab Islamic Scholars)


       The Kalam argument

               1) If something begins to exist it has a preceding cause

               2) The universe began to exist

               3) Therefore, the universe has a cause

               4) And that cause is a personal God


       Support for 1) If something begins to exist it has a preceding cause

               Obvious, intuitively true: Something can’t come from nothing

               Experience shows us this


       Support for 2) The universe began to exist

               First argument: Actual infinites can’t exist

               If the universe had always existed there would be an actual infinity of events before today and this is impossible

               So the universe must have a beginning

                        Objection: Actual infinites do exist, namely a line segment which has infinite parts

                        Reply: Line segment does not have actual infinite parts; one can keep dividing a line segment infinitely (½, 1/4, 1/8 etc.), but this is only a potential, not an actual infinite


               Second argument: Impossibility of traversing the infinite

               If the past is infinite, to get to today one would have to traverse an infinite number of prior events

                        And thus we would never have arrived at today

               Before any event occurs there will always be another event that had to happen first

               So if the past consists of infinite events, the present (events) would never occur

               But the present has occurred, so the past can’t be infinite

                        Objection: This makes the same mistake as Zeno’s paradox (which claims that Achilles can’t cross the stadium because to do so he’d have to pass through an infinite number of halfway points).

                                 But clearly he can cross the stadium and one can traverse the infinite

                        Reply: Zeno’s intervals are unequal (and keep getting smaller and smaller) and add up to a finite distance

                                 Intervals in an infinite past are equal and add up to an infinite distance/number


               Two “scientific” arguments for a beginning of the universe

                        1) If the universe had always existed, it would have run down and died a heat death by now

                                 2nd law of thermodynamics claims that any closed system will eventually tend toward equilibrium–everything will spread out and heat will dissipate (is this an accurate description of this law?)

                                 Because this is not he case with our universe, it must not have always existed

                        2) One interpretation of the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe is that all matter, energy, space, and time all came into being at one moment

                                 Thus this well respected scientific theory suggests a beginning to the universe


       Why the cause of the universe is a personal God

               Any cause of space/time, must transcend space time and exist out side of time and space

               Such a cause is changeless, because timeless

               Immaterial because changeless

               Beginningless and uncaused

               Incredibly powerful (as created the universe w/o a material cause)

               If timeless and immaterial, it must be a mind/spirit

               And of the two types of causal explanations we understand 1) scientific/material/antecedent cause and 2) agents/desires/wants causing things, the cause of the universe is of the agent type