The Kalām Cosmological Argument

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The Kalām Cosmological Argument
First edition cover
Author William Lane Craig
Language English
Subject Philosophy, Religion
Publisher McMillan Press:London
Publication date
1979
Pages 216
ISBN ISBN 0-06-491308-2

The Kalām Cosmological Argument (KCA) is a book written by William Lane Craig. It comprises a contemporary defense of the Kalām cosmological argument. The book purports to establish the existence of God based upon the alleged metaphysical impossibility of an infinite regress of past events. According to the KCA, given that an infinite temporal regress is metaphysically impossible and that everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence. In a further analysis Craig's book discloses that this cause is a personal creator who changelessly and independently willed the beginning of the universe.[1][2][3][4]

Contents[edit]

The book is divided into two parts.

Part I provides a brief history of the Kalām cosmological argument as stated by the Kalām tradition, with special attention to al-Kindi, Saadia and al-Ghāzāli. Part II moves to defend in length the substance of the argument.

The basic argument[edit]

  1. Whatever begins to exist, has a cause of its existence (i.e. something has caused it to start existing).
  2. The universe began to exist. i.e., the temporal regress of events is finite.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Following Al-Ghāzāli, Craig argues that this cause must be a personal will.[5]

The first sub-set of arguments[edit]

Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite:

  1. An actual infinite cannot exist.
  2. An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.
  3. Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.

The second sub-set of arguments[edit]

Argument based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition:

  1. A collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite.
  2. The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.
  3. Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.

The first is that a) an actual infinite cannot exist in the real world; and b) an infinite temporal series is such an actual infinite.

The second is that a temporal series cannot be an actual infinite, assuming than an actual infinite can exist in the real world, because: a) a temporal series is a collection formed by successive addition; and b) a collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite.

Editions[edit]

  1. William Lane Craig, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (London: McMillan Press, 1979)
  2. William Lane Craig, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1979)
  3. William Lane Craig, The Kalām Cosmological Argument (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2000)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Guminski, A. T. The Kalam Cosmological Argument: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Set of Real Entities, Philo, Volume 5, Number 2.
  2. ^ Craig, W. L.(1979). The Kalām Cosmological Argument (1st ed.). London: McMillan Press
  3. ^ Morriston, W. [1], A Critique of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, God Matters: Readings in the Philosophy of Religion, Raymond Martin and Christopher Bernard (eds), (Longman, 2002), 95-108
  4. ^ Morriston, W. Causes and Beginnings in the Kalam Argument: Reply to Craig, Faith and Philosophy, Vol. 19, No. 2 (April 2002), 233-244
  5. ^ Wainwright, W. J. , Review: The Kalām Cosmological Argument by William Lane Craig, Noûs Vol. 16, No. 2 (May, 1982), pp. 328-334. Blackwell Publishing