Did God Cause the Universe in the Kalam Cosmological Argument?

James Still

Using the tools of predicate logic, I analyze William Lane Craig's kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God, advanced in his 1979 book entitled The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Craig writes that the historical kalam arguments for the temporality of the universe ``demonstrate that the world had a beginning at a point of time. Having demonstrated the temporality of the world, the theologian may then ask why it exists.'' Thus, the modern version of the kalam argument that Craig formulates is (1) everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence; (2) the universe began to exist; therefore (3) the universe has a cause of its existence.

Craig concludes that the efficient cause of the universe must be one of two possibilities: either a naturalistic cause from eternity, or a personal being who caused the universe from eternity or in time. Clearly, a resolution of these disjunctions rests upon a clear notion of what exactly "eternity" is. Should we understand ``eternity'' to mean relational atemporality in the context of Kant's antithesis, or should we instead take a realistic view and understand eternity to be an infinite duration of time? I argue that Craig's own view of the impossibility of an actual infinite is in tension with a realistic view of eternity. If this is so, a naturalistic cause could efficiently cause the universe from eternity without violating the Muslim principle of determination. In order for us to be able to argue that God was the efficient cause of the universe, we must still make the case against the possibility of a naturalistic cause from eternity. If we do not do so we are in danger of begging the question for God as the efficient cause of the universe.

Copyright © James Still