Proving God: Part 1 - The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

“When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13 ESV


In order to take in the full capacity of what is about to be said, one must approach this writing with a non-biased mindset. To go into this writing as an HONEST skeptic could be one of the most beneficial things to receive for your soul. To go in with a closed, biased mind is to deceive yourself from any truth that will be presented. This truth not only comes from non-secular sources and science, but also secular science.


"“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”" Matthew 11:15 ESV



THE KALAM COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT


Thomas Aquinas was a Christian philosopher and theologian who took the first-cause argument (Cosmological Argument) and "molded the first cause-concept into a framework in which the cause of the universe itself is uncaused: the First Cause is God."


The beginning of the cosmological argument was therefore expounded upon by Al-Ghazali. Now, since Al-Ghazali was a Muslim theologian, we want to tread carefully from a Christian perspective. However, in this essay we are simply arguing the existence of God. Once this is established, we will further dive into why the Lord Jesus Christ is the One and Only True God. However, we will give credit to where credit is due.


Al-Ghazali was a twelfth century Muslim theologian from Persia. While he was worried about the Muslim philosophers being influenced by ancient Greek philosophy (who sought to end God being the Creator of the universe), Al-Ghazali wrote The Incoherence of the Philosophers. In this book, he argues that the idea of a beginning-less universe serves no merit (which we will extensively look into further into this essay - both from philosophical arguments and scientific confirmations) through the variation of his three premises; which we will see below.


Since the beginning of this argument by Al-Ghazali, Dr. William Lane Craig has popularized this argument into his “The Kalam Cosmological Argument” (1979).

The brief summary of The Kalam Cosmological Argument is as follows:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

  2. The universe began to exist.

  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

This is a universal truth throughout everything we see. Babies do not pop into being randomly; nor do oak trees. Everything that begins to exist, does in fact, have a cause. To deny this first premise is to live in a fantasy land. If one is able to recognize and agree that “whatever begins to exist has a cause”, then we may proceed into the remainder of this essay.


Let us break each of the three premises down into further detail, in order that we may have a better grasp as to how these points are universal truths; based upon universal happenings.


PREMISE 1: WHATEVER BEGINS TO EXIST HAS A CAUSE.


As previously mentioned, nothing cannot come out of nothing. This is common sense and at the root is where logic begins. Dr. William Lane Craig says that the mindset of “Out of nothing, nothing comes is worse than magic. When the magician pulls a rabbit out of the hat, at least you have the magician!” A humorous truth; but nonetheless, truth.


If things could just randomly come into existence uncaused from nothing, then, as previously discussed, why don’t all things come into existence out of nothing? It would be foolish for someone to say that a dog could pop into existence; and yet, many atheists have chosen to believe that the universe (which is astronomically more complex than a dog) came into being out of nothing. To believe in such a statement is to live in self-deception.


The claim that “whatever begins to exist has a cause” is universally verified by both common experience and scientific evidence (which we will see in the second premise); and, therefore, is never falsified.


PREMISE 2: THE UNIVERSE BEGAN TO EXIST.


Now, there are two overarching realms of argument and confirmation to this second premise; these two being philosophical arguments and scientific confirmations. Let us begin with the philosophical arguments:


Philosophical Argument #1: The impossibility of the existence of an actually infinite number of things.”

It is important to distinguish the difference between a potential infinite and an actual infinite.


A potential infinite is a collection that is growing toward infinity, but never gets there.


An actual infinite is a completed infinite - it’s already complete.


It is impossible to have the existence of an actually infinite number of things. If there was never a beginning, then the universe would not be able to function. Galaxies would collide and earth would be extremely over-populated with people, animals and plants. If an actually infinite number of things were true, then nothing would be able to function.


Philosophical Argument #2: “If you can’t count to infinity, then you can’t count down from infinity.”

Sadly, many believe the absurd viewpoint that the universe was never created; they believe that the universe has always been. To believe this is to believe in a make-believe hyperbole. We will dive into the sound scientific evidence which will provide clear understanding, but for the sake of explaining this philosophical argument, let us imagine two planets orbiting the sun. Let us say “planet 2” goes twice as fast around the sun as “planet 1”. If both have and always will be infinite, then they are in fact equal (since they never had a beginning, and will never have an ending). Though our heads may accumulate the idea that planet 2 will orbit the sun twice as much as planet 1, this statement cannot be rational if there is no ending; no beginning.


This example shows us that the past cannot be infinite; and therefore, it must be finite. Therefore, the universe began to exist.


Scientific Confirmation #1: The expansion of the universe.

When Albert Einstein applied his newly discovered gravitational theory - The General Theory of Relatively - to the universe as a whole; it showed him that the universe could not exist in a static eternal condition (which simply means, it could not be infinite in the past and remain the same for infinity). The universe would either be in a state of cosmic expansion (the universe will continue to expand in size) or a state of cosmic contraction (the universe will continue to decrease in size).


When Albert Einstein began looking into this, he did not know how to handle his findings. Due to his stagnation of not knowing what to do, he decided to make up the numbers in his equation in order to preserve the concept of an eternal universe.

During the 1920s, however, the Russian Mathematician, Alexander Friedmann (1922); and the Belgian Astronomer, Georges Lemaitre (1927), took Einstein’s Theory at face value.


After years of work, they were both able to show independent models of an expanding universe that had a beginning at some point in the finite past. They also were able to conclude that the universe is in a continual state of expansion. Many of us know the name of this theory as The Big Bang Theory Origin of the Universe.


In the past, many atheists were able to hide behind the hypothesis that the “universe has always been”; however, because of the discovery of The Big Bang, this theory no longer has validity. Alexander Vilenkin (The Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University), summarizes perfectly: “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.”


Now, it is at this point that many Christians disregard that the Big Bang Theory has any relevance to the Scriptures; but, it is simply the name of the theory used to describe the point when God created everything. Many people believe that it was just matter and energy that originated at the Big Bang, but two more elements came into being at this very moment. Matter, energy, space and time all began at the point of the Big Bang. It is this theory that has proven valid and has revealed to us the absolute truth that the universe had a beginning.


In 2003, three leading cosmologists (Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, Alexander Vilenkin) showed that “Any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history CANNOT be eternal in the past, but MUST have an absolute beginning.”

At this point, if one lacks to believe that the universe had a beginning, then let us review the next scientific argument for further confirmation.


Scientific Confirmation #2: The Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The Laws of Thermodynamics predict that a closed system, (a system that does not have energy being fed into it), eventually will run down as its energy is exhausted.


The Second Law of Thermodynamics reveals to us that over enough time, the universe will eventually run into a state of thermodynamic heat death of one sort or another.


Now, the question to ask oneself is this: If a person believes that the universe has always been (and if that were the case), then out of all infinity, why has the universe chosen now to run out of energy? If the universe was infinite, then the energy amount should remain the same because it has always been. At the level of energy infinity has been, it should continue for infinity. Instead, the Second Law of Thermodynamics has shown us that renewable energy is running out. If this were the case in an “infinite universe” all along, then this should of happened an infinite time ago. The universe should now be in a dark, lifeless, cold state; but it’s not.


Dr. William Lane Craig states that “This indicates that the universe has not existed from infinity past; but began to exist a finite time ago with a certain amount of energy put in as an initial condition, and its been running down since then as it expands.”


We can therefore conclude that there is both good philosophical arguments and scientific confirmation that the universe began to exist.


PREMISE 3: THEREFORE, THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE OF ITS EXISTENCE.


Many believe that there was a circulation of numbers clustering around until they randomly linked up into the perfect equation to allow the Big Bang to occur. If this were the case, then where did the numbers come from? They could not have always been, because we know that whatever begins to exist has to have a cause.


What exactly is the cause of the universe, then? The cause of the universe:

  1. Must be uncaused, because it is logically impossible to have an infinite regress of causes.

  2. Must transcend both time and space since it created both time and space. This would lead to the conclusion that the cause is not physical and the cause exists outside time and space.

  3. The cause is immensely and unimaginably powerful to bring time, space, energy and matter into existence at the same time.

  4. This being is personable. On The John Ankerberg Show, Dr. William Lane Craig summarizes this point perfectly: “How else can you explain how you can get a temporary effect with a beginning, from a cause that is eternal and permanent. If the cause is an im-personable, mechanical set of conditions; then once the cause is given, the effect has to be given as well. For example, the cause of the water freezing is the temperature being below 0 degrees Celsius. If the temperature were below 0 degrees from eternity past, then any water that was around would be frozen from eternity past. It would be impossible for the water to just begin to freeze a finite time ago. The only way to get a temporary effect with a beginning from an eternal, permanent cause, is if that cause is a personal agent; endowed with freedom of the will, who can therefore freely create a new effect in time, without any prior determining conditions. For example, a man sitting from eternity, could freely will to stand up; and so you would have a temporary effect arise from an eternal cause. So we are brought not just to a transcendent cause of the universe; but to its personal Creator. “

Let us end with the words of Dr. William Lane Craig: “Ghazali’s cosmological argument thus gives us powerful grounds for believing in the existence of a beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, enormously powerful, Personal Creator of the universe.” There is no other logical conclusion that we can come to than that God is the reason for all of what we see. The question now is, do you believe it? Don’t allow self-deception to take place.


Noticed, I have not made the case for Christ. This writing has strictly been about whether or not God exists. As we continue on, we will show other proofs of God. Once that is settled, we will see why “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 ESV), and that God truly is ““the Alpha and the Omega...Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty”” (Revelation 1:8 ESV).


When God begins to tug on your heart, know that He is calling you. He wants to know you.


Until then, let us continue on with the proof that God exists.



Lance VanTine

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