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The Kalām Cosmological Argument

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The Kalām Cosmological Argument is a 1979 book by William Lane Craig, in which the author offers a contemporary defense of the Kalām cosmological argument and purports to establish the existence of God based upon the alleged metaphysical impossibility of an infinite regress of past events. According to Craig, 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 discloses that this cause is a personal creator who changelessly and independently willed the beginning of the universe.[1][2][3][4]

The Kalām Cosmological Argument
First edition cover
Author William Lane Craig
Country United States
Language English
Subject Kalam cosmological argument
Publisher Barnes & Noble, New York
Publication date
1979
Media type Print
Pages 216
ISBN 0-06-491308-2

Contents

ContentsEdit

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.

Basic argumentEdit

  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]

First sub-set of argumentsEdit

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.

Second sub-set of argumentsEdit

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.

EditionsEdit

  1. The Kalām Cosmological Argument. London: McMillan Press. 1979. ISBN 9780333248096. 
  2. The Kalām Cosmological Argument. New York: Barnes & Noble. 1979. ISBN 9780064913089. 
  3. The Kalām Cosmological Argument. Eugene: Wipf and Stock. 2000. ISBN 9781579104382. 

ReferencesEdit

  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