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Kalaam Cosmological Argument

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Tree of Life, Mar 16, 2019 at 5:13 PM.

  1. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    While this argument is not universally persuasive, I do believe that it is an effective argument for God's existence. This is to say that the premises and conclusions are more plausible than their negations. Let's take a look at this argument in this thread and hash it out. Here is a simple form of the argument:

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore the universe has a cause.

    The argument looks sound and valid to me. Conclusion (3) would imply that God is the cause of the universe. Perhaps you would deny or challenge one or more of the premises. Perhaps you would challenge the validity of the argument. Perhaps you would accept the argument but deny that God is the cause of the universe.

    Discuss.
     
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  2. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    If time was created as part of the universe then concepts like "begins" and "cause" fall apart when applied to the universe itself.

    If time existed prior to the creation of the universe or if there is some sort of orthogonal "Heavenly time" that God lives within then we pass the buck to God. God must ask himself where the Heavenly universe came from and where God came from and so on.
     
  3. Nicholas Deka

    Nicholas Deka Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    I've never seen anything begin to exist, I've only seen things change from one thing to another thing. Have you ever seen anything come into existence? I don't think anyone has. Why would anyone think that anything began to exist at all if no one has ever seen anything of the sort?
     
  4. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    Usually when we think about unknowns we take something we understand from a well-understood environment and hope certain aspects apply in the environment of the unknown.

    When thinking about the unknowns of creation there is one possible constant - God.
     
  5. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    I would contest that (3) implies that God is the cause of the universe. The only thing the argument, if successful, would actually demonstrate is that there is something which exists uncaused and cannot be identified with the universe. This need not have any other traditional property of God, and could just as easily be conceived of as something like a quantum vacuum.

    I think we need a deeper analysis of causality and necessity to get the Kalam off the ground.
     
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  6. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    The majority of cosmologists today would think in terms of "space time", acknowledging that the two things exist together. The beginning of the universe would also be the beginning of time.

    Saying that time began at a certain moment already suggests that the spacetime universe had a beginning. If time began, then something caused time to begin.

    God, as Christians understand him, exists outside of time. Time is his creature. There is no "heavenly time", only a timeless eternity.
     
  7. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    This is relatively speaking. Relatively speaking things do begin to exist. Sure, these things are composed of parts that preceded their existence. But even then the principle holds true that whatever begins to exist has a cause. An apple is composed of matter that long pre-existed the apple, but the apple still does, relatively speaking, begin to exist at some point. It is caused by the apple tree.

    What you might be contesting is premise (2) - that matter and energy itself began to exist. Do you mean to contest this idea?
     
  8. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    I think that what you've deduced is enough to make the idea of God more plausible than God's non-existence.
     
  9. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    Or another approach...

    Did you begin to exist or has your person always existed? Have you ever seen a childbirth? Does a child begin to exist at some point or have they always existed as such?
     
  10. Nicholas Deka

    Nicholas Deka Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    Are you speaking relatively in premise 1 and premise 2?
     
  11. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    (1) is relative if you want to press it in that direction but (2) applies to the spacetime universe.

    But I don't think we need to press (1) in an extreme direction. Would you admit that your person came into existence at a certain point in time?
     
  12. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    Which part? I don't think there's anything that's been stated explicitly in this thread that gives us reason to pick God over a quantum vacuum as the more probable cause of the universe. More work would also need to be done to demonstrate the the universe/multiverse itself is not eternal.

    I don't think the idea that God's existence is more plausible than his non-existence is really powerful these days. God's existence is a psychological impossibility for a lot of people, and you need much more than a claim of plausibility to get around that.
     
  13. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    Could you describe a quantum vacuum? I'm not sure it can be described in terms of something that is very different from "the universe". Also, the idea of an eternally existing universe or multiverse would entail an actual infinity, which has been shown to be philosophically absurd. Hilbert's Hotel is a good example of this - Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel - Wikipedia

    Say more about what you mean by "psychological impossibility".
     
  14. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    To claim cause and effect is to claim that the states of the universe at times previous IMPLIED the state of the effect at some later time. The concept of cause and effect depends on time, so how can we use cause and effect in discussions about cosmological environments where time is itself created?
     
  15. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    Also, I think this Christian understanding about God is wrong. Christians believed that God became a human living in time, and that is only the beginning of the absurdity of this idea that God is timeless.

    Can God truly communicate with a person if He is timeless? What kind of relationship is that? You can have a better relationship with a pet rock.
     
  16. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    It sounds to me like you're skeptical about premise (2). I am saying in premise (2) that spacetime began to exist. Perhaps you deny that time ever began?
     
  17. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    I don't believe it's really possible for us to imagine what it means to be timeless, as time is the only thing we've ever experienced. It's difficult enough to describe time, let alone the concept of eternity. So I could not offer much by way of explanation of God's eternity. I can only confess that God is eternal and that time is his creature. Time serves God, God is not a subject of time.
     
  18. 46AND2

    46AND2 Forty six and two are just ahead of me...

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    The point is that the cause of anything "coming into existence" has always been observed to be natural in essence, and has always come from pre-existing "something else." Your conclusion of god creating the universe , presumably ex nihilo, is jumping to something entirely unprecedented.

    In other words, you are comparing two fundamentally different causes, one of which is routinely observed, and the other never observed.
     
  19. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    Fair enough. Does this mean that you would deny premise (2)? The idea of an eternal universe entails some philosophical absurdities that are worth discussing.
     
  20. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    I suppose it implies a causal entity beyond the universe itself. In our society that would often be identified as God, even if it is possible that the entity in question be devoid of intellect and will. It seems to depend a great deal on what is meant by "the universe."
     
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