Tag Archive | "Kalam"

Kumakalam na Kalam ( A Look at the Kalam Argument on the Existence of God)


Majority of Christian Filipinos who are into debates here in Manila are oblivious with William lane Craig’s Kalam argument on the existence of God. These guys need an upgrade!

Therefore, I guess Filipino non-believers as well are also in the dark if they encounter the argument.

So a little bit of FYI.

The idea came from the works of the 6th century Alexandrian philosophical commentator and Christian theologian Joannes Philoponos. His ideas were later developed by medieval Islamic theologians, the Mutakallim and called it ‘Kalam’ which means ‘speech’.

The Kalam argument was brought to Christian attention in a debate between Franciscan theologian John of Fidanza (St. Bonaventure) and Thomas Aquinas over the existence of God.

The basic premises of the Kalam argument are quite simple:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Let us examine each premises.

Premise 1

Christian apologists insist that the first premise is obvious that it does not need an explanation. William Lane Craig calls this a metaphysical intuition.

Yet…Is God not included in premise 1?

Christian response: Only finite, contingent things need a cause. God is infinite and he is necessary.

Atheist: But according to Christian apologists such as Mr. Craig, actual infinity cannot exist. If God is infinite then He has lived through an infinite number of hours. This would contradict Mr. Craig’s claim that actual infinity does not exist.

Christian: God is outside our universe. He is also not subjected to time.

Atheist: So God is situated in a different place. Do you have any idea of a place that is without space and time? We can’t even call this ‘place’ a place since a place requires a “space”. Now if God created the universe from a timeless “place” that makes his action timeless (without beginning). Therefore, the act of creating the universe is an act of God that has no beginning, right? That’s an example again of an actual infinite…which sadly…according to Christian apologists like Mr. Craig, doesn’t exist.

Speaking of space…God occupy space on this er…place, right? If so, then how and when was this ‘place’ created? Surely, this ‘place’ also has a cause. If you said, God created this ‘place’ from another timeless-space less place then we’re now going into an Ad infinitum.

Christian: God created this ‘place’ on his own being.

Atheist: Hmmmmm…that sounded pantheistic. Anyway if this ‘place’ was created on God’s own being and God is eternal, then this place is eternal…again contradicting the Kalam argument.

Also, if God is immutable (doesn’t change) then this ‘place’ is also immutable…again a contradiction with the Kalam which says everything was created (finite and contingent).

Premise 2

We define ‘universe’ as the aggregate of all existing things – including time and space. Now, if “everything” is the same as the universe it contradicts one of the rules of the set theory that says, “No set should be considered a member of itself.” Yep…Georg Cantor (1845-1918). Now if the universe is not included (or the same as) everything, then how can its beginning (the universe) the same with the beginning of everything?

Christian: We…eh…GOD IS ALL-POWERFUL AND OMNIPOTENT!!! HE IS BEYOND HUMAN RULES AND LOGIC!!! YOUR SET RULES, PHILOSOPHY…WHATEVER WILL NEVER LIMIT GOD’S POWER!! IF HE WANTS BLUE TO BE GREEN OR YELLOW HE CAN DO IT!!! HE CAN DO EVERYTHING, EVEN IF IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR US!!! WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND GOD!!!

Atheist: Then Christian apologists like Mr. Craig and Mr. Giesler will be out of the job. Why will these guys spend money publishing books and why will I buy those books if God can’t be explained by human reasoning?

Going back to the subject, scientifically speaking, most Christians seem to be having trouble thinking of something that is “uncaused.” Believers speculate that these ‘uncaused’ events at the quantum level such as the spontaneous decay of a single atom of a heavy isotope are just a case of “just not knowing the cause.” Mr. Craig calls them as “probabilistic causality.” However, accidental causes are spontaneous, and spontaneous causes are not predetermined. According to David Hume (1711-1776) when we speak of ‘cause’, what we mean is an explanation for the event. So how can we explain spontaneous cause? Thus Mr. Craig’s “probabilistic causes are just another word for ‘uncaused cause”.

Now, since premise 1 and premise 2 can be refuted then there is no need to explain the conclusion.

Pinoy Atheist

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