The field of Christian apologetics often forms arguments for the existence of God, and in doing so knows that God needs no defense though human minds are made to think and reason and what the human mind wants is a reasonable explanation for the existence of God. Many want belief in God to be reasonable.
Do you think argument from cause or origins is a compelling argument for God?
Perhaps the first and core argument for God’s existence is called the cosmological argument. It goes back to Aristotle.
This can be called the “Classical cosmological argument”:
- Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;
- The universe has a beginning of its existence;
- The universe has a cause of its existence.
But there is a newer form of this classic argument called the Kalam argument, and it probably most connected to William Lane Craig. Bill Craig formulates the argument with an additional set of premises:
Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite
An actual infinite cannot exist.
An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.
Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.
Argument based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition.
A collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite.
The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.
Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.
I am reading a splendid new book edited by J.P. Moreland, Chad Meiser, and Khaldoun Sweis, Debating Christian Theism, which isolates twenty separable issues in apologetics and Christian theism and arranges each into a positive case and a rebuttal by nothing short of experts in the field. This book can serve as a complete course in Christian apologetics for Christian theism. It must be on all seminary and theological college bookshelves and can serve well as required reading for theologically educated students.
1. Did the universe begin to exist? That is, did it have (a) a beginning or was it (b) beginningless?
Craig argues for (a): the earth began to exist. He confirms this through the Big Bang theory.
2. Was the beginning of the universe (c) caused or (d) uncaused?
Craig argues for (c). Thus, the earth began to exist and was caused.
3. Was the cause of the universe (e) personal or (f) impersonal?
Craig argues for (e). Person, so he proposes, flows from the conclusions that the cause is uncaused, changeless, immaterial, timeless — must “transcend both time and space” (16) — thus an “unembodied mind” (17). And there must be “personal, free agency” (17) that brings previously non-existing conditions into reality. This is what everyone means by “God.”
Thus, his kalam argument argues the universe began, its beginning was caused, and it was caused by a personal being, God.
In the next post I want to look at the argument for God from apparent design.