The Kalam Cosmological Argument
How can the universe exist? Why is there something rather than nothing? There are several possibilities:
1. The universe was always here
2. The universe began to exist by chance
3. The universe began to exist due to a cause outside of the universe.
Did the Universe Always Exist?
If the universe always existed then that means it has an infinite number of past events. A past eternal universe not only logically untenable but data by science simply does not support a past eternal universe. After all, if the universe had an infinite number of past events then that entails that it did not have a beginning.
A past eternal universe entails an infinite number of past events, but such a notion leads to logical absurdities. For instance, what if I had an infinite number of oranges and I ate half of them? I would still have an infinite
number of oranges. What if I had a hotel with an infinite number of floors and I had guests staying in half the rooms? I’d still have an infinite number of rooms available. The concept of infinity just does not work within the physical universe.
Audrey Mithani and Alexander Vilenkin from are two cosmologists from Tufts University that wrote a paper on the mathematics of eternity.[ref] The equations in this paper to show that the three popular models for an eternal universe that does not include a singularity are untenable.
First, eternal inflation may be able to be eternal to the future, but can’t be eternal to the past because if we trace back the expansion we know we will eventually reach a finite point in time where the universe was not expanding. Singularity theorems from Stephen Hawking and Sir Roger Penrose do not apply because both models of inflation violates the strong energy condition.
Second, the “cyclic evolution” also has its own issues. Cyclic evolution is when the universe has an infinite number of expansions and contractions. A large problem with this model is that this model calls for increased entropy with every cycle leading to what’s known as a “thermal death” to the universe. A defender of this model could argue that if the volume increases as well through each and allows the ratio of S/V to remain finite then the problem would be resolved. However, this would but if the volume increased throughout each cycle, if you were to trace it back far enough the volume would eventually be 0 which does not support a past eternal universe.
Last, we have the emergent universe model. The describes this model as such: “This universe can be thought of as a “cosmic egg” that exists forever until it breaks open to produce an expanding universe.” In order for this model to be tenable it must be stable so that quantum fluctuations would not cause the universe to expand or contract. However, this model can not escape the possibility of a quantum collapse and is therefore geodesically incomplete.
So now we have both logical and scientific support for the following premises for the following formulation of our argument:
P1 An actual infinite can not exist.
P2 A beginning series of events is an actual infinite.
Conclusion: Therefore, the universe can not have always existed as that would be a beginning-less series of events.
Could the Universe Have Begun to Exist by Chance?
This is really what a lot of atheists will try to defend. You see, if there was no external cause, and the universe didn’t have a cause then the universe would have to literally come from nothing and by nothing. By nothing, I really mean nothing. From nothing, nothing comes. After all, if the universe could come from nothing then why couldn’t ANYTHING come from nothing? As William Lane Craig said at one of his presentations “No one here tonight is worried that out of nothing, a horse would pop into existence in your living room and is defiling the carpet as we speak!”
But the approach that most atheists will take is “Nothing” in physics doesn’t really mean “Nothing.” If this is true, then they that means there is an infinite number of quantum events. Recall that earlier we talked about the absurdity of a past eternal universe. A universe that came about from quantum vacuums, fluctuations physical fields, etc carries the same logical problems as the universe as we know it existing forever. I have debated many atheists who have advocated this position and they can never dig themselves out of the past eternal universe.
The Bottom Line
Either the universe began to exist or it didn’t. If the atheist refers to a universe from “nothing” as in the definition of “nothing” that infers quantum activity, then they are actually advocating a past eternal universe. On the other hand, if they believe the universe came from literally “nothing”(by which we really mean nothing in this case) then refer to the argument that I gave against a universe from literally nothing.
If the atheist supports one of the eternal universe models such as eternal inflation, cyclic evolution, or the emergent universe model then refer to the arguments I gave against those 3 models as well as the logical argument I gave against infinity in the physical universe.
If the Universe Can’t Come About by Chance or Always Existed, How Could Anything Exist?
The consensus by both philosophers and physicists is that the universe as we know it had a beginning. There are good reasons to think this both logically and scientifically. After all, all of the models in science for a past eternal universe have fatal flaws. And we have discussed that the idea of a past eternal universe either as we know it or at the quantum level is logically absurd. So then, we are left with the possibility that the universe had a beginning.
How can the universe begin? In order for the universe to begin to exist it must have a cause, for anything that begins to exist does have a cause. This concept doesn’t discriminate between sentient beings and non sentient objects.
If the universe began to exist, then the cause can’t be from within the universe itself. So it follows that the cause for the universe must be outside the universe. But what can exist apart form the physical universe? One possibility are abstract objects such as numbers, but numbers don’t cause anything in the physical universe.
So what does that leave us with? An intelligent, timeless, space-less, immaterial being with immense power. But why God? Why not Zeus, Osiris, Jupiter, etc? God is described in The Bible as being timeless, space-less and immaterial. This would automatically rule out most of the other gods. Only a few would remain but their holy books are not supported by archaeology and have numerous inconsistencies.
We can now summarize our argument as follows:
P1. Anything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2. The universe began to exist.
Conclusion: Therefore, the universe had a cause.
So now, let’s summarize our case. We have determined that the universe could not be infinite in any form including on a quantum level. We have determined that the universe can’t have come from nothing and by nothing. We also found out that the universe could not be caused by abstract objects. We then concluded by deductive reasoning that the best explanation for the universe is God.
Moreover, if God caused the universe and exists outside of time, space, and matter he must be an uncaused cause. In other words. God always existed. Some may object and say “Wait a minute, God can exist for eternity but the physical universe can’t?” Remember, with our physical universe there are constraints that come that prevent it from being past eternal ranging from a thermal death to a quantum collapse.
But why else should it be God? I think there are good reasons to believe that the cause of our universe must also be intelligent personal. For if it was not personal, why would the universe be so fine tuned for the existence of life? If it were not intelligent, then how would the universe act consistently with the laws of logic? For instance. Something can’t exist but not exist at the same time. That would be self contradictory. Or how could we be in a universe where A does not equal B?
Some may object and say “We just haven’t found another option yet.” That is a logical fallacy known as an appeal to the future or “agumentum ad futurus.” If it was not permissible to go by the current evidence then we could never draw any conclusions about our universe. This is a self defeating position.
For a short 10 minute lecture on the Kalam Cosmological Argument by William Lane Craig visit this link.
Also, to see more information on defending the Kalam Cosmological Argument see this link.
1. If the universe must be created, who created God?
Answer: God is not a created being.
2. How do you know which God created the universe?
Answer: Even on only an evidential basis, most gods can be eliminated as candidates for the creator of the universe.
3. You could just as easily argue that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.
4. God creating the universe violates the first law of thermodynamics.
Answer: No, it doesn’t. Laws of nature are descriptions of how we believe the universe typically behaves–God is not subject to these laws in any way.