The Kalaam Cosmological Argument: Short, Sweet, and Stout
by Brian Chilton
Many philosophical and apologetic arguments are difficult to commit to memory. Some arguments consist of five thorough points. Sometimes these arguments are difficult to bring out especially when you are speaking to someone about the faith. However, there is one such argument that is short enough that it is easy to remember, sweet enough to get people thinking, and stout enough to hold up even to the most ardent objector. This argument is called the Kalaam Cosmological Argument. It was originally developed by a Muslim in the late 11th century by the name of Abu Hamid Muhammed ibn Muhammed al-Ghazali. He is known by his shortened name Al-Ghazali. In recent days, the Kalaam Cosmological Argument has been revived and brought to the public sphere by Christian apologist William Lane Craig. Craig has written extensively on this argument and one of his resources will be used in this article. The argument consists of three premises:
1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
For this article, we will examine the three premises in greater detail. For exhaustive treatment of this argument, see the resources used at the end of this article. Let us now examine the first premise.
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1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The first premise of the argument is logically sound. Everything that begins to exist has a purpose for its existence. For instance, your existence is the result of your biological parents consummation. Now, because you exist, it could logically be demanded that a host male and female parent had to exist. Your existence demands their existence. Your existence did not come by way of happenstance. There was a reason for you to be here. (The naysayer may claim that instances of rape and incestual relationships counter this claim. However, your existence is still a good thing. Therefore, even though a person’s consummation may have come from less than favorable circumstances, good came through even the most horrible of circumstances…ie. the child’s existence. Let us pick up that argument in a later article and continue on with the subject at hand.)
The cause-effect relationship is the fundamental building block of science itself. When I worked as a teaching assistant, I helped instruct the children on the fundamentals of science. The first step is understanding the causal relationship. So, this causal relationship is fundamental in all things…