Q & A with Dr. Craig: What Interested You in the Kalām Cosmological Argument?
by Reasonable Faith
Q: Dr. Craig, I have finished reading your book, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, and I found it to be both fascinating historically as well as thought provoking philosophically. You have spent a considerable amount of time and scholarship devoted to modernizing this ancient argument for God, and it is truly one of the most compelling and formidable arguments in favor of God’s existence. That being said, what first drew you to the intensive study of the Kalam cosmological argument? There are dozens of arguments that have been presented throughout history regarding the ontology of God, so what made this particular argument appealing to you as both a philosopher and a theologian?
DR. CRAIG’S RESPONSE:
A: Thank you, Spencer, for this personal question. I’m always delighted to share the story of how this life-changing discovery came about.
You need to appreciate that as a student at Wheaton College, I had been told by my theology professors like Robert Webber that there are no good arguments for God’s existence. He said that the traditional arguments had all been refuted. No natural theology, or even a positive apologetic of any kind, was taught in any of my classes during the four years I spent at Wheaton. At that time all we had was the sort of negative apologetics offered by Francis Schaeffer to the effect that if theism, and in particular, Christianity is not true, then individual human life and culture go down the drain and bottom out in despair or inconsistency. The problem with this sort of negative apologetic is that it still leaves you with no reason to think that Christianity is true, or that Bertrand Russell was wrong when he said that in order to come to terms with life, one must realize that the world truly is a terrible place.
One week before graduation I was browsing the clearance table at the college bookstore, and there to my surprise I spotted a few copies of Stuart Hackett’s The Resurrection of Theism (1957). I had heard rumors of this long out-of-print book and had even had Hackett as a professor in my Intro to Philosophy class the first semester of my freshman year. Unfortunately, that class was just a survey course of the history of philosophy, and so we never discussed arguments for God’s existence at any length (if at all!). But I had heard that Hackett presented a case for God’s existence in this book, and so I picked up a copy to read at a later time.
That summer after graduation I finally got around to reading Hackett’s book, and I was absolutely stunned by what I read…
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