The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

As we journey through life, even if we’re devout Catholics with a Catholic family and Catholic friends, we will encounter all manner of people. We will meet people from other countries, other cultures, and other religious beliefs. Chances are, you’ve already encountered people who believe in some godless spirituality or firmly believe that there is no God. If you tried to reason with them using theological arguments, the Bible, or stories of Jesus, you probably already know what tends to happen. They close up. They’re usually already aware of Christian beliefs and have shunned the idea of opening their mind to it. So, how do we guide these people to God?

Recently on The Cale Clarke Show, Cale brought up the kalam cosmological argument and how this can often be a way to lead someone to the idea of God’s existence without ever mentioning Jesus or the Bible.

A cosmological argument is a contention that we can infer the existence of God from different areas of science with respect to the known universe. For example, Aquinas’s five ways to know the existence of God is a cosmological argument. Aquinas says that there must have been a first mover, a first cause, an imperishable entity, a supreme entity that exhibits innate goodness to the highest degree, and there must have been an intelligent designer of the universe.

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While similar, the kalam cosmological argument’s underlying path is mostly an expanded version of one of Aquinas’s points. Cale began with the history of the kalam (meaning “eternal”) argument, saying that it was traced back to Muslim philosophers by Dr. William Lane Craig, an evangelical theologian. After St. Bonaventure, who was a big proponent of the use of the kalam argument, it fell out of favor with theologians. But after Dr. Craig’s studies on the kalam, its use has been revitalized. 

The kalam cosmological argument takes the argument of first cause and expands it into several distinct phases of thought: 

  1. The universe exists.
  2. The universe either has a beginning or it doesn’t have a beginning.
  3. If it does have a beginning, it was either caused or not caused.
  4. If it was caused, the cause was either personal or not personal.

Obviously, premise one is accepted by all. If the universe does not exist, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now and this argument wouldn’t matter anyway. Premise two is where people will begin to divert. The reason the universe must have had a beginning is that everything needs a cause to exist. And if we try to trace the causes back from one thing to another all the way back through infinity, the trail would never end. And as we know, there is no infinite number of anything, including causes. Therefore, the universe must have had a beginning.

If it had a beginning, it was either caused or not caused. We’ve already established that everything that exists has a cause, except the first cause (the creator). We know this because there is no spontaneous creation or destruction without an explanation for that occurrence. And lastly, if it was caused, it must have been personal because of the argument for intelligent design. There was no random chance in the way we were created to live in synergy with the nature of creation. The world around us gives us everything we need to survive, in tandem with the way our bodies function and perform.

Therefore, if we can all agree that the universe exists, we can also all agree that there must have been a supreme, uncaused, supreme, personal creator who is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, and spaceless. Dr. Craig writes that when theists refer to “God” they mean not only their deity but the creator of their universe. He brought the universe into being ex nihilo, meaning that everything had to come from something, a starting point. All matter has a cause, but causes cannot be infinite, so there must be an entity without cause: the supreme being, God.

For more topics like this, tune in to The Cale Clarke Show weekdays at 5pm CT

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John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.