Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Jan 11, 2016.


Does the Kalam Cosmological Argument convince you that God exists?

  1. Yes.

    1 vote(s)
  2. No.

    25 vote(s)
  3. I'm not sure that I properly understand the argument.

    1 vote(s)
  4. No opinion or would rather not answer.

    0 vote(s)
  1. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    I'm late to this thread so having NOT read all the post I don't know if my take has been put forward

    While NOT a thing I would say as a

    collective group EVERYTHING

    which does not EXIST now

    counts as things which

    did not begin to exist

    Also while again not a thing the laws of physics would come into existence at the same moment matter appeared

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  3. Ted Grant II Registered Senior Member

    You correctly found the verse, although a slightly different translation.

    Suppose you asked me, "Have you any brothers or sisters. In fact, I have two of each. So I might reply, "Before me there were two boys and after me there were two girls"
    In between was obviously my birth. My birth took some time, but not an infinite amount of time, otherwise there would be no "before" nor "after".
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    The difference is that God has no brothers or sisters, nor was He born. There is no time line in the verse.
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    I would contend that NOTHING


    can exist without having a cause to kick start it

    After all if NOTHING can exist

    not even TIME (as in the measurement of change) can EXIST

    However in various threads I have been told that the state of a TOTAL INFINITE VOID is impossible

    There are always bits of matter and antimatter flipping in and out of existence

    Until for a unknown (and I contend unknowable) reason the flip flopping stopped at flip

    and the BIG BANG occurred

    Speculation (mine) would be it had to happen sometime and it did

    If you want to name a CAUSE to the happening a


    is a good one



    One name I would never give it would be

    _ _ _

    You can fill in the blanks

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  8. Thomas Cranmer Registered Member

    The real question is... Is it possible to prove something exists ?
    In everyday life, we don't use arguments to prove something exists.
    In any case, to conclude "God Exists", doesn't tell you very much about God.
    It doesn't tell you that weekly donations will ensure a good place in Heaven.

    I think it is a mistake to try to prove God exists.
    It is easy to find fault with any one of the arguments.
    Having found a fault, a person is likely to start having doubts.
    These doubts might lead to further (dangerous) investigations.
    For example, they might start comparing their religion with other (evil) religions.
    If people suspect there is no God, then they are likely to run around naked or work on Saturday.

    I think it is best to stick to traditional methods of saving souls.
    Regular indoctrination of the true religion from birth is effective.
    Propper ducation is also impotant.
    Teaching atheist science must be discouraged.
  9. Thomas Cranmer Registered Member

    I don't recall anyone suggesting God had siblings nor that he was born.
    Ted is using an example to illustrate the form of the original verse.

    "before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me"

    Ted thinks this line suggests that God's existence is temporary.
    It has "before me" and "after me".

    I haven't any siblings and my parents are dead, so I can state truthfully...
    "before me there was no sibling formed, neither shall there be after me"
    It suggests that there are other possible scenarios.
    I could have had siblings before and after me.

    God is stating that there weren't any Gods before him nor after him.
    If God has existed and will exist for ever, why didn't he just say it?
    Why talk about Gods before and after ?

    Obviously, God is timeless.
    How do we know?
    Just ask "Who created Time". Answer, "God created Time".
    Therefore, Time must be outside God.
    How long did it take for God to create Time ?
  10. Thomas Cranmer Registered Member

    What does "universe" mean ?
    It obviously requires a definition.
    Suppose I define it as the set of all things that exist now.
    Yesterday, the universe, as defined, didn't exist, so it began to exist today, just now.
    OK, so we don't like that definition.
    Let's try another.
    The universe is the set of all things that exist now and have always existed and will ever exist.
    Happy with that definition ?
    It sounds like that universe always existed and will always exist !
    Try again.

    TIP: Bertrand Russell pointed out that "Universe" is a handy word, but it doesn't actually refer to anything.
  11. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Utter philosophical Cowpat
    It is nice to contemplate the big picture but not at the expense of reality
    But I'm guessing here the philosophical view is "let's define reality"
    The definetion of Universe as being "all existing matter and space considered as a whole ie the cosmos" is what it refers to. Be it the size of a 5 cent coin or its current estimated size 10 billion light years across IT remains the Universe.
    There is not Universe Version 1 followed by a do over making it Universe 1.01

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  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    The bit about Russell is interesting. Can you provide a reference for his comments about the term "universe"?

    I'd be interested to read his argument in context.
  13. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    The point is more literal than that. Not philosophical at all.

    When you say:
    "...all existing matter and space considered as a whole ie the cosmos..."
    you're not actually referring to anything specific, you're just effectively waving your hands and saying "all of it".
    Yet we don't even know what, exactly, "all of it" refers to.

    That's the point of Bertrand Russell's statement.

    It's estimated size is quite a bit larger than 10Gly.
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Aha, but that does not say that the term does not refer to anything, which is what T Cranmer was claiming.

    In maths we may say something is true "for all x". Is "all", in that context, meaningless? No. It defines a scope of applicability of what we are talking about. So surely the term universe, and its adjective universal, have meaning in that sense, don't they?
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Probably not. There's the additional problem of what the word 'exists' means. It seems to me that fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, and abstract things like numbers and mathematical structures, or the laws of physics for that matter, don't exist in quite the same way that the tables and chairs do.

    We use them more rhetorically, in hopes of convincing our readers to believe what we are saying. Which might include a proposition like 'X really exists'.

    'God' is even less clear than 'exists'. That's why I say that I'm an atheist regarding the deities of the Koran, Hebrew scriptures, New Testament, the Gita and similar things. But I'm an agnostic regarding the metaphysical functions that natural theology often associates with the word 'God' such as first-cause, source of the universe's order, ultimate unreducible level of existence and so on.

    Right. Religions typically prescribe things for people to do. Those things don't typically follow from the religion's definition of deity, provided that the religion even has one. (Non-theistic religions exist.)

    I don't think that it can be proved, in an apodeictic sense.

    But, if believers want to convince non-believers like me to believe the same things they do, they will have to provide me with some convincing reason why I should. That's why I say that it's more of a rhetorical matter.


    Certainly if their faith in the religious doctrines is dependent on their faith in those particular arguments.

    I wouldn't call them dangerous. Certainly not if one's objective is to continue learning. It might be dangerous from the perspective of a belief system that isn't entirely confident of its ability to hold the allegiance of its more intelligent followers.

    I don't think that Judaism or Christianity (including 7th Day Adventism) are the best religions, ethically, intellectually or factually. So people becoming motivated to seek more widely is probably a good thing.

    I couldn't disagree with you more.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    That begs lots of questions. What justifies the use of "who" and "created" in the question? Using those words restricts the range of possible answers to super-powered personal creators, which renders the answer circular.

    Why should we assume that time had its origin in a 'person', in an imaginative psychology modeled on our own? Why should we assume that time was 'created' at all, in some intentional sense such that it is a purposive artifact?

    Does the word 'create' retain its meaning in the absence of time? Does the idea of a 'person', a psychology with emotions, plans, purposes, that reacts to events? All of it seems to suggest processes and sequential events that happen in time.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  18. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    From a standpoint of my personal beliefs and my own understanding of Christianity... indoctrination into the Church wouldn't result in being saved; one can be indoctrinated and not actually commit themselves to a life of Christ stewardship and belief.

    Also, "atheist science"... do you mean good, evidence backed science, such as evolution and climate change? Discouraging that would be to discourage medical and scientific progress... the very kinds of progress that has allowed for such things as the electronic device you used to type your post, the Internet that allowed you to share the thought, the vaccinations and medical technology that has helped you survive into adulthood, etc...
  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I must admit I had assumed he had his tongue in his cheek when he wrote that. Do you think it was intended seriously?
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    It seems to be used in several different ways. (And that leads to no end of confusion.)

    Some people (often physicists) use it to mean 'our space-time continuum and all of its material contents (and fields and geometrical properties of space itself, and quantum mechanical properties of the vacuum).

    Others (often philosophers) use it to mean 'everything that exists, both known and unknown'.

    Confusion arises when physicists like Lawrence Krauss try to address the ancient philosophical question (stated most memorably by Leibniz I guess) 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' by trying to explain how the universe in the physical space-time-matter sense might have originated from a minimal set of axiomatic first-principles (the laws of physics and some primitive initial state on which those laws of physics are applicable).

    That might be a valuable exercise in theoretical physics. But it doesn't even address the broader philosophical meaning of 'universe' (everything that exists).

    How about, 'anything (however transitory) with any kind of existence, whatsoever', whether human beings know about it or not. Including modes of existence we haven't even imagined, hypothetical dimensions in addition to space and time, or totally disjoint continua (of however many dimensions) non-continuous with our own. And seemingly including God and any other supernatural beings as might exist.

    I'm curious about where he said that too. Taking it on face value, I think that he's wrong. I think that it's clear that we can refer to particular things, and I don't think that it's a stretch to think of referring to a universal set that includes any and all particular things.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  21. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    I've... no idea. Anymore, with this place, I've largely stopped trying to guess if someone is being facetious or not *shrug*
  22. Thomas Cranmer Registered Member

    Bertrand Russell debated the existence of God with Father F. C. Copleston in 1948 on BBC Radio. The debate was published later in a book entitled "Why I am not a Christian", which is actually the title of the first essay in that book. My quote, which is not exact, I confess, is taken from the point at which Russell says he doesn't ascept the idea that the Universe as a whole has a cause and it rather puts the brake on the progress of the debate. Referring to the concept of the whole, "...I do not think there's any meaning in it at all. I think the word 'universe' is a handy word in some connections, but I don't think it stands for anything that has a meaning."
    Copleston replies "If the word is meaningless, it can't be so very handy...."
    The book is still in print and is probably available online free.
    Great fun and thought provoking.
  23. Thomas Cranmer Registered Member


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