William Lane Craig states the “proof”, known as the Kalam Cosmological Argument, in the following syllogism:
The kalam cosmological argument may be formulated as follows:
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.1
The starting point for Lane’s argument is that he believes the first premise is self-evident.
Premise (1) seems obviously true—at the least, more so than its negation. First and foremost, it’s rooted in the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing. To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic. Second, if things really could come into being uncaused out of nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything and everything do not come into existence uncaused from nothing. Finally, the first premise is constantly confirmed in our experience. Atheists who are scientific naturalists thus have the strongest of motivations to accept it.2
Lane then spends many pages, locking horns with a variety of atheists who deny premise 1, which he believes is self-evident. After all this argument, which becomes highly sophisticated, including a discussion on the mathematical difference between an actual infinity and a potential infinity, all he has achieved is to prove, in his own mind, that the universe has a cause, and he presumes that cause to be God.
It sounds as if I am about to dismiss a huge chunk of Lane’s discussion as if it were wrong. I am not dismissing it on those grounds. I am dismissing it from this portion of my book, on the grounds that the evidence that he provides is irrelevant. The fact that he has to address the objections of so many atheists to arguments that he makes indicates that he is on the wrong path. It is not that his discussion is uninteresting. There is a different context, to be discussed later in this book, where his discussion will be relevant. But it is not relevant as a proof of God, because it self-evidently fails.
Following Lane’s long defense of the first premise, he then spends a considerable amount of time, analyzing the conclusion (3), that “the universe has a cause”, and tries to discuss the nature of that cause (i.e. God) without reference to the Bible.
On the basis of a conceptual analysis of the conclusion implied by the kalam cosmological argument, we may therefore infer that a personal Creator of the universe exists, who is uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful. This, as Thomas Aquinas was wont to remark, is what everybody means by “God.”3
With respect, this is not what is meant by “God”. Indeed, the idea of what is meant by “God”, in quotation marks, is irrelevant. I am not interested in “God”. I am interested in God. Non of this extra-biblical discussion reveals God to be loving, holy, merciful, or, for that matter, angry with sin. Yet, we must remind ourselves, that these things are precisely what the apostle Paul has told us are part of the nature of God, revealed to every single person who lives, from the creation of the world. In other words, the Kalum Cosmological god does not have the complete nature of the God of the Bible. Therefore, the KCA god is not the same as the God of the Bible. Therefore, the KCA god is a false god and an idol.
Now, I am aware that this makes some people angry. Am I saying that Lane does not believe in the God of the Bible? No, I am not saying that. And there are many Classical Apologists, who will do precisely the right thing in showing Christians from the Bible what God is like. I am simply pointing out that their argument for the existence of God is fallacious, wrong and unbiblical. It does not prove God. If it proves anything – and I have my doubts – it proves a form of theism; the existence of a probable god. The God of the Bible is not a probable god. He is the only God.
* – This material has been extracted from my book, Only Believe.
1. Craig, William Lane (2008). Reasonable Faith (3rd edition): Christian Truth and Apologetics (p. 111). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
3. ibid p.154