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Theism and Big Bang Cosmology

Theism and Big Bang Cosmology - Theism and Big Bang...

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Theism and Big Bang Cosmology The Kalam Argument The Kalam tradition of Muslim thought rejected Aristotelianism and, in particular, Aristotle's thesis of the eternity of the world of matter and motion. The Kalam thinkers, culminating in the work of al-Ghazali, attempted to prove that the universe had a beginning and therefore, was created in time. The basic Kalam argument takes the following form: 1. The universe had a beginning. 2. Everything that has a beginning has a cause. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause, which is God. We will take up each of these points in this lecture: the beginning of the universe, the scope of causation, and the nature of the creator of the universe. The Beginning of the Universe The Kalam tradition had a number of arguments for the existence of a beginning of the universe. These arguments have been revived in recent years by William Lane Craig. In addition to these philosophical arguments, there is a body of physical evidence for the beginning of our universe. On the other side, there are philosophical arguments against the possibility of an absolute beginning. We will look at Kant's presentation of these arguments in the discussion of the antithesis of the First Antinomy in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason . Finally, in A Brief History of Time , Stephen Hawking offers a speculative model of a beginningless universe. Philosophical Arguments for a Beginning In the Kalam tradition, there were two types of philosophical arguments for a beginning of the universe. The first was based on the thesis (borrowed from Aristotle) that an actual infinity is impossible, together with the assumption that the elements of the past are still actual. The second is based on the idea that time is constructed by a process of "successive addition". Consequently, an infinite past would be possible only if an infinite series of successive additions could be completed, which is obviously impossible.
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