Douglas Groothuis lectures on the kalam cosmological argument

I watched lecture and it was excellent and comprehensive. He even talked about J.P. Moreland, Alan Padgett and other scholars. There were some things I had heard before, and some things that were new. He covered a lot of books that I had to read when I was sorting all of this stuff out, too.

Here’s the description from the video:

Doug Groothuis gives a lecture on the Kalam Cosmological Argument. What’s interesting about this lecture is that Groothuis did not accept the Kalam Cosmological Argument at first but was later convinced by it.


Kalam Cosmological Argument

(Moreland, Scaling the Secular City; see also William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith [Crossway, 1994]; Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, Creation from Nothing [Baker, 2004]; William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, God: A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist [Oxford, 2004])

Preliminary: concepts of (a) the actual infinite and (b) the potential infinite

1. The universe had a beginning
2. The impossibility of the actual infinite (distinguish from potential infinite)
3. The impossibility of traversing an actual infinite (even if it exists); forming an actual infinite through successive addition, piece by piece…
4. Scientific confirmation from Big Bang cosmology (absolute origination). See also John Jefferson Davis, “Genesis 1:1 and Big Bang Cosmology,” in The Frontiers of Science and Faith (InterVarsity, 2002), 11 — 36; and Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (revised ed., 1992).
5. Scientific confirmation from second law of thermodynamics.
6. Astronomer Fred Hoyle (who once advanced the steady state cosmology) argues against the universe being infinitely old in virtue of its hydrogen consumption. The argument can be stated as a modus tolens deduction (denying the consequent).
7. Can everything come from nothing without a cause? The “pop theory” (biting the metaphysical bullet)
8. Philosophical critique of everything from nothing…
9. God and time (see Greg Gansell, editor, God and Time: Four Views [InterVarsity, 2001])
10. Argument against an impersonal cause
11. Argument against God needing a cause (Bertrand Russell)
12. Quentin Smith’s acceptance of Big Bang cosmology and denial of God’s existence.
13. Unitary: Ockham’s razor
14. Incorrigible, inextinguishable (having existed, God cannot fail to exist)
15. Personal, volitional (“personal explanation”—R. Swinburne)
16. Omnipotent: nothing is a greater expenditure of power than exnihilating the entire cosmos. This is rational to hold, given the argument.
17. Supplies the necessary conditions for impeccable and omnipotent goodness: (1) – (4). Need (5) moral argument and (6) the Incarnation for the final necessary condition, which, with (1) – (4), make for necessary and sufficient conditions.

What I liked about this lecture is that it kept my attention all the way through. It was very fun to listen to, because he considers a ton of alternative views and explains his view, which doesn’t agree with Bill Craig all the way. There is a 17 minute Q&A period at the end.

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