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Debunking William Lane Craig's "Cosmological Model"

By Ben Love ~

William Lane Craig is one of Christianity’s foremost apologists. Oddly enough, for all of his vehement and vocal devotion to Jesus, Craig is one of the few Christian apologists who not only subscribes to the Big Bang theory but has also publicly spoken about it, much to the ire of his Christian colleagues.

Unlike many of his counterparts, Craig has conceded that the argument from design, which is used to argue in favor of a Creator, solves nothing. By way of a reminder, the argument from design states that since the natural world shows design, there must have been a designer. The problem, which many apologists deny but which Craig, to his credit, has attempted to grapple with, is that the designer also shows design. Thus, the designer needs a designer, and that designer needs a designer, and so on. To state this in another way, we could observe that all effects require a cause. But if God is the creator of all effects, this makes him the ultimate effect. What was his cause? Did he have a cause? Or was/is God the first and only uncaused causer? Who can say? Thus, the argument from design fails to answer this; indeed, it only shifts the mystery from one source to another.

Craig, in an attempt to heal the obvious breach in the theist cosmological model (which states that God is the first and only uncaused causer and thus the Creator of everything), has re-written the logical argument in a way which, he feels, solves all the problems and reconciles all the loose ends. 

His model is as follows:
  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Now, what this model cleverly says through that which it remains silent on is that God is among the things not included in item #1. Since God must be eternal, he cannot be among the things that “begin to exist.” Aside from that, the phrase “everything that begins to exist” is suspicious to me. It sounds contrived, almost like doublespeak, and it fails to resemble any form of logical argument we would normally use. However, for the sake of generosity, let us concede that Craig’s phrasing is fine in this instance. Is there a glaring problem here? Oh yes, there is.

If we observe that there are things which begin to exist, then there must be something in contrast that does not begin to exist; otherwise the term would be meaningless. This would imply that we can divide objects of reality into two categories: 1) Things Which Begin to Exist (TBE’s) and 2) Things Which Have Never Not Existed (TNBE’s). The problem here, and I cannot help but feel even Craig must be aware of this, is that if God is the only item to be listed in the TNBE’s, the TNBE’s are meaningless and the term is therefore just a cleverly disguised synonym for God anyway, which means we are right back to where we started. There must be more than one item listed in TNBE’s for this model to be any different or better than the model which it seeks to supplant. If there is more than one item under that category, no living person can say what it is. The only item that could possibly be in that category is God and God alone. Thus, TNBE’s is just a synonym for God. This means that when Craig says “everything that beings to exist has a cause,” he is really saying “everything except God has a cause.” This is the exact problem Craig was hoping to circumvent.

Therefore, while Christians are happily embracing the rhetoric of this new model, all they are really doing is subscribing to the old model with a new face. Underneath, the same problem exists of attributing a cause to God as the ultimate effect.

Craig, who is a tremendously intelligent man, has in this instance accomplished only a circular regurgitation of that which he wishes to refute.

Not. Good. Enough. Period.