Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Incoherence of William Lane Craig


William Lane Craig is without a doubt one of the top representatives for Christianity alive today. With countless debates against renowned opponents, he does a very good job thrashing the atheists who debate him. Dr.Craig’s primary argument against atheists for the existence of God is what he calls the “Kalam Cosmological Argument” (KCA for short from now onwards).

The KCA in Dr.Craig's words:
P1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its beginning.
P2. The universe began to exist.
C1. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its beginning.

In this topic I will attempt to show why the KCA is incompatible with the Christian conception of God. This is because the KCA reaches conclusions that fundamentally contradict the Christian faith. Most significantly the conclusion that God is changeless.

The KCA and the Changelessness of God

One of the conclusions that follows from the KCA is that God is changeless. This is mainly because the KCA depends on the fact that the world changes in order to prove that the world began to exist (which is the second premise of the argument). Three reasons for the emergence of all changes will be briefly listed below:

-1- “Change” necessitates a new beginning. For a being that exists, "change" means a transition from one state (state-1) to another (state-2). When state-1 terminates, state-2 emerges. According to the first premise of the KCA, everything that emerges into existence is created. And since state-2 began to exist, state-2 is created. Thus to claim that God changes, is to claim that God is attributed with states that come and go. Those emerging states would be (according to the KCA) created. For the claimant, this means that God is at least in part created.

-2- It’s impossible for an infinity to come to an end, and the past ends with the present moment. From this we can know that the number of events (or changes) in the past is finite. As such there was a “first event” that emerged into existence. According to the first premise of the KCA, this first event would be in need of a Creator since it began to exist. If this creator was another event then it would not solve the problems of contingency, but would only push the goalposts back a step and extend the problem (this creator-event would itself be contingent upon a prior creator since it began to exist). Therefore the true Creator cannot be an event.

-3- Because a changing being accepts a multiplicity of states (either state-1 or state-2… etc.) then those states do not exist necessarily in of themselves. The first state terminated (it is succeeded by its non-existence) and the second began to exist (it is preceded by its non-existence). Therefore to claim that God changes, is to claim that He is attributed with states that do not exist necessarily. This by extension means God Himself does not exist necessarily. What follows from such a claim is that God is created.

In short, it would be hypocritical to claim that the world is emergent because it changes, but to then turn around and maintain that God is both eternal and changing. For this reason, one of the most fundamental conclusions of the KCA is that God is changeless.

The Incompatibility of Christianity

Dr.Craig understands that the KCA necessitates a changeless Creator, so the above is not the point of contention.

We find Dr.Craig writing in his article on the KCA: “Now the cause of the universe is permanently there, since it is timeless

And in the same article he writes: "But one way to think about it is to envision God existing alone without the universe as changeless and timeless"

concluding his article with: “Ghazali’s cosmological argument thus gives us powerful grounds for believing in the existence of a beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, enormously powerful, Personal Creator of the universe.

However, the changelessness of God is very problematic for Christianity since Christians believe in an incarnation. So despite Dr.Craig’s admission that God is changeless, we find him preaching that the changeless Creator changed into a man, who walked and talked with the humans on earth, ate, slept, died and was resurrected.

How does Dr.Craig resolve this obvious contradiction between the KCA and Christianity? He does this by proposing that the changeless Creator entered time after creating time, and could since then change. Dr.Craig says in 1:07 of this video: “God is timeless without creation, and He is temporal since the moment of creation. So the decision to create on God’s part, is a decision to enter into time…

And in the article he claims: “His free act of creation is a temporal event simultaneous with the universe’s coming into being. Therefore, God enters into time when He creates the universe. God is thus timeless without the universe and in time with the universe.

Unfortunately Dr.Craig’s response does not solve anything. Dr.Craig argues that God must enter into time for God to change. However, this “entry into time” (which is supposedly the prerequisite to change) is itself an emergent temporal event. After all, a transition from timelessness to temporality is a change. So you’re still left with the exact same problem; the changing changeless Creator. In other words, since “entry to time” is a change, what Dr.Craig’s response boils down to is that “the changeless God must change before He can change” and that’s begging the question if anything at all.


The only way to maintain the KCA, is to believe that God is absolutely changeless. This is impossible on the Christian worldview, since Christians believe in the incarnation. So if Dr. William Lane Craig is consistent, he would either abandon the KCA or abandon his Christianity.

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