The Cosmological Argument & the Place of Contestation in Philosophical Discourse: From Plato & Aristotle to Contemporary Debates


Originally published in Maritain Studies/Études maritainiennes 32 (2016): 51–71.


Two of the great progenitors of western philosophical thought, Plato and Aristotle, ignited various vigorous debates. Although partially in agreement, one of these great legacies can be found in the cosmological argument. What their thought spawned has impacted even contemporary debates revolving around the cosmological argument. The approach I adopt is distinct from the debate that ensued between the Dominican University College’s two great professors and former presidents of the Canadian Jacques Maritain Association, Fr. Lawrence Dewan and Leslie Armour. Rather I seek not to pin one philosopher against the other but to look to the tremendous joint legacy both have left behind. Indeed, both of these Greek philosophers have precipitated countless intellectual fruits to which western philosophical tradition is indebted
The cosmological argument has possessed an enduring history. Historically it has been defended by Greek pagans, Jews, Muslims, Christians including, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant and even pantheist thinkers. It has captured the minds of some of the greatest thinkers in the history of Western philosophical thought, aside from Plato and Aristotle, this impressive list includes: Philoponus, Maimonides, Avicenna (ibn Sina), al-Ghazali, Averroës (ibn Rushd), Anselm, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Scotus, Suarez, Descartes, Spinoza and Berkeley. Despite this impressive long line of philosophers, the argument has been heavily criticized over its vast history, particularly in the 18th century by David Hume and Immanuel Kant. Nonetheless, the argument(s) have withstood the test of time, especially considering the renewed interest it has attracted in recent years with modern reformulations by prominent philosophers of religion.1
In this paper, I seek to examine three significant periods of the cosmological argument which exemplify the importance of contestation: first, Plato’s and Aristotle’s formulation of it, second, Philoponus’ own reactions and influence, third, the contemporary state of such discourses. Contestation has an inestimable role in philosophical development and reflection, as will be demonstrated through the examination of such periods.

1. Preliminary Remarks

It will be useful to make some preliminary remarks. My intention is not to defend nor refute any of the cosmological arguments but to document the development of the arguments through first, commencing with Plato’s and Aristotle’s versions then examining Philoponus’ later input and finally looking to contemporary debates. What is of value, is to witness how contestation has helped develop the rigour of such argumentation. The cosmological arguments are fascinating to examine regardless if one agrees or disagrees with their intended purpose. They are indeed a testament to the grandeur of human reflection.
In contrast with the ontological argument, the cosmological argument without fail has an existential premise which affirms that something exists.2 It is an argument grounded in our experience of the world. The cosmological argument is an a posteriori argument irrespective of it containing some a priori principles such as the principle of contradiction or the principle of causality.3
The cosmological argument pursues a cause or reason.4 Some entail a first cause in a temporal sense while others in rank. It is important to note that the predominant versions of the cosmological argument particularly modern ones affirm the existence of the world whereas the prime mover ones seek to account for movement of the cosmos emphasizing the order and design. These prime mover arguments tend to intersect with the teleological argument as we shall see with Plato’s argument.

2. A Useful Typology of Cosmological Arguments5

Before we proceed to Plato’s and Aristotle’s version of the cosmological argument, it would be worth exploring the different kinds of cosmological arguments that exist. The cosmological argument is more accurately represented by a family of arguments, as opposed to a singular argument. William Lane Craig in his groundbreaking and extensive historical examination, laid out in his 1980 book titled: The Cosmological Argument: From Plato to Leibniz develops a tremendously useful distinction between the three main types of cosmological arguments: “[first], the arguments based on the principle of determination, [second], arguments based on the principle of causality and [third] arguments based on the principle of sufficient reason.”6 This threefold typology is helpful in advancing our understanding of the debates surrounding the cosmological arguments. As Craig notes,
[f]ailure to appreciate their demarcation not only leads to an incorrect understanding of the historical versions, but also conceals the crucial fact that one type may be impervious to a criticism that is fatal to another. All too many modern discussions on the cosmological argument proceed on the basis of some blurry amalgamation of the different types of the argument.7
An example of the value of contestation arises precisely here. The nature of the critical attacks by figures such as Hume8 , Kant9 and others and the conflation of one type of argument with another have10 prompted this typology developed by Craig to help understand the major distinctions between each major type of cosmological argument. Moreover, it has forced modern defenders of each type of cosmological argument to provide more detailed premises and much lengthier argumentation to defend it against all sorts of criticisms.11 Nevertheless, regardless of whether one is more compelling or a better explanation for the cause or reason for the universe, this typology helps progress the dialogue into more fruitful avenues. Indeed, we must approach the analyses of cosmological arguments with care since many treatments contain historical errors and focus on the wrong elements.12
The first type encompasses the Philoponean cosmological argument or what is more popularly known as The Kalam Cosmological Argument which argues for the impossibility of an infinite temporal regress. The second type are known as Thomistic arguments which involve Aquinas’ first three ways such as the proofs from motion, causality and possible and necessary being.13 These arguments correspondingly conclude the existence of a prime mover, first cause and an absolutely necessary being through demonstrating the impossibility of an infinitely ordered regress.14 The third kind provides a sufficient reason for all things15 including God, as has been defended by Leibniz and Spinoza, but I will not be discussing this third example of the cosmological argument in this paper. All of these arguments irrespective of their type or method of argumentation seek to attempt to infer the existence of gods or God. We now turn to Plato’s version.

3. Plato’s Cosmological Argument

The cosmological argument finds its original formulation in book 10 of Plato’s dialogue Laws. It takes its form as a prime mover argument attempting to prove the existence of God or gods from motion. Plato’s primary concern is to demonstrate the existence of the gods through persuasive argumentation as depicted in the dialogue between the Athenian stranger and Kleinas, in order to provide a transcendent authority for his system of political laws.16
Plato argues that from experience we witness the world around us as being in consistent change (movement). In his argument, Plato distinguishes between two kinds of motion: transferred motion and self-motion.17 Plato then argues that transferred motion implies self-motion.18 Thus, all motion is moved by something else but that this cannot go ad infinitum, so there must be a first or prime mover since an infinite regress is an impossibility.19 Plato’s reasoning implies that if there was no starting point then we would not arrive to our present moment. Plato does not provide an argument for this but takes it for granted as the alternative is considered to be absurd.20
It is worth pointing out that Plato does not consider the starting point of his infinite regress terminator; a temporal starting point. Rather Plato sees the primemover as an ultimate source not a temporal source. The priority Plato ascribes to his self-mover is logically and causally prior as opposed to temporally.21 This is an important distinction between cosmological arguments based on the principle of determination and those based on the principle of causality. Therefore, in Plato’s system of motion, the source of all motion is derived from self-motion or the soul. He indicates that there is not just one soul or god but many of them. In Phaedrus Plato argues for the immortality of the soul since it is forever in motion.22 In essence what we have is all motion being dependent on an ultimate source of perpetual never-ending motion. If the self-moving soul ceased to move all of the motion of all other objects in the universe would be consequently immobile.
Questions are raised between the relationship of the soul and the corporeal component of a self-mover. As Craig states “Plato would see no problem in a soul’s eternally moving a body around in space.”23 I’m not sure if such an interpretation is entirely correct or if it reflects more of a flaw in Plato’s system. If the self-mover is moving from eternity and Plato believes that the corporeal element is not eternal what accounts for the co-eternal motion between a soul moving a body eternally? Since under such a view there is not a temporally first moving object but just in rank which moves the rest of the objects in the universe upon which if it ceases to move would render all the movement of the universe impossible thus immobile. It still remains a question to be answered in Plato’s system between the relationship between body and soul and the co-eternality of movement if we know the body is perishable under such a system.24 And if it is perishable what accounts for this initial movement but again to speak of initial would be to assume temporal precedence. Must we assume that these corporeal entities come in and out of being while motion is caused by the soul’s eternal propulsion? Whatever the case may be, this supposed co-eternality in Plato’s system between the motion of the soul and body, is not at all clear.25 Unless of course, eternality does not entail imperishability or that celestial substances are not subject to such perishability or corruptibility. Philoponus’ version of the cosmological argument, will address such concerns.
Be all that as it may, Plato equates this soul with mind since for Plato the corporeal is perishable but not the soul’s component of intellect which is understood as immortal.26 Plato understands the source of motion to be caused by many minds or gods. There has been much debate on the extent that we can consider Plato polytheistic or monotheistic.27 The most prudent position it seems would be an implicit monotheism since all these self-moved minds are of the same supreme will and intellect.28 Plato intimates that the cause of the movement of the universe is ultimately found in a supreme Soul or Mind as it provides the universe with structure, motion and intelligibility hence the teleological component to his cosmological argument. Much ink has been poured over the nature of this highest Mind, some Plato scholars have argued that it is reflective of the Demiurge God in Timaeus.29 Below, we will see Philoponus’ interpretation which lines up nicely which such a view. While, others have argued that best explanation for the Supreme Mind is the World Soul which some have argued would lead to pantheism. The answer to the nature of this Supreme Mind seems open, given the differing positions. Whatever Plato conceived as the cause of all motion is not further discernible by his line of reasoning. Plato would indeed have to provide further argumentation to describe the nature of such a soul or souls but he has not done this in his Laws.

4. Aristotle’s Cosmological Argument

Although Plato was the inventor of the cosmological argument, Aristotle went into much greater depth and rigour to enrichen it. Aristotle develops Plato’s argument from motion by going beyond the self-mover towards his conception of an unmoved mover which he ultimately identifies with God.31 Aristotle expounds his cosmological argument in both the Physics and Metaphysics. His most articulate expression of it exists in Physics. In Metaphysics, Aristotle provides several comments and insights into the nature of his conception of god.
Fundamental to Aristotle’s cosmological argument is the distinction between potency and act. Contrary to the Megaric School who denied potentiality32 and by implication change in the world, Aristotle argued that change was an indispensable component of reality. A particular thing in actuality is one thing but also at the same time potentially many things. According to Aristotle, potency entails a “principle in the very thing acted on which makes it capable of being changed…33 [hence, the] source of movement or change.” He uses actuality as meaning the existence of a particular thing. For instance, a man may actually be in a coma but he has the potentiality to think.34 Through being a man, there exists the potentiality of thinking as opposed to a rock that although is not actually thinking does not have the potency to think.34 We will see how these distinctions between actuality and potency in a different context take an interesting turn with Philoponus.
In Physics 7 Aristotle argues that the notion of a self-mover is an impossibility since everything that moves requires something else to move it.35 But in Physics 8 he argues that the members in a series are ultimately moved by a self-moved thing. Extending this logic further, Aristotle then argues that all self-movers lead to a series of unmoved movers. We may ponder whether there is anything distinct of the first unmoved mover in Aristotle’s thought? It is rather ambiguous as to the exact status Aristotle gives to this first unmoved mover in contrast to all the other unmoved movers.36 On the one hand he argues that the principle of economy and continuous motion necessitate that there be one first unmoved mover37 but on the other hand suggests that heavenly bodies are moved by “first principles” which can be taken to mean anything from planetary bodies, souls or unmoved movers.38 As Aristotle states:
We should regard them to be one rather than many, or finite rather than infinite; for if the consequences are the same, we should always posit a finite number [of causes], since in things existing by nature what is finite and better should exist to a higher degree, if this is possible. If it is sufficient even if it [i.e., the mover] is just one, which, being first among the immovable [movers] and also eternal, would be the principle of motion in all the rest.39
Nonetheless, in Physics, we are left without knowing the true nature of the first unmoved mover nor do we possess any knowledge of how it imparts motion.40 In order to see, Aristotle’s deduction of the nature of the unmoved mover we must turn to Metaphysics. Here Aristotle reveals a number of attributes his god possesses. Aristotle engages Plato while providing an argument for the attribute of actuality and eternality (implicative through eternal motion) in his god:
Plato at least cannot even explain what it is that he sometimes thinks to be the source of motion, i.e., that which moves itself; for according to him the soul is posterior to motion and coeval with the sensible universe. Now to suppose that potentiality is prior to actuality is one sense right and in another wrong; we have explained the distinction. But that actuality is prior is testified by Anaxagoras (since mind is actuality), and by the Empdocles with his theory of Love and Strife, and by those who hold that motion is eternal, e.g. Leucippus.41
Aristotle also includes incorporeality: “these substances must be without matter; for they must be eternal, at least if anything else is eternal.”42 It is important to note that for Aristotle incorruptibility signifies co-eternality with both time and motion. This unmoved mover’s incorruptibility is implied by eternal motion.43 Although Aristotle asserts that incorruptibility is associated with eternality and incorporeality but that does not seem to correspond. Rather it seems a more coherent explanation given his logic, is that incorporeality follows from a substance being pure in actuality which is fully related to form whereas materiality is related to potentiality.44 Thus, the nature of this unmoved mover is an immaterial, eternal being of pure actuality.45 This unmoved mover imparts motion, as the Aristotelian commentator W.D. Ross notes through “inspiring love and desire” acting as an “efficient cause by being the final cause.46
Aristotle first names the unmoved mover “God.” 47 This God that Aristotle names is “a living being, eternal, most good, so that life and duration continuous and eternal, belong to God; for this is God.”48 Moreover, God according to Aristotle entails eternal self-contemplation since God is the ultimate eternal, unchanging, incorporeal, most good, self-thinking mind.49 Despite these many attributes that are shared with the God of traditional theism, Aristotle’s God is not a creator of the universe since he is co-eternal with matter and is also not responsible for the continued existence of the universe. Despite moving further along than Plato in terms of rigour for a first mover, that must be also unmoved and delineating several attributes, this God bares a semblance to a Deistic notion of God and not one that is worthy of worship. From Aristotle we move forward to Philoponus and a radically different view of God through the cosmological argument.

5. Philoponus’ own reactions and influence

One of the periods (around 529 C.E. onwards) where we can most alarmingly witness the true fruits of contestation in a dramatic way is with Philoponus’ arguments against an infinite past. Philoponus was known for his polemical commentaries on the works of Aristotle. Even though, he was a sixth century Christian philosopher and theologian rooted in Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic thought, he was able think beyond the confines of these intellectual traditions, in contrast to Proclus, who showed an extreme veneration for the works of Aristotle and Plato. Philoponus was a bold and innovative thinker, able to demonstrate tensions and incoherencies, between the two, through a critical hermeneutical method.50 Following this unique approach he wrote a substantial amount of material combatting Aristotle’s notion of the eternality51 of the world. The profundity of his knowledge of Neoplatonic and Aristotelian traditions allowed him to essentially turn pagan argumentation against itself by arguing through a series of carefully constructed arguments that showed several incoherencies with the eternality of the universe.52 A lucid example of this is when Philoponus interprets Plato’s Timaeus in a radically opposed way to Proclus’ eternalist interpretation:
He reads the [sic] Timaeus as a genuine account of creation (Book VI), compatibly with Christian doctrine. A fresh analysis of the processes of generation and corruption renders even an idea viable which Greek philosophers of all schools never allowed: creation out of nothing (Books VIII and IX). Yet even if it were true that creation out of nothing never occurs in nature, God is surely more powerful a creator than nature and therefore capable of creatio ex nihilo (IX 9).53
Philoponus’ belief that God created the universe out of nothing played a significant role in questioning the reigning philosophy of his time.54 It is worth pointing out that many Christians and Jews were embarrassed by the doctrine of creation ex nihilo and were divided over whether God created from pre-existing matter through reorganizing it as opposed to creating matter itself from nothing. The reason for this embarrassment was precisely because of the natural philosophical consensus that pointed towards an eternal past. As philosopher, Richard Sorabji notes: “Up to AD 529, Christians were on the defensive. They argued that a beginning of the universe was not impossible. In 529, Philoponus swung round into the attack. He argued that a beginning of the universe was actually mandatory, and mandatory of the pagans’ own principles.”56 Instrumental to Philoponus’s approach was that he saw a separation between Creator and creation. This belief not only allowed him to argue for the finitude of the past but also that the sun is made of fire, which he acknowledged as a terrestrial substance, as opposed to a celestial substance.57 Thus establishing that heavenly bodies are not divine and are subject to decomposition, thereby collapsing a central Aristotelian doctrine before a Christian doctrine.
Philoponus’ Christian worldview permitted him to also create a coherent system of thought where he could provide argumentation and evidence to support his belief system. One that was fruitful to scientific discovery. Some examples include not only his criticism of Aristotle’s doctrine of the eternity of the world but his criticism of Aristotle’s theory of light58 and also the Aristotelian view of dynamics. Historians of science have noted that Philoponus’ rigour was beneficial to the future direction of cosmology.59 Moreover, he was able to do so without solely recourse to sacred texts but through arguments grounded in experience.60 Philoponus’ integrative approach of what he observed in reality with his Christian faith allowed him to develop a cosmological argument adhering to the principle of determination, in other words the impossibility of an infinite temporal regress into the past. Variations of Philoponus’ argument have been advanced throughout the centuries up until the present with Islamic, Jewish and Christian theologians and philosophers.
As history has shown, in many instances, that philosophy and theology have played a large role in the rise of modern scientific theories. Philoponus was an early example of such an influence. According to Sorabji, interestingly, Galileo makes mention of Philoponus more recurrently than Plato in his early works. In order to get a real sense and appreciation for Philoponus’ thought one must realize the impact of Philoponus’ ideas on medieval and early modern philosophy and science. Sorabji, who’s spent a significant amount of time studying Philoponus’ works, notes that Bonaventure was falsely attributed with Philoponus’ ingenious arguments against an eternal past.61 Bonaventure was merely recycling the same arguments 700 years later which were preserved by Muslim theologians.
Furthermore, recent scholarly works traces the scientific revolutionary notion of the introduction of impetus theory (the force with which a body moves) into dynamics back to Philoponus becoming known through Muslim philosophers to Europe62. Philoponus’ work criticizing the eternality of the universe are found in three major phases. First, Against Proclus On the Eternity of the World (de deternitate mundi contra Proclum) in 529. Sorabji states that this text is “one of the most interesting of all post-Aristotelian Greek philosophical texts, written at a crucial moment in the defeat of paganism by Christianity.”63 Second, Against Aristotle On the Eternity of the World (de aeternitate mundi contra Aristotelem) estimated to be written between 530-534.64 In this second phase, Philoponus examines Aristotle’s work On the Heavens65. Third, a treatise titled On the Creation of the World (de opificio mundi) that survived in fragments providing a series of arguments for creation ex nihilo66.
It will be important to first briefly outline Aristotle’s conception of infinity in order to understand Philoponus’ arguments. It is worth pointing out here that the concept of eternity applies strictly to time while infinity can be applied to both space and time. Both are important to our discussion. The concept of time is inevitably correlated to spatiality. Just as Philoponus denied the possibility of an eternal or infinite past, he also denied that space was infinite.67
Aristotle argued for a particular conception of the infinite which can be called an “extendible finitude.”68 Two consequences follow from this. First, the infinite is only potential and not actual.69 Second, that an actual infinite, can never be traversed, that is to say it can never be crossed.70 The qualification that is necessary here is that actual infinity would be more than a finitude (a determinate totality), so an extendible finitude is to be understood as a potential infinity and not an actual one.71 The fact that infinity can never be traversed elicits another qualification from Aristotle in response to Zeno’s paradox of half distances,72 namely that we can traverse a potential infinity of divisions but not an actual one, otherwise we would never be able to leave this room after my presentation, for instance.
Philoponus developed numerous arguments criticizing infinity. I will focus on two significant ones. The first argument involves the necessity of the universe having a temporal beginning, therefore not having an eternal past. Philoponus points out that Christianity must be correct in arguing for a beginning, since if it did not have a beginning, the universe would have been traversed an infinite number of years.73 Moreover, this infinity would have to be an actual infinite not merely an extendible finitude.74 He further suggests that infinity would have been crossed when Socrates died in the fourth century B.C. and since then it would have crossed again more than an actual infinity. The second argument, indicates that infinity would also have to be increased75 which of course would lead to various absurdities. It is vital to understand that here Philoponus is not necessarily assuming that an actual infinite cannot exist but that time or the temporal series of events cannot exist as one since that would entail successively adding one unit after another as a standard view of time seems to necessitate.76 For instance, if there had been an actual infinite number of years by 2015, how many more years will there have been by 2016? An infinite number of them plus one. What about the days? Well, infinity multiplied by 365.77 Anything conceived to be larger than infinity leads to these obvious absurdities and contradictory ideas.
Sorabji, notes that Philoponus was successful in finding a contradiction in Greek pagan philosophy between their conceptions of infinity and their rejection that the past is finite. This is a fact that went unrecognized for roughly 850 years.78 The cosmological argument that Philoponus devised is a simple deductive argument which can be summarized with the following syllogism:
1. Whatever comes to be has a cause of its coming to be.
2. The universe came to be
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its coming to be.79
This is a good place to transition into our discussion regarding contemporary debates revolving around the cosmological argument.

6. Contemporary Debates

In recent years, philosophers of religion have published rigorous treatments of all three major types of the cosmological argument. The cosmological argument based on the principle of sufficient reason has been defended by philosopher and mathematician Alexander Pruss.80 Pruss has written a book long treatment titled, The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment published with Cambridge University Press where he examines its applicability to the cosmological argument and issues in science and philosophy of science. Robert C. Koons professor of philosophy at the University of Texas, has defended the cosmological argument based on the principle of causality.
However, I will focus on the cosmological argument based on the principle of determination. This particular argument which finds its roots in Philoponus’ sixth century work81 has become the focus of great attention by both theistic and nontheistic philosophers in recent times. William Lane Craig who is regarded as the most notable defender of the argument, utilizes the term kalam to label this form of the cosmological argument because of the substantive contribution of medieval Muslim philosophers.82 For well over thirty-five years the Kalam Cosmological Argument (henceforward, KCA)83 supporting creation ex nihilo has enjoyed a revival.
The debates that were ignited by Philoponus have continued throughout the ages with al-Ghazali versus Averroes, Saadia versus Maimonides, and Bonaventure versus Aquinas. Immanuel Kant even took a deep interest in the argument with his First Antinomy.84 And in recent years with contemporary philosophers, aside from Craig, in support of it, such as Stuart Hackett,85 Gerald James Whitrow,86 Mark Nowacki,87 and James Porter Moreland88 versus those who are skeptical such as Wesley Morriston, Graham Oppy, Adolf Grunbaum, Richard Swinburne, Arnold Guminski and Quentin Smith.89 The KCA was the subject of Craig’s doctoral dissertation in the late 1970s. Today, the KCA has been both defended and criticized extensively in professional philosophy journals.90 Atheist philosopher Quentin Smith, notes the wide interest revolving around the KCA, stating: “The fact that theists and atheists alike ‘cannot leave Craig’s Kalam argument alone’ suggests that it may be an argument of unusual philosophical interest or else has an attractive core of plausibility that keeps philosophers turning back to it and examining it once again.”91
The KCA’s modern formulation can be best described with the following deductive argument:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.92
In defense of the second premise two lines of scientific evidence have been offered. The first, the expansion of the universe which is intimately connected with big bang cosmology. The second, the second law of thermodynamics. This argument suggests that given a sufficient amount of time the universe and all its processes will run-down and reach a state of equilibrium or maximum entropy. For instance, the sun cannot burn and produce light ad infinitum, in lieu of this fact, the question arises as to why it hasn’t burned out already if it has existed from eternity past. In addition to scientific evidences, two philosophical arguments with intriguing examples have been provided. First, on the impossibility of an actual infinite existing, so, that the finitude of the past is predicated on the impossibility of an infinite temporal regress of events. “Hilbert’s Hotel”93 is used as a “thought experiment” to illustrate the various absurdities that arise in envisioning the existence of an actual infinite.94 The second philosophical argument in support of the second premise entails, that it is impossible to form an actual infinite by “successive addition.” The thought experiment of.
Tristam Shandy95 who takes a year to write a day of his life, is offered as an example to illustrate the various absurdities that arise with the formation of an actual infinite via successive addition. Bertrand Russell suggested that if Tristram Shandy were immortal the book could be completed, since one year and one day would both be infinite. However, such a notion is impossible since the future represents a potential infinity or as we have already discussed, an extendible finitude. So, although Shandy would write for eternity he would get more behind as time passes never catching up to his chronological age. Thus, Russell’s one-to-one correspondence between days and years is rendered absurd. The two scientific lines of evidences coupled with the two philosophical arguments has indeed given the KCA a very empirical robustness in favour of the contemporary development of the KCA over previous historical periods.
Moving onto the first premise. A defense of this, typically relies on the metaphysical intuition that things cannot come into existence from nothingness. Admittedly most of the defenses of this first premise have been flimsy and not very thorough. Indeed, Craig in his 1979 extensive treatment of the KCA devotes very little attention to the first premise. It comprises 7 pages of a book of 216 pages. That amounts to about 3% of the book.
It is worth mentioning that all of these arguments and others have been vigorously disputed not only in peer review articles in profession philosophy journals but also in numerous edited volumes with major academic presses. Both of the premises, the conclusion and all of the lines of defenses have been attacked by a variety of both theistic and nontheistic critics. Nowacki in his 2007 book The Kalam Cosmological Argument for God provides an extremely useful taxonomy of all of the major objections and responses to the KCA from 1979 until 2007. Nowacki has been a keen observer of the debates ensuing between defenders and detractors of the KCA as his rigorous documentation of the objections and responses attest to.
It is precisely here, again, we see the fruits of contestation regarding the cosmological argument. Now, in contemporary debates, we witness Nowacki’s discontents regarding Craig’s rough defense of the KCA’s first premise when he states:
For my own part, Craig’s curious lack of suasive power on this subject was one of the factors that motivated development of the theory of substantial possibility presented in chapters 3 and 4 of [his book on the KCA]. Craig’s underdetermined and somewhat quirky views on causation make it difficult for him to respond to critics who base their objections to the KCA on the mere logical possibility of instantiating an actual infinite. Although Craig himself is aware of the differences between logical possibility and stronger notions of possibility – he firmly asserts that the KCA must be situated within a modal context richer than that of logical possibility – just what Craig means by his frequent invocations to stronger notions of possibility is unacceptably vague.96
Nowacki attempts to strengthen the KCA by refining it and demonstrating that its progress should be situated in a substance-based metaphysics.97 Nowacki builds his argument by restricting the notion of possibility from mere logical possibility to factual possibility this allows him to offer a more robust defense of both premises and the thought experiments that coincide to support the second premise. By factual possibility, Nowacki means, through quoting philosopher David Braine:
I mean a kind of possibility which can only be asserted of something, P, relatively to some situation causally or temporally prior to P, or to some group of facts which are causally or temporally prior to P, and which consists in a certain relation between P and this particular situation or group of facts – the relation, namely, whereby this prior situation or group of facts has left it open that P should be or become a fact (it has not, for instance, causally excluded this).98
Essentially what Nowacki seeks to maintain is that in order to defend a more persuasive model of the KCA it must be situated in factual possibility over the category of logical possibility. Nowacki is adamant of focusing his defense on the actual world, as opposed to “esoteric though experiments”99 as in the case of “Hilbert’s Hotel”. This use of factual possibility, allegedly also protects the KCA’s vulnerability to attack from B-theorists of time, that is he claims that it can operate well with a B-theory of time, not just the A-theory.100 As Craig has stated with respect to his development of the KCA:
From start to finish, the Kalam cosmological argument is predicated upon the ATheory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived.101
Most recently, Arnold T. Guminski,102 a critic of Nowacki’s version of KCA has expressed various misgivings suggesting Craig’s version of the KCA remains superior.103 In turn, Nowacki has responded in defense of his novel version of the KCA.104

Concluding Remarks

A study like this begins to barely scratch the surface regarding the various complexities and varieties involved in the number of historical debates revolving around the cosmological argument. Nonetheless, we are able to witness the tremendous value of contestation in the brief examples we have surveyed. First, we examined Plato’s formulation of the cosmological argument with respect to motion which mostly likely in Plato’s own view is causally terminated with a plurality of selfmovers which he identified with a soul or mind. Based on Plato’s argumentation in Laws one cannot conclude the true nature of such a mind or minds. Aristotle then built on Plato’s prototypic cosmological argument with much more rigour leading up to not a self-mover but an unmoved mover to explain the continuous motion experienced in the world. The logical deduction of the nature of this unmoved mover is an immaterial (incorporeal), eternal being of pure actuality. We then examined how Philoponus utilized Aristotle’s definitions of potential and actual infinites while applying them to the past.
He argued for creation ex nihilo through a cosmological argument based on the principle of determination. Moving to the present context, philosophers continue to debate the cosmological argument, as objections are raised and responses provided, creativity is inspired in solidifying the argumentation even further. This is true in the case of Nowacki, as he has fortified the KCA with his proposed notion of factual possibility over that of logical possibility. This has carried the debate to a new level which has no doubt inspired a new set of objections to Nowacki’s program. Indeed, this opens the door to even more research and further argumentation supporting or criticizing the KCA. What can be gleaned from these brief analyses regarding the value of contestation? It is this questioning, thinking, rethinking, contesting, disputing, arguing, debating and reassessing previous notions that helps progress stumbling blocks in human knowledge. It could be that the legacy left behind by Plato and Aristotle will continue to inspire fascination and awe revolving around the various types of cosmological arguments, so much so, that the ongoing debates are not likely to subside anytime soon.105

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Theology
Dominican University College
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


  • 1.Since the 1960s, there has been a resurgence, in the Anglo-American realm, of rigorous philosophical argumentation for the existence of God. Plato and Aristotle’s legacy has played an undeniable influence in this renaissance. See, Eds. W.L. Craig and J.P. Moreland, The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).
  • 2.See William Lane Craig, The Cosmological Argument: From Plato to Leibniz (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 1980), p. X – hereafter referred to as The Cosmological Argument
  • 3.Ibid.
  • 4.Ibid.
  • 5. See Ibid., pp. 282-295. Craig provides an in depth discussion and examples of these conflations and “blurrings/amalgamations” between the three different cosmological arguments.
  • 6.Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 283.
  • 7.Ibid.
  • 8.For a thorough rebuttal of Hume’s attacks on the cosmological argument, see Douglas Groothuis “Metaphysical Implications of the Cosmological Arguments: Exorcising the Ghost of Hume” and Garrett J. DeWeese and Joshua Ramussen “Hume and The Kalam Cosmological Argument,” ed. by James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis, In Defense of Natural Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005).
  • 9.The view of causation expounded in the argument of contingency (Thomistic arguments) were attacked, namely the notion that: “that causation is an objective, productive, necessary relation experienced as power that holds between two things and the Causal Principle – every contingent being has a cause of its being – that lies at the heart of the argument.” See, Bruce, Reichenbach, "Cosmological Argument," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =; J.L.A.West, “Kant’s Attack on the Cosmological Argument,” ed. by William Sweet in God And Argument/Dieu et l’argumentation philosophique (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1999), pp. 175-187.
  • 10.See, Craig, The Cosmological Argument, pp. 282-295. Craig provides an in depth discussion and examples of these conflations and “blurrings/amalgamations” between the three different cosmological arguments.
  • 11.For an exposition of the most rigorous modern defenses of the cosmological argument, see the following: Principle of Sufficient Reason: Alexander Pruss, The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); The Kalam Cosmological Argument: William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument (Eugene, Orgeon; Wipf and Stock, 1979); The Argument from Contingency: Robert C. Koons, “A New Look at the Cosmological Argument,” American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Apr., 1997), pp. 193-211.
  • 12.Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. x. For instance, some thinkers have conflated cosmological arguments based on the principle of causality with that of the principle of sufficient reason, as Craig states: “Howard Congdon presents Plato and Aristotle’s proofs from motion as based on the principle of sufficient reason. John Randall characterises Aristotle’s prime mover as a “logical explanation, not a physical cause, a natural law, not a force… It is an arche, a principle of intelligibility, a “reason why.” Fazlur Rahman asserts that ibn Sina’s cosmological argument is based not on the principle of causality, but on the principle of sufficient reason. Etienne Gilson writes that Aquinas’s proofs seek a sufficient reason to explain an observed effect, a reason without which the effect is unintelligible… G.H.R. Parkinson confuses the Leibnizian argument with the Thomist when he contends that “Leibniz fails to refute an infinite regress, since each question ‘why?’ is answered in a prior being.” (p. 284)
  • 13.See Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 283.
  • 14.Ibid.
  • 15.Ibid.
  • 16.See Plato, Laws, 886
  • 17.See Ibid., 894b.
  • 18.See Ibid., 895a-895b.
  • 19.See Ibid., 894a-895b.
  • 20.Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 5.
  • 21.For a thorough discussion on whether Plato considered his self-mover as ontologically and causally prior as opposed to temporally prior, see, A.E. Taylor Platonism and its Influence (New York: Longmans, Green, 1932); for a temporal priority view see, W.F.R. Hardie A Study in Plato (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1936), pp. 107-108.
  • 22.See Plato, Phaedrus, 245c-d.
  • 23.Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 6.
  • 24.See Phaedrus 245e-246, the self-mover is deemed to be eternal but this entails a body.
  • 25. Craig’s and Taylor’s position does not make this at all clear but this is beyond the scope of this paper. Craig’s statement affirms this position, see Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 6: “The motion of the soul is not here temporally prior to the motion of the body; they are co-eternal.”
  • 26. See G.M.A. Grube, Plato’s Thought (London: Methuen, 1935), p. 122. Cf. Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 8.
  • 27.See Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 11. Here he examines the differing views concerning Plato’s beliefs about the nature of the self-moving soul. These are found in the following sources: J.M. Crombie, An Examination of Plato’s Doctrines (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962), p. 369; Francis MacDonald Cornford, Plato’s Cosmology (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1937), p. 35; Francis MacDonald Cornford, ‘The “Polytheism” of Plato: An Apology”, Mind 47 (1938), p. 324. and A.E. Taylor, ‘The “Polytheism” of Plato: An Apologia”, Mind 47 (1938), pp. 183-4.
  • 28.See, Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 11.
  • 29.See A. E. Taylor, A Commentary on Plato’s ‘Timaeus’ (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928), pp. 75-78.
  • 30.See Friedrich Solmsen, Plato’s Theology (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1942, reprinted 1967), p. 149.
  • 31.See, Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 20.
  • 32.See Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy: Greece and Rome (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd.,1950), p. 52 – hereafter referred to as History.
  • 33. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1.1046a10; 12.1019a15.
  • 34.See Copleston, History, p. 52.
  • 35. See Aristotle, Physica 8.6 257b2.
  • 36.See Ibid., 8.6 258b30-259a5.
  • 37.See Aristotle, Metaphysica 1.3 186a1.
  • 38. See Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 32.
  • 39.Aristotle, Physics, 8.6 259a10-20.
  • 40. See Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 33.
  • 41.Aristotle, Metaphysics, 12.6. 1072a.
  • 42.Ibid., 12.6. 1071b20.
  • 43.See Ibid., 12.6. 1071b7-9.
  • 44.See Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 34
  • 45.See Ibid., p. 35.
  • 46.W.D. Ross, Aristotle, 5th ed. (London: Methuen, 1949), p. 181.
  • 47.Aristotle, Metaphysics, 7.1072b20-25.
  • 48. Ibid, 7.107b25.
  • 49. See Craig, The Cosmological Argument, p. 35.
  • 50.See Christian Wildberg, "John Philoponus," in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = . Accessed August 16, 2016
  • 51.I will use the terms eternality and eternity interchangeably. I will also use the terms world and universe interchangeably.
  • 52. See Richard Sorabji, The Philosophy of the Commentators 200-600 AD. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), p. 175.
  • 53.Wildberg, “John Philoponus.”
  • 54.The prevailing philosophic (pre-scientific) view from the time of the pre-Socratic materialists up until as recent as the early 20th Century modern science was that the universe was beginningless (eternal in the past).
  • 55. See Richard Sorabji, “Infinity and Creation,” in Philoponus and the Rejection of Aristotelian Science, Second Edition, ed. by Richard Sorabji (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2010), p. 208 – hereafter referred to as Philoponus.
  • 56.Ibid., p. 210.
  • 57.See David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, God & Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science (Los Angeles: UCLA, 19860, pp. 38-39 – hereafter referred to as God & Nature.
  • 58.See Jean Ann Christensen, “Aristotle and Philoponus on Light” (Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University, 1979).
  • 59.See Lindberg and Numbers, God & Nature, p. 39
  • 60.Ibid.
  • 61.See Sorabji, “Infinity and Creation,” p. 210.
  • 62.For further details see Richard Sorabji, “John Philoponus,” and “Infinity and Creation” in Philoponus.
  • 63.See Philoponus, Against Proculus’s “On the Eternity of the World 1-5,” tr. by Michael Share, Preface by Richard Sorabji, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), p. vii. See again, Wildberg, "John Philoponus."
  • 64.See Wildberg, "John Philoponus," and Herbert A. Davidson, “John Philoponus as a Source of Medieval Islamic and Jewish Proofs of Creation,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 89, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1969), pp. 357-359 – hereafter referred to as Source.
  • 65.According to Herbert A. Davidson, it is unclear how accurately Simplicius actually quotes Philoponus since his vitriol may indicate the possibility of deliberate misrepresentation which is evidenced by several incongruences. There is also reason to believe that through the Arabic thinkers such as Farabi there are independent sources of Philoponus’ work on Against Aristotle from that of Simplicius’ commentaries. This work has been lost but is mainly known through citations in Simplicius’s commentaries on Aristotle's On the Heavens (De Caelo) and Physics.
  • 66.See Herbert A. Davidson Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 86- 116, and also Davidson, Source, pp. 357-359.
  • 67.See Sorabji, “John Philoponus,” p. 55; in Physica 582, 19-583, 12.
  • 68.Sorabji, “Infinity and Creation,” p. 211.
  • 69. See Sorabji, “Infinity and Creation,” p. 213; Philoponus, in Physica 3.6, 206a 14-23; 206b13.
  • 70.See Sorabji, “Infinity and Creation,” p. 213; Philoponus, in Physica 3.5, 204b9; 6.2, 233a22; 6.7, 238a33; 8.8, 263a6; b4; b9; 265a20; Philoponus, in De Caelo 1.5, 272a3;29; 3.2, 300b5; Philoponus in Metaphysica 2.2, 994b30; Philoponus in Analytica posteriora 1.3, 7.2b11; 1.22, 82b39; 83b6.
  • 71.See Sorabji, “Infinity and Creation,” p. 213.
  • 72.Ibid.
  • 73.See Sorabji, “Infinity and Creation,” p. 213.
  • 74.This argument against infinity serves as a prototype for subsequent argumentation over generations which is applicable today to offer philosophical support for the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA), as will be discussed below.
  • 75.5 This is a second philosophical argument against infinity, namely that infinite sets may exist that they cannot be added to or increased, and this second argument against the eternal past appears in a modern form which is used by contemporary philosophers to support the second premise of the KCA.
  • 76.Please see for further details William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, pp.102-110. Here Craig explains why you cannot form an actual infinite by successive addition which mirrors this second argument of Philoponus.
  • 77.See Sorabji, “Infinity and Creation,” p. 213.
  • 78.See Ibid., p. 220. Aristotle living from 384–322 BCE to the point of Philoponus’ arguments in 529. On the same page, Sorabji provides an interesting reflection stating that: “This contradiction had gone unnoticed for 850 years. Moreover, the materials for beginning to answer Philoponus’ puzzle about increasing infinity were not even assembled until Henry of Harclay and others, some 800 years later.”
  • 79.As outlined in Mark R. Nowacki, The Kalam Cosmological Argument for God (New York: Prometheus Books, 2007), p. 13 – hereafter referred to as Kalam.
  • 80.See list articles.
  • 81. Islamic philosophers and theologians have thoroughly documented Philoponus’ influence in their bibliographic notes. Herbert Davidson has traced Philoponus’ undeniable direct impact in an extraordinarily researched article published in 1969. See Davidson, Source.
  • 82.See William Lane Craig, “The Kalam Argument,” ed. by J.P. Moreland, Chad Meister and Khaldoun A. Sweis in Debating Christian Theism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 7
  • 83.It is the medieval Arabic term for natural theology or philosophical theology. It was revived by philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig and was the subject of his dissertation completed in 1977 at Birmingham University. It was subsequently published in 1979. It also refers to the family of arguments that seek to demonstrate God’s existence from the finitude of the past. The term Kalam, to classify this subset of cosmological arguments was designated by Craig due to its great influence in Medieval Islamic philosophy. For a thorough historical context on the KCA please see Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, pp. 1-60 and Herbert A. Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987). The KCA alongside the majority of the revival of arguments for the existence of God are predominantly an AngloAmerican phenomenon. As I have noted for quite some time, the paucity of engagement with the renaissance of the arguments for the existence of God among Continental philosophy and their philosophers is noteworthy. This was glaringly obvious to me in the response I received when I posed a question regarding the renaissance of Christian philosophy and the reaction from European-continental philosophy to philosopher and theologian, Philippe Capelle-Dumont at his lecture titled “Le Retour de Dieu en Philosophie?” at the Dominican University College in April 2014. Nowacki notes that Craig’s work has been ignored after performing a survey of the literature of Continental philosophy. See Nowacki, Kalam, p. 23, endnote 5.
  • 84.Craig explores the antinomy; he finds solid argumentation on behalf of the thesis but weak on behalf of the antithesis. Please see, Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, Appendix 2: The Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Thesis of Kant’s First Antinomy, pp. 189- 205.
  • 85.Stuart Hackett in his book The Resurrection of Theism: Prolegomena to Christian Theism originally published in 1957 had a version of the KCA which came to heavily influence William Lane Craig. So much so that he wanted to pursue his doctoral studies on the KCA, in order to revive the argument in modern philosophy. This testimony can be found on the Evangelical Philosophical Society website:
  • 86.A philosopher and mathematician who took interest and published on the subject of the KCA and studying the nature of time.
  • 87.See Nowacki, Kalam
  • 88.See, J.P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), 18-42; and “A Response to a Platonistic and a Set-Theoretic Objection to the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” Religious Studies 39 (2003), pp. 373-90.
  • 89.For a list of published books and articles including defenses and objections up until May 2009, please see:
  • 90.For a substantive taxonomy up until 2007 please see, Mark Nowacki’s chapter 2: A Taxonomy of Objections and Replies in The Kalam Cosmological Argument for God, pp. 103-162.
  • 91.Quentin Smith, “Kalam Cosmological Arguments for Atheism,” in M. Martin (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 183.
  • 92.See Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, p. 63. The warrant I provide for the first two premises of this argument are quite brief in comparison to the treatments provided by Craig and many of the supporters of the KCA. My intention is to very briefly outline strong reasons to support this argument in lieu of Philoponus’ reasoning in the sixth century. I will not engage in all the criticisms and objections to these premises since that would extend far beyond the objective of this paper.
  • 93. See Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, p. 84-86. A good illustration of the incoherency of an infinite number of things existing in reality is David Hilbert’s Hotel. This peculiar hotel begins with a finite number of rooms without any vacancies, so that a new guest is turned away. But then the hotel is transformed into one with an infinite number of rooms which are all filled up. Now when a new guest arrives she can go to the first room while the manager shifts every other guest from room 2 to 3, 3 to 4 and so on unto infinity. Things get stranger when an infinite number of guests show up, each customer is shifted into a room number twice the previous’ room number, leaving all the odd numbered rooms vacant. Thus accommodating all the infinite number of guests into the odd numbered vacant rooms and again having an infinite number of rooms filled, even though an infinite number of rooms were previously occupied with zero vacancies. Things can get even more bizarre than this if all the people in the odd numbered rooms check out. Even though an infinite number of guests would have been checked out; an infinite number would still remain. It is important to note that even though infinity may have fruitful applications when applied to Georg Cantor’s set theory where it plays a well-defined role devoid of absurdities. Craig indicates that: “[m]odern set theory, as a legacy of Cantor, is thus exclusively concerned with the actual as opposed to the potential infinite.” (Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, p. 67.) Recall our discussion earlier that an actual infinite involves a determinate totality whereas a potential does not since it is an “extendible finitude”. Nonetheless, the aforementioned examples serve to demonstrate that infinity leads to a series of contradictions when applied spatially and temporally, that is to say the real world. As David Hilbert, explicates: We have already seen that the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality, no matter what experiences, observations, and knowledge are appealed to. Can thought about things be so much different from things? Can thinking processes be so unlike the actual processes of things? In short, can thought be so far removed from reality? Rather is it not clear that, when we think that we have encountered the infinite in some real sense, we have merely been seduced into thinking so by the fact that we often encounter extremely large and extremely small dimensions in reality?... It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought… The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea. This statement is confirmatory of what Craig is setting out to demonstrate with examples of infinity that lead to absurdities in reality. See David Hilbert, “On the Infinite,” in Philosophy of Mathematics, ed. Paul Benacerraf and Hilary Putnam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 183-202.
  • 94.For an example of a common objection, see, Craig’s response to Richard Swinburne’s objection against an actual infinite existing in time:
  • 95.See, Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, Creation out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), pp. 213-216. One can argue that an infinite collection could never be made by beginning at a certain point and just adding members. In, essence one cannot count from one to infinity nor from infinite to one. This dilemma is known as the impossibility of traversing the infinite. A helpful illustration of this, is the paradox of Tristram Shandy. This paradox, as developed by Craig, shows the impossibility of forming an actually infinite collection of things by adding one member after another. Shandy writes his autobiography at an incredibly slow pace whereby it takes him a year to record one day of his life. The paradox can be ultimately summed up with this statement: “If Tristram Shandy would have finished his book by today, then he would have finished it yesterday.” (Copan and Craig, Creation out of Nothing, 216.) So, we can ultimately argue that if the universe does not have a point of beginning then we have no reason for the present moment to have arrived but commonsensically it has, therefore we know that the events of the physical past are not without beginning.
  • 96.Nowacki, Kalam, p. 28.
  • 97.See Ibid, pp. 174-176, for modal distinctions between factual, judgemental and volitional modalities – factual is the is what concerns the KCA.
  • 98.Ibid., p. 176. See for original source, David Braine, “Varieties of Necessity,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, suppl. Vol. 46 (1972): pp. 146-147.
  • 99.Nowacki, Kalam, p. 237.
  • 100. A-theory of time represents a tensed theory (a “presentism”) of time whereas a B-theory entails a tenseless theory of time where the universe exists tenselessly under a fourdimensional space-time block, and therefore there is no beginning to the universe. For Nowacki’s claim that it is more defensible with respect to a B-theory of time see, Mark Nowacki “Assessing the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” Philosophia Christi 12 (2010): pp. 201-212.
  • 101.William Lane Craig and James D. Sinclair, “The kalam cosmological argument” In The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), pp. 183-184.
  • 102.See Arnold T. Guminski, “A Critical Examination of Mark R. Nowacki's Version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument," Philosophia Christi 10 (2008): pp. 377-91.
  • 103.See Ibid., conclusion.
  • 104.See Mark Nowacki “Assessing the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” Philosophia Christi 12 (2010), pp. 201-212.
  • 105.I wanted to thank Dr. Walter Schultz for suggesting the “spin” of contestation with respect to the cosmological argument. This was inspired by a discussion in June of 2015, I had with professor William Sweet regarding Philoponus and Aristotle as it related to Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas. He laughingly said “you’re siding with the Franciscans over the Dominicans” and I retorted “no, I’m just following the evidence where ever it leads” to which he responded “Scott you’re a dangerous man!” At the time, I wasn’t sure how to take that comment since it was my first time meeting Will, but a good friend (David Bellusci) said I should take it as a compliment. This was the initial inspiration to this paper. So, I wanted to take the time to give a special thank you to both Walter and Will.

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