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Kalam Cosmological Argument

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Kalām cosmological argument (Persian: برهان الحدوث) or so called argument form temporality (Huduth) is a general term for the theologians' theoretical arguments for the existence of God. The main content of this argument is depended on the feature of temporality of the universe and existents. This feature means that each object was nonexistent before coming to existence by its cause, and comes to being by its cause.

This argument is proposed by theologians and is criticized by philosophers. Kalam cosmological arguments have some origins in the Islamic traditions.


Temporality means that each phenomenon is nonexistent till comes to existence by its cause. This notion have stated, for the first time, by theologians and afterwards is brought to the Islamic philosophy literature and is divided into tow parts, essential temporality and time temporality. In the theological context this word is applied just in the latter sense. Thus, our temporal universe was nonexistent and afterwards, in a special time, it cames to the existence.

The common version of the argument

The general formulation of the theologians' argument for the existence of God presupposes these tow principle:

  • The First principle: The existence of an object which begin in a time and is variable.
  • The Second principle: The requirement of any temporal object to an eternal object which necessitates and individuates it.

The argument from temporality in Islamic tradition

There are some hadiths which refer to this argument. For instance, Imam Ali (a) has stated some tradition as follow:

  • «‌مُستَشهَدٌ بحُدوثِ الأشیاء عَلَی أزلیتِه‌»

God has taken the temporality of the objects as an evidence for his eternity.

  • «‌الحمد لله... الدالّ علی وجوده بِخَلقِه وبَمُحدَثِ خَلقِه علی أزلیته‌»

All praise belongs to Allah… who implies to his existence in terms of his creatures and indicates to his eternity by temporality of the creatures.

The arguments for the first principle (temporality of the universe)

The First argument: al-Bahili

This argument which al-Shahristani has ascribed it in to Abu l-Hasan al-Bahili, is some kind of argument from analogy and comparison between status of existents and the whole universe.

According to this argument, an existence like human being cannot comes to existence by itself, similar to a construction which cannot built by itself too. So, any variation in objects and existents from one status to another status is associated to a clever and contriver.

Therefore, the evolution in the different stages of the life of an existence is an evidence for the existence of a conscious and contriver cause.

This simple argument has some origins in Qur'anic verses, some verses which remember the divine creation to human beings.

The second argument: Ash'ari

This argument which is ascribed to Abu l-Hasan Ash'ari, is constructed based on the theory of atom.

According to this approach, which was popular between early theologian, the universe is constructed from infinitesimal grains which are unanalyzable and all the objects and natural phenomena is constituted based on their being gathered together and their being taking apart from each other.

This grains are eternal, however, but they are not sufficient to emergence of the universe until they are not associated together.

Therefore, according to this view, the creator of the universe have created it by combination and analyzing these fine grains;and because of this combination feature, we can name the universe as temporal (Hādith). this combination is not eternal and is created by a creator.

The arguments for the second principle (requirement of the Hadith to creator)

According to the second principle, which is applied in the second premise of this argument, the universe (which is Hādith) needs a creator who is not Haidth.

Ash'ari theologians have proven this premise and principle by several methods:

first argument: Al-Baqillani

Al-Baqilani says:

"No script could be without any writer and no building could be without any builder, likewise, the design and maps of the universe requires the existence of a subject who constructs these maps"

second argument: 'Abd al-Malik Juwayni

Al-Juwayni writes:

"First of all, the universe and all the things which are located in, could be in the other ways.

Secondly, each entities which it is possible for it to be in the other ways is a temporal entity which requires a subject who chooses a possible option from different option and creates it."

Philosophers point of view

The Kalam argument was not popular between philosophers and because of some criticisms which they cast about this concept and the argument, these philosophers, have proposed the Argument from Contingency and Necessity instead of it.

Between famous philosophers, however, Al-Kindi in contrary with Aristotelians and Neo-Platonists, would accept the time temporality of the universe and he use somehow from this argument for the existence of God.

The philosophical criticisms on Huduth argument

First: self contradiction

One of the main objects of this argument is as follow:

  • If all the creatures, before coming to existence, were nonexistent, it means that all and each creatures of the universe were once nonexistents and afterwards become existents.
  • The first creature of the universe had this feature too.
  • Because of the temporal Huduth, this entity was nonexistent in a certain time and afterwards become existent.
  • The time itself, is one creature of this temporal universe too. So, in the first instance of the universe, the first existent of the universe would be created.
  • Before the first instance of the time, there isn't any time (because our supposition is that this instance is the first instance of the time) so, the first creature of the universe could not be Hādith, because of the fact that if it wants to be Hadith, it should be created in the first instance of the universe and should be nonexistent before it. But, our supposition is that there isn't any time before the instance.

Therefore, if we want to consider all the creatures as Hādith, the time itself should be Hādith, that is should be another time which this time would not be in that time and afterwards comes to existence. But there is just one time.

second: disability to improve the religion's God

The second philosophical object about this argument is that it is , besides the trueness of it's promises, at last would proves an abstract and unchangeable entity as a Couse of emergence of the universe. But it is not clear that this entity is God of the religions and it is possible that this entity itself is created by the God.

The Arguments's Conclusions and Requirements

  • Permanent Requirement to creator

Huduth in the theological sense indicates the fact that should there be a creator who is present in all the instances of life of the creatures.

According to this view, it is not just the beginning of the life which needed a creator, but the all states of affaires and characteristics of them is needed the creator too, and are his actions.

Ash'ari theologians explicitly have stated that Hadith things with all the attributes and features which they have are belongs to their subject and God creates each thing with its always changing and along states of affaires all together. In the other words, these things in in every instance are being created.

  • Ghadim things don't require creator and cause

According to this argument, all the creatures of the universe are needed to a cause for the sake of being Hadith; that because of being nonexistent in a certain time, the creator have brought them into the existence. Thus, if an entity would not be Haidth, that would bee in all time, doesn't need to any cause and creator.

See Also