In an interesting turnabout, Fancois Tremblay has sought to turn William Lane Craig’s use of the kalam Cosmological argument against him.
Part of the argument, namely premise 2: “The universe began to exist,” draws on, among other things, Craig’s argument against the possibility of an actual infinite (it also draws on the empirical scientific evidence that the universe did begin to exist). Basically, the argument is that if the past is infinite in duration, then an infinitely large number of days (or months, or years, take your pick) has been traversed. But since an infinite number of things cannot actually be traversed, the past cannot be infinite.
Temblay has accepted this premise, but he thinks it is damaging to the Christian faith traditionally expressed, or to a number of faiths, I suppose. Why? Because, says Francois,
This is where I must now part ways with William Craig. While his argument against infinite regress is reasonable, we also have to contend with his belief in an infinite god. And we have to ask, what does it mean for a god’s knowledge, power, benevolence, and presence to be qualified by “infinite”?
Since an actual infinite cannot exist, says Francois, an infinite God cannot exist either, and so if there is a God, he must be finite.
The main question I would want to ask is who the argument is supposed to be directed against. Are there any philosophers of religion who defend a concept of Theism whereby God’s knowledge is said to consist of an infinite number of propositions? And if there are, does it do any harm to traditional Christian theism to show that they are wrong? After all, all it takes is a simple internet search for the words “God,” “knowledge,” “propositional” and “intuitive” to find out that omniscience doesn’t have to be viewed as having an infinitely large collection of true beliefs. God’s knowledge, as Aquinas noted, can be (and should be) construed as intuitive, rather than propositional or discursive. Likewise, omnipresence need not be defined in terms of being present in an infinite number of places (in fact if God is literally not extended in space, it is just obvious that this is not what it means), and so forth.
Turnabout is fair play, but in this case it did not pay off.
- Yes Dr Pruss it’s funny, just not in the right way.
- A simple explanation of the moral argument
- Kalam: Does anything at all come into existence?
- The cause of death: Arguments from silence – Quantum physics and the Cosmological argument
- (one of the ways in which) Van Til was wrong
- Bradley on the alleged contradiction of Christian ethics