Sunday, April 22, 2007

Kalam cosmological argument

M 17 Omega Nebula,  © NASA / HubbleThe Kalam cosmological argument is a version of the cosmological argument derived from the Islamic Kalam form of dialectical argument. It attempts to prove the existence of God by appealing to the principle of universal cause. Similar arguments are found in the theologies of Judaism (for example, in the work of Maimonides) and Christianity (for example in Thomas Aquinas), where it is known as the "uncaused cause" or "first cause" argument.

The origin of the word "kalam" (علم الكلم) is Islamic and is one of the 'religious sciences' of Islam. In Arabic the word means "discussion", and refers to the Islamic tradition of seeking theological principles through dialectic. A scholar of kalam is referred to as a mutakallam (Muslim theologian; plural mutakallamin).

The original scholars of kalam were recruited by Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (d. 873) for the House of Wisdom under the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad. They collected, translated, and synthesised everything that the genius of other cultures had accumulated before undertaking to augment and expand it. From their translations of Greek, Iranian, and Indian works, they formed the basis of Muslim falsafa (philosophy) in the 9th and 10th centuries.

The word means "speech" or "doctrine," however "kalam" came to identify the entire movement of highly academic Islamic theology of the Middle ages, which later faded away.

The origin of the Kalam cosmological argument dates to fourth century Egypt. John Philoponus of Alexadria, Egypt, argued that the universe had a beginning. This view was contrary to that of the Greek philosopher, Arisotle, who believed that Godwas not the creator of the universe, but rather He interspersed order into it. Aristotle believed that God and the universe were eternal. Arisotle's view was/is contradictory with the Hebrew and Christian belief that God is the creator of the universe.


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