bookmark_borderKreeft’s Case for God – Part #27: The Universe and Time

I am starting to think about the Kalam Cosmological Argument, Argument #6 in Peter Kreeft’s case for God, from Chapter 3 of his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA).  This is the final argument that we need to consider in Kreeft’s case for God.
This is not the first time I have examined this argument.  When I was an undergraduate student of philosophy, my plan was to apply to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and to study philosophy of religion and Christian apologetics with Dr. William Craig.  I visited the campus one summer while on a road trip heading for the east coast.  I was hoping to meet Craig in person, but he was away at the time.  I did visit the campus bookstore and I picked up a copy of Craig’s popular presentation of the Kalam cosmological argument: The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe.  So, I have been aware of this argument since about 1982.
One major problem with this argument is that it is based on the claim that time does not stretch backwards for an infinite number of years, and thus time has a beginning.  The idea is that God is OUTSIDE of time, and thus God would be able to cause both time and the universe to begin to exist.  But this makes no sense, because the idea of a person existing OUTSIDE of time makes no sense, and the idea of a person creating something OUTSIDE of time makes even less sense.  The idea that “X caused Y to occur OUTSIDE of time” is an incoherent idea, at least that is my view on this issue.
Before we go any further on this interesting philosophical question about the relationship of time to persons, actions of persons, and cause-and-effect, I think we should explore the various logical possibilities about the relationship of time and the universe.
LOGICAL POSSIBILITIES CONCERNING THE UNIVERSE
The Kalam Cosmological Argument is based on this premise:

2. The universe began to exist.  (HCA, p.58)

This contrasts with the opposite possibility:

It is NOT the case that the universe began to exist.

Given that the universe does exist now, this opposite possibility can be narrowed to this claim:

The universe has existed forever.

There are also different possibilities concerning the END of the universe:

The universe will come to an end.

OR:

The universe will continue to exist forever.

These various possibilities could occur in four different combinations, which can be summarized in a truth table (click on the image below for a clearer view of the chart):
UB = The universe began to exist.
UE = The universe will come to an end.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LOGICAL POSSIBILITIES CONCERNING TIME
The Kalam Cosmological Argument takes seriously the following claim:

Time began to exist.

This claim contrasts with the opposite view:

It is NOT the case that time began to exist.

Since time clearly exists now, we can narrow this opposite view to this claim:

Time has existed forever.

If time can begin to exist, then there is no obvious reason why time could not cease to exist as well:

Time will come to an end.

And we must acknowledge the opposite and more common view:

Time will continue to exist forever.

So, the logical possibilities concerning time appear to parallel the logical possibilities concerning the universe (click on the image below for a clearer view of the chart):
TB = Time began to exist.
TE = Time will come to an end.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LOGICAL POSSIBILITIES CONCERNING TIME AND THE UNIVERSE
In theory, we can combine the four different possibilities about time with the four different possibilities about the universe, and that will result in sixteen different possible combinations of those possibilities.  Many of these combinations, however, don’t make any sense; they are incoherent because they involve a logical contradiction.
But first we need to have the baseline of sixteen possible combinations, and next we can eliminate the ones that imply a contradiction (click on the image below for a clearer view of the chart):

 https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Time-and-Universe-Possibilities.jpg
 
IF TIME HAD NO BEGINNING AND HAS NO END
The last four combinations in the above chart are concerned with possibilities where time has existed forever and will continue to exist forever.  In those scenarios, all four possibilities concerning the universe would be logically compatible with the character of time, so there are no incoherent scenarios among the last four combinations.  Specifically the combinations XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI are all logically possible scenarios.
 
IF TIME HAD A BEGINNING AND ALSO HAS AN END 
The first four combinations in the above chart are concerned with possibilities where time began to exist and will also come to an end. All but one of these combinations is incoherent, meaning all but one contains a logical contradiction. Take combination III for example.  In that combination, the universe has existed forever, but time began to exist.  This combination logically implies the following claim:
The universe was in existence one billion years before time began to exist.
This implication is clearly incoherent, because it is logically impossible for one billion years to elapse while time does not exist.  In order for just one year, or even one second, to elapse, time must exist.  Thus, combination III logically implies a statement that is clearly incoherent, so combination III is itself an incoherent statement: combination III is a logically impossible state of affairs.
A similar line of reasoning can be used to show that combinations II and IV are also incoherent and logically impossible.  Of the first four combinations in the above chart, only combination I is logically possible.  There is no contradiction in the idea that both time and the universe began to exist and that both time and the universe will come to an end.  So, of the first four combinations, the following are logically impossible scenarios: II, III, and IV.
 
IF TIME HAD A BEGINNING BUT HAS NO END
The second set of four combinations are concerned with the possibilities where time begins but will never end.  Two of these combinations are logically possible, and two of these combinations are incoherent and thus logically impossible.  The problem comes in with combinations where the universe has no beginning, since in all of these four combinations time has a beginning.
This is like the problem with combination III, discussed above.  If the universe has existed forever, but time had a beginning, then that logically implies this statement:
The universe was in existence one billion years before time began to exist.
But this statement is incoherent, so any combination that logically implies this statement is also incoherent and logically impossible.  Thus, combinations VII and VIII are logically impossible scenarios.  The other two combinations (V and VI) are logically possible.
 
IF TIME HAD NO BEGINNING BUT HAS AN END
The third set of four combinations all concern scenarios where time has existed forever but will one day come to an end.  As with the previous set of four combinations, two of these combinations are logically possible, and two of them are incoherent and thus logically impossible.  The problem comes in with combinations where the universe has no end.  If time comes to an end but the universe continues to exist forever, then this logically implies the following statement:
The universe will still exist one billion years after time comes to an end.
But this statement is clearly incoherent.  It is logically impossible for just one year, or even one second, to elapse when time no longer exists.  In order for a year to pass, time must exist.  So, any combination that logically implies the above statement is incoherent and is logically impossible.  Combinations X and XII logically imply the above statement, so those combinations are logically impossible. The other two combinations (IX and XI) don’t have this problem and they are logically possible scenarios.
 
CONCLUSIONS
Seven out of the sixteen combinations are logically impossible:  II, III, IV, VII, VIII, X, and XII.
Nine out of the sixteen combinations are logically possible:  I, V, VI, IX, XI, XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI.
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CORRECTION (6/29/18):
==================
The seven combinations that I claimed to be logically impossible can be SHOWN to be logically impossible, as I have indicated.
However, I have NOT shown the nine other combinations to be logically possible.  I have only shown that those combinations don’t have the same sort of logical contradiction that is found in the seven logically impossible combinations.
As far as I can tell, there is no logical contradiction in the nine combinations between the characterization of time and the characterization of the universe (in each combination).  However, there could be a logical contradiction internal to either the characterization of time or to the characterization of the universe in some of those nine combinations.
In fact, the philosophical arguments in the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the claim that the universe began to exist assert that NOTHING can have existed forever; not time, not the universe, and not even God.  Those philosophical arguments assert that there is a logical contradiction involved in the statement that the universe has existed forever, as well as in the statement that time has existed forever. 
A defender of the Kalam Cosmological Argument would say that combinations IX, XI, XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI are incoherent, and thus are logically impossible combinations, because they assert either that time has existed forever or that the universe has existed forever.

bookmark_borderWhat is the Conclusion of the Kalam Cosmological Argument?

In order to understand an argument, one must FIRST understand what the CONCLUSION of the argument asserts.
Since Jeff Lowder and I disagree about what the conclusion of the kalam cosmological argument (hereafter: KCA) asserts, we also disagree about the specific content of KCA.  I’m going to present my reasons for believing that the conclusion of KCA is: GOD EXISTS, as well as my reasons for rejecting Jeff Lowder’s view that the conclusion of KCA is: THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE.
It is amazing that two people with significant knowledge and background in the philosophy of religion would have such divergent views as to what the conclusion of a well-known argument in the philosophy of religion asserts.  This in itself is an argument for the view that Craig’s presentations of KCA are less than ideal in terms of clarity, which is the main point I wish to make, anyway.
It is also amazing that Jeff Lowder holds the view that Craig has mischaracterized the conclusion of his own argument on more than one occassion.  This is certainly a real possibility, but to entertain this possibility seriously is to doubt the clarity of Craig’s understanding of his own argument, which again supports my basic point about there being a problem of clarity with Craig’s presentation of KCA.  If Craig is himself confused about what the conclusion of KCA asserts, then it should be no surprise that others would also be confused and disagree about what the conclusion of KCA asserts.
If it turns out that my position that the conclusion of KCA is GOD EXISTS is a plausible one (and I have plenty of evidence to back up my view), and if Jeff Lowder’s position that the conclusion of KCA is THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE is also a plausible one (I suspect that Jeff Lowder will be able to provide evidence to support his view), then that means that Craig has done a poor job of presenting KCA in a way that makes the content of this argument clear.
I’m going to present evidence for my view of KCA in chronological order, based on publication dates of the books or articles that I examine. I plan to examine at least eight different publications/articles/lectures by Craig between 1979 and 2015.
The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe (Here’s Life Publishers, 1979)
In Apologetics: An Introduction (Moody Press, 1984), William Craig tells us that:
I have defended this argument [the kalam cosmological argument] in two books, the Kalam Cosmological Argument and The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe. (Apologetics, p.73)
So, one important source for understanding the contents and conclusion of KCA is The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe (hereafter: EOG&BOU).  The title alone provides significant support for my view that the conclusion of KCA is: GOD EXISTS.  One of Craig’s first books about KCA contains the phrase “The Existence of God” in its title!
The Preface of EOG&BOU confirms my view that this book is a presentation of KCA for a general audience:
Those who wish to pursue more deeply some of the issues I discuss [here in EOG&BOU] should consult my technical study, The Kalam Cosmological Argument (London: Macmillan, 1979; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1979).
Assuming, then that EOG&BOU is a presentation of KCA for a general audience, the preface provides evidence for my view that the conclusion of KCA is: GOD EXISTS.  Here are the opening sentences of EOG&BOU (emphasis added by me):
This is a book for those who DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD.  It is my hope that this work will be the means by which some person seeking to know the truth about the universe will COME TO KNOW ITS CREATOR.
Several years of philosophical and scientific research have convinced me that BELIEF IN THE EXISTENCE OF GOD is the most intellectually respectable position available to a person today.  In this work I have tried to marshal briefly and convincingly some of the evidence IN SUPPORT OF THE THESIS THAT GOD EXISTS.  (EOG&BOU, p.9)
So, based on the Preface of EOG&BOU, one would reasonably infer that the conclusion of KCA is: GOD EXISTS.
The content of EOG&BOU also goes against Jeff Lowder’s view that the conclusion of KCA is: THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE.  There are three chapters in EOG&BOU that present a unified line of reasoning: II, III, and IV.  Just the titles of these chapters alone provides significant evidence for my view of KCA and against Jeff Lowder’s view (from the table of contents, emphasis added by me):
 II. An Argument FOR GOD’s EXISTENCE (1): 
Philosophical Proof of the Beginning of the Universe
III. An Argument FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE (2):
Scientific Confirmation of the Beginning of the Universe
IV. An Argument FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE (3):
The Personal Creator of the Universe 
First, note that the titles of these chapters provide support for my view of KCA, because each chapter title begins “An Argument for God’s Existence…” So, the titles of three key chapters of a book that lays out KCA speak of an argument for God’s existence, implying that KCA is an argument for God’s existence. If KCA is an argument for God’s existence, then it follows that the conclusion of KCA is: GOD EXISTS, and that the claim that “The universe has a cause” is NOT the ultimate conclusion of KCA.
Second, note that these three chapters do NOT present three separate arguments for the existence of God. The first two chapters present arguments for the claim that the universe began to exist. Chapter IV is the third of the three chapters, and in that chapter, Craig argues that IF the universe began to exist, THEN God exists (my summary). Thus, all three chapters work together to form an argument for the claim: GOD EXISTS.
Third, note the claim implied by the title of Chapter IV: “The personal Creator of the Universe”; this suggests that KCA supports the conclusion that there exists exactly one personal Creator of the Universe; such a claim clearly goes beyond the simple claim that THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE.  So, if Chapter IV represents part of KCA, then the conclusion of KCA goes beyond the simple claim that THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE.
Assuming that the content of EOG&BOU represents the content of KCA, then KCA can be summarized this way:
1. The universe began to exist. (Chapters II & III)
2. If the universe began to exist, then God exists. (Chapter IV)
Therefore:
3. God exists. (end of Chapter IV)
Another indication that these three chapters of EOG&BOU work together to form a single argument is that in the opening pages of Chapter II, we find a diagram that summarizes the logic of these three chapters and how they work together  (EOG&BOU, p.38):
Diagram from EOG&BOU
If we assume that contents of these three chapters of EOG&BOU represent the contents of KCA, then it would be reasonable to interpret the diagram on page 38 as a representation of the logic of KCA.  But in that case it is clear that the ultimate conclusion of KCA goes beyond the simple claim that THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE.  The ultimate conclusion of KCA must (at least) be something like the conclusion mentioned immediately following the diagram (emphasis added by me):
By proceeding through these alternatives, I think I can demonstrate how reasonable it is to believe that the universe is not eternal but had a beginning and was caused by a personal being; therefore A PERSONAL CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE EXISTS.   (EOG&BOU, p.38)
Such a conclusion clearly goes beyond the claim that THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE.
Chapter IV can be divided into two main sections corresponding to the last two sets of alternatives in the above diagram. Pages 83-85 correspond to the choice between the alternatives of “caused” or “not caused”.   About 2/3 down the page on page 85 Craig concludes the discussion of those alternatives:
Any unprejudiced inquirer ought to agree with me, at this point, that the universe was caused to exist. (EOG&BOU, p.85)
At the bottom of that same page, Craig begins his discussion of the choice between the third set of alternatives:
Now let’s turn to our third set of alternatives, and I will explain why I think the cause of the universe is personal rather than impersonal. (EOG&BOU, p.85-86)
So, the discussion of the third set of alternatives occurs for the remainder of Chapter IV, on pages 85-89.
If we look at the very last paragraph of Chapter IV, we find further confirmation of my view that the conclusion of KCA is: GOD EXISTS (emphasis added by me):
Thus we reach our conclusion: A PERSONAL CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE EXISTS, changeless and timeless prior to creation and in time subsequent to creation.  This is the central idea of what theists mean by “GOD.” (EOG&BOU, p.89)
Craig is here spelling out the final step in this argument for the existence of God.  Although he does not use the words “God exists,” it is clear that what Craig has in mind is the following inference:
A personal creator of the universe exists.
Therefore:
God exists.
Furthermore, even if I’m wrong that “God exists” is the ultimate conclusion of the argument in EOG&BOU, it is clear that the explicit conclusion that “a personal creator of the universe exists” (EOG&BOU, p.89) goes beyond the simple conclusion that “the universe was caused to exist.”(EOG&BOU, p.85).
Assuming that the content of EOG&BOU represents the content of the kalam cosmological argument, and there is no reason to suspect otherwise just from reading this book, then it seem abundantly clear to me that the ultimate conclusion of KCA is: GOD EXISTS, and that the  ultimate conclusion of KCA is NOT the simple claim that: THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE.
This view of KCA is supported by (a) the title of the book, (b) the statement of the purpose of the book in the Preface, (c) the titles of the chapters, (d) the logical structure of the argument presented in Chapters II, III, and IV, (e) the structure of the diagram of logical alternatives given on page 38, (f) the correspondence between the apparent logical structure of the overall argument with the logical structure represented in the diagram of logical alternatives on page 38 and (g) the explicit statement of the conclusion at the end of Chapter IV.
NOTE:
In Debating Christian Theism (Oxford University Press, 2013), Craig has an article titled “The Kalam Argument”.  In that article Craig lays out a systematic argument that follows the exact same structure (the three sets of logical alternatives) that we have seen above in EOG&BOU.  So, some 34 years after the publication of EOG&BOU, Craig is still presenting KCA in a form that closely matches the logical structure of the argument found in EOG&BOU.  I will go into the details of this more recent article when I work my way up to the year 2013 for publications by Craig about KCA.
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Next, I will take a look at:
Apologetics: An Introduction (Moody Press, 1984)

bookmark_borderWilliam Lane Craig: 36 Years of Equivocation – Part 4

Craig’s presentation of KCA in 1979 (in The Existence of God and The Beginning of the Universe) has the following structure:
I. The intermediate conclusion (the conclusion of his syllogistic argument) is stated in ambiguous language, ambiguous concerning whether there is AT LEAST ONE thing that caused the existence of the universe or EXACTLY ONE thing that caused the existence of the universe.
II. Only the WEAK interpretation of this intermediate conclusion can be validly inferred from the premises (i.e. the premises only imply that there is AT LEAST ONE thing that caused the existence of the universe).
III. Craig then shifts to using unambiguous language which assumes that there is EXACTLY ONE thing that caused the existence of the universe.
IV. Finally, Craig urges the identification of the ONE UNCAUSED CAUSE of the universe with God.
We find this same structure in Craig’s presentation of KCA in 1994 (in Reasonable Faith, the revised edition), and the  same structure occurs in Craig’s most recent presentation of KCA in 2015 (in Craig’s 2015  lecture on KCA at the University of Birmingham).  Thus, Craig has been commiting the fallacy of equivocation for nearly four decades (for 36 years to be precise).

Reasonable Faith (revised edition, 1994)

 I. The Intermediate conclusion is stated in ambiguous language.
In Reasonable Faith, Craig continues to state the conclusion of the syllogistic argument in ambiguous language:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2.The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
(Reasonable Faith, p.92)
The intermediate conclusion (3) has at least two possible meanings:
3a. The universe has AT LEAST ONE cause.
3b. The universe has EXACTLY ONE cause.
Craig runs through the second phase of the argument in six paragraphs later in the book (p.116-117).  He initially re-iterates his ambiguous intermediate conclusion, and then infers another equally amgiguous intermediate conclusion (emphasis in CAPS added by me):
From the first premiss–that whatever begins to exist has a cause–and the second premiss–that the universe began to exist–it follows logically that THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE.  This conclusion ought to stagger us, to fill us with awe, for it means that THE UNIVERSE WAS BROUGHT INTO EXISTENCE BY SOMETHING which is greater than and beyond it.
(Reasonable Faith, p.116)
II. Only the WEAK interpretation of this intermediate conclusion can be validly inferred from the premises (i.e. the premises only imply that there is AT LEAST ONE thing that caused the existence of the universe).
Nothing has changed in the 1994 version of KCA that would make Craig’s syllogism a valid argument for the intermediate conclusion that there is EXACTLY ONE cause of the universe.  It is clear that only the weaker conclusion follows validly (i.e that there is AT LEAST ONE cause of the universe).
III. Craig then shifts to using unambiguous language which assumes that there is EXACTLY ONE thing that caused the existence of the universe.
In the second paragraph of Craig’s wrap up of KCA, he immediately slides into unambiguous language about the quantity of causes of the universe (emphasis added by me):
But what is the nature of THIS FIRST CAUSE? It seems to me quite plausible that IT is a personal being WHO created the universe.   (Reasonable Faith, p.116)
Paragraph 3 starts off with an ambiguous statement of the intermediate conclusion, but then slides into unambigious language assuming that there is EXACTLY ONE thing that is the cause of the universe (emphasis added by me):
Consider the following puzzle: we’ve concluded that the beginning of the universe was the effect of A FIRST CAUSE.  By the nature of the case THAT COSMIC CAUSE cannot have any beginning of ITS existence nor any prior cause.  Nor can there have been any changes in THIS CAUSE, either in ITS nature or operations, prior to the beginning of the universe.  IT just exists changelessly without any beginning, and a finite time ago IT brought the universe into existence.  Now this is exceedingly odd.  THE CAUSE is in some sense eternal and yet the effect which is produced is not eternal… How can THE CAUSE exist without the effect?
(Reasonable Faith, p.116-117)
Craig continues to use the unambigious expression “the cause” in Paragraph 4 (emphasis added by me):
But this seems to imply that if THE CAUSE of the universe existed eternally, the universe would also have existed eternally.  And this we know to be false. (Reasonable Faith, p. 117)
Craig continues to use the unambigious expression “the cause” in Paragraph 5 (emphasis added by me):
One might say that THE CAUSE came to exist or changed in some way just prior to the first event.  But then THE CAUSE’S beginning or changing would be the first event, and we must ask all over again for ITS cause. … The question is: How can a first event come to exist if THE CAUSE of that event exists changelessly and eternally?  Why isn’t the effect as co-eternal as THE CAUSE?  (Reasonable Faith, p. 117)
At the beginning of Paragraph 6, Craig re-iterates the unambigious expression “the cause” (emphasis added by me):
It seems that there is only one way out of this dilemma, and that is to infer that THE CAUSE of the universe is a personal agent WHO chooses to create a universe in time. (Reasonable Faith, p.117)
IV. Finally, Craig urges the identification of the ONE UNCAUSED CAUSE of the universe with God.
In the middle of Paragraph 6, Craig introduces the terms “Creator” and “God” and relates them to the phrase “the cause” (emphasis added by me):
…a finite time ago A CREATOR endowed with free will could have willed to bring the world into being at that moment.  In this way, GOD could exist changelessly and eternally but choose to create the world in time.  By “choose” one need not mean that THE CREATOR changes HIS mind about the decision to create, but that HE freely and eternally intends to create a world with a beginning.  By exercising HIS causal power, HE therefore brings it about that a world with a beginning comes to exist.  So THE CAUSE is eternal, but the effect is not.  (p.117)
In Paragraph 6, Craig starts out claiming that THE CAUSE of the universe is a personal agent.  He then talks about A CREATOR, then slides into speaking of THE CREATOR, and he refers to THE CREATOR with the singular masculine pronoun HE, and masculine possessive HIS.  Craig also drops the word GOD along the way, but does not explicitly claim that THE CREATOR or THE CAUSE of the universe ought to be identified with GOD.
However, when Craig initially introduces KCA, he implies that the conclusion of KCA is that God exists:
…I find the kalam cosmological argument for a temporal cause of the universe to be one of the most plausible arguments for God’s existence.  (p.92)
So, the reader already knows what the ultimate conclusion of KCA is supposed to be: God exists.
In the next section of Reasonable Faith, Craig goes on to discuss the Fine Tuning argument, but in the very first sentence of that section, Craig refers back to what was supposedly shown by KCA:
The purely philosophical argument for the personhood of THE CAUSE of the origin of the universe receives powerful scientific confirmation from the observed fine-tuning of the universe, which bespeaks intelligent design.
(Reasonable Faith, p.118)
This is very similar to the wording of a conclusion Craig states on p. 117:  “the cause of the universe is a personal agent…”. And it is clear that Craig is suggesting that this ONE cause, this ONE personal agent,  be identified as THE CREATOR of the universe and as GOD.
Thus we see that in 1994, Craig was still commiting the fallacy of equivocation in his presentation of KCA, just as he did in his 1979 presentation of KCA, just as Aquinas did in his presentation of cosmological arguments for God nearly 800 years ago.

bookmark_borderWilliam Lane Craig: 36 Years of Equivocation

William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument (hereafer: KCA) has been kicked around for several decades now, so it is very unlikely that I will come up with some new devastating objection that nobody has previously thought of (and published).
I purchased my copy of The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe (Here’s Life Publishers, 1979), which presents KCA for a general audience, in the summer of 1982 (or 1983?) at the bookstore at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where Craig was teaching at the time.  I dropped in at the school while travelling in hopes of meeting with Craig in person.  At that point in my young life I was still an Evangelical Christian, with plans to do graduate study at Trinity with Craig.  Craig was out of office, perhaps doing some summer travelling himself, so we did not meet.
I am confident that there are many serious objections to KCA because all of the following excellent philosophers have raised objections against it:
Thomas Aquinas
Edwin Curley
Paul Draper
Nicholas Everitt
Antony Flew
Richard Gale
Adolf Grunbaum
Douglas Jesseph
Stephen Law
J.L. Mackie
Michael Martin
Wes Morriston
Graham Oppy
Alexander Pruss
Keith Parsons
Massimo Pigliucci
Robin Le Poidevin
William Rowe
Bede Rundle
Walter Sinnot-Armstrong
Quentin Smith
Jordan Sobel
Richard Swinburne
John Taylor
Michael Tooley
Corey Washington
Keith Yandell
Most of these philosophers are philosophers of religion and most are atheists.  However, there are a few notable theists as well (indicated by italics).  I wasn’t sure whether to categorize Richard Gale as an atheist (because of his skeptical view of most arguments for God) or as a theist (because he helped create and defended a new version of cosmological argument).  In any case, since Gale has himself proposed a cosmological argument for God, I’m counting him as a theist, since he obviously must have some sympathy for other philosophers who defend some version of cosmological argument. (Richard M. Gale died earlier this summer, which was a significant loss to the philosophy of religion.)
The theists who have objected to KCA include two superstars of philosophy of religion: Thomas Aquinas and Richard Swinburne.  Alexander Pruss and Richard Gale are philosophers of religion who have expertise in the study of cosmological arguments for God, and they created a new version of cosmological argument.  So, their criticisms of KCA should be taken seriously.  Keith Yandell is no slouch either.  Keith specialized in the philosophy of religion, and he is now retired.  In fact, he is currently an “affiliated” professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where William Craig taught philosophy of religion in the 1980s.  So, we have an Evangelical Christian philosopher who is a respected expert in philosophy of religion who has raised objections to KCA.  According to Jeff Lowder, one of the best critiques of KCA was written by Wes Morriston, who is a theist.
There are a few other theist philosophers who should be mentioned, who do not appear on the above list:
Michael Peterson
William Hasker
Bruce Reichenbach
David Basinger
These four philosophers of religion have produced an introductory text on the philosophy of religion titled: Reason & Religious Belief.  In that text there is a brief critique of KCA, and the argument is found wanting (although KCA is not definitively refuted or rejected there).
Clearly, it is not just atheist philosophers who find problems with KCA.
It should also be noted that William Rowe, who is one of the atheists who have objected to KCA, is not only a philosopher of religion, but he specialized in the study of cosmological arguments for God, and is recognized as a leading expert on such arguments.  The article on “Cosmological Arguments” in the Blackwell Companion to Philosophy of Religion was written by William Rowe.  Many edited collections of articles for philosophy of religion courses contain articles by William Rowe on the cosmological argument. (Sadly, William Rowe died this summer).
OK, now to the business of criticizing KCA.  I’m only going to raise one objection here, and this is not an entirely new objection, nor is it a devastating objection to KCA.
However, there is an OBVIOUS problem with KCA that should have been fixed long ago, and I wish to pound on William Craig for a bit, for failing to fix this problem with KCA for at least thirty-six years.  KCA involves an obvious equivocation fallacy, one that every student of philosophy ought to notice, especially any philosophy student who has had an Introductory course in philosophy of religion.  And yet, here we are nearly four decades after Craig began pushing KCA, and in 2015 he is still committing the same fucking logical fallacy that he was committing in 1979.  This has got to STOP!
Craig should not take all of the blame here.  Atheist philosophers should have pounded on Craig for this obvious equivocation fallacy, and should have long ago SHAMED Craig into reformulating his argument.  But, although a few atheist critics have hinted at this problem, I have not seen anyone make the effort to clearly point out the OBVIOUS EQUIVOCATION in KCA.  So, I’m going to try to take up some of the slack here, and do the work that other atheist critics of KCA have (as far as I am aware) failed to do.
Michael Martin comes the closest to pounding on Craig for the equivocation in KCA, so Martin should be given some credit(for the objection I’m going to lay out).  He points to the problem in the very first sentences of his “Evaluation” of KCA:
It should be obvious that Craig’s conclusion that a single personal agent created the universe is a non sequitur.  At most, this Kalam argument shows that some personal agent or agents created the universe.  Craig cannot validly conclude that a single agent is the creator.  
(Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p.103)
William Rowe, a leading expert on cosmological arguments, makes a similar objection:
Even granting that the cause of the Big Bang is a mind, is it clear that it is a single mind rather than a multiplicity of minds who collaborated on the project of producing the Big Bang?
(“Cosmological Arguments” in The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Religion, p.115)
This sort of objection goes back at least as far as David Hume, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a form of this objection was discussed by medieval philosophers.  Hume raised this sort of objection against the argument from design:
And what shadow of an argument, continued Philo, can you produce from your hypothesis to prove the unity of the Deity? A great number of men join in building a house or a ship, in rearing a city, in framing a commonwealth; why may not several deities combine in contriving and framing a world? This is only so much greater similarity to human affairs. By sharing the work among several, we may so much further limit the attributes of each, and get rid of that extensive power and knowledge which must be supposed in one deity, and which, according to you, can only serve to weaken the proof of his existence.
(Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and the Posthumous Essays, Hackett Publishing Co., 1980, p.36 – about halfway through Part V of the Dialogues.  Hume completed writing of the Dialogues in 1776.)
So, the objection that an argument for God fails to establish the existence of a SINGLE deity (monotheism), as opposed to MANY deities (polytheism) goes back at least 239 years, perhaps many more if medieval philosophers considered this sort of objection.
So, at least two major critics of KCA have made this sort of objection, and probably others have as well.  But neither Martin nor Rowe point out how this problem arises because of an OBVIOUS EQUIVOCATION in Craig’s formulation of KCA.  I have not reviewed the entire literature on KCA, so somebody else might well have already made this point, but apparently nobody has pounded Craig enough to get him to STOP HIS OBNOXIOUS EQUIVOCATING.
Here is how Craig formulates the first phase of the KCA:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The univerese began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
(Philosophical Foundations For a Christian Worldview, by J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, IVP, 2003, p.468)
The problem should be obvious to any undergraduate philosophy student, or even to a non-philosophy student who has done well in a course on logic or critical thinking.  The offending phrase here is “a cause”.  This phrase can be given at least two different interpretations.  It might mean “exactly one cause”, or it might mean “at least one cause”.  This ambiguity of quantification creates the potential for the fallacy of EQUIVOCATION. When KCA is formulated clearly, by dropping the ambiguous phrase “a cause”, it is clear and obvious that on one possible interpretation the above argument is LOGICALLY INVALID:
1a.  Whatever begins to exist has AT LEAST ONE cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
Therefore:
3b. The universe has EXACTLY ONE cause.
The conclusion (3b) does NOT follow from the premises.  This is why Craig cannot logically conclude that there is only one deity or only one creator from KCA.   Michael Martin and William Rowe are both correct to point out that KCA does not eliminate the possibility that the universe is the product of many gods or many minds, but they failed to point out that the mistaken inference to there being only one god or only one creator was supported by the OBVIOUS EQUIVOCATION in William Craig’s formulation of KCA.
One reason why this is an OBVIOUS EQUIVOCATION is that the same equivocation occurs in one or more of the cosmological arguments put forward by Aquinas.   Every introduction to philosophy of religion covers the cosmological arguments for God presented by Aquinas, and every introduction to philosophyof religion course that is taught by a reasonably intelligent philosopher or philosophy grad student will point out this problem in Aquinas’s cosmological arguments.  So, this very same shit has been going on for about 800 years now.  Can we just make a tiny bit of progress here? Can we STOP THE OBNOXIOUS EQUIVOCATION on ambiguous phrases like “a cause”?!
If Craig has any intellectual integrity, he will reformulate the first phase of KCA to eliminate the ambiguity:
1a.  Whatever begins to exist has AT LEAST ONE cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
Therefore:
3a. The universe has AT LEAST ONE cause.
I’m going to take a break now, but will do a Part 2, where I carefully walk through Craig’s presentation of KCA from 1979, and also his presentations of KCA from more recent years, showing how he keeps right on doing this OBVIOUS EQUIVOCATION.