The existence of God can be deduced by realizing that the present is not preceded by an infinite number of past events. This necessitates a beginning to the series of all events, and the existence of a creator who brought those events into existence.
Event: something that emerges into existence (begins to exist).
God: the beginningless creator.
- If the set of all events is emergent, then a beginningless creator exists.
- The set of all events is emergent.
- Therefore, a beginningless creator exists.
Premise 1: If the set of all events is emergent, then a beginningless creator exists.
The emergence of the set of all events would necessitate the existence of a being that brought this set into existence. Let’s call this being “the creator”, because the proposed being brings things into existence, and that is all what we mean by “create”.
The creator that would bring the set of all events into existence, would either be:
- With beginning (i.e. is emergent)
- Without beginning
The creator cannot be emergent. For if the creator were an event, then the creator would have been part of the set of all events. Entailing the creator’s bringing itself into existence, which is clearly impossible.
Necessarily then, if the set of all events is emergent, then it was brought into existence by a creator that is not part of it. And a creator that is not an event, is a beginningless creator.
Premise 2: The set of all events is emergent
The set of all events is emergent, because it is impossible for an infinite number of events to have emerged into existence in the past. To claim that the past consists of an infinite number of events, is to claim that an infinite sequence of events was concluded. This is impossible because “infinite” implies endlessness, while “concluded” implies coming to an end. Thus, to say that an infinity concluded is equivalent to saying that an endlessness came to an end. This is contradictory, and is therefore impossible.
For example: it is impossible to finish counting all the natural numbers, because the sequence of naturals is endless. Each natural counted would be followed by another, without end. On the other hand, “finishing” the count entails that there be a last natural that was finally counted. So claiming that one finished counting all the naturals, is tantamount to claiming that the sequence of naturals is both with an end and without one. And that is a clear contradiction.
In a similar fashion, and since the past comes to an end with the present moment, this sequence of events leading up to the present cannot be infinite. And since the past cannot consist of an infinite number of events, it must consist of a finite number of events. Which means that the set of all events emerged into existence.
Therefore, a beginningless creator exists.
Since the premises are both true, the conclusion necessarily follows. Therefore, a beginningless creator exists. And since a “beginningless creator” is what we intend when we say “God”, God exists.
 This is the case, because it is impossible for something to come into existence by nothing. Since “nothing” is the lack of everything, including the lack of ability to bring into existence.
 For X to bring itself into existence, requires X to first exist. If it did not exist, it could not bring anything into existence. Since non-existents cannot influence anything.
On the other hand, for X to bring itself into existence, requires X to first not-exist. For if its existence were not preceded by its non-existence, this would make it beginningless. And that which is beginningless cannot be “brought” into existence.
Thus, for X to bring itself into existence, requires X to both exist and not-exist simultaneously. “Exist” in order to create itself. “Not-exist” in order to be brought into existence. This is contradictory, and therefore impossible.
13 thoughts on “The Existence of God”
This is all word games. Have you say that everything is created but god is not created. So this means that god is nothing!
I didn’t say that everything is created.
“This is the case, because it is impossible for something to come into existence by nothing” your words right!?
Right. But just because something exists, doesn’t mean it came into existence.
How do you respond to those who say we should be atheist until convinced otherwise, as the burden of proof is upon the claimant?
If by “atheist” you mean someone who believes that a Creator does not exist, then I would dispute that. The default is neutrality until the evidence is presented. In other words, the burden of proof is upon both the one who claims that the Creator exists, as well as the one who claims that the Creator does not exist.
Nevertheless, what one believed before the evidence was presented to them is entirely inconsequential. This is because one’s being presented with evidence is a condition for accountability. So I don’t see how this matters either way.
(If you would kindly edit that to “burden of proof”)
How would you respond to the claim that creation ex nihilo is a logical impossibility like a four-sided triangle because something cannot emerge from nothing?
Before anything else, see here for the important distinction between emergence “out of nothing” vs “by nothing”.
As for creation out of nothing (meaning: without a material cause) then this is not rationally impossible. Firstly, because the opponent has no way to show that it is (not observing this occur is not proof that it is rationally impossible). Secondly, given the same proof for the emergence of all bodies. Since matter is either arranged into bodies, or exists as dispersed singular particles. And in either case, matter would be inseparable from accidents, and whatever is inseparable from accidents is emergent, therefore matter is necessarily emergent. And if matter is emergent, then it necessarily emerged into existence without a material cause (i.e. ex nihilo).
As for emergence by nothing (meaning: the emergence of a specification without a specifier), then this is what’s rationally impossible.
I am benefitting from the website. I have no prior experience with kalam except as described in polemics. The way you present content makes potentially impenetrable knowledge accessible, clear and straightforward. Since you have never asked, it is all the more reason for me to offer a donation towards the running of the site.
I am glad that you are benefiting from this blog. If you feel it deserves something in return, then all I ask is that you keep me in your du’a.
As for ‘ilm al-Kalam being impenetrable knowledge, then I disagree. The basics are easy, and you don’t need more than the basics most of the time. The two problems are:
1. Nearly all of it is in Arabic. So it is difficult for someone who cannot read Arabic to get anywhere.
2. Many people don’t know which books to start off with, and how to progress from there. So they jump into the more advanced texts, and get turned off by the difficulty. One must start with the basics, and work their way up from there… even if you think you already know what those basics are. Merely reviewing them makes going through them worthwhile.
1. It appears that ‘Ilm al-Kalam ought to be taught to Muslim school children, where Muslims are minorities, to defend their convictions and promote them rationally in an increasingly hostile climate against them.
2. Please advise on a syllabus in both Arabic and English translations (and original works) on ‘Ilm al-Kalam.
3. The basics may be easy, but it appears wording (like in the practice of law) has to be very precise.
4. There is something beautiful and compelling in the simplicity and boldness of the language, which brings me back to it again and again, although it takes time to sink in.
“It appears that ‘Ilm al-Kalam ought to be taught to Muslim school children, where Muslims are minorities, to defend their convictions and promote them rationally in an increasingly hostile climate against them.”
I agree completely. At least enough to safeguard their own beliefs. And one doesn’t need more than the basics to achieve this.
“Please advise on a syllabus in both Arabic and English translations (and original works) on ‘Ilm al-Kalam.”
I’ll mention the syllabus that Shaykh Sa’eed Fodah (who I believe is the most qualified Mutakalim in the Arab speaking world today) recommends.
The Shakyh divides the syllabus into four levels.
A– Al-Kharida Al-Bahia, with Ahmed Al-Dardir’s commentary. I have offered a humble translation of the Kharida a few weeks ago, alongside a brief commentary here.
B– Um Al-Barahin, with Al-Sanusi’s commentary. Shaykh Sa’eed Fodah himself has a translation of this work into English which you can purchase online. Shaykh Hamza Karamali of SeekersHub offers a two part course on this text (alongside Al-Bajuri’s Hashia) for free. You can register for the course at Seekershub when registrations open (Part 1, Part 2)
C- Jawharat Al-Tawhid, with one of its commentaries.
A- Al-Iqtisad fi Al-I’tiqad by Imam Al-Ghazali.
B- Ma’alim Usul Al-Deen by Imam Fakhr Al-Deen Al-Razi (I will add to what the Shaykh says here, and also recommend Al-Tilmisani’s commentary on the same book).
C- Al-Sunusi’s commentary on Al-‘Aqeedah Al-Kubra.
D- Sharh Al-‘Aqaid Al-Nasafia by Sa’d Al-Deen Al-Taftazani, alongside its three main Hawashi (Al-‘isam’s Hashia, Al-Khayali’s Hashia, and ‘Abd Al-Hakeem’s Hashia).
A- Sharh Al-Tawali’ by Al-Asfahani
B- Al-Arba’een Fi Usul Al-Deen by Imam Al-Razi
C- Al-Irshad by Imam Al-Juwayni.
A- Sharh Al-Maqasid by Al-Taftazani
B- Sharh Al-Mawaqif by Al-Jurjani
As you can see, what’s available in English is very little. And I don’t foresee it getting any better anytime soon. The last book for example, is an eight volume tome, so there won’t be an English translation of it in the near future.
Contrast this to what’s available to the Arabic reader: on top of all of the above being freely available for free download online in the original Arabic, there are also free online lessons (in Arabic) by Shaykh Sa’eed Fodah and his students on Youtube for some of it (although most of the lessons are very old, so the sound quality is not always great).
I should also note that I haven’t personally read all of the material listed on this syllabus. I am only relaying what Shaykh Sa’eed Fodah recommends.