I believe that the universe, as we understand it today, began to exist. But what does it mean to begin to exist? Does it mean the universe came from nothing?
William L. Craig uses the word exist in an article on his website in an interesting way.
“You must have been caused to begin to exist (perhaps precisely by the prior interaction of your material constituents!).”
Apparently things can begin to exist (perhaps) by the interaction of material constituents.
In his Reasonable Faith podcast from November 17, 2013 at 5:05 minutes Craig says that the Kalam Cosmological “Argument as I’ve framed it leaves it entirely open as to whether the cause works with or without a material cause.”
So the universe began to exist, but according to Craig nothing precludes the first cause from working with a material cause.
However, elsewhere he says that Christian theology is committed to creation from nothing.
“When we say that the matter and energy were created out of nothing, we mean merely that, although created, they were not created out of anything.”
The Kalam Cosmological Argument states:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Craig uses the Cosmological Argument to show that God must exist because he is the cause of the universe. But did the universe come into existence out of nothing or from some sort of preexisting substance?