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Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology

William Lane Craig, Quentin Smith

Oxford University Press, paperback, 342 pp., 1995

Item# B042
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If you raced through Bennett's On the Cosmic Horizon and Jastrow's God and the Astronomers, and you find yourself thirsting for deep philosophical and scientific details on the Big Bang, then you can drink to your hearts content from Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology by William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith. Quentin is not ready to concede the Big Bang to the theists and so these two philosophers duke it out for bragging rights to the origin of the universe in a debate format.

Contemporary science presents us with the remarkable theory that the universe began to exist about fifteen billion years ago with a cataclysmic explosion, the Big Bang. But was this explosion created by God, or did it occur without cause? The question of whether Big Bang cosmology supports theism or atheism has long been a matter of discussion among the general public and in popular science books, but has received scant attention from philosophers. This book sets out to fill this gap by means of a sustained debate between two philosophers, William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith, who by turns defend opposing positions in alternating chapters. In Part I, Craig argues that the past is necessarily finite and that God created the universe, and Smith presents his criticisms of these arguments. Part II consists of Smith's arguments that Big Bang cosmology is inconsistent with theism and that the Big Bang has no cause, with Craig's criticisms of Smith's argument. Part III presents both philosophers' different interpretations of Stephen Hawking's new quantum cosmology and its bearing upon theism. As you can expect from a Oxford University Press book, this is not light reading, but those who persevere will be rewarded with the best debate available in print on the topic.

William Lane Craig is Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, and Quentin Smith is Professor of Philosophy at Western Michigan University.

Table of Contents

  • 1 The Theistic Cosmological Argument
  • I The Finitude of the Past and the Existence of God
  • II Infinity and the Past
  • III Time and Infinity
  • IV The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe
  • V The Caused Beginning of the Universe
  • VI A Criticism of A Posteriori and A Priori Arguments for a Cause of the Big Bang Singularity
  • 2 The Atheistic Cosmological Argument
  • VII Atheism, Theism, and Big Bang Cosmology
  • VIII Theism and Big Bang Cosmology
  • IX A Defence of the Cosmological Argument for God's Non-existence
  • X A Criticism of the Cosmological Argument for God's Non-existence
  • 3 Theism, Atheism, and Hawking's Quantum Cosmology
  • XI 'What Place, then, for a Creator?': Hawking on God and Creation
  • XII The Wave Function of a Godless Universe
  • Index

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