The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The Christian Doctrine of Creation Ex Nihilo is not supported by the KCA.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/11/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,126 times Debate No: 35502
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (1)




There is no good and valid argument that can be made for the Christian doctrine of Creation Ex Nihilo. The KCA (Kalam Cosmological Argument), for example, ambiguously attempts to establish the universe having an efficient cause. At face value, this seems acceptable on the grounds that all things within the universe exist causally like so:

A: All things that come into being have a cause
B: The universe came into being
C: Therefore, the universe had a cause

But, this can be reduced to "Stuff is made by stuff from other stuff" ...So?

It is my contention that this argument cannot support the Christian doctrine of Creation Ex Nihilo. I welcome anybody to validly link the KCA to the Christian God. I look forward to a productive exchange of thoughts with any would-be challenger. Thank you for your consideration.

The Con must accept that Creation Ex Nihilo is what Christian Doctrine posits as the cause of the origin of the universe. They must use the KCA to show this doctrine as more true than false.


I accept this debate. Just to get this out of the way, I will tell you everything I stand for and any biases I may contain. I am a Christian who is a literal young earth creationist, that is, I believe God created everything in the universe in 6 days approximately 6000 years ago. My doctrines are most similar to that of Eastern Orthodoxy. Let the debate begin.
Debate Round No. 1


This debate will be religious in nature, but, religion need not play a hand in discerning the validity of my side. In fact, one need not abandon their Christian beliefs in order to accept my view as valid, as I am not attempting to disprove anyone’s God. I am merely presenting an argument against a doctrine of Christianity that was introduced by man, and in fact is NOT written anywhere in the actual Bible. So, all that being said, let us begin with The Kalam Cosmological Argument:

P1: All things that begin to exist have a cause

P2: The Universe began to exist

C1: The Universe had a cause

Premise 1-

All things that begin to exist have a cause

Let’s take a close look at premise one before attempting to reject it or accept it. We must make sure that have a firm understanding of the terms used in this premise. The things I have emphasized in italics can later prove to be a deceiving if not squared away from the start. So, what does it mean to “Begin to exist”?

In philosophical circles, discussions about causation are often understood by using Aristotle’s Forms of Causation. Let’s nail down the ones that will be useful:

1) The Material Cause: The “stuff” out of which something is made. (For a table, we can say WOOD is the Material Cause)

2) The Formal Cause: The “shape” being given to the material, and the form it takes that we recognize as a new thing. (in this case, a TABLE is the formal cause, the shape being given to the wood, is that of a TABLE)

3) The Efficient Cause: The Causal Agent that affects the effect. That which brings about a new form from the material it is acting upon. ( Following with this example, you have probably already inferred that The Carpenter is The Efficient Cause here)

4) The Final Cause: The purpose of the new thing that has “come into being”. (This could be any number of things. If it was built to have meals served upon it and people gathered around to eat off it, it would be a dinner table. If the intent was to have business executives gather around in suits, seated around it as a place to hold meetings and discussions, it would be a boardroom table, etc.)

For the sake of this debate, we need only concern ourselves with 1, 2, and 3. We are discussing the origin of the universe, and to posit any knowledge of number 4, would be a separate debate entirely. Let’s look at some examples:

Is a table ever made without pre-existing table-making “stuff”?

Is a car ever made without pre-existing car-making “stuff”?

Is a human made, without pre-existing baby-making “stuff”?

The answer to all of these, is quite obviously, NO. The fact is, everything that “comes into being” does so, from pre-existing “stuff”, and is caused by some form of causal agent. This is the premise will we agree to, as it is the only form of causation that surrounds us. We cannot anymore entertain a different form of gravity that is unaffected by mass. To posit such a claim is to take on an extremely heavy burden of proof, one that has not been successfully shifted in the slightest. To say that I began to exist, is not suggesting that there was NOTHING, and then I appeared. Something existed before me, and from it, I came into being, as is the case with all causation. None of this supports a concept of things being caused into being from NOTHING-ness. I will explain more about this in the next round, for now, I will await answers to the next question being begged by anyone wishing to defend attack the topic of this debate.

Premise 2-

The Universe began to exist...

Why should "...from nothing "be an acceptable way to end this sentence, and how does the KCA support your claim? My opponent must successfully answer this question to earn sway of your opinion. My conention is that he cannot. Thank you.



Premise 1:

A table, car, and human are all things made naturally. Creatio ex nihilo (CXN) states that God, a being that transends nature, created all from nothing. There was nothing, he spoke, and then there was everything. His ability to do such is why we call him "God."

Premise 2:

It is not an acceptable way to end that sentence. The word "from" indicates origin, and saying that something came from nothing implies that nothin did nothing to make something. To say nothing was the origin of the universe makes no sense and goes against all logic. Nothing plus nothing is nothing, not something and certainly not everything. CXN states that God is the origin of the universe, so the phrase would be "The universe began to exist from God" or "The universe began to exist with God as the origin."

The complete and correct way to word CXN is "The universe began to exist from God, but before there was nothing but God."

The purpose of the Kalam argument is to show that the universe had a cause, that it just didn't appear for no reason. CXN states that the cause is God. It is one possible way to fill in the Kalam argument, and in no way do the two contradict.
We know that mater exists. But why? According to Occam's razor, the simpleist answer should be considered unless disproven. The simpleist answer to the existence of matter is that it was made by something. As Pro has proven in his above argument, all natural methods of creation require somthing for the created to be created out of. This means that the universe has a supernatural creator: God.
Debate Round No. 2


In his last remarks, Con said:

“Creatio ex nihilo (CXN) states that God, a being that transends nature, created all from nothing.”

Creatio Ex Nihilo says nothing about God transcending nature. It is Latin for Creation from Nothing. Anything else that Con has added is nothing more that creative liberty taken on his part. The KCA is an argument that states the universe was caused. Because all causation requires a material cause, CXN is not supported by any causal argument. The burden of proof lies on Con to prove that such an alternate for of causation is plausible enough to support CXN and ipso facto, KCA as support of it. Con has yet to do this.

P1) All things are causally brought into being from pre-existing things

P2) The universe was causally brought into being

C1) The universe was brought into being, from pre-existing stuff

Creation Ex Nihilo is the theory that suggests God (efficient cause) created The Universe (formal cause) from absolutely NOTHING (NO MATERIAL CAUSE).

William Lane Craig, a notorious Christian Apologist says:

“I agree with your premiss

1. A causal event requires an agent to actualize an event (or an object), and the potentiality of the event to occur.

Moreover, I also agree with your second premiss

2. "Nothingness" contains no potentiality, or else it would be "something.’”

2)Read more:

(The spelling of “premiss” was his choosing)

It is taught in Christian doctrine that God is Omnipotent, or all powerful. That God possesses all energies and potentialities and for Him nothing is impossible. However, even if this is true, If God can be rationally understood, he is subject to certain logical contingencies. God cannot make a weight so heavy, even he cannot lift it? Right? The same follows with power and potentiality. Power, no matter how great, is made manifest only through an object or entity upon which it can be exerted. Take my examples above pertaining to homeruns and black-eyes. Even if God is all-powerful, his omnipotence becomes impotent without having something upon which to exert His power. “Nothing” lacks the potential to be anything. There is nothing about “nothing-ness” that has the ability to be anything, let alone an ENTIRE UNIVERSE. Given what I have already shown as the only form of causality which occurs in the 3 form model, Creation Ex Nihilo cannot be supported by the KCA. In Thermodynamics , The Law of conservation of energy states : 3) the total energy of an isolated system is constant; energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. Everything in our universe, even matter, is constructed of energy on the most rudimentary level. To posit that energy or matter is or could be arbitrarily manifested from nothing if something is powerful enough to do it, is nonsensical and logically incoherent statement. It is now perfectly clear that if one is to posit a God, they have been effectively reduced to 2 possible options pertaining to how It brought about the Universe. Either…

1) God acted upon “X” and created the universe from it.

2) God acted upon Himself, and created the universe from Him.

If my opponent wishes to win favor over your judgment, he/she must prove this NEW form of causation, which does not require a material cause, is worthy of consideration at all. It has been shown to be philosophically, scientifically, and logically incoherent. Because it is not self-evident, the burden of proof lies squarely on the individual supporting or making this claim. If this cannot be done, my opponent cannot successfully link the KCA to the Creation Ex Nihilo doctrine.






CXN in terms of Christianity does state that God created and Christian theology states that God transcends nature. It is not incorrect to combine the two.

The universe does not require a material cause. In fact, the space-time continuum and all included within it cannot have a material cause, but require a cause outside. Something cannot create itself because it does not yet exist. In order for matter to exist, which the KCA shows, there has to be a cause which transcends matter. Matter cannot have a material cause, as such would require it to be timeless and transcending of natural laws and limits, but it exists within the space-time continuum, so it cannot be timeless but is subject to time. It also cannot transcends the laws and limits it is subject to.

Nothingness contains no potential, so that is why I stated that the universe was created from God, not from nothing, but out of nothing. God is not nothing, and therefore has potential. Because he is omnipotent and transcends space and time, he is not subject to any laws of nature or the fact that no matter exists. Besides an omnipotent and transcending creator, there is no way matter could be caused to exist without anything already in existence within space and time.

Debate Round No. 3


My opponent has attempted to distract some of you by attaching attributes to his particular brand of a God, such as transcendence, and omnipotence. He has no better shifted the burden of proof in those claims then he has with the original. I have shown that causation requires a material cause of some sort, and that any argument showing that something must be caused, does little to support a supposed phenomena of the kind Con is asserting. He would like you to believe that his God is not subject to laws of logic, nor is God limited by any means. It makes sense to Con that the KCA supports his beliefs because he wants them to be true. While this may be a good enough reason for him to defend such an opinion, his arguments show that it's not a reasonable one to be adopted by anyone else. The Christian Doctrine of Creation from Nothing says there was God, and then at some point, God created everything, from Nothing.

Con says- "Nothingness contains no potential, so that is why I stated that the universe was created from God"

What Con says is something quite different than what he has set out to defend. He has practically handed over the debate, and is now defending a different theory all together! Read below with careful consideration to the bold.

(In theology, the common phrase creatio ex nihilo ("creation out of nothing"), contrasts with creatio ex materia (creation out of some pre-existent, eternal matter) and with creatio ex deo (creation out of the being of God). REF:

The topic of the debate was about what God created the universe from. Con is trying to dodge the question, but rather than concede, Con has resorted actually began making an argument for a kind of Pantheism, or a God is the universe theory. This is something all together different from Christian Doctrine, and especially so for the competing theory of Creatio Ex Nihilo.

Con believes that his God must have created matter, so he thinks it must be true that his God is immaterial. Con says that the space-time continuum must like-wise have a pre-existing cause.

"The universe does not require a material cause. In fact, the space-time continuum and all included within it cannot have a material cause, but require a cause outside. Something cannot create itself because it does not yet exist." -Con

Con ignores that change is contengent upon time. Will you? Con posits that his creator must have existed before time (if this is even a sensical statement). If we grant this and other purely speculative remarks made by Con, we arre confronted with yet another obvious objection.

If Con's creator existed before time.

Then Con's creator could not be affected by time before it was created.

Then Con's creator could also not be affected by change, as it is a product of a not yet existing time.

However, this acknowledges a point during which time had not yet been created, and then alludes to a point where God created it. This cannot be true according to Con's logic. You see why? It's simple:

If God changed his mind (even from one state of events with no universe, into a new state in which He willed it into existence)

Then we've established an instance change affecting God before time was created (before time sounds so absurd).

Unless you accept question-begging assertions as acceptable evidence for such causation, then its clear that Con has not shifted his burden of proof. So far, nothing provided by Con, has been a satisfying resolution for the crippling objections I have made to his claims. One last thought before you vote:

The KCA shows causation of the universe is reasonable.

We know that causation requires a causer, an object or entity to act upon, and an effect (efficient, material, and formal causes).

Creation Ex Nihilo asserts that the universe was created without one of those steps in the causation process.

Has Con shown that KCA makes such a thing more believable? The answer is NO. Please vote for me!


Bordenkircher forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro for Con's forfeit. I could see where Con was trying to go, but Con didn't go into the detail necessary to make their case. The better arguer here was definitely Pro.