Friday, October 28, 2011

What is Kalam?

Kalam is an Arabic term meaning word.  It is very similar in meaning to the Greek word logos.  In contemporary Islamic usage it has come to mean and/or refer to the Islamic scriptures, the Quran, in a similar way as the word (logos) in Christian circles can refer to the Christian and Hebrew scriptures.

The Kalam began, it appears as an Islamic appeal to what is known as natural theology; the philosophical attempt to argue the existence of God by reason alone, and without reference to sacred scripture.  So in Islamic thinking Kalam can have two somewhat  or apparent contradictory meanings, as an appeal to scripture, or to the discipline of natural theology.

This leaves us with two possibilities when placed in the context of Christianity: Kalam can mean to argue the existence of God from natural theology as well as to argue the finer points of Christianity through an appeal to scripture as the Word of God; which allows for a harmony of the apparent contradictory meaning.  In that sense I would say that Kalam "stands to reason."

In the 9th through the 10th Century AD Islamic thought developed to the point of invoking arguments outside the Islamic scriptures, for the existence of God.  The primary argument in that realm became known as the Kalam Cosmological Argument.  Christian philosopher and apologist Dr. William Lane Craig is perhaps the best known Western supporter/proponent of the argument.

As the information in this post develops, it will become a separate page of the blog, and will have it's own tab at the top of the home page.

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