Slides in this set
What is the Cosmological Argument?
· The argument surrounding the origins of the universe is a
controversial and perennial one.
· The cosmological argument or First cause argument starts with the
idea that the world consists of contingent things which, rely upon
something apart from themselves to exist, for example; children
rely upon their parents, they relied upon their parents and so on.
So it has to have a starting point for the contingent things to even
· The cosmological argument seeks to prove the existence of God by
examining why the universe is in existence, and it aims to answer
the questions regarding the purpose, origin and nature of the
· Swineburne (1996) argued that "the real need for explanation lies
in the fact that that it is more likely there be nothing rather than
something." And the cosmological argument aims to answer the
question; Why is there something rather than nothing?…read more
The cosmological argument
· The cosmological argument comes to the conclusion that there is
a God based upon our experience of the world around us.
· It relies upon instinctive human awareness that the universe
needs a cause and an explanation.
· Its success is therefore dependant on our willingness to seek an
answer to the questions regarding the purpose, nature and origin
of the universe.
· As it is an argument based on experience it is therefore inductive,
which means it might prove that God is possible or probable but,
cannot prove Gods existence 100%.
· F.C Coplestone famously said "... If one refuses to even sit down
at the chessboard and make a move, one cannot, of course, be
checkmated..."1961. This is true of the cosmological argument as,
if we don't ask why then, we will never reach a conclusion.…read more
Aquinas and the cosmological
· The most famous Christian version of the cosmological argument
was offered by the philosopher St Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274)
who presented a version of the cosmological argument that has
provided the basis upon which, many different adaptations of the
argument have been formed upon.
· He wrote five ways to prove the existence of God and published
them in the extensive Summa Theologica but it is only the 1st
three which relate to the cosmological argument. At the time he
wrote the Summa Theologica philosophers were rationalising
many things and he wanted to apply, the cosmological argument
to his faith to rationally prove the existence of God by referring
to the origins of the universe.…read more
The first way is motion or change mainly a change of state.
Aquinas's 1 way...
· The idea of change of state links to the idea of potentiality to
· For instance wood is potentially hot, and for it to become actually
hot it has to be changed by fire.
· So he argued
·Coplestone agreedthat what is...changed
with Aquinas "If you add orupmoved must
chocolates, youbegetmoved or after
all and not sheep.by another,
If you add up which itselfto
chocolates was moved
infinity, and changed
you presumably and
get an if
number of chocolates.
this was traced back So if you
to add up contingent
infinity there wouldbeings beto infinity, you still get for
contingent beings , not one necessary being." Coplestone cited in Hick 1964
the existence of anything .
· So Aquinas
·Coplestone, like stated
Aquinas,that it would
believed that Godshave had to
existence is begin
necessarywith a firstthe
unmoved of everything
which,If God didn't
was exist then
moved by noneither would the universe and
everything in it.
· According to Aquinas this unmoved mover or prime mover began
·This is why Aquinas in everything without
said infinite regress being moved
is impossible or changed
as without itself,cause
a first necessary
which is in itself uncaused
as without there is
a first mover no explanation
there would be for no
existence. or third
movement and, we know a posteriori that there is movement and
P1: Things are in motion
· P2: Things which are in motion are moved and changed by something else.
· Both of the premises we know to be true as it is an argument based on
· P3: Nothing can move itself / change itself and this we also know to be
true as we know a posteriori.
· C: Therefore there must be an unmoved mover which is God.
· The conclusion presents a problem to many people as it jumps from the
idea of an unmoved mover straight to the idea that there is a God. For
Aquinas this was fine as he believed in God already.
· "Gods effects... are enough to prove that God exists, even if they are not
enough to help us comprehend what he is" Aquinas Summa Theologica.
· Richard Swineburne 1996 "If we can explain the many bits of the universe
by one simple being which keeps them in existence , we should do so even
if we cannot explain the existence of that simple being"…read more