Cosmological argument model essay:

slightly longer and more detailed than what you would give in an exam but good for reference :)

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  • Created on: 10-01-13 23:07
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Give an account for the key features of the cosmological argument for the
existence for God. (21)
The cosmological argument is an A Posteriori argument created by Thomas Aquinas which by
nature is an argument based on experience that comes to an inductive conclusion. It seeks in
its simplest form to answer the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
Leibniz himself describes this need for an answer in the principle of sufficient reason which
states that the world does not seem to contain within itself the reason for its existence.
Therefore the reason must be God. Aquinas divided his argument into five main ways; the first
three being cosmological and the last two being teleological. From these arguments we can
begin to paint a picture of a reason for being and what, if there even is a reason could it
possibly be.
The first way first outlined by Aquinas is based on the principles that everything that moves is
moved by something else and that mover must also be moved by something else. But you
cannot have an infinite chain of mover or else there would be no reason for movement to be
started at all. Therefore there must be an unmoved mover and it is that "unmoved mover" that
people understand by the God of classical theism. But how does this relate to the universe and
what is movement anyway? Well the movement in this argument is not that as simply pushing
a ball and the ball moves. Thomas Aquinas explains movement as the reduction from
potentiality to actuality. So movement is not entirely physical but a change of states. So the
unmoved mover of the universe changed or "reduced" its state from the potential to the
actual. He argues that this mover would have to be necessary as something cannot be both in
motion and motionless, this initiator of the change therefore is most likely to be God.
Plato was also able to contribute in the argument for the first way. Plato argues that only a
soul can be a primary mover - the primary mover having created the universe. This is similar to
an aspect of the Kalam argument that argues; if you accept that the universe had to have a
cause then this cause could have only been "personal" as a cause that is not personal would
have been governed by the laws of nature. This draws two main problems one being that the
laws of nature would not have even existed before the universe. Two being that if it was a
non-personal, sufficient cause it would have to follow the laws of cause and effect. The
sufficient cause must have always existed. But think about it a bit more - for example if you
pop a balloon with a pin the balloon immediately deflates. Simple cause and effect; as soon as
the sufficient cause exists - in this case the pin popping the balloon, the effect (balloon
deflates) immediately follows. But if there was always a sufficient cause of the universe then
why has the universe not always existed? The only response would be that the fist sufficient
cause or mover would have had to have been an external personal agent who willed the
creation of a finite universe.
The second way is very similar to the first way but instead of focusing on movement it is based
on terms of causes. Simply that everything has a cause and every cause has a cause but you
cannot have an infinite number of causes, or else you would have infinite regression. Therefore

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The other option is to accept that the universe does not have a cause but as Russell put it "The
universe is just there and that is all". From this a number of problem begin to arise 1) being
that you would be operating on a basis of infinite and imaginary numbers which when translated
into our world simply is not possible. 2) You may even accept that the start of the universe was
not a cause per say merely a quantum fluctuation.…read more


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