RSS03: The Cosmological Argument - AS Religious Studies

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The Cosmological Argument
· The Cosmological Argument seeks to prove the existence of God based on the fact
that there is a universe.
· It states that the universe and everything in it has a cause, and that this cause is
· The Argument is considered to be `a posteriori,' based on the experience and
observation of the world around us which therefore is inductive by nature
· Used as proof of God's existence within classical theism.
The Three Ways
· St. Thomas Aquinas was one of the most famous proponents of the Cosmological
· He devised the Five Ways in his book, Summa Theologica, of three which are
· The Three Ways are based on motion/change, cause, and contingency.
The First Way
· The First Way is based on motion.
· Motion does not only include movement from one place to another, but also change
of quality or quantity.
· Aquinas believed that objects could only move if an external force was applied to it,
meaning that objects cannot move themselves.
· Therefore, Aquinas concluded that there had to be a Prime Mover who started off the
movement in the chain of movement.
· He believed that infinite regress was a logical impossibility as the chain of
movements could not go back to infinity.
· The First Way, then, states that God is a Prime Mover who initiated the chain of
movement and He Himself is unmoved ­ the `Unmoved Mover.'
· Aquinas further developed his concept of motion/change. He believed that everything
is reduced from potentiality to actuality.
· He used his famous example of fire making the wood hot to illustrate this.
· The fire, which has the potential to make the wood hot, is the potentiality,
while the fact that the wood is hot is its actuality.
· Aquinas claimed that something must have given the fire its potential, and he said it
was God as He initiated the chain of movement.
· The First Way puts emphasis on dependency ­ God is a necessary being who is
not dependent on other beings, but instead, is selfsustaining and selfcausing.
· If God ceased to exist, so would the entirety of the universe.
The Second Way
· The Second Way is based on cause, and states that God is the uncaused cause.
· Aquinas claimed that every effect has a cause, and nothing can cause itself,
otherwise it would have had to exist before it existed, which is impossible.

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Again, he rejected infinite regress, claiming that God must have been the first
uncaused cause that caused the chain of causes, that caused all other events
to happen.…read more

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The Argument claims that God had the only role in the creation of the universe
and still plays an important part in sustaining the universe.
· The Argument sees God as the ultimate being.…read more

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Key strengths of the Cosmological Argument
· It is an `a posteriori' argument, meaning that people are able to observe and
experience for themselves that there is a universe, and such complexity suggests
there is a Creator.…read more

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Reveals God as the sustainer of motion, cause and contingency ­ supports
existing belief in God. They have faith that God exists ­ known as fideism, which
argues that faith cannot be tested by using rational enquiry.
Aquinas tended the argument to point people towards a belief in God and to
suggest that there is evidence for religious faith. It is possible that the argument
could bring someone to belief in God or strengthen a person's faith.…read more

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Something must have initiated the universe ­ everything that begins to exist must
have been caused to exist
Considered infinite time due to contingent nature of the universe
Strengths and weaknesses of the argument
How far does the Argument prove the existence of God?
How reasonable is it to believe in God?
A posteriori
Supports creation stories
Answers fundamental questions
Hume ­ no experiences of creation of universes
Russell ­ Fallacy of Composition
Kant ­ every event has a first cause applied…read more

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Temporal first cause (God is connected to the world as the first mover, first cause,
and the One with necessary existence who begins the lives of all those whose
existence is contingent).…read more


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