Cosmological Arguement


Simple cosmological argument

(1) Everything that exists has a cause of its existence.

(2) The universe exists.


(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.

(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence, then that cause is God.


(5) God exists.

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The principle of sufficient reasoning

A man named Gottfired Leibniz says that nothing takes place without sufficient reasoning or without a sufficient cause for something to occur. Eg, explaining that you are the child of your parent and their parent and so on and this is only a partial reason for your existence. Therefore, it is not a sufficient reason for your exisitence and there must be an external cause.

- the external cause must not be contingent. therefore is necessary and is something which is self explanatory 

- As everything in this world is contingent from our experience, then the external cause must be outside of this world, transcendent.

-The external cause which is out of this world and is necessary is classed as God withing this arguement.

- The cosmological arguement is an inductive arguement which means it aims to persuade us. It's also an A posteriori arguement - evidence based.

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Aristotle's Cosmological argument

Aristotle had argued that all movements depends on there being a prime mover.

Why is there something rather than nothing?

- A chain of events has a beginning caused by an external substance which must be necessary and not contingent.

- Either there is an infinite chain of movers or there is a prime mover which moves everything else but is not moved itself.

- An infinite chain can not occur as an unlimited amount of time would be required before we reach the present. Therefore, there is uncaused, unmoved cause of motion which is the prime mover.

Infinite regress is rejected by Aristotle as you cannot go back endlessly without there being a first cause as within our experience, there is a first cause to everything.

Aristotle said within a universe there are two states of being: potentiality and actuality.

Potentiality is the possibility of doing something and actuality is the state of being when the potential has been achieved.

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The Kalam Argument

The Kalam Argument is the Islamic version of the cosmological Argument and it was made by Al Kindi and Al Ghazali.

This argument was later revived by William Lane Craig and this argument is a deducitve argument as it argues from the general to the particular (universe).

- Whatever begins to exist has a cause

-The universe began to exist

-Therefore the universe has a cause

- If the universe has a cause of its existence it must be God

-Therefore God must exist.

This argument builds on Aristotles one where all changes in a universe must come from an ultimate source.

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More on The kalam argument

Aristotles argument is called a reductio ad absurdum which is assuming the opposite of what you're trying to prove by demonstrating absurd consequences. Similarly, the kalam argument builds on this view and argues something is not its own reason for its existence.

A problem with the kalam argument:

This argument argues that there must be a first cause of the universe but maybe this first cause hasn't been discovered by science yet. However, the Big Bang theory seems to support the argument for a first cause due to there being a big bang causing the universe. 

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Aquinas' five ways

Aquinas had created 5 ways in his book Summa Theologica to demonstrate the existence of God although, in reality, it is unlikely that an atheist would be convinced by them.

The first 3 ways explain the cosmological argument which Aquinas used heavily off of Plato and Aristotle.

  • Motion
  • Causation
  • Contingency 

God is the prime mover as within our experience nothing can be moved by itself

God is the 1st cause as nothing can be caused by itself.

He is necessary as we all are contingent and everything has its necessity caused by another.

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William Lane Craig

He reformulated the Kalam argument by adding in time and space with non-scientific explanations.

  • The universe came into exists, therefore there must be a cause.
  • Science can't explain the creation of the universe, therefore must be caused by something non-scientific.
  • Space and time have a finite past which also can't be explained by science. This shows it must've been created by something non-scientific.
  • The non-scientific cause is God.
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Criticisms of the cosmological arguement

- David Hume said that we have no experience with universe making, therefore we cannot reach any conclusion on who or how it was made. He also argued why does there have to be a cause to a beginning- Russel would agree on this as he supports infinite regress and he says that just because humans have a mother, doesn't mean the universe has a mother.

- The big bang theory opposes this argument as it suggests that there was no first cause to the      big bang which therefore rejects Aquinas 1st way of motion.

- Kant had stated that we have no knowledge of God as he is transcendent and therefore we can    not make any conclusions on Gods existence.

- Kenny said that animals and humans move by themselves and nothing causes them to move.        This rejects Aquinas way of motion as well.

Brian says that this argument alone is not valid to prove Gods existence.

- Many argue that this argument doesn't show anything on the God of classical theism and only on there being a first cause.

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Strengths of this argument

- The big bang theory can, in fact, supports the cosmological argument as it suggests that the universe is finite and has a beginning which therefore rejects infinite regress. However, physicists have said that the atom had no cause so this still rejects the cosmological argument.

-Leibniz supports this argument as he suggests that there is a sufficient cause to the existence of the universe which is God. Richard Swinburne then supports this by saying why is there something rather than nothing and Coplestone rejects infinite regress.

- The argument is inductive and a posteriori which means that it is based on evidence which validifies the argument.

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