cosmological argument


first way

motion and change.

aquinas called the motion of the first way 'the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality.

aquinas said that everything is in motion, whatever is moved is moved by another and it is impossible for something to be both the mover and moved.

but for something to become actual there must be a primary mover that causes the thing to move from possibility to actuality.

plato distingusihed the difference between primary movers (those with the power to move or change something in both others and themselves) and secondary movers (those who are changed or moved) - the universe is dependant on a n ultimate mover. 

aristotle argues that there must be an ultimate unmoved mover, there must be a necessary mover as eveything in motion is cause by a chain of previous events of movers and thus there must be an  ultimate mover that cause the chain of events to actually begin or there would be no chain in turn meaning there would be no existance now.  aristotle calls the unmoved mover the prime mover. the prime mover doesnt give a push but iyt gives a readon, if it just gave a push then the prime mover would also be affected but instead it more cause the chain to move by attraction giving an ultimate reason a teleos.

EG) to provide an example how this works the motion and change to actuality can be seen in fire, fire is actually hit whereas wood is only potentially hot, fire then changed wood from potentiality to actually hot. 

1 of 5

second way

causation - domino example

'it is impossible to find that a thing is its own efficient cause as it would then be prior to itself'

everything is caused by something before itself, for example in dominoes the second and third domino would only fall because of the first.

this is because we are all contingent on a prior being, we depend on things outiside ourselves however this cant go on forever, aquinas rejects the possibility of infinite regress in this case as we would end up with just a chain of contingent beings and neve reach the first efficient cause as and that in turn would mean no intermediate or ultimate cause. thus there must be a first cause a cause that is outside itself, it is necesary upon its own and isnt dependant on anything else and the only explanation is God 

2 of 5

third way

contingency and necessaity 

aquinas in his third way to prove gods existence explained that everything in this world has a prior reason for its existance, the reason for its existance cannot lie within itself thus we are contingent on a prior being. however aquinas avoids infinite regress as we would never come to an existance now if we forever go back on people  being dpendant on something outside itself. therefore there must be an ultimate necessary being to explain how we all managed to come into our ontingent states as of now. aquinas demands that the necessary being is God. 

copplestone accepts the cosmological argument as it avoids infinite regress, copplestone refers to our existance being contingent on our parents and and thus the chain goes on however if this went on forever there would never be a beginning and so to reach an actual beggining that could eventually result in our existance now we must have an efficent neccessary cause which is in itself necessary-God.

3 of 5


theodicy- principle of sufficient reason

Leibniz focuses on why we came into existence rather than how.

leibniz uses the example that if we had a series of books we coud go through from the last to the first to say where each came from however once we reached the first we would need to seek an author to find a sufficient reson for its existance. similarily if we went back each step of the univeres exostance we would end up with a series of states and never come to a sufficient reason as to why it began to exist. even if the universe had always existed there is nothing in the world to suggest why it exists, there is no good enough reason to explain all existance. therefore ther must be a sufficient reason outside of the univers of which is god.

4 of 5


everything in the uiverse has a cause that is different from its effect. if everything has a cause then the universe must have a cause that is different than the universe and if that is so then it must be non physical of nature-God.

first argument william craig propsed: infinity is impossible to exist, for example an infinite library will contain an infinite set of books and if we were to take some books out that section would also be infinite, it would equal the same as the library as a whole;infinity, however that is impossible in the real world and thus an infinity is impossible. therefore the universe also cannot be infinite so there must have been a beginning.

second argument craig argies the an actual infinite cannot be formed, just like history isnt infinite nor can the future, we can always make more history, keep on adding events, through the laws of succesive addition in this way an infinite is impossible as its ever changing, thus if we created a past through successive additions then there must have been a first cause for it to be added on to.

craog argues that the big bang supports this argument as it proves that the univers if finite, it had a beggining. 

5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Philosophy resources »