Cosmological Argument

Cosmological Argument

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  • Created by: cat1232
  • Created on: 02-05-12 12:45

Aquinas's argument

1st Way- Unmoved mover

  • Everything in motion is moved by something else
  • Infinite regress is impossible
  • Therefore there must have been a 1st mover- God

2nd Way- Uncaused Causer

  • Every effect has a cause
  • Infinite regress is impossible
  • Therefore there must have been a first mover- God

3rd Way- Contingency and necessity

  • Some contingent beings exist
  • If contingent beings exists there must be a necessary being
  • Therefore a necessary being exists- God
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Criticisms of Aquinas

  • Hume- we have no experience of creation
  • Hume- if nothing is uncaused why is god?
  • Could be more than one first cause
  • Different God for each of three ways
  • Universe is not contingent- matter is eternal
  • Bertrand Russell- "Brute Fact"
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Copleston's Argument

  • Everything in the universe is contingent
  • The universe is the totality of contingent things and is itself contingent
  • Given the universe is contingent, there must be something on which it relies - God.

Based on Leibnitz principal of sufficient reason


  • universe could be NB
  • leap from NB to God of christianity
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Kalam argument

Islam, recreated by William Craig in "The Kalam Cosmological Argument."

  • Everything that begins to exist has a cause
  • the universe exists
  • the universe has a cause

This cause COULD be God.

Argued infinite regress was impossible- library of books

Big Bang theory supports Kalam argument

Swinburne- Ockam's razor argues that there ought to be something rather than nothing - suggests God

Against the Kalam Argument

  • QM - electrons appear to cause themselves
  • Oscillating universe theory and steady state theory allow for infinite universe
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Criticisms of the Cosmological argument

Hume -"Dialogues concerning natural religion."

  • Agrees with Russell that saying everything has a cause is like saying every human has a mother, therefore humanity has a mother.
  • We have no experience of creation
  • The universe could be "Brute fact" (Russell)
  • Words like necessary being have no consistent meaning
  • The universe itself could be the necessary being if this just means "imperishable being"
  • God may have caused the universe and then ceased to exist

Responses from religion

  • Ockham's razor- universe would have been simpler not to exist
  • John Wisdom's parable of the gardener- universe is religiously ambiguous but theist is more likely to see God and atheist may not.
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