Cosmological Argument

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  • Created by: emwestern
  • Created on: 31-03-15 13:42

Introduction

This argument is known as the First Cause argument.This argument s based on the universe having a first cause; which was God. It is from the greek "Cosmo" meaning "Universe". This argument seeks to prove Gods existence. It is an A Posteriori argument meaning it uses evidence from the natural world around us. 

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ST. Thomas Aquinas (background)

St. Thomas Aquinas was a 13th Century theologin from Italy. He published a book called "Summa Theologica" in which he writes of 5 ways to prove Gods existence. The first Three ways are cosmological.

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ST. Thomas Aquinas - WAY 1

Way 1 - MOTION / CHANGE

MOTION

Aquinas talks about how most things in the world are in motion, and he says that for things to be in motion, someone or something must've moved them. This chain of movement cannot go back to infinity. There must've been a first prime mover; The Unmoved Mover. Aquinas says this Unmoved Mover, in the topic of the universe, is God. 

CHANGE

In the topic of change, he talks about how objects only change because of an external force that brought about the change. He spoke of things achieving their potential through an external force. EG. Turning a TV on.

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ST. Thomas Aquinas - WAY 2

Way 2 - CAUSE

Aquinas stated that nothing could be the cause of itself. He rejected infinity stating that there mustve been a first uncaused cause. For example, being born.

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ST. Thomas Aquinas - WAY 3

Way 3 - CONTINGENCY

This means that things come into existence and then cease to exist. Aquinas concluded that there mustve been a time when nothing existed. Therfore the cause of the universe must be external to it and mustve always existed - a Necessary Being; God. 

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The Kalam Argument

The Kalam Argument 

The Kalam argument is an islamic version of the cosmological argument. "Kalam" meaning to "discuss" or "argue". It was founded / attributed to two 9th century muslim scholars; Al - Ghazali and Al Kindi. This argument again seeks that God is the first cause of the universe. They believed that everything that begins to exist must have a cause. They also reject actual infinity, this means the cause-effect sequence must've started somewhere. eg, the universe. They believe that there mustve been a time where there was no universe. When there are 2 alternative yet equally possible states, something has to will one or the other to come into being.

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William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig (1949-present day)

William is an American Christian theologian. "The Kalam Cosmological Argument" was a book he published in 1979. This argument depends on the belief that God created the universe "ex nihilo" meaning out of nothing. If the universe was created out of nothing then the beginning og the universe was the beginning of time. there mustv'e been a personal agent existing outside of time to start the process of creation. William starts by rejecting actual infinity. He argues that the universe cannot be infinite because you cannot add to an actual infinite amount. The past can be regarded as a succession of events added one on the other;

  • Whatever exists must have a cause 
  • Since the universe is finite, it must have a beginning
  • Therefore the universe had a cause for its existence
  • If the world had a beginning, this beginning was either caused or uncaused
  • The laws of nature did not exist before the world came into existence, meaning there were no natural causes to bring the world about
  • Therefore it cannot be that the world came about due to random forces of nature. There must've been a personal agent involved
  • This personal agent must've existed outside space and time; a Transcendent Being
  • The cause of the universe must be a personal being who freely choses to create the world
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Richard Swinburne

Richard Swinburne

Richard supports both the Cosmological and Teleological. Richard argues that the Cosmological argument is an effective argument for the existence of God as the explanation this argument provides for the cause of the universe is simpler than any other propositions (occam's razor). He acknowledges the possibility that there might not be a start to the universe. The universe, he admits, could've always been there. However, Swinburne argues that God, as the cause of matter and time, continues to cause time and matter throughout the passage of time. The idea of Shekina is relevant here..

Extra Useful Information

For Jews, God is present at all times and if God we to cease to exist then the universe would also cease to exist. The universe relies upon God's continual creation for its very existence.

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and The Principle Of Suf

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716)

Leibniz based much of his philosophy on the acient idea of Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit (Of Nothing, Comes Nothing). 

"Suppose the book of the elements of geometry to have been eternal, one copy always having been writen down from an earlier one. It is evident that even though a reason can be given for the present book out of a past one, we should never come to a full reason. What is true of the books is also true of the states of the world. if you suppose the worls eternal you will suppose nothing bus a succession of states and will not find in any of them a sufficient reason".

For Leibniz, there has to be a reason or cause for everything that exists. Things so not just happen without good reason. Now if we were to suppose that the universe was infinite and there was no initial starting point, the for Liebniz, this did not provide a sufficiently good reason for the universes existence. For Liebniz, there has to be an explanation for the universe; a reason or a cause. So just as the book must have a cause for its existence, then so must the universe. this cause was itself, uncauses, with the reason for its existence being within itself. The uncaused cause of the universe, Liebniz took as God. 

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