cosmological intro 1
It is an a posteriori argument for the existence of God, based on inference from statments about the way the world is
cause is central to it
The world consists of contingent beings: things that need something apart from themselves to explain their existence for examples computers are made.
The philospher Thomas Aquinas 1224-1274 developed five ways to prove the existence of God.
the first three are the versions of the aurgument.
the 1st way focuses on change in the broadest way;movement and change of quality and quantity .
cosmological intro 2
according to Aquainas an object only moved when an external force was applied to it; this chain of movements or change cannot go back to infinity. there must have been a first prime mover which it self is unmoved
'picture a lane of dominoes - when one is knocked down the rest wall down in a sort of chain reaction'
A classic version of the cosmological argument is found in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica where he proposed Five Ways to argue for God’s existence:
1. The unmoved mover. Everything is moved (changed) by something outside of it. This cannot go back for ever, so there must be a First Mover that started it off. This applies to the Cosmos.
2. The uncaused causer. Everything is caused by something (nothing causes itself). Same as 1. There must be a First Cause.
3. Contingency and necessity. Everything is contingent (it is around for a while but not for ever). There must have been a time when there was nothing. Finally, there must have been something that brings contingent things into existence that is not contingent (ie necessary).
The problem of Evil 1
For many, the existence of evil is persuasive evidence for the non-existence/unreality of God. EPICURUS (342-270 BCE) provided the classic formulation of the ‘problem of evil’: Is God willing, but not able, to prevent evil? Then he is not omnipotent. Is God able to prevent evil, but not willing? Then he is nasty. Is he both able and willing? Then why do we suffer? DAVID HUME (18th c.) maintained that either God is not omnipotent or God is not all-loving or evil does not exist. Because of evil, he concluded that God does not exist.
AQUINAS (1225-74). Aquinas was a Christian follower of Aristotle. He believed an act was good if it achieved its purpose. (Eg. The purpose of the state is to protect the community. A good state would be one in which people were protected from harmful influences.) Evil is not a thing; it is an ABSENCE (OR PRIVATION) OF GOOD. Moral evil would be a failure to achieve human potential.
- TWO CLASSIC THEODICIES: Augustine and Irenaeus.
The problem of Evil 2
- Augustine. His theodicy based on TWO KEY BIBLICAL PASSAGES: Genesis 3 (the fall of man in the garden of Eden) and Romans 5:12-20 (Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross wipes out the sin of Adam and Eve. This sacrifice has made available a boundless gift, the gift of being right with God.) AND TWO ASSUMPTIONS: Evil is not from God (Creation is perfect) and Evil came from within the world.
- Here is the sequence for Augustine’s theodicy: SIN/DEATH ENTERS THROUGH ADAM/EVE – THIS BRINGS DISHARMONY INTO CREATION – WE ALL SHARE IN EVIL BROUGHT INTO WORLD BY ADAM/EVE AND WE DESERVE TO BE PUNISHED – NATURAL EVIL IS A CONSEQUENCE OF DISHARMONY – SUFFERING IS A CONSEQUENCE OF HUMAN ACTION – GOD REAMINS PERFECT. THE WORLD HE CREATED WAS PERFECT. ALL SUFFERING IS THE RESULT OF THE ABUSE OF FREEDOM – IN SPITE OF THIS, GOD STILL LOVES THE WORLD AND OFFERS TO RESTORE THE FRIENDSHIP OF MAN AND GOD THROUGH THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS.
- Irenaeus. Irenaeus saw suffering in a different way from Augustine (REMEMBER THAT IRENAEUS LIVED BEFORE AUGUSTINE!!). For him, the world is a vale of soul-making. Through suffering human souls are made noble are fit for God’s Kingdom
The problem of Evil 3
- One way God makes us grow up is through FAITH. If we knew God directly, we would not need faith and so would not be able to mature. Therefore there has to be epistemic distance between us and God (A point made by JOHN HICK. Our human knowledge can’t reach God. We need faith too. This enlarges us.)
- Irenaeus’ sequence would be: HUMANS ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD – WE ARE IMMATURE BUT WE HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR PERFECTION – THROUGH OUR LIVES WE CHANGE FROM BEING SPIRITUAL CHILDREN TO SPIRITUAL ADULTS – WE CAN LEARN THROUGH SUFFERING.