The Cosmological Argument

Argues for existence of God based on fact that there is a universe.

Explanation for existence of universe located in external cause i.e. God. 

Aposteriori, inductive (new conclusions).

Origins: Plato & Aristotle.

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Kalam Version

al-Kindi & al-Ghazali

  • Whatever comes into being must have a cause
  • Univ. came into being
  • Univ. must have a cause
  • That cause must be God
  • God exists

Univ. does not depend on God now, but is original cause. 

Rejects idea of infinity --> logical paradoxes.

William Lane Craig:

  • temporal series that has no beg. -> actual infinite.
  • temporal series of events w/o beginning cannot exist.
  • finite past = existence caused; universe finite past -> been caused.
  • Space + time originated within univ. = finite past. So, cause beyond space + time
  • If so, science cannot expl. origin of univ. = personal agent, not physical.
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Aquinas' Three Ways - First Way

First: Motion

Obj moves when external force applied to it, chain of movements cannot go back to infinity.

= First unmoved prime mover --> God.

Things achieve their potential through external influence - fire making wood hot.

  • Fire applied to wood makes wood achieve potential to become hot.
  • For thing to change, actuality required, if not change initiated within itself. be both potential + actual = reductio ad absurdum.
  • Wood being hot would mean cannot change to become hot. Wood is its actuality, fire can make it hot is potentiality.
  • Smth must have made fire change and alight -> each change result of earlier change.
  • But no series of infinite changes; point of first movement by first mover, necessary to arrive at it - God. 
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Second Way - Causation

Nothing can be cause of itself, would mean it had to exist before it existed = logical impossibility.

Rejected infinite causes = first uncaused causer - God started chain of causes and caused all events to happen.

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Third Way: Contingency

Contingency of mattter in univ - come to exist & cease to exist.

Infinite time - then time when nothing existed because of concept of contingency, cannot live forever.

  • Time when nothing, then still there would be nothing as nothing can bring itself to existence.
  • Cause of univ = external + always existed, necessary being bringing everything into existence i.e. God.
  • No God, nothing would exist.
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Radio Debtate btwn F.C. Copleston & Bertrand Russe

Radio debate, BBC. Copleston; jesuit priest + professor & Russell; British philosopher. 

Copleston supported cosmological arg, Russell opposed.

Focused on principle of sufficient reason - Coppleston supported.


Rejecting idea of necessary being - God, on which all things depend - have to be on special category of his own; where does category come from + why accepted? Necessary being, no meaning. Just b/c humans have mothers does not mean univ. had a mother. Meaningless to ask what caused univ. b/c fallacy (mistake in arg) to assume that just b/c some parts of univ. has causes, that whole thing has one too.

Does not feel need for ultimate answers or sufficient reaons; univ. not crying out for expl. "I should say that the univ. is just there, and that's all."

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