The Existence of God

Arguments for and against the existence of God

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  • Created by: Moodymoo
  • Created on: 08-02-14 10:44

The First Cause Argument (cosmological)

The First Cause Argument (Cosmological):

  • Everything that exists was caused to exist
  • The universe exists so it too must have a cause
  • It had to be caused by something eternal
  • The eternal cause was God
  • Therefore God exists
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Sir Thomas Aquinas's First Cause Argument

  • Beleived universe had a beginning
  • Things can't cause themselves to come into existence
  • Had to be caused to exist by something outside of time
  • That something outside of the universe was God
  • Because we can see it exists, it shows God created it
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The Design Argument (Teleological)

  • The universe is too ordered to have happened by chance
  • Must have been designed
  • A design needs a designer
  • The designer of the universe is God
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William Paley's Design Argument

  • If we found a watch we would know that it has been designed as parts worked together for a purpose
  • If we looked in the natural world we would see evidence of design e.g. wings for flight, gills for breathing underwater
  • Things that are designed need a designer
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Isaac Newton's Design Argument

  • The fact that we have opposable thumbs shows we have been designed
  • Means humans can grasp things (only humans and primates)
  • The fact that we have individual fingerprints shows we have been designed individually


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Anthropic Principle

  • God developped the world so it was perfect for human life to develop
  • The gravitational force was just right for the universe to come into existence
  • Once it had formed, it had all the conditions for intelligent life to develop
  • Too perfect to happen by chance
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Big Bang Theory

  • Universe exists due to a random, spontaneous event
  • Theists say God caused it to exist


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Problems with God Existing

First Cause Argument:

  • If things exist because they are caused to exist then what was the cause of God?
  • If God is eternal then why can't the universe be eternal?

The Design Argument:

  • It depends on the belief that everything in the world is designed
  • Not everyone believs humans are a result of design e.g evolution
  • The existence of cruelty and suffering, not a perfect design


  • Through evolution that features such as the opposable thumb developped
  • Evolution that has given the appearance of design, not God
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Miracle: a seemingly impossible occurence, usually good

Types of miracle:

  • Events that break the laws of nature and cannot be explained by science - turning water into wine
  • Events which no laws of nature are broken but a huge coincidence occurs at just the right time to cause a good outcome - todler trapped on a railway line, train approaching, train driver collapses stopping the train

Because science can't explain them, they prove the existence of God

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Problems with Miracles

  • No more than coincidences
  • What appears to be a miracle is something that science can't explain yet
  • Theists want miracles to happen so they give miraculous claims to ordinary events
  • Cure of an illness may be mind over matter
  • Doctors wrongly diagnosed patients
  • God is picking and choosing who he helps, not fair
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Religious Experience

An experience that is outside normal experience, usually involving the supernatural

  • Communicating with God through prayer and worship
  • Feeling God's presence in worship
  • Feeling God's presence in nature
  • Experiencing a conversion
  • Involvement in a miraculous event
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Problems with Religious Experiences

  • Difficult to prove as genuine
  • Only the individual can prove the experience
  • People might have imagined the experience or want it to happen so 'it does'
  • Might have mistaken an ordinary event for a miraculous one]
  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol or ill
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Morality: a system of ethics which distinguishes between right and wrong, helps guides people's behaviour

  • People have an inbuilt sense of morality
  • This sense comes from a source outside of them
  • This source is God
  • Therfore God exists

Conscience: the inner feeling you are doing right or wrong. Theists believe it is the voice of God

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Problems with Morality

  • Difficult to prove it exists, that it is no more than the rules that have been developped to control people
  • Claim that morality is part of human developpment through evolution
  • Part of survival process

Guilt feelings are not from God becuase:

  • People feel guilty because they have gone against the moral rules of society
  • If people have been bought up thinking drinking alcohol is wrong, they will feel guilty when they drink it
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