Cosmological arguments


Cosmological arguments

  • Basis for arguments is that the universe cannot account for its own existence.
  • Why do things exist at all - why is there something, rather than nothing.
  • Plato argued that everything must have been created by some cause. Aristotle argued that behind the series of cause and effect in the world there must be an unmoved mover. 

Aquinas and the cosmological argument in five ways

  • Ways to describe God through inductive argument, based on observation and evidence. 
  • A key goal for Aquinas was to show how faith and reason could work together. He was a well known man in the Church working as an advisor to the Pope 
  • In his view knowlege of God could be reached in two ways. 
    • One through revelation - God choses to the truth to people, e.g. through the Bible. 
    • Other is through human reason, he thought that if we applied reason to the evidence around us, we can reach valuable truths. 
  • Aquinas presented five ways in showing that God exists., because he was convinced that although the existence of God was not self evident, it could be demonstrated with logical thought.
  • Of his five ways, the first three are different variants of the cosmological argument. Aquinas based his argument on two assumptions:
    • The universe exists
    • There must be a reason why
  • However, some people such as Bertrand Russel and Richard Dawkins, are happy to accept the universe as just is, without moving to the conclusion that there should be some reason for it. 

First way - The Unmoved Mover

  • Aquinas concentrated on the existence of change, or motion, in the world. 
  • Something must of been set in motion by something
  • Aquinas thought that this sequence must have been an unmoved mover to set the whole thing off.
  • If change is brought around about in thing A by thing B then B must have the characteristics of the change it brings about. 
  • Agument was on dependency, rather than going back in time until a beginning was found; he was using the idea that God sustains the universe, and trying to show that we could not have  a universe of change, vitality and motion without a first mover. 

Second way - The Uncaused Mover

  • The argument is similar, replaces the idea with change and motion with the concept of cause 
  • Every 'effect' has a cause, argues infinite regress is impossible. therefore there must be a First cause 'which we call God'
  • He focuses on the 'efficient cause' - took up Aristotle's ideas and understanding of causes to argue that things do not cause themselves in this way - they cannot be thier own agents. Therefore he said, there must be a first efficient cause aka God. 

Third Way - Contingency

  • The world consists of contingent beings, which are beings that begin and end, and which are dependent on something else for their existence. 
  • Everything in the physical world is contingent, depending on external factors for its existence. 
  • Things are contingent in two ways: they…




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