Cosmological Argument Revision

Define the argument

  • The idea that everything has a cause
  • Based on evidence and experience, a posteriori, is an inductive argument.
  • Aquinas’ first three of his 5 Ways
  • Summed up by the Kalam argument
  • If everything has a cause so must the universe and that cause must lie outside that cause is necessary and therefore that cause is God.
  • If God is a necessary being then he cannot be contingent upon anything else for his existence. But everything else is.

 

Weaknesses

  • The fact that it is both a posteriori and inductive makes it weak. Based on the evidence available and the conclusion is not necessarily reliable.
  • First cause only necessary if we reject the idea of infinite regress.
  • So why not infinite regress?
  • Why God as the cause not something else?
  • Why exempt God from causation?
  • Why look outside the universe for a cause? Hume.
  • Also Russell ‘the universe just is – Brute Fact.’
  • Maybe cause and effect are just the way we see things not necessarily linked.

 

Strengths

  • ‘nothing can come from nothing’ said Aristotle – how else did the chain come into existence unless it was caused by something outside
  • If we reject infinite regress then there must be cause and a reason and there is therefore sufficient reason to suppose that where once there was nothing there must be reason for the fact that there is now something and that it was deliberately willed into existence.
  • If God is as Anselm said ‘that than which no greater can be conceived’ then that would make him a necessary being, and could be the cause of the universe.
  • It is a logical argument – we see order, cause and effect all around us.
  • Does explain why it has this order and why beauty.

 

Conclusion

  • Doesn’t prove God exists
  • But neither does it prove he doesn’t
  • Faith must have a place
  • ‘Too great a leap.’ Hume
  • Simplest solution? Ockham’s Razor
  • Won’t convince a non-believer to believe but can provide extra strength to faith.

 

Extra documents

  1. AS RE Revision quotations: the cosmological argument
  2. PowerPoint: Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument
  3. The Cosmological Argument (has 15 questions on)
  4. Cosmological Argument an introduction

 


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