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A summary of the Cosmological argument according to Thomas Aquinas and Copleston.

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Introduction

A summary of the Cosmological argument according to Thomas Aquinas and Copleston. Copleston made it clearer in an argument with Bertrand Russell in 1948. God is not the cause of itself, but it contains its own sufficient reason for existence. When questioned what could be counted as a sufficient reason, Copleston defines it as "an explanation adequate for existence of some particular being. Cause can be a kind of sufficient reason for contingent beings, but God has a sufficient reason in itself, but not a cause. If one accepts the main points of the argument, i.e.: The Universe has a reason for existing, and that must exist outside of itself, then, as Copleston defined this necessary being as "a being that must and cannot not exist". Bertrand Russell argues against both of the Cosmological arguments put forward by Aquinas and Copleston. Outline cosmological argument presented by Aquinas and discuss strengths and weaknesses. For what reasons have some rejected the cosmological argument? How far is it possible to regard it as a strong argument? ...read more.

Middle

Because of this, God is the first cause of the contingent universe's existence. The argument has many forms and has been presented in many different ways. In each form, the argument focuses upon the causes that lead up to the existence of things. The argument appears to answer the questions, how did the universe begin? Why was the universe created? And who created the universe? Philosophers over the centuries have used different terminology to describe the first cause of the universe. Philosophers have been known to refer to this first cause as 'the first cause', 'the first mover', 'necessary being', 'self-existing being', and of course, 'God'. The cosmological argument pre-dates Christianity, and Plato, the student of the 'father of philosophy' Socrates, developed one of the earliest forms. Plato argued that the power to produce movement logically comes from the power to receive and pass it on. In order for there to be movement in the first place, there must have been an uncaused cause to start the movement. Plato termed this uncaused cause the 'first cause' or 'first mover'. ...read more.

Conclusion

According to Aquinas, 'it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, moved by no other; and this everyone understands to be God'. In the second of his five ways, Aquinas used causes to prove the existence of God. Aquinas observed that nothing could be the cause of itself, as this means it would have to have existed before it existed. This is a logical impossibility. Aquinas rejected an infinite series of causes, and believed that there must have been a first, uncaused cause. This first cause started the chain of causes that have caused all events to happen, and for Aquinas, the first cause was God. In the third of his five ways, Aquinas used contingency. Aquinas identified contingency of matter in the universe, on the basis that things come into existence and then cease to exist. Aquinas concluded there must have been a time when nothing existed. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be external and have always existed. Aquinas argued that there must have been a 'necessary being' that brought everything else into existence, and Aquinas argued that this was God. He concluded that if God did not exist, then nothing would exist. 1 ...read more.

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