• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God, according to Aquinas

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Page Heather Amos Explain Aquinas? argument for the existence of God based on the apparent beginning of the Universe. Also, explain and evaluate the extent to what is important for religious believers to challenge the idea that the universe came into existence by chance. In the 13th Century, Thomas Aquinas wrote in his book ?Summa Theologiae? about Quinque viae or five ways he could prove God?s existence using aposteriori proof. We sense that the universe exists and we, as inquisitive and intelligent beings, demand an explanation for why the universe is there. This can be a scientific explanation which modern scientists like Steven Hawking and this Big Bang theory would suggest is how the universe came into existence and the philosophical one like the Cosmological Argument, the steady state theory or Hume?s infinite regress theory. Aquinas, this Christian theological medieval scholar also provided the basis of Catholicism and used Aristotelian views of causation to create the Cosmological Argument- the first three ways written about in his book. Aquinas looked for a cause in the sense of a causal agent exercising active power and he argues that what God causes is the existing of things in their natures. ...read more.


Aquinas came up with the analogy of the dominos to help explain the idea of movement, there must be a prime mover to push the first domino to start the chain of dominoes falling, its the same with causation there must have originally been a first mover to start the cause and effect chain going. Inductively leaping, Aquinas said that this is not infinite regress, it cannot go on forever there must be a First Mover and it must have a different form, or to be different in nature, this idea is very much platonic. Another analogy to help describe this inductive leap is the bread that the baker makes looks nothing like the baker in form or nature but are very much interlinked like the first mover to the efficient following causes. The effect is nothing like its cause but only its skills of the baker can be tasted in the bread. If we say God is omnipotent we can never be the ?baker? but we can gain some knowledge or skills from the baker. So the first cause cannot be caused so we say it is uncaused. Aquinas said it his book: ?Nor can the being of a thing continue after the action of the agent has ceased, if the agent ...read more.


This is hard for religious thinkers because having no purpose other than to reproduce isn?t self-fulfilling. Another theory is that the universe came to existence by chance, kind of supported by the big bang theory because it is unknown what started the chain of events that cause the bang. This also supports the idea of not having a purpose because the whole universe in theory could have been an accident. Bertrand Russell said that ?just because humans and mammals have a mother doesn?t mean that the universe has to have a mother? suggesting that an explanation isn?t really needed. Coppleston, a religious believer based his counter argument defending the cosmological argument saying that just because the God doesn?t have a justification doesn?t mean it doesn?t mean it doesn?t exist. Overall the kind of God that Aquinas leaves his audience with when he explains the existence of God cosmologically is the God of philosophers. The idea of God isn?t theistic or deistic which is a problem for Christians because they need to able to relate with to him and a God that just creates the universe and doesn?t care for people which the argument portrays is not something that anyone not only Christians can relate to. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    God now, this argument sets out to show that God is the originating course. It can be summarized as follows: 1.) Everything that has a beginning of existence must have a course 2)

  2. Explain the cosmological argument for existence of God

    This argument has the following logical structure: Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.

  1. Examine the argument from religious experience for the existence of God. To what extent ...

    there is no conclusive evidence that the experience did in fact happen, one should not make blind leaps into falsities. The argument from religious experience has been criticised on many grounds, such as that the "proof" it is based on (religious experiences)

  2. Outline the cosmological argument for the existence of God

    fire would change the wood from being potentially hot to actually hot and so concluded that nothing could be both potential and actual at the same time, so something must be used to bring about the change or transition from potentiality to actuality.

  1. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of - The Thomist Cosmological Argument of the Existence ...

    A finite universe therefore needs a beginning, and a first cause, as things can't cause themselves. This first cause must be God. Ed Miller argued that an infinite universe would have an infinite number of days and that infinite number of days cannot be reached, so today would never arrive.

  2. St Thomas Aquinas and the Cosmological Argument

    Without a cause, there is no effect. If causes went to infinity, there would be no intermediate cause and no present effects for us. There must be a first efficient cause, which is in itself uncaused, who everyone calls G-d.

  1. Comapring Aristotle's Prime Mover and the Judeo-Christian God

    what is right and wrong, this is known as the ?soul-making? argument. Belief in God also means that humans are controlled by their beliefs, as they will live their lives to please God. Therefore they can never truly have free will, as God threatens to punish humans with hell if

  2. Assess whether the cosmological argument proves the existence of God.

    and accepted then the conclusion is probably true, however as with all syllogisms, the conclusion is only as strong as the pillars that it stands on, the premises and in this case the premises can be heavily criticised. Also the simple nature of it could appeal to the principle of parsimony and be perceived to be a possible strength.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work