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Outline the cosmological argument for the existence of God.

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Introduction

Outline the cosmological argument for the existence of God. What are the main criticisms of the cosmological argument? To what extent is it fair to say that the strengths of the argument outweigh its weaknesses? The cosmological argument for the existence of God says that human awareness that the existence of the universe is not explicable without reference to causes and factors outside itself. The cosmological argument assumes that the universe has not always existed and for it to have come into being, an external being is necessary. This being is what we know as God. The cosmological argument is in relation to the theological argument in the way they are both trying to find an explanation of the universe. Both arguments look at the universe and see that it is not a self-explanatory state of existence and that it demands that we ask questions of its origins nature and most importantly purpose. The success of the cosmological argument depends on the willingness to ask these questions. It is principally associated in the Christian religion to St Thomas Aquinas' five ways to prove the existence of God. The first way is Aquinas used the principle of motion, which he called the reduction of something from potentially to actually'. ...read more.

Middle

He argued that the fact of existence could not be inferred from or accounted for by the essence of existing things, and that form and matter by themselves could not originate and interact with the movement of the Universe or the progressive actualization of existing things. Thus, he reasoned that existence must be due to an agent cause that necessitates, imparts, gives, or adds existence to an essence. To do so, the cause must coexist with its effect and be an existing thing. Thomas Aquinas, adapted the argument he found in his reading of Aristotle and Avicenna to form one of the most influential versions of the cosmological argument. His conception of First Cause was the idea that the Universe must have been caused by something that was itself uncaused, which he asserted was God. Many other philosophers and theologians have posited cosmological arguments both before and since Aquinas. The versions sampled in the following sections are representative of the most common derivations of the argument. The cosmological argument could be stated as follows: 1. Every finite and contingent being has a cause. 2. Nothing finite and contingent can cause itself. 3. A causal chain cannot be of infinite length. Therefore, a First Cause (or something that is not an effect) ...read more.

Conclusion

The Cosmological argument basically draws upon St. Tomas Aquinas' Five Ways for the existence of God. Firstly, the cosmological argument says it is important to establish that every event has a cause, and everything has a beginning. Therefore there must have been a first cause that requires no prior causes, which is referred to as God. Leibniz also developed an argument where he asks the question 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' He claims that a sufficient reason to account for reality there must be a being which is able to create existence. There are many criticisms against the Cosmological argument. Firstly, Hume states that the arguments put forward reveals that the universe logically demands a causal explanation, but this may lay within the nature of the universe itself with regards to scientific evidence. Hick also disagrees with the argument as it fails explain the cause of God. Kant says it fails as to speak of causation outside of time and space has no meaning, because causation requires time and space. Another argument against the cosmological argument comes from Mill. He draws his conclusion from experience, noting that experience teaches that all events are caused. God, as a cause that was not itself caused cannot be conceived, so experience does not logically support the first cause, therefore this concept of God does not exist. ...read more.

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