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

Outline the cosmological argument for the existence of God.

Extracts from this document...

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.

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 Christianity 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 Christianity essays

  1. With reference to Patrick's confession, outline your knowledge and understanding of the main themes ...

    Nowhere in Patrick's Confessio does he try and pretend he has not made mistakes. If anything, rather he tries to highlight these mistakes. This gives us great respect for Patrick, as we can see that rather than try and make himself out to be a perfect person, he accepts that

  2. Discuss whether the ontological argument would convince an atheist

    However Anselm argued back against this criticism, giving some proof the ontological argument may convince an atheist, by stating that although Gaunilo was right in the case of the island, the same objections did not work when the ontological argument was used of God, because an island has contingent existence, whereas God's existence is necessary.

  1. Outline the cosmological argument for the existance of God. and plan.

    These beings are called contingent beings. He argues that nothing could cause itself as it would have had to exist before it cam into existence which is logically impossible. He then argues that for the universe to be in existence there must be one being which has no need for

  2. Is Aristotles concept of a Prime Mover the same as the Judeo-Christian Concept of ...

    Aristotle's transcendent and impersonal Prime Mover is very different. The Judeo-Christian God is not completely immaterial. In Genesis 3, God "walks" in the Garden of den. Also, in the New Testament, God becomes man in the human person of Jesus. This belief is known as the incarnation ("God becomes flesh").

  1. The controversy that is evolution. I shall start with the argument against evolution.

    Reasons for this are not known but makes you wonder why didn't he complete it and creationists use this in their favour against the idea of evolution. The arguments here are good, until proof is given when someone makes a theory it is not fact and so therefore can not

  2. DISCUSS THE ARGUMENT THAT 'THIS LETTER IS A PLEA FOR THE RESPONSIBLE USE OF ...

    For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." (Galatians5 v 16 -17)

  1. God is responsible for everything that happens in the Universe. Discuss.

    Other people stand in between these two views. They believe that God is responsible for everything that happens within the Universe, but he is not responsible in the sense that he should be blamed on. We, as humans, can never fully understand God?s plan for the Universe.

  2. Christianization throughout History. I wanted to find out the true origins of the ...

    equinox, which occurs on March 21. Easter customs and symbols include a large feast (with ham as the main course), a sunrise worship service, egg hunting and decorating, hot cross buns, flowers, the Easter bunny and outdoor activities. The thing is, none of the customs and symbols, or even the name of this holiday, has anything to do with Christianity.

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