• 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...


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.


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.


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. 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. Examine the main ideas and strengths of the design argument for the existence of ...

    This also claims that the analogy doesn't lead to God but maybe a limited imperfect being. Payley's argument is inductive and it has its strengths because it is a reasonable interpretation of existence and easily understandable. Hume's argument does offer a strong counter attack to Paley's theory so Hume's argument

  1. 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.

  2. Free essay

    RS Cosmological Essay

    In conclusion Aquinas drew the conclusion that the first mover and the first cause had to be God, the all-powerful being that sets everything else in motion. His argument was a Christian one although it was based on The Kalam argument, which is an Islamic on.

  1. Assess whether the problem of moral evil casts doubt on the existence of God

    "Horrocks pulled the silver cross from his chest and hurled it from him...he lowered his head and covered it with his hands. Jack knew what had died in him." Both Augustine's and Leibniz's theodicies are founded on the idea that God created a perfect world in which human's have free will, and that evil is therefore our responsibility.

  2. Assess the ontological argument

    He believed this is because there can be nothing contained in a definition that tells us anything about its existence in reality. He then went on to make a second criticism which was based on the definition of a predicate itself.

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

    Whenever Patrick looks back on his time as a slave, and the time of his suffering, Patrick is pleased that it happened, as it allowed him to have the good relationship with God he has. He can see how much good has come of it.

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

    God might have allowed bad things to happen for a good reason. For example, it is through suffering that humans can learn their lessons and avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

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