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Outline the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.

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Introduction

The Cosmological Argument Q: Outline the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God. The Cosmological argument is an argument that starts from the existence of the universe, and from this attempts to prove the existence of God. The argument is a posteriori, i.e. it draws on experience from the material world. It is important to state that the most this argument can hope to prove is that there exists a necessary being who caused everything in the universe; it cannot arrive at the Judaic-Christian conception of God (i.e. an omnipotent, omniscient and all loving being). The Cosmological Argument is mainly attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), although may well have originated from Platonic or Aristotelian ideas. The argument is also known as 'Aquinas third way'; the argument from contingency and necessity. Aquinas was already a firm believer, and so it is not entirely clear what the purpose of the arguments were; i.e. whether they were designed as a basis for faith, or as a reinforcement of faith. Aquinas starts his argument with what he considers to be a universal truth; that all things in the world come into and go out of existence, that they are contingent or depend upon other factors for their existence. ...read more.

Middle

This leads to the conclusion that there must be some being 'having of itself its own necessity', a being that is de re necessary. The ultimate conclusion is that this 'being' is what everyone calls God. Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument? There are many weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument as well as some strengths. The first question that has to be overcome before the Cosmological Argument can be successful (or even applicable), is; 'why does there have to be a cause for the universe?' If the answer to this question is ' there doesn't, the universe is just there', then the argument is useless. However, this is not a weakness in the argument itself and so will not be treated as such. The first and best strength of the Cosmological argument is that it starts from the seemingly indisputable fact that the universe exists. The argument also follows a logical form, guaranteeing a successful outcome, provided that the premises are true. However, this is where the strengths of the argument seem to end. ...read more.

Conclusion

A further weakness of the argument is whether or not the principal of sufficient reason is correct or not. Why should it be any more probable that there is a necessary cause than an infinite regression? I do not believe that this question can be answered. Immanuel Kant also criticised the Cosmological Argument as he held that it is impossible to speculate about something that lives outside space and time when we are confined to the limits of them. The final criticism that I will mention is the same as I mentioned at he beginning of this essay; that this argument is incapable of arriving at the existence of many peoples conception of God; that at best it can only prove the existence of a necessary being. The cosmological argument is, in my opinion, incredibly weak. I have only mentioned a few of the arguments against the Cosmological Argument and yet all of the strengths (that I can think of). I believe that the argument is out of date in the light of recent discoveries. However, despite this, considering the lack of knowledge of Aquinas it is of very logical form and may have been far more persuasive at the time. ...read more.

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