• 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

i) Outline the cosmological argument for the existence of God. (20) The cosmological argument, also known as the first cause argument, is an a posteriori argument. This means that the evidence used to prove the argument can be observed by anyone which makes the argument more accessible and user friendly. The argument is also inductive which means that it can have many possible conclusions; not necessarily God. The cosmological argument is a strong argument which tries to infer the existence of God through cause and effect; it's based upon the principle that everything must have been caused by something in order to exist, and that the First Cause which caused all the other causes is God. Cole says that "the cosmological argument attempts to infer the existence of God from the existence of the cosmos or from phenomena within it. The claim is that the universe cannot account for its own existence." The main weakness of the argument is causation because Hume argues that because no one has actually experienced the cause of the universe, it is beyond human understanding and so it's impossible and pointless to compare our own experiences of the causation of events to the causation of the universe. There are many weaknesses to the cosmological argument which appear to outweigh the strengths. ...read more.

Middle

Another important feature of the cosmological argument is the second of Aquinas' ways. In this way, he argues that while all events are triggered by other events happening, God is not. This makes the second way important because it means that all other events are caused by an uncaused causer, which one can argue to be God. Aquinas argued that the world is made up of a series of events which are caused by other events, and equally cause other events. He furthered this argument by saying that it's logically impossible for an event to cause itself because in order to do that it would have had to precede itself. He said that there must be a first cause from which all other causes are created from and are dependant on. This cause would have to be uncaused, and he concluded from there that the uncaused causer must be God. Aquinas said that "The first efficient cause is the cause of the intermediate cause...it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause to which everyone gives the name God." The second way is also important because of its influence. Many scholars support the cosmological argument and use Aquinas' second way as a basis for their own arguments. One argument that has been produced using Aquinas' second way as a basis is the Kalam argument which was originally put forward by Muslim ...read more.

Conclusion

Inanimate causation occurs when something has the power to act under certain circumstances, and intentional causation is motivated by beliefs and purposes which proves the reason for the event happening. Swinburne argues that this is vital to theistic thinking about the world in relation to humans because theists believe that one of characteristics of God is that he is personal, and causation shows God's personal involvement which helps to allow humans to feel a sense of purpose in their lives. Another important feature of the cosmological argument is the idea of the principle of sufficient reason. Leibniz argues that the universe is a specific, finite thing and so needs an explanation. In his book "Theodicy" he argues that "if you suppose the world eternal, you will suppose nothing but a succession of states and will not find in any of them a sufficient reason." This is important because it suggests that there is no evidence showing why the universe exists within the universe, and so the reason must lie outside of it. However none of the arguments have found an explanation as to why God created the world. Also, Leibniz's argument helps to strengthen the cosmological argument because it shows that we don't know why the world is created so there must be a superior being which created the world and has its own reasons for creation which only it knows. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 of 3 ...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 ...

    distinction between that which has necessary existence and that which is contingent. A thing that has necessary existence must exist in all possible worlds, whereas a thing that is contingent may go out of existence. 11 The method Aquinas uses is to set up the contrary position, then prove it to be wrong.

  2. Explain the cosmological argument for existence of God

    It is therefore logical to see how the two fit together to give a greater understanding. For example wood has the potential to turn into fire, but it needs the cause of a spark in order to move from potentiality to actuality and turn into the fire.

  1. Examine the strength of the cosmological argument for the existence of god

    Then argument is attacked by, the question 'If everything requires a cause, why doesn't God require a cause?' If we can't say the universe 'just is' than why can we say god is? This would mean that a list of causers would go on forever and not answer anything rather

  2. Examine the main strengths and weakness of the Cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    Seeing that the world itself is made up of series of events (for example: a seed is planted; the seed grows to a tree; the tree bares fruit; a human eats the fruit) must therefore show that there must have been a cause to set off such chains of events, just like a mover first causes an object to move.

  1. Outline the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.

    For example, when I die, the arrangement and form of the energy (matter) that makes me up will no longer exist, and so in one sense, I will not-exist. However the energy itself will still be in existence. If the first premise is found wrong, the whole argument will be useless.

  2. What are the key ideas of the cosmological argument?

    John Hick says "doesn't god need an explanation as well?" Changing this assumption when it comes to god because he a so-called "special case" does not make sense therefore the weakness outweighs the strength. The rule within the Cosmological Argument is that everything has a cause, but the Cosmological Argument

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

    However, it makes certain assumptions and philosophical ?leaps? that result in significantly weakening the argument. The transition from the first conclusion of the universe having a cause and the cause being God has been received rather negatively, as even if we were to accept the argument hitherto, then it would

  2. The Cosmological Argument

    This shows the need for there to be a necessary being, described by F.C. Copleston as a being that must, and ?cannot not exist? which itself depends on no other, and continues the existence of the universe. This people believe to be God.

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