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A summary of the Cosmological argument according to Thomas Aquinas and Copleston.

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Introduction

Tom Smolen A summary of the Cosmological argument according to Thomas Aquinas and Copleston. The Cosmological argument is basically an argument that begins with the existence of the Universe and tries to prove God's existence. Cosmos means the Universe. In order to argue the Cosmological argument one must already believe that the Universe is there for a reason and be willing to ask: "Why is there a Universe?" The first step in the argument is the premise- there is a Universe. We know there is a Universe because we are constantly experiencing it. St Thomas Aquinas put forward five proofs for the existence of God and the first 3 are Cosmological arguments. The first argument is that everything in the Universe is moved by something else. ...read more.

Middle

These to arguments are both similar to Aristotle's ideas about cause and purpose in relation to God. He too said that there must be a Prime, or Unmoved Mover. The Third argument however, is the argument that was refined by Copleston and often monopolies the phrase "Cosmological argument". It is an argument based on the contingency of the Universe. Everything around us is contingent, or dependant upon something else for is reason for existence. For example, a child's cause is the meeting and the actions of their parents. That is not to say however, that one factor in the cause of an event is a sufficient reason, it is only a partial reason. A reason for the existence of anything is a combination of all the causes of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

The important point about God is that it is non-contingent, so it does not depend upon anything else for the reason for its own existence. Copleston made it clearer in an argument with Bertrand Russell in 1948. God is not the cause of itself, but it contains its own sufficient reason for existence. When questioned what could be counted as a sufficient reason, Copleston defines it as "an explanation adequate for existence of some particular being. Cause can be a kind of sufficient reason for contingent beings, but God has a sufficient reason in itself, but not a cause. If one accepts the main points of the argument, i.e: The Universe has a reason for existing, and that must exist outside of itself, then, as Copleston defined this necessary being as "a being that must and cannot not exist". Bertrand Russell argues against both of the Cosmological arguments put forward by Aquinas and Copleston. ...read more.

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