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Examine the key features of the cosmological argument.

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Introduction

Examine the key features of the cosmological argument. The cosmological argument is an a posteriori argument. It explores the existence of the universe as proof of God. The claim is that the universe cannot account for its own existence and so the argument seeks causes that have their solution in the existence of God. It is important to discuss three of Thomas Aquinas' five ways written in his summa theologica, as they are key features of the argument. The Kalam theory will also be mentioned, as it is a key feature and a strength; this theory was derived from the Muslim school of theology. William Craig's modern version argues that the universe had a first cause, and that the first cause was a personal creator - God. Thomas Aquinas' understanding of creation was based on the Genesis account. Which basically read - god created 'ex nihilo' - out of nothing. Aquinas wrote in his 'summa theologica', a book containing over 4000 pages, his arguments for the existence of God. However their compact form has made them popular, and they have become known as 'five ways'. All these points are a posteriori as they are all based on observation and experience of the universe. The first way is 'the unmoved mover', St Thomas Aquinas studying the works of Greek philosopher, Aristotle, concluded from common observation that an object that is in motion, for example planets or a rolling stone is put into motion by some other object or force. ...read more.

Middle

A contingent being is an object that cannot exist without a necessary being causing its existence. Aquinas believed that the existence of contingent beings would ultimately necessitate a being, which must exist for all the contingent beings to exist. In other words, contingent beings are caused; not every being can be contingent. So there must exist a being, which is necessary to cause contingent beings, therefore this infers that the necessary being is God. Aquinas believes this because if all beings were contingent, then at one time nothing would have existed. This is because there would have been a time prior to all things coming into existence, but if that is the case then nothing would have been able to exist because everything contingent would have had to have a prior cause. Thus all beings cannot be contingent. The main reasoning for Thomas Aquinas' five ways being a strength to the cosmological argument is that they are a posteriori. They are based on experience and observation of the universe, because of this they seem to make perfect sense to us, as our surroundings and the universe are the only things we really understand and can relate to. The Kalam argument has its roots in medieval Arabic philosophy and theology. The Arabic word means 'natural theology' or 'philosophical theism'. The Kalam arguments try to demonstrate that the existence of an actual infinite is impossible and that even if it were possible, the universe itself is not actually infinite and hence, must have a beginning. ...read more.

Conclusion

Concerning the limitation of the physical realm to provide answers to such questions, Leibniz writes: ' you will never find in those states a full reason why there should be any world rather than none.... it is evident that the reason must be sought elsewhere'. So if the answer as to why this present universe exists cannot be found in the material realm, then it must according to Leibniz, lie elsewhere and it must be something different from that which is found in the world. Now the fact that there is something rather than nothing means that things have a tendency towards existence. If things have a tendency towards existence then ' that series of things will be forthcoming, which in actual fact affords the greatest quantity of reality'. The cosmological argument offers an explanation of why anything exists and why it has this type of order, it seems that it is a strong argument, as it has universal appeal because it is based on that which we all experience - the world. The cosmological argument bases itself on experience of the world and therefore can be related to religious theories and is compatible with scientific ones, thus making it appeal to an even wider audience, also it is up for negotiation and many different versions of theories have been made up inside this one argument inferring it has many strengths. However the cosmological argument does have many weaknesses stated by people like David Hume and A. Kenny. Ellen Hooper 12 DB ...read more.

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