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The Cosmological Argument

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Part A Explain the cosmological argument from Aquinas and Copleston. The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of God. It is also known as the first cause argument. The cosmological argument is an a posteriori argument because it is based on what can be seen in the world and the universe. It is based on the belief that there is a first cause behind the existence of the universe. The cosmological argument seems to answer the three questions; How did the universe being? Why was the universe created? And Who created the universe? The basic argument is that things come into existence because something has caused them to happen. There is a chain of causes that goes back to the beginning of time. Time began with the creation of the universe so there must have been a first cause which brought the universe into existence. This first cause must have necessary existence to cause the contingent universe. It is believed that God has this necessary existence, so God must be the first cause of the contingent's universe's existence. St. Thomas Aquinas realised that the existence of the universe is not explicable without references and factors outside itself. It cannot be self causing since it is contingent and only the existence of a first, necessary cause and mover explains that existence of the universe. Aquinas put forward in his book 'Summa Theologica' 'five ways' in which he attempted to prove the existence of God a posteriori. ...read more.


All these contingent things must have a first cause though, or else they would not be there. This first cause must be necessary, because it is needed as a starting point and cannot be contingent, or else it would not be the start, only what started it. God is already seen as being the creator, so the idea he was the first and necessary creator fits His description, thus the conclusion is that God is the first creator. Professor Frederick Copleston is a leading Jesuit philosopher and he put forward his version of the cosmological argument in a debate on BBC Radio in 1947. His argument is shorter than Aquinas', but the reasoning is similar. Copleston reformulated the argument by concentrating on contingency. He said that we know that there are some things that do not hold within themselves their reason for being. Copleston's term for these are 'might-not-have-beens'. He said that everything in this world is dependent. Copleston said that there must be a full and complete explanation for the universe. The universe is not self-explanatory. It relies on something else. There are things in the universe which are contingent, they might have not existed. E.g. you would have not existed if your parents had not met. All things in the world are like this, nothing in the world is self-explanatory, and everything depends on something else for its existence. ...read more.


He preferred to believe that the universe had no cause. 'I should say that the universe had no cause'. By doing so there is no need to ask the question Why is the universe here? This also means that there is no danger of coming up with the answer 'God'. Bertrand Russell argued that Copleston like Aquinas before him makes a big jump from individual causes within the universe to one cause for the universe. He said you cannot move form individual causes to claim that the totality of all this has no cause. Just because humans have a mother it does not meant has the universe has a mother. Russell went on to argue that if the universe has o have an explanation then God has to have an explanation. Why should God be self-explanatory in a way that the universe cannot. I don't think that the cosmological argument can stand up to David Humes' and Russell Bertrand's objections because there are some things that the supporters of the cosmological argument cannot reply to such as the fact that why should God be self-explanatory in a way that the universe cannot be. At this point of this argument supporters are silent. This argument is mainly for people who already believe in God and believe that he is the creator of the universe. However to people who don't believe in God I don't think this is a very good argument to prove Gods existence as it has gaps in it. ?? ?? ?? ?? Louise Hempton Philosophy TG1 Miss Godsil ...read more.

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