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What are the key ideas of the cosmological argument for the existence of God?

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The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God a) What are the key ideas of the cosmological argument for the existence of God? (7) The cosmological argument for the existence of God is based on the belief that there is a first cause behind the existence of the universe (the cosmos.) It is an a posteriori argument based on what can be seen in the world and the universe, so uses inductive reasoning, bringing us to a probable conclusion as it is not logically necessary. It has taken many forms, and been presented in many ways through Plato who said that 'every created thing must be created by some cause', Aristotle, St Thomas Aquinas and William Lane Craig. It appears to answer the question of how the universe began, why it was created and who created it. Three key ideas, expressed through Aquinas' 'Five Ways', are motion, causation and contingency. Along with these is the principle of sufficient reason, developed by Leibniz, and the modern kalam argument from Craig, which seeks to prove that God was the first cause of the universe. The first three of St Thomas Aquinas' 'Five Ways' are popular in presenting three essential ideas of the cosmological argument. ...read more.


However, this conclusion is reached in various different ways, using the key ideas from Aquinas, Leibniz and Craig. b) Identify the main strengths of this argument. (7) The cosmological argument has strength in that it is both simple and logical and fits in with what we understand of the world in which we live, accepting the scientific world of cause and effect. Other main strengths are its perennial value and the theory of 'Ockham's Razor.' It is essentially a successful argument, but whether you agree or not with it is purely down to opinion. Supporters of the argument point out that 'God is unique' and the 'laws of nature do not apply to God.' As an a posteriori argument the cosmological argument is based on experience which confirms everything has a cause, and also what can be seen in the world and the universe. Inductive reasoning is used, where a conclusion is reached by linking observations of cause and effect. Despite the fact the conclusion is not logically necessary, it is more likely to be correct the more evidence-stating factors are employed and as the proofs are based on premises argued or drawn from experience it is important to focus on the acceptable premises. ...read more.


However, I believe that the weakness do outweigh the strengths as the proof merely leads to a probsble conclusion as there is no analytic, logically necessary reason why God should have been the cause of the universe and not anything else. The premises are not logically necessary either as there is no driving reason to agree 'all events require a cause.' We base the latter on regular experience, which can be deceptive, limited and open to many interpretations. Although a main strength seems to be the arguments perennial value, this could be seen as a weakness as its ongoing value could be due to faults in it, which is why people have to keep questioning it through time. The strength of 'Ockham's razor' can also be turned into a weakness, as choosing the simplest theory may not work as you end up missing out important detail, essential in the argument, and it may ignore certain aspects. Despite an ample number of strengths, the cosmological argument on its own is not enough to prove the existence of God, and would need to be supported by other solid evidence. It has many more weaknesses than strengths, backed up by philosophical critics of the arguments and the fact it merely points to a possibility of God. Caroline Neal 12M ...read more.

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