• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God 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 GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. "If God made the world, then he must be absent without leave!" Write an ...

    This is because from a watch with such intricate design, it is apparent that many different materials have been combined together to produce the watch, and even if one part of the watch failed to work, it would affect the working condition of the entire watch.

  2. Outline the key features of the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God

    Thomas Aquinas based his '5 ways' on the studies of Greek philosophy; philosophers like Aristotle and Plato who also argued that motion and change are bought about by something external to the things they happen to. He used the details of change, causation, contingency, variation and purpose, and based to base his '5 ways' on.

  1. What does it mean to say that God is 'necessary?'

    cannot be infinite regress: a chain of events cannot go back to the beginning of time, because then 'What caused the Big Bang?'.. Science seeks to know how the universe works. But it cannot answer the question, "Why the universe?"

  2. How far does Swinburne's argument for the existence of God based on religious experience ...

    Although, according to the principle of creduality, if Freud and Marx could prove that people were reflecting their needs as a Human beings and that religion was purely illusory, then Swinburnes argument fails. However, if they cannot prove this then Swinburne's argument succeeds quite well.

  1. The Nature of God Religious Studies Coursework. I am going to explain, discuss and ...

    In Exodus 3:3 God refuses to reveal his name to Moses and once again in Exodus 19:14 when Moses is blinded by fog when he goes to meet God. This is the basis of the Christian thinking that God is different from anything we can ever experience and he is

  2. The design argument depends on key assumptions, in particular that the order in the ...

    Therefore as we do not live in a perfect world either God is not a good designer or he does not exist. His final criticism was that the organized universe may also be the result of a comic accident. It can not be proved that it was not an accident.

  1. 'An analysis of arguments for the existence of God will result in valid philosophical ...

    Religious experiences can take many forms, but Caroline Franks Davies has defined them as 'something akin to sensory experience' or simply 'experiences which the subjects themselves describe in religious terms or are intrinsically religious'. Richard Swinburne has also divided them up into 'public' and 'private' experiences - the difference, for

  2. Consider Crittically the Arguments against the DesignArgument Deomonstrating the Existence of God and assess ...

    For us to know that an orderly universe has arisen from intelligence and thought, we would have had to experience the origin of the world. The question is whether similar effects could have actually been the result of different causes. The third point in Hume's criticisms is other possible analogies.

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