• 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...


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.

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. Identify the main strengths of the Cosmological Argument

    There must have been a first cause to the Universe one, which created itself. One criticism is saying that beings come and go but the energy and matter of which they are made stay with us. That is true because energy cannot be destroyed or created only moved.

  2. The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument

    The cosmological argument states that everything that exists has a cause for its existence. The universe exists therefore the universe has a cause of its existence. If the universe has a cause of its existence than this cause must be the necessary being i.e.

  1. 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.

  2. Examine the key features of the cosmological argument for the existence of God St ...

    Hume used a famous example to back up his theory of cause: 'Every man who exists has a mother, and it seems to me your argument is therefore saying the human race must have a mother, but obviously the human race hasn't a mother' This Hume believed show that the

  1. The Cosmological Argument

    Therefore we cannot talk about the universe being created. He said that we have no experience of universes being made, and so we cannot speak meaningfully about the creation of the universe. To move from 'everything we observe has a cause' to 'the universe has a cause' is too big a leap in logic.

  2. What are the main strengths and weaknesses of teleological argument for the existence of ...

    If God does stands behind such a world, he is something far more mysterious than simply a clever watchmaker. Also, if some of the universe seems well designed, there is much of it, which is bad design, such as painful childbirth and death by accident.

  1. Using Inductive and Deductive arguments, is it possible to prove the existence of God?

    Deductive arguments are limited to areas of logic and mathematics, and in order to prove something a logically valid is required. Rationality or 'reason' is an important idea in logic and mathematics. One of the key ideas to do with proof is 'rationality' - that a proof will convince any reasonable person.

  2. What are the key features of the design argument for the existence of God? ...

    man made object; and this comparison is a key feature of Paley's argument. Arthur Brown argued the teleological argument from design qua purpose; one example3 includes his argument on the o-zone layer. He argues that the o-zone layer has a purpose, which is to filter out the sun's ultraviolet radiation; this in consequence protects life on earth from certain death.

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