Explain the features and origins of the Cosmological Argument (35)
The existence of God is one of the greatest unsolved questions of humanity. For centuries theologians and philosophers have formulated arguments, including the cosmological argument. This argument claims that all things in nature depend on something else for their existence (i.e. are contingent), and that the whole cosmos must therefore itself depend on a being which exists independently or necessarily. 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. God has necessary existence, therefore God is the first cause of the contingent universe's existence.
The cosmological argument is posteriori, meaning it is derived by reasoning from observed facts. The argument is also synthetic, as it requires physical evidence, and it is inductive. An inductive argument is an argument that is intended by the arguer merely to establish or increase the probability of its conclusion. This is because it is often used primarily to justify the faith of those that are already theists, especially in the case of Aquinas. The Greek word ‘cosmos’ was coined by the philosopher Pythagoras to refer to the order of the universe. The actual cosmological argument for the existence of God was first put forward by Plato. For Plato God is timeless, spaceless and unchanging in contrast to this fleeting world. However, the most famous proponent of this argument is Aquinas. He wrote about it in Summa Theologica and three of his Five Ways deal with cosmology: The Unmoved Mover, The Uncaused Causer and Possibility and Necessity.