Arguments For God’s Existence: Cosmological

Anthony Weber —  February 11, 2012 — 5 Comments
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Arguments for the existence of God have taken many forms over the centuries.  At stake are the answers to the ultimate questions of life: Who are we? Why are we here?  Where are we going? And why does it matter anyway?  With those questions in mind, I will take the  next several posts to overview some of the key traditional arguments for the existence of God.

THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

  The Argument from Contingency provides the basis for all cosmological arguments. Formally stated, the argument states that things exist; it is possible for those things to not exist; whatever does not necessarily exist has been caused to exist; there cannot be an infinite regress of causes; therefore, there must be an uncaused cause.[5] One can posit steady-state theory, alternative universes, or an infinite regress of causes as alternatives, but ultimately one comes back to the contingency of all that can be observed in a closed universe.

The Cosmological Argument itself seeks to address the originating cause and the conserving cause of the universe.  It can be traced back to Plato, who argued that the existence of motion implies a self-originated motion. Aristotle also believed there was an Unmoved Mover who set the matter in motion.  This is the horizontal, or kalamargument, since it discusses the beginning of the universe rather than the nature of its existence. 

The kalam argument was further developed by the Muslim philosophers Alfarabi and Avicenna (kalam is Arabic for “eternal”). Alfarabi first articulated that there are beings whose very nature requires existence. Avicenna went on to explain that the First Cause of the universe must be one of Alfarabi’s necessary beings.[1]

Thomas Aquinas developed the quinque viae, or five proofs of God, three of which are cosmological. Aquinas argued that since every being is either dependent or self-existent, and not every being can be dependent, there must exist a self-existent being, or an uncaused cause.  He also used the Argument from Motion, which states that since things in motion cannot start themselves, and there cannot be an infinite regression of movers, there must be an Unmoved Mover. Closely related to this is the argument from Efficient Causality, which says there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. If everything were contingent, then there must have been a time when nothing existed, since contingent beings do not require existence; therefore, since one cannot get something from nothing, there must be a Necessary Being[2].

In Monologion, Anselm used degrees of perfection to argue that good things that exist must come from a Supreme Good;  in his most cosmological approach, he argued that since things exist, they owe their existence to something, which must be a One that is necessary and perfect.[3]

Descartes later revived the Cosmological Argument, breaking it into two parts. His first argument states that the idea of God is within me; there must be a cause that put it there; the causal chain cannot be infinite; therefore, there must be an uncaused cause.

Descartes second argument stated that either the cause of this idea is the individual or something else. It is not the individual, because individuals do not possess the highest degree of perfection; therefore, the cause of the idea of God is another being which possesses the highest degree of reality – i.e, God.[4]

        Critics of the Cosmological Argument have pointed out several problems with this argument. First, this empirically-based argument eventually offers a non-empirical Cause.   Second, Democritus suggested that motion (and therefore matter) could be eternal; in other words, causal processes could be infinite.

Proponents respond that if the eternality of motion implies an eternality of the created world, the universe would already have fallen apart based upon entropy as explained in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. There cannot be unlimited age, size, or an infinite regress of universes (the Steady-State Theory) for these reasons. Therefore, there must be a non-empirical, uncaused cause outside the realm of nature.

Other proponents of this argument address the continuation rather than the cause of the universe: “It is enough that there is a world.”[6]   The very question of why there is something rather than nothing has yet to be answered by critics. As Dr. Michael Sudduth has pointed out, “The Cosmological Argument may simply be arguing that the universe, whether finite or infinite in age, must have a (sustaining) cause for its existence.  Why does anything exist at all?”[7]

(Part 2: Arguments for God’s Existence  – The Teleological)


[1] Geisler, Norman. “Cosmological Argument.” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002), 161.

[2] Reese, William R. “St. Thomas Aquinas.” Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion. (Amherst: Humanity Books, 1999).

[3] Geisler “Cosmological Argument,” 160.

[4] Catudel, Dr. Jacque N. “Descarte’s Version of the Cosmological Argument.” Drexel University, PHIL 391-001: Philosophy of Religion. 2003. Internet.  Available from www.catudal.org/cosmological.htm.  Accessed April 23, 2003.

[5] “The Cosmological Argument.” Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.  2002. Internet.  Available from www.carm.org/apologetics/cosmological.htm.  Accessed April 23, 2003.

[6] Paul Edwards, ed. “Cosmological Argument.” The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Volume 2. (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1967), 232.

[7] Sudduth, Dr. Michael. “Why Does the Universe Exist?” 2003.Internet. Accessed May 23, 2003.  Available from www.homestead.com/philofreligion/files/CosmologicalArgument.html.

Anthony Weber

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Anthony graduated from Cedarville University in 1995 with a degree in English Education, and from Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana in 2004 with a Master's Degree in Theology and Philosophy. Anthony is a husband and father of three, an author ("Learning to Jump Again"), high school and college teacher, pastor, blogger (tcapologetics.org, empiresandmangers.blogspot.com), and co-founder of etcetera, a "street-level philosophy group" in Traverse City, Michigan.
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  • Гусейн Гурбанов Азербайджан

    Logically complete cosmological concept. /due to lack of knowledge of the English language was not able to correct the translation Implemented by Google/

    In order to present the unlimited space originally:

    1. homogeneous – enough to postulate the presence in it of two elements with Simple and Complex /closed systematically/

    2. heterogeneous – enough to postulate the presence in it of one more element – the Most High and Almighty God – with open systematically.

    It is easy to assume that even at the lowest possible deployment of the intangible component of the essence of God – the Spirit of God – for the level of the original downwardly directed the permanent deployment of the material component of the essence of God, there is a curtailment of Simple and Complex /i.e.. It is their decay due to blocking of origin upwardly directed constantly deploy intangible components of the entity / as much as possible heterogeneous to God’s essence minimum possible number of cell uniformity (1H), and God on the basis of the material components of the 1H deploys the minimum possible heterogeneous to its essence as possible numerically elemental homogeneity (2H). Coagulation process will begin in 2H known God start time since the completion of its deployment. curtailment of the Spirit of God to the level of initial deployment again unfolds 1H – God potential for transformation 1H into 2H and 1H into 2H limitless!