Who first considered the argument?
Who was Thomas Aquinas?
a Christian living in the Middle Ages who believed that faith and logic were compatible
What did Aquinas write?
Summa Theologica where he outlines the 5 ways to prove God’s existence. Only the first 3 are in his cosmological argument.
What kind of argument is it?
A posteriori- based on experience (of cause and effect)
-Motion and Change
The unmoved mover, prime mover- must have moved everything else and not been moved by anything else- God
The chain of movements cannot go back infinitely, but must have had a beginning
It must have been moved by the unmoved mover
Everything is moving from potential to actual e.g. heat applied to wood makes it actual, but the wood merely has potential to be hot
Movement is caused by something actual changing something which is potential to being actual
Chain of cause and effect cannot infinitely regress
Therefore there must have been an uncaused cause -God
Everything that exists has a cause e.g. Geometry book- cannot go back infinitely
At some point there has to be a first cause because nothing is caused by nothing or it would have to have existed before if existed
Everything in the world is contingent (dependant on something else)
If everything at one time did not exist there would never had been anything in existence, since contingent things cannot bring themselves into existence
Therefore there must be a being that does not rely in anything else for its existence but exists necessarily, that brought contingent beings into existence
This necessary being must be God
Who was Frederick Coppleston?
Radio debate with Bertrand Russell-1948
He revived Aquinas’ argument on contingency
Things in the universe which are contingent
Therefore therefore there must be a being outside of space and time
Which is non contingent and necessary
Who was Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716)?
Accepted the cosmological argument because he believed in sufficient reason for universe to exist
He devised the geometry book example
What does the cosmological argument try to answer?
- where did the universe come from?
- why does the universe exist?
Did Aquinas believe that the cosmological proved the existence of the Christian God?
It supports the existence of GOD but not the Christian God because you need the Bible to do that
Who was David Hume?
Challenge to cosmological argument
There is no evidence for the universe
Fallacy of composition- ‘leap of logic’ -induction people presume
Even if there was a cause is it the God of classical theism
Aquinas contradicts- If everything has a cause why doesn’t God?
Who was Bertrand Russell?
Brute fact argument against cosmological argument
No evidence for a being with necessary existence
Leap cannot be made between cause of things in the universe to the universe itself having a cause
If everything needs a cause why doesn’t God
Who was Immanuel Kant?
Kant argued against cosmological argument
Cannot apply evidence to something we’ve not experienced, we see cause and effect in this world but we cannot transfer that to the creation of the universe that we have not seen
Outline Kalam Cosmological Argument
1st premise-whatever begins to exist has a cause
2nd premise-the universe began to exist (infinity concept)
Therefore the universe has a cause
If the universe had a beginning then this was caused or un-caused (natural occurrence or choice made)
As the rules of nature did not exist before the beginning of the universe it cannot be natural
The cause of the universe must be a personal being/agent who freely choose to create the world ex nihilo (out of nothing)
Who revived the Kalam Cosmological argument?
William Lane Craig
What were the criticisms of Leibniz and Copleston?
David Hume- can account for single instances of cause and effect but an overall cause to the universe goes beyond the evidence- fallacy of composition
Bertrand Russell- following logic of cosmological argument, you could say that because all men have a mother, there must be a mother to all men. This is illogical. What is true of parts is not necessarily true of the whole.
If God is the sufficient explanation what is the sufficient explanation to God?
What are the responses to the criticisms of the cosmological argument?
J.L Mackie on infinite regress- analogy of infinite number of train carriages, infinite number of these still requires an engine to inject energy
Reply to Russell’s brute fact- to ignore how reworks arose is to reject a fundamental question to human existence
Objection to the plurality of arguments- Ockham’s razor
Objection to quantum physics- William Lane Craig argues that electrons do not pass in and out of existence without a cause but are influenced by vacuum fluctuations
Objection to concept of infinity- infinity is an unproven concept
What are the strengths of the cosmological argument?
Provides a solution to a deep philosophical question
Follows philosophically sound logic (inductive logic)
It is an example of natural theology compliments revealed theology
The argument is grounded in experience
Provides evidence that confirms the characteristics of the God of classical theism
Supports scientific findings e.g. Big Bang Theory
What are the scientific arguments against cosmological argument?
- Anthony Kenny
Anthony Kenny- (1931-) rejects Aquinas’ 1st way of motion and change because he argues that Newton’s law of motion disproves Aquinas- movement can be explained by a body’s own image inertia from previous motions. It is possible for objects to have motion as well as being in a state of rest. “Newton’s law wrecks the argument of the first way”. Humans may be a great but still undergo change e.g. aging or blood pressure change.
What are the scientific arguments against cosmological argument?
-Steady State Theory and Big Bang Theory
Steady state theory rejects 3rd way of contingency by suggesting that the universe is eternal and denies ‘the beginning of the universe’. Opposite view to creationism as it teaches no beginning or end to the universe. There is no change in appearance of the universe as new galaxies fill the place of old ones as the universe expands.
Big Bang Theory was used for proof against God or for God. In place of steady state theory and it does suggest that God as prime mover is wrong if the universe that seems to be a sustainer of the universe that ensured it developed and continued.
Criticisms of Aquinas’ theory?
Infinite regress rejected- Aquinas has little justification
Bertrand Russell- brute fact- to provide an answer is to provide unnecessary meaning and purpose to the world
Inductive leap- first cause jumps to God of classical theism
Contradiction- everything needs a cause but God doesn’t
Plurality of causes- maybe there us a cause of the world but there may be many
Notion of a necessary, unique being is a logical impossibility from our own experience
If we assign necessity to God, it is no longer presenting an a posteriori argument or one which is logical
Idea of a necessary being is unverifiable and beyond what we know
Aquinas’ argument depends upon the belief, not demonstration that an infinite regress is possible