The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God
The cosmological argument seeks to prove the existence of God by
looking at the universe. It is an A posteriori proof based on
experience and the observation of the world not logic so the outcome
is probable or possible not definite. The argument is in three forms;
motion, causation and being. These are also the first three ways in
the five ways presented by Aquinas through which he believed the
existence of God could be shown. Aquinas regarded Aristotle as the
principal philosopher so many of these concepts originate in the
thinking of Aristotle.
One example of the cosmological argument is the argument of causation.
Everything has a cause. Everything itself has a cause. But, you cannot
have an infinite number of causes. Therefore there must have been an
uncaused causer, which causes everything to happen without itself
being caused by anything else. Such an uncaused cause is what people
understand by 'God'.
This idea was revisited by William Lane Craig who developed the Kalam
cosmological argument. He reinforced the contention that the universe
must have had a creator by firstly proving that the universe if
finite. He proves this by explaining that the present would not exist
in an actual infinite universe, because successive additions cannot be
added to an actual infinite. The present does exist, as a result of a
chronological series of past events. The universe must be finite.
Craig seeks to prove that the universe must have had a beginning in
time and that there must have been a creator who was uncaused. The
Kalam argument makes the cosmological argument of causation stronger
in that it firstly makes the idea of an infinite universe seem
unacceptable and not at all logical. Therefore, it is more believable
that the universe had a beginning and a personal creator.
The third of Aquinas' ways is the argument of contingency. The world
consists of contingent items- items that have a property are items
referred to as 'being.' These items are generated and perish; they
have a beginning and an end. There must have once been a time when
nothing existed. But then how did these items come into being? There
must be something or someone able to bring other items into being
without itself being...