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PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD Arguments for the Justification of Theism: Cosmological, Moral, Design (Teleological) and Ontological.

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Presentation on theme: "PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD Arguments for the Justification of Theism: Cosmological, Moral, Design (Teleological) and Ontological."— Presentation transcript:

1 PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD Arguments for the Justification of Theism: Cosmological, Moral, Design (Teleological) and Ontological

2 COSMOLOGICAL Basic Notion, The First Three of Thomas Aquinas’ “Five Ways,” The Kalam Cosmological Argument

3 Basic Notion The basic notion of the cosmological argument is that the world and everything in it is dependent on something other than itself for its existence. In other words, despite the fact that the world seems to be self-perpetuating one needs to consider the source of all that there is. The basic notion of the cosmological argument is that the world and everything in it is dependent on something other than itself for its existence. In other words, despite the fact that the world seems to be self-perpetuating one needs to consider the source of all that there is. The cosmological argument not only seeks to reason the existence of God, but could also be said to provide meaning to life in the world. The cosmological argument not only seeks to reason the existence of God, but could also be said to provide meaning to life in the world. The idea of “beginnings” is based on a linear view of time in which there was a temporal “beginning.” What has been will never be again. This stands in contrast to a cyclical view of time (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism). The idea of “beginnings” is based on a linear view of time in which there was a temporal “beginning.” What has been will never be again. This stands in contrast to a cyclical view of time (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism).

4 Aquinas’ “Five Ways” Thomas Aquinas ( CE) was a scholastic Catholic theologian during the middle ages. Thomas Aquinas ( CE) was a scholastic Catholic theologian during the middle ages. His major contribution to theology is Summa Theologica, a work that is divided into questions, statements of possible objections to his maxims and response articles. His major contribution to theology is Summa Theologica, a work that is divided into questions, statements of possible objections to his maxims and response articles. Aquinas was highly dependent on the philosophical thought of Aristotle who argued (from astronomy) that things change and that the things that have changed require necessarily an unchanging source. Aquinas was highly dependent on the philosophical thought of Aristotle who argued (from astronomy) that things change and that the things that have changed require necessarily an unchanging source. Aquinas offered “five ways” for establishing the existence of God. Aquinas offered “five ways” for establishing the existence of God. Throughout his arguments Aquinas assumes the existence of God who is uncreated (self-existing) and independent (non-contingent) of the universe and its processes. Throughout his arguments Aquinas assumes the existence of God who is uncreated (self-existing) and independent (non-contingent) of the universe and its processes.

5 The First Way 1.Everything changes. Planetary motion, e.g., causes seasonal change. An unmoved mover is required to sustain the order of things. “…nothing can be moved from a state of potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality…it is impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e., that it should move itself…it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, moves by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.”

6 The Second Way 2.The notion of cause and effect means that you cannot have the latter (effect) without the former (cause), or what Aquinas referred to as “efficient cause.” There cannot be an endless regression of cause and effect thus there must be a first cause which is God. “Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, or intermediate, cause. But, if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all this is plainly false…It is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name God.”

7 The Third Way 2.Things exist in the world, but they need not exist. There was a time before certain things existed and there will be a time when they will no longer exist. There must also have been a time when nothing existed. Objects have contingent existence (they can or cannot exist) but only God has necessary existence (God must exist). Thus if God did not exist, nothing else would exist. This argument follows on an ex-nihilo assertion of God’s creation of the world. “ If everything can not-be, then at one time there was nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist begins to exist only through something already existing…We cannot but admit the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in other their necessity. This all men speak of as God.”

8 The Kalam Cosmological Argument “Kalam” is Arabic for “to argue,” or “to discuss.” “Kalam” is Arabic for “to argue,” or “to discuss.” To understand the Kalam argument, one must understand some definitions: To understand the Kalam argument, one must understand some definitions: Infinite: That which has no beginning or end and thus contains all its possibilities. Infinite: That which has no beginning or end and thus contains all its possibilities. Potential Infinite: Something which is not infinite now (it is in the process of becoming infinite) Potential Infinite: Something which is not infinite now (it is in the process of becoming infinite) Actual infinite: Something which is infinite now (it is complete) Actual infinite: Something which is infinite now (it is complete)

9 Kalam… The Kalam cosmological argument originated with Christian theologians who sough to challenge the Greek doctrine of the eternity of matter. It was later developed by medieval Islamic and Jewish theologians. Essentially the Kalam argument challenges the idea of an infinite universe and ultimately leads to the possibility of God. The Kalam cosmological argument originated with Christian theologians who sough to challenge the Greek doctrine of the eternity of matter. It was later developed by medieval Islamic and Jewish theologians. Essentially the Kalam argument challenges the idea of an infinite universe and ultimately leads to the possibility of God.

10 Kalam… William Lane Craig (an Evangelical Christian Theologian) sets the argument on the following premises: William Lane Craig (an Evangelical Christian Theologian) sets the argument on the following premises: Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence. The universe began to exist. The universe began to exist. To support the validity of the above there are also subsidiary arguments… To support the validity of the above there are also subsidiary arguments…

11 Kalam… The Impossibility of an Actual Infinite: The Impossibility of an Actual Infinite: An actual infinite cannot exist. An actual infinite cannot exist. An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. The Impossibility of the Formation of an Actual Infinite by Successive Addition: The Impossibility of the Formation of an Actual Infinite by Successive Addition: A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.\ The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.\ Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite. Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite. THEREFORE, The Universe has a Cause of its Existence (Craig asserts that the cause is God) THEREFORE, The Universe has a Cause of its Existence (Craig asserts that the cause is God)

12 Kalam Summary In short, the Kalam argument questions the possibility of the universe being infinite for two main reasons: In short, the Kalam argument questions the possibility of the universe being infinite for two main reasons: It is not possible that the universe has no beginning yet present events are leading toward infinity. Either the universe is actually infinite now or it is not. It cannot be … = Infinity. It is not possible that the universe has no beginning yet present events are leading toward infinity. Either the universe is actually infinite now or it is not. It cannot be … = Infinity. It is not possible that the universe is potentially infinite as this means moments are being added. This implies that there was a starting point in the past (you add to something). If this is the case then the universe is not infinite but is finite and has a beginning. It is not possible that the universe is potentially infinite as this means moments are being added. This implies that there was a starting point in the past (you add to something). If this is the case then the universe is not infinite but is finite and has a beginning.

13 MORAL ARGUMENT Aquinas’ Fourth Way

14 The Fourth Way 4.We can see in the world degrees of perfection and goodness. We know these degrees because we can compare them with the maximum in any genus (genus = group of things). As humans have the capacity for both good and bad deeds they cannot be the source of all goodness. The maximum in the genus of morality must be God (the most perfect being), who is the “first cause,” or source of all goodness and perfection. “Therefore, there must be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and other perfection; and this we call God.”

15 THE (INTELLIGENT) DESIGN-TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT Aquinas’ Fifth Way and Paley’s Watch

16 The Fifth Way 5.Nature points to the notion of order in that things seem to have an innate sense of purpose (design?). We know that nothing that has purpose does so without the aid of a “guiding hand” (e.g., an archer shooting an arrow at a target). Even inanimate objects, such as planets, could not have ordered themselves as they lack the “intelligence” to do so. They must have been ordered by a Being with intelligence (which could be God). “Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence…Therefore, some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.”

17 Paley’s Watch The leading proponent of this Design Argument was William Paley (1743 ‑ 1805), who was looking to science and philosophy for a sure proof of God’s existence, in the wake of Enlightenment attacks on the historicity of the Bible. The leading proponent of this Design Argument was William Paley (1743 ‑ 1805), who was looking to science and philosophy for a sure proof of God’s existence, in the wake of Enlightenment attacks on the historicity of the Bible.

18 Paley’s Watch… A watch shows that it was put together for an intelligent purpose. A watch shows that it was put together for an intelligent purpose. It has a spring to give it motion. It has a spring to give it motion. It has a series of wheels to transmit this motion. It has a series of wheels to transmit this motion. The front cover is of glass so that one can see through it. The front cover is of glass so that one can see through it.

19 Paley’s Watch The world shows an even greater evidence of design than a watch. The world shows an even greater evidence of design than a watch. The world is a greater work of art than a watch. The world is a greater work of art than a watch. The world has more subtle and complex design than a watch. The world has more subtle and complex design than a watch. The world has an endless variety of means adapted to ends. The world has an endless variety of means adapted to ends. Therefore, if a watch calls for a watchmaker, then the world must have a Designer. Therefore, if a watch calls for a watchmaker, then the world must have a Designer.

20 ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT Basic Notion, Summary, Anselm’s Mind Blowing Argument

21 Basic Notion Ontological arguments for the existence of God from the premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation from the world, e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists. Ontological arguments for the existence of God from the premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation from the world, e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists. Anselm of Canterbury (11 th Century C.E.) in his work Poslogion claims to derive the existence of God from the concept of a “being than which no greater can be conceived.” Anselm of Canterbury (11 th Century C.E.) in his work Poslogion claims to derive the existence of God from the concept of a “being than which no greater can be conceived.”

22 Summary of Views 1.God is a being which has every perfection. Existence is a perfection. Therefore, God exists. 2.The word “God” has a meaning that is revealed in religious experience. The word “God” has a meaning only if God exists. Hence, God exists. 3.I exist. Therefore something exists. Whenever a bunch of things exist, their mereological sum also exists. Therefore the sum of all things exists. Therefore God, the sum of all things, exists.

23 Anselm’s Mind-Blowing Argument “I can conceive of a being than which no greater can be conceived. If a being than which no greater can be conceived does not exist, then I can conceive of a being greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived, namely, a being than which no greater can be conceived that exists. I cannot conceive of a being greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived. Hence, a being than which no greater can be conceived exists.” “I can conceive of a being than which no greater can be conceived. If a being than which no greater can be conceived does not exist, then I can conceive of a being greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived, namely, a being than which no greater can be conceived that exists. I cannot conceive of a being greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived. Hence, a being than which no greater can be conceived exists.”


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