2 What is the cosmological argument? Learning ObjectivesTo know the basics of the cosmological argumentTo know who Aquinas wasTo understand how Aquinas was influenced by Aristotle
3 StarterWrite as many causes of the following as you can think of (there will be more than one)A plane to take offYou to be sitting here nowRain to fallYou to do well in an examA film to win an OscarA novel to be published
4 Basic argument Everything that exists has a cause The universe must have a causeThat cause is GodAn explanation of why there is something rather than nothing
5 The God of classical theism How would you describe God?Eternal and separate from time and spaceCreated and is outside time and spaceUniqueOmniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent, omnipresentImmutable (unchanging)
6 The classical cosmological argument Also known as the ‘First Cause argument’The existence of God is an a posteriori premise.Why?The argument is a posterioriBased on what can be seen in the world and the universe
7 The starting point Observation of our world Movement, change, causationThere is always something existing in our world rather than nothingSeeks to prove that the universe (cosmos) and all that is in it has a cause and that cause is God.
11 But everything is caused by something else… A B C Forever?A is caused by BB is caused by CIs this chain of cause and effect infinite?
12 Potentiality and Actuality There are two states of being:Potentiality – the possibility of doing something or becoming something.Actuality – when potential is achieved.
13 For example ...You have the potential to achieve a grade A in AS Religious Studies.It is not yet actualised because you haven’t achieved it yet.Just because there is the potential does not mean it will definitely be actualised.You have to work hard to achieve that A!
14 Potentiality and Actuality The sperm and the egg have the potential to become ...
15 But something needs to cause the sperm and the egg to change from potentiality to actuality. It cannot happen on its own.We will return to this ...
16 Aristotle and the Prime Mover Aristotle: BCAll movement depends on there being a moverMovement = changeGrowth, melting, cooling, heatingArgued for a chain of events
17 A common source ... ... of all substances Someone/something responsible for the beginning of everythingAn eternal substanceExists necessarilyImmune to change, decay, and deathAn ‘unmoved mover’
19 AristotleWas interested in the movement from potentiality to actuality…He thought that everything single thing that is actualised has four causes.MaterialFormalEfficientFinal
20 Material CauseThe things out of which an object is created.
21 The Formal CauseThe expression, idea or plan that led to the creation of an object.
22 Efficient CauseThe way in which an object is created.
23 The Final CauseThe aim for which an object is created.
24 And the Prime Mover? Not an efficient cause, but a final cause Does not start things off but is the purpose or end of the movementTeleos – end or goal
25 Why not an efficient cause? The Prime Mover would be affected by giving a pushBut he/it isn’t!Movement by attraction
26 So who IS the Prime Mover? The Prime Mover is perfectAll in this universe desire to be perfectAll are attracted to the Prime Mover because all want to share in this perfectionFor Aristotle the Prime Mover is God.
27 So is this the God of classical theism? Aristotle argues that:God did not create the universeGod did not sustain the universeGod did not act in the universeGod had no interest in the universeGod contemplates himselfGod is supremely perfect and has no interest in the universe
29 St Thomas Aquinas11th century Italian Dominican friar, priest, philosopher and theologianWrote Summa TheologicaWhat do assumptions do you think Aquinas might have made about God?
30 The three waysAquinas put forward 5 ways to prove the existence of GodThe first three make up the cosmological argumentMotion/changeCauseContingency
31 Infinite regress Important concept Unlimited number of past events Aquinas said it was NOT possibleThere must have been a beginning: a first eventAquinas rejected infinite regressMost hotly debated part of the argument
32 1st argument: from change (motion) Things don’t just start changing out of nowhereRemember, no infinite regressionMust have been something that started the changesAn unmoved moverAristotle called this ...?Aquinas called it God
33 Wood and fire The need for an external influence If wood could make itself hot then it would be hot to begin withWood as it stands = actualityFire can make it hot = potentialityDo we need anything else in the chain?
34 “It is necessary to arrive at a first mover moved by no other; and this everyone understands to be God’
35 In simple terms ... Nothing can change/move by itself If we are going to have change we need a changerInfinite regress is not possibleSo there MUST be an unmoved mover
36 2nd argument: from cause Chain of causesMust have been a first causeThis first cause is what we call ‘God’
37 Why? You did not cause yourself to come into being Something / someone else caused your existenceFirst cause?First human?First primate?First life form?
38 An uncaused cause“Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God’
39 In simple terms ...Everything has a cause ... even a cause has a causeSomething had to make that first cause happen. That something is what we know as ‘God’.
40 3rd argument: from contingency (necessity) Let’s get the keywords sorted!ContingentSomething that is dependent on something elseSomething that could not beWe are contingentNecessaryNot generatable or corruptibleCannot NOT be in existence
42 They exist now ... But they DIDN’T always exist And they WON’T always exist“It is impossible for these always to exist, for that which can not-be at the same time is not.”
43 Nothing comes from nothing Yet, right now, there IS somethingTherefore there must ALWAYS have been somethingRules out contingent beings – why?MUST have been something necessary
44 So what was there? No infinite regress, remember? Must be one ... UncausedNecessary thingHas its cause in itselfCauses all other contingent thingsAnd this we call ‘God’
45 And WHAT God? The God of classical theism Created the world Sustains the worldWithout whom we would not have motion, change, cause and effect, or contingent thingsWithout whom we would have nothing at all
46 Baseline assessmentOutline and explain the three ways in which Aquinas claims to prove the existence of God. (AO1 – 30)“Aquinas has proven that God exists” To what extent do you agree with this claim? (AO2 – 15)
49 The argument developed Learning objectivesTo know the criticisms of the argument from Hume, Kant, and RussellTo be able to explain why they objected to Aquinas’ arguments
50 The Principle of Sufficient Reason Gottfried Liebniz ( )You could have gone to ANY school. What are the reasons for you being here?
51 The Principle of Sufficient Reason For any contingent substance there must be a sufficient reason or explanation for it being the way that it is
52 Contingent/necessary We are contingent:We depend on other things for our existence.We exist contingentlyIf we didn’t depend on anything else for our existenceWe would exist out of necessityWe would exist necessarily
53 Copleston and Russell BBC Radio debate – January 1948 Focused on the issue of sufficient reason and contingent vs necessary existenceCopleston – Jesuit priestRussell – agnostic philosopher
54 Copleston and Russell Copleston: The chain of contingent beings must stop somewhere: with a necessary beingEach thing must have sufficient reason for its existenceA sufficient reason is an adequate explanation of a thing“An adequate explanation must ultimately be a total explanation to which nothing further could be added”
55 Copleston and Russell Russell: (page 5) No point in questioning the existence of the universeIt has no meaningWhat is the universe? What do we mean?
56 Copleston and Russell The ‘brute fact’ argument (Russell) The universe just isTo ask for an explanation of the existence of everything is to ask for an answer we cannot fully understandA question and answer that are meaninglessThe universe exists: it requires no explanation: it is a brute fact
57 Copleston and Russell Is it meaningless? Is it a brute fact? Secular view – the Big BangThe question is both answerable and intelligibleIs it a brute fact?A cop out? Unsatisfactory?Perhaps there HAS to be some brute facts?
58 Russell 1872-1970 Philosophical logic Study of the specifically philosophical aspects of logicKey philosophical questions re-worded in mathematical termsWhy?Normal (‘everyday’) language can be misleading
59 Russell Fallacy of composition Falsely ascribing the properties of the parts of a whole to the wholeObjects within the universe were created. Therefore the universe was createdJust because you had a mother doesn’t mean the universe had a mother
60 Russell Necessary being God would have to be in a special category of his ownWhere does this category come from?A ‘necessary being’ has no meaningCopleston: you understand the meaning because you are talking about it!
61 Russell – key points Supported infinite regress No need for an explanation: brute factAttributing the properties of the parts to the whole: fallacy of compositionRejected idea of contingency and a necessary being
62 Hume Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) Why go back to a creator? Why not stop at the material world?Simpler to argue for a universe without an outside creator
63 HumeEmpiricistAll knowledge comes from the sensesImagination makes a connection between cause and effectWe think we know more about the world than we really do
64 Hume Aquinas is wrong to make a connection between cause and effect Aquinas observed the world around him and considered the existence of the universeHume argued these are two separate eventsThe mind has made the connectionAquinas made an inductive leap
65 Hume – key points Empiricist – everything from the senses Imagined connection between cause and effectInductive leap
66 KantEmpiricistA cause for everything only applies to the world of sense experienceCannot apply to something we haven’t experiencedGod is outside of time and spaceNo justification for the conclusion that God created the universe
67 Hume vs Russell vs Kant Hume refers to simplicity Simpler not to posit a creator GodRussell refers to meaninglessnessMeaningless to talk about how the universe came to existKant refers to the world of sense experienceCannot apply it to the idea of GodALL agree the cosmological argument FAILS!
69 Understandings of the role of God God as the temporal first causeGod as the sustainer of motion, causation, and existenceGod as the explanation of why there is something rather than nothing
70 God as the temporal first cause Temporal – ‘in time’God at the beginning of time and starting everything offThe universe as a series of events with God positioned right at the beginningSupported by William Lane Craig
71 Two types of causes Cause in fieri Cause in esse Cause brings things into being but is no longer involvedBoat builderCause in esseCause brings a thing into being but needs to remain involved for that thing to continueelectricity
72 In Aquinas’ argumentTraditionally the argument is seen as a cause in fieriA cause stretching back in to pastHaving a temporal first causeGod began the process and can then stop being involvedCopleston disagreed with thisHe says that Aquinas was referring to a cause in esse – a sustainer
73 God as the sustainer of motion, causation and existence Cause in esseGod’s existence is necessary to sustain the existence of everything elseEverything continues to depend on God for its existence
74 God as the explanation of why there is something rather than nothing The fact that there is something needs an explanationInfinite regress provides no explanationThe fact that something exists does not explain its existencePrinciple of sufficient reason suggests the need for an explanationExplanation HAS to be something that stands outside the entire sequence
92 ScienceSince Aquinas’ time science has discovered more about the nature of the universe and how it came to be.Do you think science supports or supposes the argument?
93 Anthony Kenny 1931- How did Aquinas say that things move? Everything is moved by something elseNothing moves itselfGoes against the fact that people and animals move themselves.
94 Newton’s Law of Motion 1st law Kenny says this proves Aquinas wrong A body’s velocity will remain unchanged unless some other force – such as friction – acted upon it.Kenny says this proves Aquinas wrongInertia – amount of resistance to changes in velocityAn object not subject to an external force will move at its current velocity
95 Newton’s Law of Motion 1st law A body’s velocity will remain unchanged unless some other force – such as friction – acted upon it.Hang on. Isn’t this what Aquinas is saying? That there has to be a mover?Not reallyFriction, air resistance, and gravity
96 Newton’s Law of Motion Basically … Motion can be explained by the principle of inertiaThe body’s own previous motionNo external agent involvedNo ‘mover’
97 The steady-state theory Refutes the third waySuggests the universe is eternalDenies a beginning to the universeDeveloped in the 1940s by Sir Fred Hoyle
98 The steady-state theory Says that energy cannot be created and therefore the universe will always weigh the sameEnergy within the universe will be distributedThe universe is uniformShould always look the same from the same place and time
100 The steady-state theory The opposite of creationismNo beginning or end to the universeHas always been there and its appearance does not change over timeYes it is expandingNew galaxies form to fill gaps
101 The steady-state theory What problems does this pose for the cosmological argument?First causeContingency/necessityHOWEVER – generally rejected in favour of the Big Bang theory
102 The Big Bang theoryCan be used to support or oppose the cosmological argumentScientific observation confirms that there WAS a beginning to the universe
103 The Big Bang theory A challenge In support A spontaneous event that is random without reason or causeAquinas says God is mover and cause of the universeIn supportThere must be a reason why it happenedThe universe needs to be sustainedSupports the God of classical theism
107 Actual infinite A set theory Refers to sets or collections of things with an infinite number of members.Not growing towards infinity because already infiniteA part is equal to the whole because it is infinite
108 Actual infinite Infinite set of books in a library A count of even numbered books is equal to the count of all the books
109 Actual infiniteSome philosophers argue that actual infinite numbers can’t existAdd or subtract – still the same numberInfinity + infinity = infinityAn actual infinite is ‘complete’ at all timesSome regard this as illogical
110 Potential infinite Exists if it is always possible to add one more The future is a possible infiniteWhy?More events are always being added to history
111 The kalam cosmological argument Originally a Muslim argument‘kalam’ = ‘argue’ or ‘discuss’Muslim scholars al-Kindi (9th century) and Ghazali ( )It is cosmologicalSeeks to prove that God was the first cause of the universe
112 An argument of two halves The universe had a beginning because it is not infinite and so must have had a creatorThat creator is God
113 William Lane Craig American philosopher: 1949- Focuses on the question of whether nor not the universe had a beginningIn Aquinas’ argument this is taken for grantedOne criticism – assumes that everything except God had a causeWhy can’t the universe not have a cause?
114 William Lane Craig An actual infinite cannot exist in reality. Therefore, an infinite number of events cannot have occurred before the present.Therefore, the universe began to exist.Whatever begins to exist has a cause.Therefore, the universe has a cause.
115 Why did it have to have a beginning? If not then it must consist of a series of events that is actually infinite and not potentially infiniteWhy not?Past events would form a collection of events where each type was numbered the same as othersEg – just as many wars as other events
116 So what is it then?The history of the universe was formed by one event following on from another eventSuccessive additionA collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infiniteTherefore the universe must have had a beginning
117 Argument part 2If the universe had a beginning then the beginning was either caused or uncausedTwo optionsNatural causesLaws of nature didn’t existPersonal being who freely chooses to create the worldGod
118 Ex nihilo Crucial for the argument to work The universe was created ex nihilo‘out of nothing’If so then the beginning of the universe was the beginning of timeMust have been a personal agent existing outside time to start the processAn agent who willed the universe into existence
125 Two things to consider … The strengths of the argumentThe value of the argument for religious faithWould it convert an atheist or agnostic?
126 Strengths A posteriori – based on experience We all experience cause and effectCan understand the concept of the universe having a beginning
127 Strengths Science supports a beginning to the universe Big Bang theory suggests that the universe is not infinite and there was a beginning
128 StrengthsScientists who accept the Big Bang theory cannot explain what caused the big bang
129 StrengthsAs we are able to measure time, this would suggest a beginning to the universe. In an actual infinite universe we would not be able to
130 Strengths We can see that the universe exists Supports the argument that things that exist are caused to exist and that cause is God
131 StrengthsSimplest explanation of why there is something rather than nothingRichard Swinburne
132 StrengthsSatisfies the need to find a cause of the universe and the origins of everything within the universe
133 Strengths Criticisms fail Criticisms are persuasive Depends on your view
134 Strengths Consistent with God as the explanation Fits in with the concept of the God of classical theismGod as a necessary being
135 Strengths Part of the cumulative argument for God arguments for the existence of God do not consist of a single decisive argument. All of the arguments together (the cumulative case) is alleged to prove the existence of God
136 Value for religious faith Would it convert an atheist or agnostic?Would it just add weight to an existing belief in God?
137 Natural theologyThe use of reasoned argument to provide a basis in reason for believing in GodCosmological argument could provide that reasonAdd to other arguments and reasons for belief in God are strengthened
138 Russell on natural theology Russell – can never prove the existence of God no matter whatever the evidence isArguments have no valueReligious believers would not agree
139 FideismThe idea that religious beliefs cannot be justified through rational means, only through faithWhat is faith?Believing in something without necessarily having physical evidence
141 Fideism A believer sees God as the cause of the universe An atheist sees ..?The universe as a result of random chance
142 Of value Gives intellectual support for belief in God Only God provides an explanation that requires no further explanationReveals aspects of the nature of GodUnmoved mover, uncaused cause, necessary being
143 Of limited or no value The argument is flawed Draws conclusions that go beyond the evidenceInductive and therefore not proofReligious faith is not based on intellectual arguments (fideism)Proof would leave no room for faithWould change nature of relationship between God and humans
144 Activities‘Science supports a beginning to the universe’. Justify this claim and then challenge this claimDecide whether or not:The argument strengthens religious faithThe argument undermines religious faithFaith is independent of evidence and the use of reason has no impact
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