Site Loader
Rock Street, San Francisco

Whilst Scientists believe our world began with an enormous explosion of energy and light, others put their faith in an all mighty ruler, creator and source of all moral authority, known to us as God. There are three main arguments for the existence of God; cosmological, ontological and teleological. Before we can effectively analyse the extent to which these arguments prove or disprove God’s existence, we must first understand what God is. Four terms often used by theologians and philosophers to describe what God is are immanent, transcendent, personal and impersonal. In some aspects, such as the Christian religion, God is above human experience. While in other aspects, it is suggested that God can be experienced in the normal course our daily lives. To say God is immanent is to say he is existing or operating within this world, he is not removed from it, meaning he can act in the course of human history. To describe God as transcendent means he is beyond the bounds of the material world, meaning he is not limited by the world in terms of space, time and capacity. The decision whether God is personal or impersonal is often where the issue of belief rises. To say that God is personal would mean that he is an individual being with a conscience, similar to that of a human. However to say he is impersonal is to say that he does not have any human characteristics. The question then arises, if he is personal how can he be everywhere at the same time and if he is impersonal is God a spirit or a force? The cosmological argument is based on the belief that there is a fist cause behind the existence of the universe. It states that things come into existence because something has caused them to happen and that there is a chain of causes that goes back to the beginning of time. Assuming time began with the creation of the universe there must have been a first cause that brought the universe into existence. This first cause must have necessary existence to cause the contingent universe and since God is portrayed to have necessary existence he is therefore the first cause of the contingent universe’s existence. This argument pre-dates Christianity and was developed in its earliest forms by Plato. He argued that the power to produce movement logically comes before the power to receive it and pass it on. In order for movement to occur in the first place, there must be an uncaused cause to originate the movement. Plato termed this uncaused cause the first cause or “first mover”. St Thomas Aquinas developed the most popular version of the cosmological argument in five ways, which can be explained in three ways.  The first way is based on motion, and on the belief that whatever is in motion must have been moved by something else. According to Aquinas, this chain of movement cannot go back to infinity. Therefore, there must have been a first prime mover which itself was unmoved. The unmoved mover initiated the movement in everything without actually being moved, Aquinas argues that God is the first mover. According to Aquinas, an object only moved when an external force was applied to it. He continued that objects only changed because an external force had brought about the change. He spoke of things achieving their potential through an external influence, he used the analogy of fire making wood hot as an example.  This argument could be considered weak as we see beings on earth that have movement without being moved by an exterior force. In Anthony Kenny’s “The Five Ways” Kenny supports this opposing argument as he says that Aquinas’ principle goes against the fact that people and animals move by themselves. He continued that Newton’s first law of motion, in which movement can be explained by a body’s own inertia from previous motion disproves Aquinas’ argument. However, it has to be considered that Aquinas was speaking of movement in the broadest sense. He included movement from one place to another but also movement in the sense of change and equality. Nevertheless, this type of movement is conceptual and is not strong enough proof for the existence of a first mover.  In Aquinas’ second way, he identified a series of causes and effects in the universe. Aquinas observed that nothing can be the cause of itself as this would mean that it would have had to exist before it existed, this would be a logical impossibility.  Aquinas rejected an infinite series of causes and believed that there must have been a first, uncaused caused. This first cause, he argues, is God. One of the major objections to this argument is the suggestion that infinity is impossible and that the universe had a beginning. Many philosophers point out that Aquinas contradicts himself when he rejects any possibility of the infinite as he argues that God is infinite. In more recent cosmological theories, this objection has been considered. In “The Kalam Cosmological Argument” William Lane Craig aims to prove God as the personal creator of the universe. He says that if the universe had a beginning then this was either caused or uncaused, either it was a natural occurrence, or a choice was made to bring the universe into existence. The Kalam argument concludes that since there no rules of nature it could not have been a natural occurrence. From this, we can also conclude that since there were no rules of nature before the beginning of the universe then God exists outside of the rules that apply in the universe now and therefore does not need a cause. Kant examined the argument of the existence of a supreme being as a first cause of existence and did not accept any justification for the conclusion that God caused the universe to begin. Kant did not accept it as valid to extend the knowledge that we possess to questions that transcend our experience. God would be a casual being outside space and time as we understand it. Therefore, it would be impossible for people to have any knowledge of what God created or God himself. There have been many scientific cosmological theories that aim to prove or refute the idea of a first cause or creator. The most commonly referred to is the Big Bang Theory. The Big Bang was considered to have occurred when a single, extremely condensed state of matter exploded. The universe was formed from gases created by the explosion. Those scientists who accept the Big Bang theory regard it as the movement in which time began. Both supporters and those who deny the cosmological argument use it as proof for and against the existence of God. Scientific observation has confirmed that there was a beginning to the universe and has provided further evidence that the universe developed a structure very early in history. The debate rests on whether or not the cause of the Big Bang was natural or divine.  A modern objection to this theory is the Steady State Theory. This theory rejects the Big Bang Theory and provides a scientific explanation that would undermine the cosmological argument as it denies a beginning to the universe. Until recently, scientists have accepted the theory that energy can be created and that therefore the universe will always weigh the same and energy within the universe will simply be redistributed. The acceptance of the uniformity of the universe led to the theory that it should look much the same not only from the same place but also at any point in time. This theory is the opposite of creationism as it states that there is no beginning or end to the universe. The theory states that although the universe is always expanding, this is due to the fact that new galaxies have to be created to fill in the gaps of the old galaxies. In “The Cosmic Blueprint” Paul Davies describes the universe as “a huge self-regulating, self-sustaining mechanism with the capacity to self-organise ad infinitum”. This theory is flawed as it suggests there could be no such strict progression of time as the one we experience and has generally been rejected in favour of the Big Bang Theory.  The Kalam argument, developed by William Lane Craig, also disregards the Steady State Theory. This argument aims to prove God as the creator of the universe from a slightly different perspective than Aquinas. It states that the present would not exist in an actual infinite universe because successive additions cannot be added to an actual infinite. Craig goes on to state that because the present exists as the result of a chronological series of past events, it must be finite. He argued that a finite universe must have a beginning and whatever began to exist must have a cause as things cannot cause themselves meaning there must have been a first cause. Similar to Aquinas, Craig concluded that this first cause was God. Unlike Aquinas however, Craig argued scientific reasons as to why the universe must have had a beginning by discussing the possibility of a universe without one. Craig argued that if the universe did not have a beginning then the past must consist of a series of events that is actually-and not merely potentially- infinite. He could not accept this idea because it would mean that past events form a collection of events. He concluded that the history of the universe was formed by one events following after another event, this is called successive addition. A collection formed by successive addition cannot be infinite, therefore the universe must have had a beginning of time. This argument is strong as it supported by facts. It is possible to refer to the universe as a potential infinite, which only exists if it is always possible to add one more to a series of things or events. The universe cannot be referred to as an actual infinite as this refers to sets or collections of things with an infinite number of members, and it is not growing towards infinity. Some philosophers argue that actual infinite numbers cannot exist and regard them as illogical.  In conclusion, modern scientific theories of cosmology have only to an extent strengthened first cause arguments for the existence of God. On the one hand, the Big Bang theory gives scientific evidence of a beginning to the universe. On the other hand, on a visceral level, the Big Bang Theory does not give any reason for a beginning to the universe. However, the Kalam argument is strongly convincing in proving not only that the universe had a beginning (more logically than Aquinas) but also a personal creator. Since the only objection to this idea is that we should not question that outside of our own knowledge, the Kalam argument is strong. In my personal opinion, I believe we can derive from these arguments and theories that the universe did have a beginning, as it is necessary. I do not think that scientific theories are sufficient enough in discovering what caused our universe to begin as it does not provide us with a sense of purpose as Kalam aims to do.    

Post Author: admin


I'm Dora!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out