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The Cosmological Argument. “Nothing comes from nothing” Thomas Aquinas. Learning Intentions:. To gain an understanding of the cosmological argument To look at some criticisms of the cosmological argument To consider my own views on this argument. Cosmos = world/universe

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the cosmological argument

The Cosmological Argument

“Nothing comes from nothing”

Thomas Aquinas

learning intentions
Learning Intentions:
  • To gain an understanding of the cosmological argument
  • To look at some criticisms of the cosmological argument
  • To consider my own views on this argument
slide8

Cosmos = world/universe

For hundreds of years philosophers have looked at the universe and wondered:

“Where did it all come from?”

The cosmological argument is sometimes known as the “first cause” argument.

Ancient Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle were among the first to argue that the universe must have a cause.

individual task
Individual Task

Copy the chain of questions.

Can you think of the next questions in the sequence?

  • What caused you?
  • What caused your parents?
  • What caused your grandparents?
  • What caused the first people?

Can you find a first cause?

slide10

The cosmological argument tells us that everything in the world has a cause. Therefore there must be a first cause.

The cosmological argument concludes that the first cause must be God. For believers God is the only thing in the universe which is uncaused.

A bit like a domino rally.

Someone or something has to get things started.

thomas aquinas 1225 74
Thomas Aquinas (1225-74)

Thomas Aquinas was a 13th century Italian monk and theologian.

He wrote that:

“Nothing comes from nothing”

Aquinas believed that God was the “uncaused cause”.

Without God the universe could not have been created.

the uncaused cause
The Uncaused Cause?

Aquinas said that things are CONTINGENT. This means that they depend on other things for their existence.

So, for every flower,

For every child,

For every chicken,

There was a seed

There were parents

There is an egg…

the uncaused cause1
The Uncaused Cause?

The only problem is this could go on forever…

This is called INFINITE REGRESS!!

the uncaused cause2
The Uncaused Cause??

Aquinas said that it does not make sense to say that everything just goes back to eternity.

Future

Past

Rather, it makes more sense to say that there was something that was not contingent…

GOD

A being like this is called a NECESSARY being. It is UNCREATED. It is UNCAUSED. It is the FIRST CAUSE. The only being that would fit this bill is….

some criticisms of the cosmological argument
Some Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument

1st criticism

The Big Bang Theory

  • Many scientists think that the Big Bang and not God created the universe.
  • Many scientists believe that there was no space or time before the Big Bang so nothing came before it.
  • Some scientists are still unclear about the cause of the big bang and think there may have been something before the big bang.
  • Even now scientists are conducting experiments to find out how the first matter was created.
some criticisms of the cosmological argument1
Some Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument

2nd criticism

Who Caused God?

The English philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote:

“If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may as well be the world as God.”

Why do you think this is a strong/weak argument?

some criticisms of the cosmological argument2
Some Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument

3rd criticism

Why can’t the world be infinite?

Who says the world needs a start? The Scottish philosopher David Hume argued that the universe might not need a cause. No-one was there to say for sure.

Why do you think this is a strong/weak argument?

some criticisms of the cosmological argument3
Some Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument

4th criticism

  • Maybe things do come from nothing
  • Some scientists believe that particles could just come into being by themselves at a sub atomic level.
  • Why do you think this is a strong/weak argument?
some questions on the cosmological argument
Some Questions on the Cosmological Argument
  • Thomas Aquinas said that “nothing comes from nothing”. What did he mean by this?
  • How can the idea of a domino rally help people to understand the cosmological argument?
  • Could the cosmological argument be acceptable to someone who believes in the big bang theory? Give reasons for your answer.
  • List two reasons why some people might disagree with the cosmological argument.

Use Introducing Philosophy of Religion pages 1-7 to help you

some questions on the cosmological argument1
Some questions on the cosmological argument
  • When Thomas Aquinas said that “nothing comes from nothing” he meant that ...
  • The idea of a domino rally could help people understand the cosmological argument because ...
  • The cosmological argument could/could not be acceptable to someone who believes in the big bang theory because ...
  • Some people might disagree with the cosmological argument because ... Another reason some people might disagree with the cosmological argument is ...
a class debate
A Class Debate

Prepare a 2 minute debate speech arguing for or against the motion.

This house believes:

“Something made the world and that something was God.”

In your speech you should:

  • Explain the cosmological argument in your own words
  • Clearly state your view on the topic.
  • Give two or more reasons to support your view.
  • Refer to the ideas of one or more philosopher on the cosmological argument.