DOES GOD EXIST? • THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT. • The word “Cosmo” is a Greek word that refers to everything that exists – the universe itself and all its constituents.
The cosmological argument for the existence of God tries to show that because anything exists there must be a God that brought it into existence. • It is possible for God to exist without the universe but not the universe without God.
Kalam, Thomist, Leibnizian • There are 3 basic kinds of cosmological arguments. We will look at each one briefly.
The Kalam argument • Kalam is an Arabic word that means “talk” or “speech”. • The core of this argument is an understanding of the 2 kinds of infinites: • Potential infinites • Actual infinites • The Kalam argument will demonstrate that the universe must have a beginning.
Infinite • Definition • 1: extending indefinitely : endless <infinite space> • 2: immeasurably or inconceivably great or extensive : inexhaustible <infinite patience> • 3: subject to no limitation or external determination
Potential Infinites • Potential infinites are a set of numbers that are continually increasing by adding another number to the series. • For example: seconds on a stopwatch are potentially infinite. Once a start button is pressed, a set of numbers will be generated (1,2,3 etc) until the stop button is pressed. If the stop button is not pressed, the seconds will potentially accrue forever.
Actual infinites • Actual infinites are sets of numbers to which no increment can be added since, by nature of their infiniteness, the set includes all numbers – there is nothing to add. • Actual infinites cannot exist in the physical world.
Time and causality • Time is not infinite • The best way to show this is to observe that there is a now. If now exists then time cannot be infinite. • The past is not an actual infinite. Thus, time had to have a beginning.
Time, however, did not cause itself to spring into existence. If it had a beginning, then something initiated it. • This is where causality comes into the picture. • There is no such thing as an effect that was not caused. • You are an effect of the biological process caused by your parents, who are a process of there parents and so on. • But as the non-existence of actual infinites shows, the chain of causes cannot regress forever.
Thus there must be a cause that is not an effect, an uncaused cause, or a first cause. • Since the universe is an effect it must have had a cause itself.
THE FIRST CAUSE,PERSONAL OR IMPERSONAL? • The fist cause would require an ability to create. Without this nothing could be created. • It would also require an intention to create, a will to initiate the universe. Without this will nothing would have been created. • It would require a non-contingent being, one whose existence depends on nothing but itself. If it was contingent, then it would simply be one more effect in the chain of cause and effects. • It must be transcendent. The cause of the universe must be outside of and apart from the universe.
Kalam argument conclusion. • The universe had a beginning that was caused by a personal, powerful, transcendent being.
The Thomist Cosmological Argument. • Thomas Aquinas (13th century) • Gave 3 forms of the cosmological argument • Motion • Efficient cause • Possibility of existence
Motion • Motion is an effect, thus it needs a cause • According to Aquines “whatever is moved must be moved by another” • This chain of one thing moving another, moving another cannot regress infinitely, because we have shown actual infinites to be impossible. • The first cause or the un-moved mover is what we call God.
Efficient cause • Everything that comes into existence owes its existence to something else. There is nothing that brings itself into existence or causes itself. Thus existence is an effect of a cause that itself is an effect of a cause and so on, but once again we cannot trace causes back infinitely. • There must be a first cause to explain why any cause exists. The first cause must be a self existing being that does not rely on anything for existence.
Possibility of Existence • Nothing we see In the universe has to exist. Everything could just as well not have existed. This makes everything that exists simply possible, not necessary. But something does exist. • “therefore not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary”.
Thus we know that a necessary being must exist in order to account for the possible beings that do exist. It makes the possible beings possible. A being that is necessary for the existence of all things is called God.
The Leibnizian Argument • Why is there something rather than nothing? • This is the question that G.W.F. von Leibniz ask as he contemplated the cosmological argument. • Leibniz bought into Aquinas’s argument but saw that it did not address the why of the cause.
So, because the universe has a beginning, something must have initiated it. It did not start itself. The cause if the universe must be found outside of the universe. The cause must be powerful in order to create the entire universe out of nothing. The cause must not be an effect but is an un-caused cause. And this cause must not rely on anything else for its existence.
CONCLUSION • The Cosmological Argument is employed effectively by numerous religions. • It does not show us all of the attributes and characteristics of God, only that God exists.