The term cosmological comes from the Greek language, meaning ‘world’
or ‘universe.’ The argument is based on facts about the world. The
topic of cosmology refers to the study of the universe.
The cosmological argument begins with a general claim about the
physical universe e.g. that some events have causes and that there
must be a supernatural agent to somehow explain this fact.
The argument seems to say that there cannot be an infinite series of
causes, they have to stop somewhere. One scholar who supports this
idea is St. Thomas Aquinas.
Aquinas invented the ‘five ways’ by which he tried to demonstrate
god’s existence philosophically. Aquinas’ third way was the most
thoroughly examined of all his ways. This way was his argument from
contingency and necessity. It states that some things are contingent,
and if everything were contingent there would have been a time when
there was nothing. Something now exists and not everything is
contingent, so there must be a necessary thing, which gets its
necessity from itself. Aquinas’ third way however, has bad reasoning.
Aquinas is arguing from “for everything there is a time for everything
when it doesn’t exist” to “there is a time for everything when it
doesn’t exist.” Even if we agree that everything occurs at some
time, there is no reason to think that there is some one time when
everything has occurred. For example, everything has a time when it
doesn’t exist, but it is a different time for each thing.
Another criticism of this third way is the issue of the infinite past.
If the past is ...
... middle of paper ...
...d be anything. For example, David Hume argued that the first cause
could be the material physical world rather than god. This is just as
satisfactory an explanation as God.
The success of the different versions of the Cosmological Argument
depend on a willingness to ask the question, 'Why is there a
universe?' If you simply accept that the universe is just there and
does not need an explanation, or that it is explained by an infinite
regress, then the Cosmological Argument fails. God must also be shown
to be a simpler or better ultimate explanation than the brute fact of
the existence of the universe.
 St. Thomas Aquinas, Teacher’s notes
 The Puzzle of God, Peter Vardy, Chapter 8
 The Puzzle of God, Peter Vardy, Chapter 8
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