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The Cosmological Argument

Honors Bible - 9/7
by

Josh Smith

on 8 September 2010

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Transcript of The Cosmological Argument

The Cosmological Argument: An Argument from First Cause by Josh Smith, Ben Russell, and Caitlin Cifelli The cosmological argument, traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, the causal argument or the argument from existence, has 3 different variants, each with its own subtle yet important distinctions... III. The Argument from Contingency Now let's take a closer look at these arguments.
A Brief Overview The Arguments - What Are They? II. The Argument from Causation "in Fieri" Which simply means "in existence". I. The Argument from Causation "in Esse" I. The Argument From Contingency Something is “contingent” if it is not necessary, i.e. if it could have failed to exist. The argument from contingency rests on the claim that the universe, as a whole, is contingent. It is not only the case, the argument suggests, that each of the things around is us contingent. It is this that the argument from contingency takes to be significant. It is because it is thought that the universe exists contingently that its existence is thought to require explanation. If the universe might not have existed, then why does it exist? The simple answer would be a logical series:
(1) Everything that exists contingently has a reason for its existence.
(2) The universe exists contingently.
Therefore:
(3) The universe has a reason for its existence.
(4) If the universe has a reason for its existence then that reason is God.
Therefore:
(5) God exists. Which simply means "in existence". Which translates as "in becoming" II. The Argument From Causation "in Fieri" The difference between the arguments from causation in fieri and in esse is a fairly important one. In fieri is generally translated as "becoming", while in esse is generally translated as "in existence". In fieri , the process of becoming, is similar to building a house. Once it is built, the builder walks away, and it stands on its own accord. (It may require occasional maintenance, but that is beyond the scope of the first cause argument.) III. The Argument From Causation "in Esse" In esse (in existence) is more akin to the light from a candle or the liquid in a vessel. George Hayward Joyce, SJ, explained that "...where the light of the candle is dependent on the candle's continued existence, not only does a candle produce light in a room in the first instance, but its continued presence is necessary if the illumination is to continue. If it is removed, the light ceases. Again, a liquid receives its shape from the vessel in which it is contained; but were the pressure of the containing sides withdrawn, it would not retain its form for an instant." So who is God to you? Is he... A wise guy robed in white who exists only to guide you? Your personal genie in a bottle? The man upstairs waiting to crush you when you mess up? Is he even out there at all? I I I I I I I I I I I I III Questions? Comments? Objections? Some Objections
1. What Caused the First Cause? One objection to the argument is that it leaves open the question of why the First Cause is unique in that it does not require a cause. Proponents argue that the First Cause is exempt from having a cause, while opponents argue that the cosmoligical argument can not have a "special pleading" or an exception to the notion that everything that happens must have a cause. 2. What is the identity of the First Cause? Another objection against the argument from first cause is that even if the argument itself were accepted as proof of a first cause, the argument does not identify the first cause as God. The argument does not go on to ascribe to the First Cause some of the basic attributes commonly associated with a theistic God such as omnibenevolence or mercy. 3. Scientific Objections Some physicists feel that the development of the laws of thermodynamics in the 19th century and quantum physics in the 20th century have weakened a purely scientific expression of the cosmological argument. Physicist Michio Kaku directly addresses the cosmological argument in his book Hyperspace, saying that it is easily dismissed by the law of conservation of energy and the laws governing molecular physics. He gives an example— "gas molecules may bounce against the walls of a container without requiring anything or anyone to get them moving except the walls of the container." According to Kaku, these molecules could move forever, without beginning or end. So, there is no need for a First Mover to explain the origins of motion.(from Kaku's "Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension")
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