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The Arguments for the Existence of God Part 2: The Cosmological Argument

Updated on April 1, 2012

The Cosmologial Argument

In Part 2 of Arguments for the existence of God series we will be discussing the Cosmological argument.

The Cosmological argument is based on the existence of the world we live in. (Cosmos) It has been argued for many years that simply by observing nature we can argue for the existence of God. The book of Psalms states:

The Sky proclaims God's Glory. It's dome his handicraft.

Day to following day. Night to following night, tells his story.

No speech, no words, no human voice is heard.

Yet their music echoes across the world. Their speech to remotest peoples.

Psalm 19: 1-4

The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC check this date) argued that, if there is movement and change there must be an 'Unmoved Mover.' There must be an Almighty Being causing that change.

The Qu'ran states:

In the creation of the heavens and the Earth, and the alternation of night and day. And the ship that runs in the sea with profit to the men, and the water God sends down from heaven. The turning about of the winds and the clouds...”

This means that we just have to look at the world around us, the wind and the clouds, and night and day. This should be proof enough for the existence of God.

St Thomas Aquinas (1224-74) was a prominent advocate of the Cosmological argument. He talks about three facts of common experience in our cosmos. 'Change', 'Causality' and 'Dependence.'

In the cosmos, the world as we experience it, it is apparent that some things change. They are dependent or are caused. He argues that you eventually have to arrive at something is unchanged. That is an Almighty Being (God).

The world Aquinas uses for change is 'movement.' He says that changing things move from one state to another. To him dependency was known as 'contingency.' A contingent being is one that happens to exist, but can be here today and gone tomorrow. God is a necessary being, he is the “cause.”

Advantage of the Cosmological Argument

The advantage of the Cosmological argument is that it is based on experience. You can compare it to a ball moving. You can say “Why is the ball moving?” With the Ontological argument, it is not based on experience. It is based on a definition of the word God . The logic behind this is, that the buck cannot be passed on and on, it has to stop somewhere.

How Convincing is the Cosmological Argument

Aquinas never claimed that his arguments proved the existence of God, so to speak. He called them “ways” or “roads” which lead to some conclusion, they also allow us to think about, and fully explore the world we live in. His stance was directed at believers rather than non-believers.

Some have argued that this particular argument is flawed because this does not unequivocally prove the existence of God. It proves the existence of the cosmos, what is the explanation for God? The philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) said the cosmos is simply a “Brute Fact.” If the whole force of the argument is that everything requires an explanation then, what is the explanation of God? People must decide for themselves, if we live in a world that requires explanation or world that does not require explanation.

Suggested Reading

The Arguments for the Existence of God Part 1: The Ontological Argument

Utilitarianism: What is it?


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