The Cosmological Argument
October 31st, 2017
The Cosmological Argument
In his book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson begins with a short epigraph stating, “the universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” Scientific history is based on earthly discovery, but when studying the origins of the universe, much of the conception of reality that society holds is squandered. However, the largest questions of mankind begin with origin and the search for creation as the core to who we are as beings on earth. The most famed metaphysical argument in favor of God, the Cosmological Argument, stems from Aristotle but is reintroduced to Christianity by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century the most sound philosophical argument of the day. Additionally, we were introduced to the Cosmological (Demonstrative) Argument in a handout in class. While I would argue that the handout of the Cosmological Argument is the best argument for the existence of God we have read, and personally believe there is a creator, this argument alone does not legitimize a deity.
The handout of the cosmological argument is an a posteriori argument and begins by forming a stream of logic stating that everything that exists has a cause and all causes are temporally prior to their effects so nothing causes itself. From here, the argument evolves into two streams of thought: that the universe has a finite or infinite succession of natural events. The finite argument stems from the assumption that if there was a first thing, then something caused a succession of events. This initial catalyst of the events could not be caused by anything naturally: therefore, it has to be supernatural. If the succession is infinite, it progresses so that if there is any succession at all, it has to have had a beginning cause or reason to create the succession which cannot be natural due to the bound outside of time, concluding that a deity exists.
Everything in existence has a cause or reason for existing. This is the first argument stated in the handout of the cosmological argument, theoretically confirming the existence of a non-contingent being. This statement begs the question, why would God not need a beginning if the universe does? If everything else in succession in the universe requires a beginning then who/what began God? It assumes all things that come into and go out of existence are dependent upon other factors for their existence, where things either exist or do not exist. However, the assumption that all things that exist have a cause is in itself a contentious genesis. Philosopher John Mackie affirms that there is not sufficient justification to deduce that a fortuitous beginning of all things is impossible. He states that it is illogical to inductively employ the Causal Principle to philosophically extrapolate the origin of the universe.