The Cosmological Argument on the Existence of God
The existence of God has been doubted over the years by scholars. The proof of God’s existence has led to several arguments based on ontological, teleological and cosmological perspectives. This thesis paper discusses the existence of God based on the cosmological dimension which is generally focused on a broader pattern that tries to make an inference from certain alleged facts about the world (cosmos) to ascertain the existence of a unique being (God). Nash explains that whereas, teleological arguments are focused on the apparent order and design of the existing world, ontological arguments are based on reason alone to determine the existence of God(134).The facts presented in this paper would help us to prove the existence or non existence of a unique being called God.
Temporal and Logical First Cause Perspectives
Nash presents two main Cosmological perspectives for the existence of God as “temporal first cause and logical first cause” (122). On the other hand, Rowe supports the idea of first cause by saying that anything in a process of transformation must be “changed by something else” (10). Some cosmological arguments have referred to God as “an unchanged changer” (Rowe 12). St. Aquinas argues that for change to be realized then there must be a “first cause of change which is not in a process of change” (Rowe 12). The definition of the universe as everything that ever existed brings to focus the curiosity on what is in the universe. The cosmological argument arises from the human curiosity on the composition of the universe and the changes in it.
Thus, this curiosity has been described by Nash as caused by a being who has “a final uncaused –cause of all things in the world” (122). This argument presents God as a creator of the whole universe and can be discussed in the both temporal first cause and logical first cause. Nash describes God as “a Prime Mover, the Necessary Being or the Sufficient Reason” (122). Actually, the view of God as a first cause clearly explains the argument that God existed at the beginning and all the series and causes in the world can be attributed to him. The above argument clearly means that it is God who brought the whole universe to its current condition.
God’s role in the universe is supported by Rowe when he writes that there is a change in the universe which is attributed to “someone or something” (13). The process of change can only be achieved unless there is “first cause of change” (Rowe 18). For example, when the hand cannot move an object from its rest position then the objet would consequently not move any object. Thus there must be a first cause to cause a series of changes as seen in the universe. The long series of changes have been as a result of a first cause since “if there were no First Cause, there would have been no first effect” (Nash 123).
Logical First Cause Perspective
The second dimension of God is the logical first cause. This dimension looks at whether everything in the universe has a sufficient reason of existence. Cosmological arguments have explained the sufficient reason of existence through the notion of a contingent being and that of a necessary being. The notion of a contingent being explains whether the existence of the “universe depends on the existence of something else” (Nash 127). It also looks at whether nonexistence of a contingent being is possible. This may be illustrated by Nash whereby he argues that when the existence of object A relies on the existence of object B then the “nonexistence of B would entail the nonexistence of A (127). As a result, this argument presents a contingent being as one that is not self sufficient and does not cause its own existence, thus its nonexistence is logically possible. This implies that there must be a causal explanation for everything in motion, things that are caused and even the existence of human beings.
The Contingency of Human Beings
The question that arises now is whether human beings and anything in the universe are contingent. Rowe argues that human beings are contingent since they are as a result of “the natural process of generation and corruption” (40). Thomas Aquinas held that the concept of a necessary being as that who cannot be subjected to “both generation and corruption” (Rowe 40). Actually, this means is that human beings are produced out of other things and decomposes and passes away over a period of time.
Consequently, we may consider that human beings are contingent since they came into existence because of “other human beings” (Nash 127). Moreover, the existence of human beings is purely dependent on the environmental factors such as food, water, temperature and oxygen. Unless these factors are favorable, no human being would exist in the universe. The dependence of man on the existence of other conditions is enough reason to consider human beings as contingent.
The Existence of a Necessary Being
The existence of a necessary being has also been an issue to majority of the cosmological philosophers and writers. The question is whether everything that exists is dependent on other factors for existence. Rowe asserts that a necessary being is a one where “nonexistence is not possible” (128). The existence of a necessary being is self caused as opposed to a contingent being whose existence is caused by existence of other beings or factors. Nash summarizes this argument when he writes that “a necessary being would be an eternal being…there could never be a time when it could cease to exist” (127).
To explain the existence of God, we have to consider the notion of a necessary being. We may consider that every thing in the universe is causally determined by other things. This belief leads to a generalization that the universe itself is contingent. Thus there must be a sufficient reason for the existence of these contingent beings, the series of things and their subsequent causes in the universe. The argument of a sufficient reason results into a necessary being that has its own sufficient reason why it exists. In fact, this argument believes that things must have a sufficient reason to exist and this reason must ultimately be in a necessary being. Nash 130 quotes Richard Taylor’s remarks arguing that God was the Necessary being that everyone “in the world own its existence to something” (130). Rowe supports this assertion when he says that “the theistic concept of God is such that God, if He exists, is a casually a necessary being” (171).
The Universe as a Necessary Being
Contrary to the popular belief that God exists and is the Necessary Being, critics have also claimed that the world is the necessary being. The world is considered as “the sum total of all contingent beings” (Nash 129). From the definition, proponents of this cosmological argument have argued that since all contingent beings depend on something else for survival then it is a fact that they depend on the world. This argument seeks a sufficient reason to believe that the earth, as a circle, with all contingent things within the circle is a necessary being. However, for the world to exist there must be a non-contingent being hence contradicting this theory. But some philosophers have refuted the argument that the existence of the world is dependent on the existence of other contingent beings. Rowe lists two conditions for a necessary being as one that is causally independent and one “every other being is causally dependent on” (170). His argument may be considered to mean that given the contingency of everything in the world, it remains that there is a possible world without any contingent beings.
The Universe as a Contingent Being
Contrary to Rowe’s arguments, defenders of the earth as a contingent being argue that if the components of the earth are contingent, then the universe itself must be contingent. In fact, if something is contingent, then it must contain a contingent part, hence considered as contingent. Considering the universe as a contingent being, then it would be impossible to consider the earth as a necessary being. This is due to the fact that a necessary being must have a sufficient reason for its existence and that of other contingent beings.
With all these arguments presented, we can conclude that God exists. Summarily, His existence is based on the two main perspectives; temporal first cause and the logical first cause. This paper has determined the existence of a first being, which may be referred to as a prime mover or a first cause of all actions and events in the universe. This thesis paper has looked at the contingency and necessity of beings, the infinity, sets as well as the nature of origin of the universe with an aim of determining the existence or non existence of God. The cosmological arguments presented, first on the first cause and finally on the necessary being have successfully led to a conclusion that God exists. This paper has also presented the critics argument that the earth is the necessary being. In all the arguments, God’s existence has been cosmologically proven.
- Rowe, William. The Cosmological Argument. USA: Fordham University Press, 1998. Print.
- Nash, Ronald. Faith & Reason: Searching for a Rational Faith. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1988. Print.