Monday, October 17, 2016

Proof for God's Existence - The Cosmological Argument

Cause - Cosmological Argument
(1) The Universe must have a cause.
(2) This cause must be a Great Causer.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

The cosmological argument says that everything in the universe has been caused, one cause after another, all the way back to a great Uncaused Cause, which we call God.

Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion says, “A body at rest, stays at rest, unless moved upon by outside forces.” His second law says, “The change of momentum of a body is proportional to the impulse impressed on the body, and happens along the straight line on which that impulse is impressed.” His third law says, “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.”[1]

Newton’s laws tell us that every movement has a cause. The movement of the caboose implies that somewhere on the train track there is an engine. Imagine a pool table. The black eight ball stays at rest upon the green table, unless it is hit by another object. No matter how long the pool table sits there, the eight ball will never fall into the corner pocket unless I hit the cue ball with a stick and set up a chain reaction that knocks the eight ball into a hole. When the eight ball falls into a pocket it has been cause by the movement of my stick. Every movement has a cause, all the back to what? Aristotle (384-322 B.C), was the first to propose the idea of an Unmoved Mover.

Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274 A.D.), the greatest thinker in Medieval times, proposed five different arguments for God’s existence in his Summa Theologica. Three of his arguments are versions of the cosmological argument. He thought that “the first and more manifest way” to prove God’s existence is the proof from motion. It goes like this:

1) Things move.
2) Nothing moves itself, since everything that is moved must be moved by another.
3) If that which causes the motion is itself being moved, then it must be moved by another.
4) This process of movement cannot go on to infinity.
5) Therefore, there must be a first Unmoved Mover, which all people call God.

When Aquinas talks about motion, he means more then change of location, he is referring to change of any kind. Learning is a type of change. Life and death are types of change. Heating and cooling are types of change.

Aquinas’ second proof is another version of the cosmological proof:
1) Things are caused. 
2) Everything that is caused is caused by something else. 
3) An infinite regress of causation is impossible.
4) There must be an uncaused cause of all that is caused. 
5) Therefore, there must be an Uncaused Cause, which all people call God.

Aquinas follows Aristotle’s dichotomy when he calls this change a transition from potency to actuality.[2] A child has the potential to learn English, but his parents who possess the actuality of actually knowing English must teach him.

A pencil has the potential to write, but not the actuality until it is moved by an outside source. The pencil does not write by itself. A hand must pick up the pencil and move it across paper. The hand is moved by a wrist, which is moved by an arm, which is moved by a brain, which belongs to a person, who was born to parents, who were born to their own parents, and so on in an infinite regress until we come to the first uncaused cause. This first cause, Aquinas claims, all men call God. 

Aquinas’s third version of the Cosmological Proof argues for a Necessary Being.
1) Things exist.
2) Since something cannot come from nothing, there must be a Being who caused things to come into existence. Out of nothing, nothing comes.
3. This Necessary Being is what we call God.


[1] Newton's, Principia
[2] http://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2014/10/08/thomas_aquinass_proof_of_god.html