RS - explain Aquinas' cosmological arguement - 20 MARKS Watch
Aquinas, who was a philosopher and theologian, developed an argument that had three parts that was known as the cosmological argument. He was also heavily influenced by Aristotle, who came before Aquinas, who believed that the existence of the universe needs an explanation as it couldn’t have come from nothing. ‘Cosmological’ comes from the Greek word ‘cosmos’ meaning universe, therefore the cosmological argument is about using the universe as evidence to prove that God exists. The cosmological argument is a posteriori and inductive argument.
In the first part of the cosmological argument, Aquinas rejected the idea of a series of movers, however did believe there must have been a first mover and without this first mover, there wouldn’t be a universe as someone needed to make this change happen. For Aquinas, “it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other, and this everyone understands to be God”. God is also described as being ‘unmoved’. This means that God can’t be open to change nor can be changed and God was the very start of this chain of movement.
In the second part of the cosmological argument, is the argument from cause. According to Aquinas, the universe couldn’t have caused itself and the chain of cause and effect can’t be infinite. There has to be an ultimate cause. Since the universe couldn’t have caused itself, then the cause of the universe must have been external and Aquinas believed this cause was God. Aquinas uses the example of falling dominoes. Each domino is dependent on the domino before it to cause it to fall. No domino can cause itself to fall. This cause and effect happens all around us. For example, a ball being kicked or a light being switched on.
The last part of the cosmological argument is the argument from contingency. Contingency means everything has the possibility of not existing and everything will cease to exist at some point in time. But if everything is contingent, then there must have been a time when none of these things existed. Something must have caused these thing to come into existence. According to Aquinas, this was God. However, God isn’t contingent as if he was it would mean that something would be needed to bring about the existence, therefore God is a necessary being, meaning that he is incapable of not existing and is dependent on nothing. Aquinas claimed that without a necessary being, there would be nothing at all.