Examine the main strengths of the cosmological argument for the existence of God
The main question the cosmological argument ponders thought on is ‘Why is there a universe at all?’ The cosmological argument asks the scientific question behind the universe as the design argument asks an emotional one. One of the main strengths of the cosmological argument was brought forward again recently by William Lane Craig. The argument tries to say that the world couldn’t have just occurred, there must be some sufficient reason.
Gottfried Leibniz is the most asscoitated with this idea of ‘The principle of sufficient reason’ ,he says that anthing that happens ,including the universe, must have become due to a definite reason. Therefore there must be a course or an explanation. However there comes a point when we no longer need to look for an explanation anymore and therefore that’s when we have a sufficient reason. The cosmological argument says this sufficient reason is God. Back to William Lane Craig, he brought the idea of the ‘Kalam cosmological arguyment back (however it was first developed by the Muslim Philosophy of Religion). There are 3 main steps to this argument which are
1) Whatever begins to exist is caused to exist by something else
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause and this cause is God. Step one of the Kalam argument is just common sense. Step two is also common sense as long as not looked into too deeply, which it’s not needed to be, it’s a Brute Fact as Bertrand Russell may say. Lastly the last step may to a first glance seem to jump majorly and offer a completely inaccurate response but it seems like the simplest answer (e.g. Ockham’s razor) therefore it’s the most ration explanation. Some may argue God needs a cause or an explanation then but God is the Cosmological sufficient reason.
Coplestons argument is very similar to the one of William Lane Craig although the points seem slightly more detailed to hopefully display the meaning of what the cosmological argument is trying to put across.
1) There are things in this world that are contingent – they might not have existed e.g. we would not exist without our parents. All things in the world are like this – everything depends on something else for its existence
2) Therefore there must be a cause of everything in the universe that exists outside of it then the universe as a whole is contingent.
3) This cause must be a necessary being – one which contains the reason for its existence inside itself. This necessary being is God Coplestons first point is seems reliable and not too hard to first overcome .His second point brings in the idea of Ockham’s razor, it’s the simplest and probably the most rational explanation. Lastly, again the last point is the sufficient reason. As humans we all want to know why something came to be the way it is and the cosmological argument definitely gives an answer as to why the universe is the way it is. We should just accept the answer we are given, it answers our question so… Many scientists may put forward the idea of the ‘big bang’ but this still can’t be 100% proven and it still doesn’t explain the laws of the universe therefore that point can’t be proven.