Since the beginning of modern civilizations, generations have argument on whether God exists. Many arguments were provided by different scholars for the existence of God. But this one argument is the most popular argument for the existence of God, the cosmological argument. This argument basically states that everything that exists has the cause, the universe exist therefore it has a cause that cause is God. Therefore, God exists. In this essay the discussion will base on the Aquinas cosmological argument looking at its strength and weakness.
Christian Philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas explained the Cosmological argument when he tried to prove the existence of God. As a Christian philosopher he already had strong belief on the existence of God, yet to prove to others he uses five different ways. Some of his evidence are based on the natural World. His first prove is through the argument of motion.
According to Matt Stefon, “He drew from Aristotle’s observation that each thing in the universe that moves is moved by something else. Aristotle reasoned that the series of movers must have begun with a first or prime mover that had not itself been moved or acted upon by any other agent. Aristotle sometimes called this prime mover “God.” Aquinas understood it as the God of Christianity” (Stefon). An example of this is movement of tree branches when the wind blows without the wind the branches would not move. In this case the wind is the prime mover. Without the prime mover (God) the Earth would not exist.
His second prove from the five is the relations between cause and effect, this argument kind follows the first evidence. “the argument from causation, builds upon Aristotle’s notion of an efficient cause, the entity or event responsible for a change in a particular thing. Aristotle gives as examples a person reaching a decision, a father begetting a child, and a sculptor carving a statue. Because every efficient cause must itself have an efficient cause and because there cannot be an infinite chain of efficient causes, there must be an immutable first cause of all the changes that occur in the world, and this first cause is God” (Stefon).
An easy way to understand this is imaging walking towards work through the same path and every day you see this beautiful garden, as days past this garden looks beautiful as you saw it in the first day. One should be able to assume that there is gardener who takes care of the garden. The gardener is the first cause and the garden is the effect, the World did not just appear it was created.
The third argument is more focused on the ability of things to exist in limited time then not being able to exist, “God’s existence is the argument from contingency, which he advances by distinguishing between possible and necessary beings. Possible beings are those that are capable of existing and not existing. Many natural beings, for example, are possible because they are subject to generation and corruption. If a being is capable of not existing, then there is a time at which it does not exist. If every being were possible, therefore, then there would be a time at which nothing existed. But then there would be nothing in existence now, because no being can come into existence except through a being that already exists. Therefore, there must be at least one necessary being—a being that is not capable of not existing. Furthermore, every necessary being is either necessary in itself or caused to be necessary by another necessary being. But just as there cannot be an infinite chain of efficient causes, so there cannot be an infinite chain of necessary beings whose necessity is caused by another necessary being. Rather, there must be a being that is necessary in itself, and this being is God” (Stefon).
As it was explained in the second argument nothing exists without a creator, if everything on Earth can existing on a limited time then there must be a true creator of everything else, the perfect being. The question that follows this what makes one a perfect being? Aquinas answers this in his forth argument.
The fourth evidence explains about the pecking order of all things in the World. “All things exhibit greater or lesser degrees of perfection. There must therefore exist a supreme perfection that all imperfect beings approach yet fall short of. In Aquinas’s system, God is that paramount perfection” (Stefon). Only the one being who is the designer of all can displays the greatest perfection without limit, and that is God.
The last evidence Aquinas explains about the order of the universe and who authorized it, “who held that each thing has its own natural purpose or end. Some things, however—such as natural bodies—lack intelligence and are thus incapable of directing themselves toward their ends. Therefore, they must be guided by some intelligent and knowledgeable being, which is God” (Stefon).
There is some weakness in Aquinas five ways to prove the existence of God. Different scholars have questioned these evidences. The fist weakness against this evidence based on cause and effect, according to David Hume “When we look about us towards external objects, and consider the operation of causes, we are never able, in a single instance, to discover any power or necessary connection; any quality, which binds the effect to the cause, and renders the one an infallible consequence of the other”.
Looking back at the example of the garden and gardener Hume’s will argue that all our experience led us to believe that any clean and beautiful garden must have a gardener who looks after it. To his conclusion we cannot assume that we can know what’s going on with any certainty.