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False Existence

Attempts to assert the existence of God, which are at least partly formed on logic and empirical observation, are called proofs of God’s existence. These rational arguments, in general, are opposed to religious irrationalism, which states that the knowledge of God is an intractable logical analysis of the sacrament. For a believer, a problem ceases to exist from the very first verse of the Old Testament: “At the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). In the first verse of Genesis, the first verse of Scripture the existence of God is already presupposed. The Lord Jesus Christ never raised the question of the existence of God and turned to God as actually existing. In truth, none of the authors of the Old and New Testaments wasted time in vain, trying to assert the existence of God. The word God appears in the Bible about five hundred times, and the existence of God in the Bible is accepted as a matter of course.

However, not everyone knows that there is a long tradition of evidence of God’s existence in the Christian culture. In the Middle Ages, such evidence was popularized by Catholic scholastic theologians, especially Anselm of Canterbury and Thomas Aquinas. There are many of these arguments, which can be divided into four major groups – metaphysical, empirical, logical and subjective. Given evidence does not have to be referred to the deity of any particular religion. However, historically they were defined, first of all, in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, on the basis of metaphysics of ancient Greek philosophy. Common proof of God’s existence is not formulated. This issue is not considered by the scientific community, which takes the view that religion and science are two different spheres. However, the question of God’s existence is still the subject of lively philosophical debates and public discussions. Such approaches as the cosmological argument, teleological argument, and argument of the moral and ontological argument are traditionally used to prove the existence of God. These arguments are based, respectively, on cosmology, the world order, the moral law and the idea of an absolutely perfect (or necessary) being.

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The cosmological argument says: “Everything must have a cause. Font of all is God”. It occurs, in part, already in Aristotle, who distinguished between the concept of the existence of chance and necessity, conditional and unconditional, and stated the need of recognition among the reasons of the first start of any action in the world. Avicenna mathematically formulated the cosmological argument for the existence of God as one and indivisible cause of all things. Subsequently, this proof was simplified and formalized. The argument proving the existence of God is the one, which is called the “cause” or cosmological argument lies in the fact that the world exists. The first cosmological argument, proving the existence of God, is that the world had to happen somehow. Someone or something at some point had to be the cause of the origin of the universe. For example, a book: any publishing house even with the most modern equipment cannot by itself, without the author to publish it. Necessarily there has to be the author. Someone created trees, the world around us, and someone who controls the universe.

The cosmological argument has a very long history. In its original form, it goes back to Aristotle. It is more right to say not about one cosmological argument, but about a few of that kind. In all these proofs, a certain aspect of the world is selected: the presence of motion, cause, degree of perfection, order, and harmony, and through these elements of the world, the real presence of God is shown in the world. The best known cosmological evidence belongs to Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas did not regard them as scientific evidence, even though they have a logical structure. His reasoning is more of a “road” leading to God. The general scheme of all the arguments is similar. We consider various aspects of the reality that surrounds us, and we find that God is the center of the existence of all things forming the world. Every aspect of the sensory being needs the root cause, and, therefore, ways that lead to God are different. In this case, Thomas Aquinas does not believe that on the basis of his evidence a definition of God can be given. The central part of the evidence is not what exactly the reason is (because we cannot even raise the question of what is the thing until we know that it exists), and the value that is usually a word has that indicates the cause. For St., Thomas consequences that flow from God is sufficient for the proof of His existence, although not enough to understand what He is. Any argument of the existence of God, based on the data of sensory experience involves being of the world, but if God could not create the world He would not cease to be God. Just “roads” of Thomas Aquinas, each in its own special way, show that there must be a being, the essence of the existence which is the base of the whole cosmos. By no means, we can assign a reason any other qualities apart from those that are exactly enough to produce a result. This principle must be borne in mind when considering the cosmological argument. This argument is an attempt to prove the existence of a transcendent creator, based on the fact of the existence of the world. When looking for an explanation for why the world exists (if any explanation is required), we cannot ascribe to God any other qualities other than those necessary for the act of creation.

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There are two main forms of the cosmological argument: a horizontal form (or kalam) and a vertical form. Cosmological proof in a horizontal form refers to the past, to cause of the beginning of the universe. Cosmological proof in vertical form is based on the existence of the universe that exists now. The first form of evidence, which explains how the universe came into being, developed Vonaventura (1221-1274). The second form of evidence, which explains how the universe continues to exist, dates back to Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274). The first form is concerned about the generating cause, and the second one – about the supporting reason. Other varieties of cosmological arguments combine both aspects. The basic idea of this type of evidence is in the following: as, instead of the absolute nonexistence of anything, the universe exists, then the cause must be something external to it. This argument relies on the law of causality, which states that every finite, only possible in its existence being at any given time has a reason that is different from it. A horizontal form is that the universe must have a root cause in the past. The proof is in the following:

  1. All that came into existence has a cause of its existence.
  2. The universe began to exist at one time.
  3. Consequently, the universe must have a cause.

This argument poses a very important question: if there is a certain sequence of events, each of which is caused by the previous event, earlier in time, whether this sequence to be infinite? Although the theoretical concept of infinity in the form, where it is used in mathematics, may seem simple, actual infinity poses a variety of problems. Infinity plus one is infinity. Infinite quantities cannot increase. Since the days of Aristotle, philosophers argue that the existence of actual infinity is impossible. As infinity is not the same thing as the absence of discernible boundaries. Thus, we may state kalam form as follows:

  1. The existence of actually infinite sets is impossible.
  2. The sequence of reasons for the existence of the world as it really is cannot be infinite time sequence.
  3. The sequence of reasons must be finite.
  4. Consequently, the existence of the world began at some point in the past.
  5. From this, it follows that in the past there was a time when one of two states – the existence or non-existence of the universe was possible.

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Al-Ghazali argued that if two states are possible in equal measure, the state that occurred as a result had to be caused by the interference of personal power. It may be that our consciousness is not created to think causeless cause, which lies outside the world. Philosopher Kant claimed that the very notion of cause and effect, along with the concepts of space and time, is one of the ways in which our consciousness interprets the world – we cannot impose our experience causality. If Kant is right, then the causeless cause is a mental impossibility. Quite a different objection to the cosmological argument was offered by David Hume. He considered observation to be the basis of any knowledge. People call the phenomenon the cause because they see that it happened just before the phenomenon, which is called its consequence. The connection between cause and effect is based on the fact that a person is watching them as two different things. However, when it comes to the world as a whole, a consequence is the only one of its kind, so we cannot see the cause. We cannot go “outside” the world, and to see the world and its cause, and thus to set up a link between them. Since this is the only world that we know, we cannot say that the cause was observed in the case of all other worlds, and that, therefore, it is likely to exist in the case of this world. If a person, like Hume, believes that all knowledge is based on sensory experiences, then he/she cannot assume that the cosmological evidence proving the existence of God outside of the world known to us through senses. A vertical cosmological argument is based on the premise that at any given moment something supports the existence of the universe. Something not only caused the beginning of the existence of the universe but is also a reason for the continuation of its existence.

The cosmological argument is based on causality. It makes a start from observed reality and, thus, is a posteriori evidence. Observable reality is seen as a consequence that needs to be explained that is the reason. Thus, the argument develops from the end to the beginning – from effect to cause. Ultimately, it leads to the original, higher First Cause, which is God. This argument takes many forms; observable reality is also different. However, any form of the cosmological argument has three main premises and a conclusion. The first premise is that there is something like the observed effect. The observable reality, serving as a point of an argument, can be almost anything. Here, as an example, we consider the universe as a whole. The second premise is that every effect must have a cause which is sufficient to explain this effect or produce it. Under the cause, it is meant what caused an event in the timing chain of cause and effect relations. The essence of an argument is in the third premise, according to which an infinite sequence of causes is impossible. The universe is a consequence, out of which must be the highest root cause. God is the root cause of this. If the causal chain is considered as temporary, the universe has had a beginning, the cause of which was God. The main question is whether the third premise is correct about the impossibility of an infinite sequence of causes. A lot of people argue that it is correct. One of the famous “five proofs of God’s existence”, formulated by Thomas Aquinas, was a proof of dependency. Calling subject dependent, we mean that it cannot exist. Thomas says that if an object cannot exist, it was a time when it did not exist (otherwise its existence would be eternal and necessary, but not dependent). However, if everything was dependent, then it would mean that there was a time when there was nothing at all. In that case, it would not exist today because nothing comes from nothing. Consequently, there must be an independent, eternal and necessary being, which has been the cause of all the dependent entities. Independent nature is God. God is not a man – he is spiritual (“perfect” as an idea). He is beyond time and space, so He does not occur, He exists always. He is not a cause in the physical sense of the word, but the Creator of the visible universe and its laws.

From my point of view, the cosmological argument is generally valid, but limited. It proves that the universe had a beginning and even Initiator. However, by itself, this argument does not prove that the Initiator is God of Whom the Bible says. The underlying cause is not necessarily the only one. Plato, for instance, believed that there are at least two. Nevertheless, in spite of these shortcomings of the cosmological argument, it should be recognized as a strong argument in favor of the existence of God.