The cosmological argument is a type of argument that begins with a contingently existing thing (i.e. the
universe) and end with the deduction of a cause with the power (i.e. God) to cause the existence of the
universe. There are two well known examples of this argument: 1) the Argument of the First Sustaining Cause
(or argument from contingency) and 2) the Kalām Cosmological Argument.
The Argument of the First Sustaining Cause
This argument looks at the question, "why does the universe exist?" It begins with: a) the fact that the existence
of the universe is contingent; the universe could not exist without a cause for its existence, and b) makes the
premise that God exists without a cause. The argument can be seen as follows.
- The universe exists.
- The universe has a cause of or explanation for its existence.
- The cause of or explanation for the existence of the universe is something other than the universe itself.
- What causes or explains the existence of the universe must either be solely other contingent beings or include
a non-contingent (necessary) being such as God.
- Contingent beings alone cannot provide an adequate causal account or explanation for the existence of the
- Therefore, what causes or explains the existence of the universe must include God.
- Therefore, God exists.
The Kalām Cosmological Argument
The second type of cosmological argument looks at the universe from the point of view of time. It posits that the
past is finite and, at some point in time, the universe had a beginning. The argument can be seen as follows:
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
- Since no scientific explanation (in terms of physical laws) can provide a causal account of the origin of
the universe, the cause must be God.
1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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