“The First Cause argument proves the existence of God.” Evaluate this statement. (12 marks).

Colour Code:

  • Blue – Your argument 
  • Red – Argument against 
  • Purple – Response

The First Cause or Cosmological arguments claim to prove God’s existence through observation of the natural world. This is achieved by the simple notion of everything in existence requiring a cause and therefore logically concluding that the universe itself requires the same. Thomas Aquinas and more recently, William Lane Craig have offered formulations of this argument.

Firstly, the Scottish Philosopher David Hume would criticise the premise from both Aquinas and Craig which proposes the universe exists so requires a cause. Hume stipulated it is false to assume that by having knowledge of all of the parts, this tells us the entire truth of the whole. For example, we can list the given purpose of every function of the human body but it is hard to then give the ultimate purpose of humankind based of these observations. Similarly, Hume would argue that observing all effects having causes according to our studies does not logically guarantee the same can be said the universe. It is possible but not necessary.

Alternatively, Thomas Aquinas argued that it is not possible for something to have come from nothing; instead there must have been a cause to the universe. However, since an infinite regress of causes cannot be the case, there must have been an uncaused causer who was required for anything thing else to have happened. Equally, William Lane Craig argues that since there were no laws of nature prior to the universe, the First Cause must be timeless, spaceless and most importantly personal, since natural things can only derive from nature – which didn’t exist.

On the contrary, even if these arguments provided a solid basis for a timeless, spaceless, personal being, it does not allow us to conclude it is definitely the God of any particular religion. Hume once more proposes that this being might well be evil, it could be indifferent, or it could even be many beings. The most important point is that deriving the God of Islam or Christianity from the First Cause arguments is not immediately possible.

To conclude, the First Cause argument provides a possible answer to the origins of the universe but not proven fact. Therefore, the argument does not provide solid proof for the existence of God.

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