What is the? Is it possible to believe that God is the First Cause or the First Mover without violating the principles that (1) nothing comes from nothing and (2) nothing can be the cause of itself? Explain why or why not.
The cosmological argument is a case that suggests that the existence of the universe and the world is enough proof that God exists as the creator. The argument also posits that the mere existence of the vast universe that we have come to know needs explanation and the only sufficient elucidation of its being is that God was the architect. In essence, this argument attempts to prove the very existence of God through observation of the cosmos and all that surrounds us. The argument begins with what most refer to as the “obvious”, in reality, and these are the things that do exist. Such arguments can be traced back to Plato’s time and have also been put to use by many sophisticated theologians and philosophers alike(Weaver & Theological Research Exchange Network, 2005, p. 45). The beginning of the 20th century saw science finally catching up with the notions of theologians when it was finally proved that it is highly probable that the universe had a beginning. Today, this argument has become even powerful for individuals who are non-philosophers, with it taking two fundamental forms; the “horizontal” and the “vertical”. As the names suggest, the focal point of these arguments is the course from which these causes originated.
The vertical form argues that everything that has been created is being caused at the moment, a timeline containing an arrow pointing upwards from the mysterious universe that we find ourselves into God. On the other side of the spectrum is the horizontal version that suggests that there had to be a cause for creation at the beginning of time, the arrow in the timeline pointing backward from God to that point when time began. The horizontal version has, as a basic argument, that everything with a beginning often has a cause. Consequently, because it was established that the universe had an origin, it therefore also had a cause for its existence. The cause is God as it is outside the whole universe (Rowe & Trakakis, 2007, p. 11). There are those individuals who would claim that things in the universe are usually caused by others but this ends up not solving the problem at hand. Take or example the case of trees found on earth. Each tree on earth’s surface has a beginning in the form of a seed, the cause, but all the seeds also had their beginnings. Therefore this creates an infinite series that involves tree-seed-tree which cannot proceed forever (Fumerton & Jeske, 2010, p. 31). By definition, all series are limited (finite) and if there is an end to a series then it is definitely not infinite. It is true that all series usually encapsulate two endings, at their beginnings and ends, meaning that if no first cause existed, there would never be a start to a chain of the cause. Therefore, according to this argument, a first cause exists (God).
In the vertical form, is more powerful an argument as it avoids showing that God instituted this “chain of causes” during the beginning and must be causing other things to exist at the moment. It starts by noting that things do exist and once they are created, existence becomes part of it. If we are to consider the example of a triangle, whose nature can be defined as a plane figure that is created when three points are connected, not in a completely straight line, with straight line segments(Palmer, 2011, p. 9). Existence is however not part of the definition. Such a definition would be held as true even if the triangle did not exist at all. Therefore, this means that what a triangle’s nature doesn’t actually guarantee that it must exist so that everything else can too. If this is applied to the universe, nothing exists alone and the universe will have a cause. There would always be the existence of something without a cause, with no beginning, with no limit, infinite and outside time, God (Nowacki, 2007). Each of the above forms of this argument evades the objections made above in quite a distinct way. In the first case, the distinction is between objects that start in time and those that don’t. In the second case, it doesn’t make a distinction between contingent things and those that are necessary. In both cases, it is however argued that the universe exists in its former kind, and God the latter kind, with principle of everything having a cause only applying to those of the former.
Is it possible to believe that God is the First Cause or the First Mover without violating the principles that (1) nothing comes from nothing and (2) nothing can be the cause of itself kind, excluding God?
It is not possible to believe that a deity, God, was the first cause without violating the principles that nothing can come out of nothing and nothing essentially causes itself to come into being. Such an argument poses a lot of critics to question it, one of the queries being on the notion of infinite regress (the idea that the universe already existed). If such a notion was true, beyond a reasonable doubt, then there would be no need for an explanation for the need of a cause. Furthermore, chances are that this universe that we have grown accustomed to could simply be un-caused. It could a necessary phenomenon that doesn’t need the existence of a creator to justify it being. Assertive leaps found in the cosmological arguments pose no convincing explanation as to why God exists. We, therefore, cannot simply assume that God is the creator of earth and the universe (Fumerton & Jeske, 2010, p. 31). David Hume similar questions from a religious side; why was it the Christian God who created the earth and the universe? From the contradiction that exists, some would also argue that it could have been a group of Gods or Goddesses that were the creators of earth. Later on, many philosophers (including St. Aquinas) would come to conclude that eventually, God has no cause. If such an assumption is true, then it would eliminate the argument both ways (Kreiling, 2002). If there ultimately exists no cause, then God could be the scientific explanation of the universe coming to life after the Big Bang. Such a rationale would also appeal more to atheists and non-religious believers as more evidential and factual reasoning are presented by the Big Bang Theory. If not, then the existence of the universe could as well be a chance occurrence.
The assumptions in the cosmological argument are a product of intuitive power from the experience of man in relation to what happens in nature and within the universe. It is difficult enough having to imagine an infinite train, for instance, full of carriages that are in motion with the absence of an engine that is meant to provide it with the much-needed driving force, similar to how God is perceived as the driving force behind the man. The intuitive power that man has reflects the “Principle of Sufficient Reason” by Leibniz that aims to explain the existence of God(Craig, 2014, p.11). Even with the intuitive appeal that things in existence have to depend on a creative force, several problems arise from thinking in this direction. Leibniz’s principle had its backing from the assumption that everything must have been created by God for a reason and can thus not be used in an argument to prove God’s existence without being subjected to circularity. The cosmological argument is pure as a result of a gut feeling that seems to have developed from man’s experience while living in the universe. There is also no explanation that can suffice for the explanation of all facts, with putative reason becoming logically fitting in the actual world (Meister, 2009). If theists believe that God alone was responsible for the creation of the world, then this does not fit into the traditional theistic concept of free will.