Explain Aquinas' Cosmological Argument.
The word cosmological means arguments for the existence of God, based on the fact that the world exists, meaning that this argument is trying to prove the existence of God simply because the world exists. Aquinas was trying to connect the Christian faith with the philosophy of Aristotle whose works has just been rediscovered and were being taught by the religious universities of Europe.
Aquinas presented five ways, in which he believed showed that God existed. The first three constitute the cosmological argument. The fourth way argues that God exists because good exists, and the fifth way is the teleological (design) argument.
The first of Aquinas' five ways and the first step of the cosmological argument is the idea that God is the unmoved mover. Aquinas explains that everything that moves is moved by something else; for example, a car is moved by a human controlling it. He continues by saying the mover has been moved by something else. But, you cannot have an infinite chain of movers, or there would be no reason for the movement to have started at all. Therefore, there must be an unmoved mover, who produces the movement in everything, without itself being moved. This 'unmoved mover' is what people understand to be God. So, everything and everyone is moved by something else. Nothing moves on its own. But, something has to start all this movement, and that something is God.
The second of the five ways and the second step of the cosmological argument is the idea that there must be an uncaused cause. Aquinas explains that everything has a cause and that everything has its own cause. You cannot have an infinite number of causes. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause, which causes everything to happen without itself being caused by anything else. Such an 'uncaused cause' is what people understand by God. So, everything has a cause; even a cause has a cause. But, something had to make the first cause happen. That something is what we know to be God.
Another version of the uncaused cause, which is slightly less confusing, is the idea that God gives us a sufficient reason. Aquinas states that nothing takes place without a sufficient reason. If there is going to be a complete or sufficient reason for something, we have to be able to trace it back to something, and this does not depend on anything else, and this will be God. So, everything happens for a sufficient reason. In theory, we can trace back to a sufficient reason for everything. But, eventually, there has to be a sufficient reason, which started the whole thing off. This first sufficient reason is God.
The final step of the cosmological argument is the idea of the possible and necessary. Aquinas explains that ordinary things start to exist and later stop existing, meaning they are contingent. Therefore, at some point, nothing was in existence. But, something comes into existence by being caused by something that already exis...