Cosmological argument

In natural theology and philosophy, a cosmological argument is an argument in which the existence of a unique being, generally seen as some kind of god, is deduced or inferred from facts or alleged facts concerning causation, change, motion, contingency, or finitude in respect of the universe as a whole or processes within it.[1][2] It is traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, or the causal argument, and is more precisely a cosmogonical argument (about the origin). Whichever term is employed, there are three basic variants of the argument, each with subtle yet important distinctions: the arguments from in causa (causality), in esse (essentiality), and in fieri (becoming).

The basic premises of all of these are the concept of causality. The conclusion of these arguments is first cause, subsequently deemed to be God. The history of this argument goes back to Aristotle or earlier, was developed in Neoplatonism and early Christianity and later in medieval Islamic theology during the 9th to 12th centuries, and re-introduced to medieval Christian theology in the 13th century by Thomas Aquinas. The cosmological argument is closely related to the principle of sufficient reason as addressed by Gottfried Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, itself a modern exposition of the claim that "nothing comes from nothing" attributed to Parmenides.

Contemporary defenders of cosmological arguments include William Lane Craig,[3] Robert Koons,[4] Alexander Pruss,[5] and William L. Rowe.[6]

History

Sanzio 01 Plato Aristotle
Plato and Aristotle, depicted here in Raphael's The School of Athens, both developed first cause arguments.

Plato (c. 427–347 BC) and Aristotle (c. 384–322 BC) both posited first cause arguments, though each had certain notable caveats.[7] In The Laws (Book X), Plato posited that all movement in the world and the Cosmos was "imparted motion". This required a "self-originated motion" to set it in motion and to maintain it. In Timaeus, Plato posited a "demiurge" of supreme wisdom and intelligence as the creator of the Cosmos.

Aristotle argued against the idea of a first cause, often confused with the idea of a "prime mover" or "unmoved mover" (πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκίνητον or primus motor) in his Physics and Metaphysics.[8] Aristotle argued in favor of the idea of several unmoved movers, one powering each celestial sphere, which he believed lived beyond the sphere of the fixed stars, and explained why motion in the universe (which he believed was eternal) had continued for an infinite period of time. Aristotle argued the atomist's assertion of a non-eternal universe would require a first uncaused cause – in his terminology, an efficient first cause – an idea he considered a nonsensical flaw in the reasoning of the atomists.

Like Plato, Aristotle believed in an eternal cosmos with no beginning and no end (which in turn follows Parmenides' famous statement that "nothing comes from nothing"). In what he called "first philosophy" or metaphysics, Aristotle did intend a theological correspondence between the prime mover and deity (presumably Zeus); functionally, however, he provided an explanation for the apparent motion of the "fixed stars" (now understood as the daily rotation of the Earth). According to his theses, immaterial unmoved movers are eternal unchangeable beings that constantly think about thinking, but being immaterial, they are incapable of interacting with the cosmos and have no knowledge of what transpires therein. From an "aspiration or desire",[9] the celestial spheres, imitate that purely intellectual activity as best they can, by uniform circular motion. The unmoved movers inspiring the planetary spheres are no different in kind from the prime mover, they merely suffer a dependency of relation to the prime mover. Correspondingly, the motions of the planets are subordinate to the motion inspired by the prime mover in the sphere of fixed stars. Aristotle's natural theology admitted no creation or capriciousness from the immortal pantheon, but maintained a defense against dangerous charges of impiety.

Plotinus, a third-century Platonist, taught that the One transcendent absolute caused the universe to exist simply as a consequence of its existence (creatio ex deo). His disciple Proclus stated "The One is God".

Centuries later, the Islamic philosopher Avicenna (c. 980–1037) inquired into the question of being, in which he distinguished between essence (Mahiat) and existence (Wujud). He argued that the fact of existence could not be inferred from or accounted for by the essence of existing things, and that form and matter by themselves could not originate and interact with the movement of the Universe or the progressive actualization of existing things. Thus, he reasoned that existence must be due to an agent cause that necessitates, imparts, gives, or adds existence to an essence. To do so, the cause must coexist with its effect and be an existing thing.[10]

Steven Duncan writes that it "was first formulated by a Greek-speaking Syriac Christian neo-Platonist, John Philoponus, who claims to find a contradiction between the Greek pagan insistence on the eternity of the world and the Aristotelian rejection of the existence of any actual infinite". Referring to the argument as the "'Kalam' cosmological argument", Duncan asserts that it "received its fullest articulation at the hands of [medieval] Muslim and Jewish exponents of Kalam ("the use of reason by believers to justify the basic metaphysical presuppositions of the faith").[11]

Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274) adapted and enhanced the argument he found in his reading of Aristotle and Avicenna to form one of the most influential versions of the cosmological argument.[12][13] His conception of First Cause was the idea that the Universe must be caused by something that is itself uncaused, which he claimed is that which we call God:

The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.[14]

Importantly, Aquinas' Five Ways, given the second question of his Summa Theologica, are not the entirety of Aquinas' demonstration that the Christian God exists. The Five Ways form only the beginning of Aquinas' Treatise on the Divine Nature.

Versions of the argument

Argument from contingency

In the scholastic era, Aquinas formulated the "argument from contingency", following Aristotle in claiming that there must be something to explain why the Universe exists. Since the Universe could, under different circumstances, conceivably not exist (contingency), its existence must have a cause – not merely another contingent thing, but something that exists by necessity (something that must exist in order for anything else to exist).[15] In other words, even if the Universe has always existed, it still owes its existence to an uncaused cause,[16] Aquinas further said: "... and this we understand to be God."[17]

Aquinas's argument from contingency allows for the possibility of a Universe that has no beginning in time. It is a form of argument from universal causation. Aquinas observed that, in nature, there were things with contingent existences. Since it is possible for such things not to exist, there must be some time at which these things did not in fact exist. Thus, according to Aquinas, there must have been a time when nothing existed. If this is so, there would exist nothing that could bring anything into existence. Contingent beings, therefore, are insufficient to account for the existence of contingent beings: there must exist a necessary being whose non-existence is an impossibility, and from which the existence of all contingent beings is derived.

The German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz made a similar argument with his principle of sufficient reason in 1714. "There can be found no fact that is true or existent, or any true proposition," he wrote, "without there being a sufficient reason for its being so and not otherwise, although we cannot know these reasons in most cases." He formulated the cosmological argument succinctly: "Why is there something rather than nothing? The sufficient reason ... is found in a substance which ... is a necessary being bearing the reason for its existence within itself."[18]

Leibniz's contingency argument was summarised by William Lane Craig, as follows:[19]

  1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence.
  2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
  3. The universe exists.
  4. The universe has an explanation of its existence.
  5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe's existence is God.

Craig states that the only disputable statements are 1. and 2. He defended 1. from the question of "What caused God?" by saying that God cannot be caused by anything, as that would imply that there is something greater than him, which is logically contradictory. He also denied that the universe was an exception to the rule, claiming that such a proposition begs the question. He states [20] that saying 2. is wrong contradicts modern science, and that, far from not being specific to the God of Christianity, it actually leads to evidence specifically linking to a being outside of space and time, as well as one that is omnipotent and omniscient.

In esse and in fieri

The difference between the arguments from causation in fieri and in esse is a fairly important one. In fieri is generally translated as "becoming", while in esse is generally translated as "in essence". In fieri, the process of becoming, is similar to building a house. Once it is built, the builder walks away, and it stands on its own accord; compare the watchmaker analogy. (It may require occasional maintenance, but that is beyond the scope of the first cause argument.)

In esse (essence) is more akin to the light from a candle or the liquid in a vessel. George Hayward Joyce, SJ, explained that, "where the light of the candle is dependent on the candle's continued existence, not only does a candle produce light in a room in the first instance, but its continued presence is necessary if the illumination is to continue. If it is removed, the light ceases. Again, a liquid receives its shape from the vessel in which it is contained; but were the pressure of the containing sides withdrawn, it would not retain its form for an instant." This form of the argument is far more difficult to separate from a purely first cause argument than is the example of the house's maintenance above, because here the First Cause is insufficient without the candle's or vessel's continued existence.[21]

Thus, Leibniz' argument is in fieri, while Aquinas' argument is both in fieri and in esse. This distinction is an excellent example of the difference between a deistic view (Leibniz) and a theistic view (Aquinas). As a general trend, the modern slants on the cosmological argument, including the Kalam argument, tend to lean very strongly towards an in fieri argument.

The philosopher Robert Koons has stated a new variant on the cosmological argument. He says that to deny causation is to deny all empirical ideas – for example, if we know our own hand, we know it because of the chain of causes including light being reflected upon one's eyes, stimulating the retina and sending a message through the optic nerve into your brain. He summarised the purpose of the argument as "that if you don't buy into theistic metaphysics, you're undermining empirical science. The two grew up together historically and are culturally and philosophically inter-dependent ... If you say I just don't buy this causality principle – that's going to be a big big problem for empirical science." This in fieri version of the argument therefore does not intend to prove God, but only to disprove objections involving science, and the idea that contemporary knowledge disproves the cosmological argument. [22]

Kalām cosmological argument

William Lane Craig gives this argument in the following general form:[23]

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The Universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the Universe had a cause.

Craig explains, by nature of the event (the Universe coming into existence), attributes unique to (the concept of) God must also be attributed to the cause of this event, including but not limited to: omnipotence, Creator, being eternal and absolute self-sufficiency. Since these attributes are unique to God, anything with these attributes must be God. Something does have these attributes: the cause; hence, the cause is God, the cause exists; hence, God exists.

Craig defends the second premise, that the Universe had a beginning starting with Al-Ghazali's proof that an actual infinite is impossible. However, If the universe never had a beginning then there indeed would be an actual infinite, an infinite amount of cause and effect events. Hence, the Universe had a beginning.

Metaphysical argument for the existence of God

Duns Scotus, the influential Medieval Christian theologian, created a metaphysical argument for the existence of God. Though it was inspired by Aquinas' argument from motion, he, like other philosophers and theologians, believed that his statement for God's existence could be considered separate to Aquinas'. His explanation for God's existence is long, and can be summarised as follows:[24]

  1. Something can be produced.
  2. It is produced by itself, something or another.
  3. Not by nothing, because nothing causes nothing.
  4. Not by itself, because an effect never causes itself.
  5. Therefore, by another A.
  6. If A is first then we have reached the conclusion.
  7. If A is not first, then we return to 2).
  8. From 3) and 4), we produce another- B. The ascending series is either infinite or finite.
  9. An infinite series is not possible.
  10. Therefore, God exists.

Scotus deals immediately with two objections he can see: first, that there cannot be a first, and second, that the argument falls apart when 1) is questioned. He states that infinite regress is impossible, because it provokes unanswerable questions, like, in modern English, "What is infinity minus infinity?" The second he states can be answered if the question is rephrased using modal logic, meaning that the first statement is instead "It is possible that something can be produced."

Objections and counterarguments

What caused the First Cause?

One objection to the argument is that it leaves open the question of why the First Cause is unique in that it does not require any causes. Proponents argue that the First Cause is exempt from having a cause, while opponents argue that this is special pleading or otherwise untrue.[1] Critics often press that arguing for the First Cause's exemption raises the question of why the First Cause is indeed exempt,[25] whereas defenders maintain that this question has been answered by the various arguments, emphasizing that none of its major forms rests on the premise that everything has a cause.[26]

William Lane Craig, who famously uses the Kalam cosmological argument, argues that, as the infinite is impossible, whichever perspective the viewer takes, there must always have been one unmoved thing to begin the universe. He uses Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel and the question 'What is infinity minus infinity?' to illustrate the idea that the infinite is metaphysically, mathematically, and even conceptually, impossible. Other reasons include the fact that it is impossible to count down from infinity, and that, had the universe existed for an infinite amount of time, every possible event, including the final end of the universe, would already have occurred. He therefore states his argument in three points- firstly, everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence; secondly, the universe began to exist; so, thirdly, therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.[27] A response to this argument would be that the cause of the universe's existence (God) would need a cause for its existence, which, in turn, could be responded to as being logically inconsistent with the evidence already presented- even if God did have a cause, there would still necessarily be a cause which began everything, owing to the impossibility of the infinite stated by Craig.

Secondly, it is argued that the premise of causality has been arrived at via a posteriori (inductive) reasoning, which is dependent on experience. David Hume highlighted this problem of induction and argued that causal relations were not true a priori. However, as to whether inductive or deductive reasoning is more valuable still remains a matter of debate, with the general conclusion being that neither is prominent.[28] Opponents of the argument tend to argue that it is unwise to draw conclusions from an extrapolation of causality beyond experience.[1] Andrew Loke replies that, according to the Kalam Cosmological Argument, only things which begin to exist require a cause. On the other hand, something that is without beginning has always existed and therefore does not require a cause. The Cosmological Argument shows that there cannot be an actual infinite regress of causes, therefore there must be an uncaused First Cause that is beginningless and does not require a cause.[29]

Not evidence for a theist God

The basic cosmological argument merely establishes that a First Cause exists, not that it has the attributes of a theistic god, such as omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence.[30] This is why the argument is often expanded to show that at least some of these attributes are necessarily true, for instance in the modern Kalam argument given above.[1]

Existence of causal loops

A causal loop is a form of predestination paradox arising where traveling backwards in time is deemed a possibility. A sufficiently powerful entity in such a world would have the capacity to travel backwards in time to a point before its own existence, and to then create itself, thereby initiating everything which follows from it.

The usual reason which is given to refute the possibility of a causal loop is it requires that the loop as a whole be its own cause. Richard Hanley argues that causal loops are not logically, physically, or epistemically impossible: "[In timed systems,] the only possibly objectionable feature that all causal loops share is that coincidence is required to explain them."[31] However, Andrew Loke argues that causal loop of the type that is supposed to avoid a First Cause suffers from the problem of vicious circularity and thus it would not work.[32]

Existence of infinite causal chains

David Hume and later Paul Edwards have invoked a similar principle in their criticisms of the cosmological argument. Rowe has called the principle the Hume-Edwards principle:[33]

If the existence of every member of a set is explained, the existence of that set is thereby explained.

Nevertheless, David White argues that the notion of an infinite causal regress providing a proper explanation is fallacious.[34] Furthermore, Demea states that even if the succession of causes is infinite, the whole chain still requires a cause.[35] To explain this, suppose there exists a causal chain of infinite contingent beings. If one asks the question, "Why are there any contingent beings at all?", it does not help to be told that "There are contingent beings because other contingent beings caused them." That answer would just presuppose additional contingent beings. An adequate explanation of why some contingent beings exist would invoke a different sort of being, a necessary being that is not contingent.[36] A response might suppose each individual is contingent but the infinite chain as a whole is not; or the whole infinite causal chain to be its own cause.

Severinsen argues that there is an "infinite" and complex causal structure.[37] White tried to introduce an argument "without appeal to the principle of sufficient reason and without denying the possibility of an infinite causal regress".[38] A number of other arguments have been offered to demonstrate that an actual infinite regress cannot exist, viz. the argument for the impossibility of concrete actual infinities, the argument for the impossibility of traversing an actual infinite, the argument from the lack of capacity to begin to exist, and various arguments from paradoxes.[39]

Big Bang cosmology

Some cosmologists and physicists argue that a challenge to the cosmological argument is the nature of time: "One finds that time just disappears from the Wheeler–DeWitt equation"[40] (Carlo Rovelli). The Big Bang theory states that it is the point in which all dimensions came into existence, the start of both space and time.[41] Then, the question "What was there before the Universe?" makes no sense; the concept of "before" becomes meaningless when considering a situation without time.[41] This has been put forward by J. Richard Gott III, James E. Gunn, David N. Schramm, and Beatrice Tinsley, who said that asking what occurred before the Big Bang is like asking what is north of the North Pole.[41] However, some cosmologists and physicists do attempt to investigate causes for the Big Bang, using such scenarios as the collision of membranes.[42]

Philosopher Edward Feser states that classical philosophers' arguments for the existence of God do not care about the Big Bang or whether the universe had a beginning. The question is not about what got things started or how long they have been going, but rather what keeps them going.[43]

Alternatively, the above objections can be dispelled by separating the Cosmological Argument from the A-Theory of Time[44] and subsequently discussing God as a timeless (rather than "before" in a linear sense) cause of the Big Bang. There is also a Big Bang Argument, which is a variation of the Cosmological Argument using the Big Bang Theory to validate the premise that the Universe had a beginning.[45]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Reichenbach, Bruce (2012). "Cosmological Argument". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2006 Edition, Edward N. Zalta (ed.) ed.). Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  2. ^ Oderberg, David S. (September 1, 2007). "The Cosmological Argument". In Meister, Chad; Copan, Paul. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion. Routledge. pp. 341–350. ISBN 978-0415380386.
  3. ^ Craig, William Lane; Sinclair, James D. (May 18, 2009). "The Kalam Cosmological Argument". In Craig, William Lane; Moreland, J. P. The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 101–201. ISBN 978-1405176576.
  4. ^ Koons, Robert (1997). "A New Look at the Cosmological Argument" (PDF). American Philosophical Quarterly. University of Illinois Press. 34 (2): 193–211.
  5. ^ Gale, Richard M.; Pruss, Alexander, eds. (March 2003). The Existence of God. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0754620518.
  6. ^ Rowe, William L. (1975). The Cosmological Argument. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691072104.
  7. ^ Craig, WL., The Cosmological Argument from Plato to Leibniz, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001, pp. 1–5, 13.
  8. ^ Aristotle, Physics VIII, 4–6; Metaphysics XII, 1–6.
  9. ^ "Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God", in Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967), Vol. 2, p. 233 ff.
  10. ^ "Islam". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-27.
  11. ^ Duncan, S., Analytic philosophy of religion: its history since 1955, Humanities-Ebooks, p.165.
  12. ^ Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas
  13. ^ Scott David Foutz, An Examination of Thomas Aquinas' Cosmological Arguments as found in the Five Ways, Quodlibet Online Journal of Christian Theology and Philosophy
  14. ^ "Summa Theologica". www.dhspriory.org.
  15. ^ Summa Theologiae, I: 2, 3
  16. ^ Aquinas was an ardent student of Aristotle's works, a significant number of which had only recently been translated into Latin by William of Moerbeke .
  17. ^ Summa Theologiae, I: 2,3
  18. ^ Monadologie (1714). Nicholas Rescher, trans., 1991. The Monadology: An Edition for Students. Uni. of Pittsburg Press. Jonathan Bennett's translation. Latta's translation.
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36cKSRVojRE
  20. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpz7NaUDJU4
  21. ^ Joyce, George Hayward (1922) Principles of Natural Theology. New York: Longmans Green.
  22. ^ https://crossexamined.org/new-proofs-gods-existence/
  23. ^ Craig, William L. "The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe". Truth Journal. Leaderu.com. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  24. ^ http://www.logicmuseum.com/wiki/Authors/Duns_Scotus/Ordinatio/Ordinatio_I/D2/Q2B
  25. ^ Cline, Austin. "Cosmological Argument: Does the Universe Require a First Cause? | Agnosticism/Atheism". About.com. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
  26. ^ Clarke, WN., "A Curious Blind Spot in the Anglo-American Tradition of Antitheistic Argument", in The Creative Retrieval of Saint Thomas Aquinas: Essays in Thomistic Philosophy, New and Old, Fordham Univ Press, 2009, Ch. 5.
  27. ^ https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/#4.3
  28. ^ "Deduction & Induction". Socialresearchmethods.net. 2006-10-20. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
  29. ^ Andrew Loke, God and Ultimate Origins (Cham: Springer Nature, 2017), p. 189; Chapter 5.
  30. ^ Austin Cline (27 July 2015). "Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God". About, Inc. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  31. ^ Richard Hanley, No End in Sight: Causal Loops in Philosophy, Physics and Fiction, Synthese
  32. ^ Andrew Loke, God and Ultimate Origins (Cham: Springer Nature, 2017), chapter 4.
  33. ^ Alexander R. Pruss, The Hume-Edwards Principle and the Cosmological Argument, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion
  34. ^ White, David E. "An argument for God's existence". International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
  35. ^ Calvert, Brian. "Another problem about Part IX of Hume's Dialogues". International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
  36. ^ Rota, Michael. "Infinite Causal Chains and Explanation" (DOC). Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.
  37. ^ Severinsen, Morten. "Principles Behind Definitions of Diseases – a Criticism of the Principle of Disease Mechanism and the Development of a Pragmatic Alternative". Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. This implies that there is an "infinite" and complex causal structure behind each disease, and that the disease mechanism would have to encompass the whole structure.
  38. ^ White, David E. "An argument for God's existence". International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. My intention is to show that a cosmological argument for God's existence (not that of a first cause simpliciter) can be constructed without appeal to the principle of sufficient reason and without denying the possibility of an infinite causal regress.
  39. ^ Andrew Loke, God and Ultimate Origins (Cham: Springer Nature, 2017), chapters 2 and 3; Waters, Ben. 2013. "Methuselah's Diary and the Finitude of the Past". Philosophia Christi 15: 463–469; Koons, Robert. 2014. A New Kalam Argument: Revenge of the Grim Reaper. Noûs 48: 256–267.
  40. ^ Folger, Tim. "Time may not exist". Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  41. ^ a b c J. Richard Gott III, James E. Gunn, David N. Schramm, and Beatrice M. Tinsley, "Will the Universe Expand Forever?" Scientific American [March 1976], p. 65
  42. ^ Britt, Robert R. (April 18, 2001). "Brane-Storm | Challenges Part of Big Bang Theory". Space.com. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  43. ^ Feser, Edward. The Last Superstition, St. Augustine Press 2008, p. 103
  44. ^ Benjamin Victor Waters (9 July 2015). "Toward a new kalām cosmological argument". Cogent Arts and Humanities. 2 (1). doi:10.1080/23311983.2015.1062461.
  45. ^ An article mentioning the existence of such an argument, but not necessarily endorsing it: http://strangenotions.com/why-we-should-be-cautious-using-the-big-bang-argument
Agent causation

Agent causation, or Agent causality, is an idea in philosophy which states that an agent can start new causal chains not determined by prior events. This is in contrast to causal determinism.Defenders of this theory include Thomas Reid and Roderick Chisholm.

Agnostic theism

Agnostic theism, agnostotheism or agnostitheism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a god or gods, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the god or gods that they believe in.

Existence of God

The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture.A wide variety of arguments for and against the existence of God can be categorized as metaphysical, logical, empirical, or subjective. In philosophical terms, the question of the existence of God involves the disciplines of epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) and ontology (study of the nature of being, existence, or reality) and the theory of value (since some definitions of God include "perfection").

The Western tradition of philosophical discussion of the existence of God began with Plato and Aristotle, who made arguments that would now be categorized as cosmological. Other arguments for the existence of God have been proposed by St. Anselm, who formulated the first ontological argument; Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Thomas Aquinas, who presented their own versions of the cosmological argument (the kalam argument and the first way, respectively); René Descartes, who said that the existence of a benevolent God is logically necessary for the evidence of the senses to be meaningful. John Calvin argued for a sensus divinitatis, which gives each human a knowledge of God's existence.

Philosophers who have provided arguments against the existence of God include Immanuel Kant, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell. In modern culture, the question of God's existence has been discussed by scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Francis Collins, Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Lennox and Sam Harris, as well as philosophers including Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Rebecca Goldstein, A. C. Grayling, Daniel Dennett, Edward Feser and David Bentley Hart.

Scientists follow the scientific method, within which theories must be verifiable by physical experiment. The majority of prominent conceptions of God explicitly or effectively posit a being which is not testable either by proof or disproof. On these bases, the question regarding the existence of God, one for which evidence cannot be tested, may lie outside the purview of modern science by definition. The Catholic Church maintains that knowledge of the existence of God is the "natural light of human reason". Fideists maintain that belief in the existence of God may not be amenable to demonstration or refutation, but rests on faith alone.

Atheists view arguments for the existence of God as insufficient, mistaken or weighing less in comparison to arguments against whereas some religions, such as Buddhism, are not concerned with the existence of gods at all and yet other religions, such as Jainism, reject the possibility of a creator deity.

Five Ways (Aquinas)

The quinque viae (Latin "Five Ways") (sometimes called "five proofs") are five logical arguments regarding the existence of God summarized by the 13th-century Catholic philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas in his book Summa Theologica. They are:

the argument from metaphysical motion;

the argument from efficient causation;

the argument from contingency;

the argument from degrees of being;

the argument from final causality ("teleological argument").Aquinas expands the first of these – God as the "unmoved mover" – in his Summa Contra Gentiles.

Index of philosophy of religion articles

This is a list of articles in philosophy of religion.

A Grief Observed

A History of God

A Letter Concerning Toleration

A New Model of the Universe

A Secular Humanist Declaration

A. H. Almaas

A.P. Martinich

Abandonment (existentialism)

Abd al-Karīm ibn Hawāzin al-Qushayri

Abhidharma

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Absolute (philosophy)

Absolute atheism

Absolute Infinite

Abstinence

Abu'l Hasan Muhammad Ibn Yusuf al-'Amiri

Abu Sulayman al-Sijistani

Accidentalism

Acosmism

Actus purus

Adevism

Adi Shankara

Adriaan Koerbagh

Afshin Ellian

Afterlife

Age of Enlightenment

Agnostic atheism

Agnostic theism

Agnosticism

Ahimsa

Ahmad Sirhindi

Al-Farabi

Al-Ghazali

Al-Kindi

Al-Shahrastani

Al-Tabarani

Al-Zamakhshari

Albrecht Ritschl

Alice von Hildebrand

All Truth Is God's Truth

Alvin Plantinga

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Amsterdam Declaration

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Atheism

Anāgāmi

Analects

Analytical Thomism

Ananda Coomaraswamy

Anantarika-karma

Anarchism and Islam

Anatta

Anava

Anders Nygren

Anekantavada

Animals in Buddhism

Anselm of Canterbury

Answer to Job

Anthony Kenny

Anthony Thiselton

Anthropopath

Anti-clericalism

Anti-communism

Anti-Supernaturalism

Antihumanism

Antireligion

Antitheism

Anton Kržan

Anton LaVey

Apatheism

Apocalypticism

Apologetics

Argument from a proper basis

Argument from beauty

Argument from consciousness

Argument from degree

Argument from desire

Argument from free will

Argument from inconsistent revelations

Argument from love

Argument from miracles

Argument from morality

Argument from nonbelief

Argument from poor design

Argument from religious experience

Arhat

Aristotelian view of a god

Arya

Ashtamangala

Atheism

Atheist's Wager

Atheist existentialism

Ātman (Buddhism)

Augustine of Hippo

Avadhuta Gita

Averroes

Avidyā (Buddhism)

Avraham son of Rambam

Ayatana

Ayyavazhi phenomenology

Baptists in the history of separation of church and state

Bardo

Basic Points Unifying the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna

Beatific vision

Best of all possible worlds

Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival

Bhagavad Gita

Bhava

Bhumi (Buddhism)

Biblical literalism

Bilocation

Biosophy

Bodhi

Bodhimandala

Bodhisattva Precepts

Brahmacharya

Brahman

Brahmavihara

Brian Davies (philosopher)

Brights movement

British Humanist Association

Bruno Bauer

Buddha-nature

Buddhism and evolution

Buddhist philosophy

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis bibliography

C. Stephen Evans

Cappadocian Fathers

Catholic guilt

Celsus

Charles Blount (deist)

Chöd

Chovot ha-Levavot

Christian de Quincey

Christian existentialism

Christian humanism

Christian materialism

Christian philosophy

Christian Realism

Christianity and environmentalism

Christological argument

City of God (book)

Classical theism

Clemens Timpler

Clement of Alexandria

Clerical philosophers

Clericalism

Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion

Confucius

Consciousness-only

Contemporary Islamic philosophy

Continuum of Humanist Education

Contra Celsum

Cosmological argument

Cosmology (metaphysics)

Counter-Enlightenment

Creationism

Credo ut intelligam

Criticism of Christianity

Criticism of Hinduism

Criticism of Islam

Criticism of Jesus

Criticism of Judaism

Criticism of monotheism

Criticism of religion

Criticism of the Bible

Criticism of the Catholic Church

Criticism of the Latter Day Saint movement

Criticism of the Qur'an

Cultural materialism (anthropology)

Cultural materialism (cultural studies)

Curt John Ducasse

Daniel Rynhold

Dariush Shayegan

Darwiniana

David ben Merwan al-Mukkamas

David Braine (philosopher)

David Ray Griffin

David Strauss

De Coelesti Hierarchia

De divisione naturae

De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum

Dean Zimmerman

Death

Decline of Greco-Roman polytheism

Deism

Demiurge

Derech Hashem

Desire realm

Deus

Dharani

Dharma

Dharma transmission

Dharmakāya

Dharmarāja Adhvarin

Diamond Realm

Dietrich von Hildebrand

Dimitrije Mitrinović

Dipolar theism

Direct revelation

Distributism

Divine apathy

Divine command theory

Divine simplicity

Divinity

Dōgen

Dogma

Doomsday argument

Doomsday cult

Doomsday event

Double-mindedness

Dukkha

Dwight H. Terry Lectureship

Dzogchen

E. David Cook

Early Islamic philosophy

Eliminative materialism

Elizabeth Burns

Emergent materialism

Epistemic theory of miracles

Epistle to Yemen

Eranos

Ernesto Buonaiuti

Ernst Ehrlich

Ernst Troeltsch

Eschatology

Essentially contested concept

Eternal Buddha

Eternal return

Eternal return (Eliade)

Ethica thomistica

Ethical will

Ethics in religion

Étienne Tempier

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

Euthyphro dilemma

Evolutionary argument against naturalism

Evolutionary Humanism

Exegesis

Existence of God

Extrinsic finality

Faith

Faith and rationality

Faith, Science and Understanding

Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

Fate of the unlearned

Fazang

Fazlur Rahman Malik

Ferdinand Ebner

Fetter (Buddhism)

Fi Zilal al-Qur'an

Fideism

Fiqh

Five hindrances

Four stages of enlightenment

Fourteen unanswerable questions

Francis Schaeffer

Franciszek Krupiński

Françoise Meltzer

Franz Rosenzweig

Frederick Ferré

Freethought

French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools

Friedrich Nietzsche and free will

Friedrich von Hügel

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Fujiwara Seika

Fundamentalism

Gary Habermas

Gaudapada

George H. Smith

Gifford Lectures

Giles Fraser

God

God-Building

God in Buddhism

God Is Not Great

God of the gaps

God, A Guide for the Perplexed

Gödel's ontological proof

Good and necessary consequence

Graham Oppy

Great chain of being

Greek hero cult

Gregory of Nyssa

Guru Nanak Dev

Gustav Glogau

Hajime Tanabe

Han Yong-un

Hans Rookmaaker

Haribhadra

Hasidic philosophy

Hayashi Razan

Hayom Yom

Henosis

Henry Corbin

Herbert McCabe

Hermetica

Hermeticism

Hierophany

Hinayana

Hirata Atsutane

Hisbah

Historical materialism

Holy History of Mankind

Homoiousian

Homoousian

Hōnen

Hossein Nasr

Hossein Ziai

Huayan school

Huineng

Human beings in Buddhism

Human extinction

Humanism

Humanism and Its Aspirations

Humanism in France

Humanism in Germany

Humanist Manifesto

Humanist Manifesto I

Humanist Manifesto II

Humanist Movement

Humanist Society Scotland

Humanistic naturalism

Huston Smith

Ian Ramsey

Ibn al-Nafis

Ibn Arabi

Ietsism

Ignosticism

Illtyd Trethowan

Illuminationism

Illuminationist philosophy

Immanence

Immortality

Impermanence

Incarnational humanism

Incompatible-properties argument

Indefinite monism

Indriya

Ineffability

Infinite qualitative distinction

Inka

Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society

Integral humanism (India)

Intellectualism

International League of Humanists

Intrinsic finality

Intuition (knowledge)

Invincible error

Invincible ignorance fallacy

Inviolability

Invisible Pink Unicorn

Ippen

Irenaean theodicy

Irreligion

Is God Dead?

Islam and democracy

Islamic fundamentalism in Iran

Islamic philosophy

Ivan Aguéli

Ivan Vyshenskyi

J. J. C. Smart

J. P. Moreland

Jainism

Jakob Guttmann (rabbi)

Jakub of Gostynin

James Gustafson

Jay Newman

Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa

Jayatirtha

Jean Meslier

Jewish ethics

Jinul

Jiva Goswami

Jizang

Johann Friedrich Flatt

Johann Joachim Lange

Johann Nepomuk Oischinger

Johannes Scotus Eriugena

John Calvin

John E. Hare

John Hick

John of Głogów

Joseph de Torre

Joseph Priestley and Dissent

Joseph Runzo

Kalam cosmological argument

Kalpa (aeon)

Kammaṭṭhāna

Kancha Ilaiah

Kang Youwei

Karl Heinrich Heydenreich

Karl Jaspers

Karma

Karma in Buddhism

Karuṇā

Keith Ward

Kensho

Kersey Graves

Kitaro Nishida

Klaus Klostermaier

Knight of faith

Kol HaTor

Kūkai

Kumārila Bhaṭṭa

Kurt Almqvist

Kuzari

Lazarus Geiger

Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion

Letter to a Christian Nation

Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever

Lewis's trilemma

Life of Jesus (Hegel)

Likkutei Sichos

Lineage (Buddhism)

Linji school

List of female mystics

List of new religious movements

Logic in Islamic philosophy

Lutheran scholasticism

Macrocosm and microcosm

Madhusūdana Sarasvatī

Madhvacharya

Mahābhūta

Mahamudra

Mahavira

Mahayana

Manas-vijnana

Mandala

Mappō

Martin Luther

Materialism

Maximus the Confessor

Maya (illusion)

Meera Nanda

Meister Eckhart

Melville Y. Stewart

Merit (Buddhism)

Mesillat Yesharim

Metaphysical naturalism

Metempsychosis

Methodios Anthrakites

Michael Gottlieb Birckner

Michael Martin (philosopher)

Michael Oakeshott

Michael Ruse

Middle way

Mind's eye

Mindstream

Miracle of the roses

Mircea Eliade

Mircea Eliade bibliography

Misotheism

Monad (Greek philosophy)

Monism

Monistic idealism

Morality without religion

Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei

Muhammad ibn Muhammad Tabrizi

Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi

Muhammad Iqbal

Mulla Sadra

Mumbo Jumbo (phrase)

Mystical philosophy of antiquity

Mystical realism

Mystical theology

Mysticism

Myth of Er

Nagarjuna

Namarupa

National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies

National Secular Society

Natural theology

Naturalism (philosophy)

Naturalistic pantheism

Nemesius

Neo-Scholasticism

Neo-theocracy

Neoplatonism and Christianity

Neutral monism

New Age

New religious movement

New Thought

Nichiren

Nicholas of Kues

Nick Trakakis

Nikolai Lossky

Nimbarka

Nirvana

Noble Eightfold Path

Nondualism

Nontheism

Nontheist Friend

Norman Geisler

Numenius of Apamea

Nyaya

Obscurantism

Occasion of sin

Occasionalism

Odium theologicum

Of Miracles

Olavo de Carvalho

Omega Point

Omnibenevolence

Omnipotence

Omnipotence paradox

Omnipresence

Omniscience

Omphalos hypothesis

Ontological argument

Ontotheology

Opium of the people

Or Adonai

Orchot Tzaddikim

Orlando J. Smith

Osvaldo Lira

Outline of humanism

Outline of theology

Over-soul

Pandeism

Pantheism

Pantheism controversy

Parallelism (philosophy)

Paramartha

Pāramitā

Pascal's Wager

Patañjali

Paul Draper (philosopher)

Paul Häberlin

Paul J. Griffiths

Perennial philosophy

Personalism

Peter Abelard

Peter Geach

Peter Kreeft

Peter Millican

Peter van Inwagen

Phenomenological definition of God

Phenomenology of religion

Phillip H. Wiebe

Philo's view of God

Philodemus

Philosophical Foundations of Marxist-Leninist Atheism

Philosophical theism

Philosophical theology

Philosophy of religion

Philotheus Boehner

Pierre Cally

Plantinga's free will defense

Political theology

Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Holy Scripture

Postmodern Christianity

Praepositinus

Pragmatism

Pratītyasamutpāda

Pratyekabuddha

Precept

Preformation theory

Preformationism

Primum movens

Prince Shōtoku

Problem of evil

Problem of evil in Hinduism

Problem of Hell

Problem of why there is anything at all

Process theology

Proof of the Truthful

Proslogion

Protestant work ethic

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

Pseudo-secularism

Pseudo atheism

Pseudoreligion

Psychoanalysis and Religion

Quantum mysticism

Quietism (Christian philosophy)

Quinque viae

R. De Staningtona

Rabia al-Adawiyya

Rabindranath Tagore

Ralph Tyler Flewelling

Ramanuja

Rational fideism

Rational mysticism

Rational Response Squad

Real atheism

Reality in Buddhism

Rebirth (Buddhism)

Reformational philosophy

Relationship between religion and science

Religion

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

Religion and abortion

Religion and happiness

Religious communism

Religious democracy

Religious humanism

Religious intellectualism in Iran

Religious interpretation

Religious interpretations of the Big Bang theory

Religious law

Religious naturalism

Religious philosophy

Religious skepticism

Religious views on business ethics

Religious views on suicide

Rémi Brague

Renaissance humanism

René Guénon

Revelation

Richard Carrier

Richard Dawkins

Richard Swinburne

Rigpa

Robert Cummings Neville

Robert Merrihew Adams

Rudolf Otto

Rudolf Seydel

Rule of Three (Wiccan)

Sakadagami

Sam Harris (author)

Sambhogakāya

Saṃsāra

Saṃsāra (Buddhism)

Samuel Maximilian Rieser

Samvriti

Sarah Coakley

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sathya Sai Baba

Sayyid al-Qimni

Sayyid Qutb

Scandal (theology)

School of Saint Victor

Science and Christian Belief

Scotism

Secular ethics

Secular humanism

Secular saint

Secular theology

Secularism

Secularism in the Middle East

Secularization

Sefer ha-Ikkarim

Sefer ha-Qabbalah

Seiichi Hatano

Self-Indication Assumption Doomsday argument rebuttal

Self-referencing doomsday argument rebuttal

Sentences

Seosan

Seth Material

Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi

Sharia

Shem Mishmuel

Shinran

Shoshin

Sin

Skandha

Societas Perfecta

Søren Kierkegaard

Sotāpanna

Soul

Soul dualism

Spirit

Spiritual materialism

Spiritual philosophy

Sri Aurobindo

Stephen Mulhall

Stephen R. L. Clark

Strong agnosticism

Submission (2004 film)

Sufi metaphysics

Sufi philosophy

Summa

Summa contra Gentiles

Summa Theologica

Śūnyatā

Supreme Being

Sureśvara

Suzuki Shōsan

Syed Ali Abbas Jallapuri

Symbolism

Tage Lindbom

Taha Abdurrahman

Tanya

Tao

Taoism

Tathāgata

Tathagatagarbha doctrine

Tathātā/Dharmatā

Tawhid

Teleological argument

Teleology

Ten Commandments

Ten spiritual realms

Tetrad (Greek philosophy)

Thaumaturgy

The Age of Reason

The Case for God

The End of Faith

The Essence of Christianity

The Freethinker (journal)

The God Delusion

The God Makers

The God Makers II

The Guide for the Perplexed

The Incoherence of the Philosophers

The Necessity of Atheism

The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God

The Primordial Tradition

The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam

The Teachings of the Mystics

The True Word

Theism

Theistic realism

Theodicy

Theodore Drange

Theognostus of Alexandria

Theological aesthetics

Theological determinism

Theological noncognitivism

Theological veto

Theological virtues

Theologico-Political Treatise

Theology

Theories of religion

Theosophy (history of philosophy)

Theurgy

Thirtha prabandha

Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas and the Sacraments

Thomas Jefferson

Thomism

Thought of Thomas Aquinas

Thoughtform

Three marks of existence

Threefold Training

Time and Eternity (philosophy book)

Tomer Devorah

Trademark argument

Traditionalist School

Trailokya

Transcendence (religion)

Transcendental argument for the existence of God

Transtheistic

Triad (Greek philosophy)

Trikaya

True-believer syndrome

Turtles all the way down

Twelve Nidānas

Two truths doctrine

Types of Buddha

Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit

Ultimate fate of the universe

Universality (philosophy)

Unmoved mover

Upanishads

Upaya

Upeksa

Vācaspati Miśra

Varadaraja V. Raman

Vasubandhu

Victoria Institute

Vijnanabhiksu

Vincent Miceli

Vipāka

Vipassanā

Vipassana movement

Voluntarism (theology)

Vyasa

Walter of St Victor

Wang Chong

War of Anti-Christ with the Church and Christian Civilization

Watchmaker analogy

Weak agnosticism

What I Believe

Why I Am Not a Christian

Willem B. Drees

William Alston

William F. Vallicella

William James

William L. Rowe

William Lane Craig

Witness argument

Wolfgang Smith

Womb Realm

Wonhyo

Works by Thomas Aquinas

Works of Madhvacharya

Yamazaki Ansai

Yi Hwang

Yunmen Wenyan

Zhentong

Zhu Xi

Zofia Zdybicka

Infinite regress

An infinite regress in a series of propositions arises if the truth of proposition P1 requires the support of proposition P2, the truth of proposition P2 requires the support of proposition P3, and so on, ad infinitum.

Distinction is made between infinite regresses that are "vicious" and those that are not.

KCA

KCA may refer to:

IATA code for Kuqa Qiuci Airport, China

Kalām cosmological argument

Kerala Cricket Association

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

Kiev Christian Academy

Kikuyu Central Association

Kings County Academy, a school in Kentville, Nova Scotia

Krupp cemented armour

The Kentucky Center, formerly known as the Kentucky Center for the Arts

Kenya College of Accountancy

KCA DEUTAG, oil and gas company with 9.000 employeeskca may refer to:

The ISO-639-3-Code for the Khanty, or Ostyak, language

Kalam cosmological argument

The Kalām cosmological argument is a modern formulation of the cosmological argument for the existence of God; named for the kalam (medieval Islamic scholasticism), it was popularized by William Lane Craig in his The Kalām Cosmological Argument (1979).

The argument is a variant of the unmoved mover in Aristotelianism due to its basis in the nature of causality, though Aristotle did not himself believe or argue that the universe began to exist. It is named for medieval Islamic scholasticism because Craig, arguing against the possibility of the existence of actual infinities, traced the idea to 11th-century philosopher Al-Ghazali.

Since Craig's original publication, the Kalam cosmological argument has elicited public debate between Craig and Graham Oppy, Adolf Grünbaum, J. L. Mackie and Quentin Smith, and has been used in Christian apologetics.

According to Michael Martin, the cosmological arguments presented by Craig, Bruce Reichenbach, and Richard Swinburne are "among the most sophisticated and well argued in contemporary theological philosophy", while also noting that, in reference to Craig's argument specifically, "there may have been trillions of personal agents involved in the creation".The Kalam argument's underpinning is the impossibility of an actual infinite, which is what distinguishes it from other cosmological arguments such as that of Thomas Aquinas, which rests on the impossibility of an essentially ordered infinite regress, and that of Leibniz and Clark, which uses the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

Metaphysical naturalism

Metaphysical naturalism (also called ontological naturalism, philosophical naturalism, scientific materialism and antisupernaturalism) is a philosophical worldview which holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences. Methodological naturalism is a philosophical basis for science, for which metaphysical naturalism provides only one possible ontological foundation. Broadly, the corresponding theological perspective is religious naturalism or spiritual naturalism. More specifically, metaphysical naturalism rejects the supernatural concepts and explanations that are part of many religions.

Metaphysical necessity

In philosophy, metaphysical necessity, sometimes called broad logical necessity, is one of many different kinds of necessity, which sits between logical necessity and nomological (or physical) necessity, in the sense that logical necessity entails metaphysical necessity, but not vice versa, and metaphysical necessity entails physical necessity, but not vice versa. A proposition is said to be necessary if it could not have failed to be the case. Nomological necessity is necessity according to the laws of physics and logical necessity is necessity according to the laws of logic, while metaphysical necessities are necessary in the sense that the world could not possibly have been otherwise. What facts are metaphysically necessary, and on what basis we might view certain facts as metaphysically but not logically necessary are subjects of substantial discussion in contemporary philosophy.

The concept of a metaphysically necessary being plays an important role in certain arguments for the existence of God, especially the ontological argument, but metaphysical necessity is also one of the central concepts in late 20th century analytic philosophy. Metaphysical necessity has proved a controversial concept, and criticized by David Hume, Immanuel Kant, J. L. Mackie, and Richard Swinburne, among others.

Metaphysical necessity is contrasted with other types of necessity. For example, the philosophers of religion John Hick and William L. Rowe distinguished the following three:

factual necessity (existential necessity): a factually necessary being is not causally dependent on any other being, while any other being is causally dependent on it.

causal necessity (subsumed by Hicks under the former type): a causally necessary being is such that it is logically impossible for it to be causally dependent on any other being, and it is logically impossible for any other being to be causally independent of it.

logical necessity: a logically necessary being is a being whose non-existence is a logical impossibility, and which therefore exists either timeless or eternally in all possible worlds.While many theologians (e.g. Anselm of Canterbury, René Descartes, and Gottfried Leibniz) considered God to be a logically or metaphysically necessary being, Richard Swinburne argued for factual necessity, and Alvin Plantinga argues that God is a causally necessary being. Because a factually or causally necessary being does not exist by logical necessity, it does not exist in all logically possible worlds. Therefore, Swinburne used the term "ultimate brute fact" for the existence of God.

Natural theology

Natural theology, once also termed physico-theology, is a type of theology that provides arguments for the existence of God based on reason and ordinary experience of nature.

This distinguishes it from revealed theology, which is based on scripture and/or religious experiences, and from transcendental theology, which is based on a priori reasoning. It is thus a type of philosophy, with the aim of explaining the nature of the gods, or of one supreme God. For monotheistic religions, this principally involves arguments about the attributes or non-attributes of God, and especially the existence of God, using arguments that do not involve recourse to supernatural revelation.

Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BC) established a distinction between political theology (the social functions of religion), natural theology and mythical theology. His terminology became part of the Stoic tradition and then Christianity through Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas.

Religious interpretations of the Big Bang theory

Since the emergence of the Big Bang theory as the dominant physical cosmological paradigm, there have been a variety of reactions by religious groups regarding its implications for religious cosmologies. Some accept the scientific evidence at face value, some seek to harmonize the Big Bang with their religious tenets, and some reject or ignore the evidence for the Big Bang theory.

Temporal finitism

Temporal finitism is the doctrine that time is finite in the past. The philosophy of Aristotle, expressed in such works as his Physics, held that although space was finite, with only void existing beyond the outermost sphere of the heavens, time was infinite. This caused problems for mediaeval Islamic, Jewish, and Christian philosophers, who were unable to reconcile the Aristotelian conception of the eternal with the Genesis creation narrative.Modern cosmogony accepts finitism, in the form of the Big Bang, rather than Steady State theory which allows for a universe that has existed for an infinite amount of time, but on physical rather than philosophical grounds.

The Kalām Cosmological Argument

The Kalām Cosmological Argument is a 1979 book by William Lane Craig, in which the author offers a contemporary defense of the Kalām cosmological argument and purports to establish the existence of God based upon the alleged metaphysical impossibility of an infinite regress of past events. According to Craig, given that an infinite temporal regress is metaphysically impossible and that everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence. In a further analysis Craig discloses that this cause is a personal creator who changelessly and independently willed the beginning of the universe.

Unmoved mover

The unmoved mover (Ancient Greek: ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, translit. ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, lit. 'that which moves without being moved') or prime mover (Latin: primum movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause (or first uncaused cause) or "mover" of all the motion in the universe. As is implicit in the name, the "unmoved mover" moves other things, but is not itself moved by any prior action. In Book 12 (Greek: Λ) of his Metaphysics, Aristotle describes the unmoved mover as being perfectly beautiful, indivisible, and contemplating only the perfect contemplation: self-contemplation. He equates this concept also with the active intellect. This Aristotelian concept had its roots in cosmological speculations of the earliest Greek pre-Socratic philosophers and became highly influential and widely drawn upon in medieval philosophy and theology. St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, elaborated on the unmoved mover in the Quinque viae.

William F. Vallicella

William F. Vallicella is an American philosopher.

William L. Rowe

William Leonard Rowe ( July 26, 1931 – August 22, 2015) was a professor emeritus of philosophy at Purdue University who specialized in the philosophy of religion. His work played a leading role in the "remarkable revival of analytic philosophy of religion since the 1970s". He was noted for his formulation of the evidential argument from evil.

William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig (born August 23, 1949) is an American analytic philosopher and Christian theologian. He holds faculty positions at Talbot School of Theology (Biola University) and Houston Baptist University. Craig has developed and defended the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God. He also focused in his published work on a historical argument for the resurrection of Jesus. His research on divine aseity and Platonism culminated with his book God Over All. He has also debated the existence of God with public figures such as Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Lawrence M. Krauss and A. C. Grayling. Craig established and runs the online apologetics ministry ReasonableFaith.org.

Concepts in religion
Conceptions of God
Existence of God
Theology
Religious language
Problem of evil
Philosophersof religion

(by date active)
Related topics

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.