The Cosmological Argument
There are many arguments and justifications regarding the existence of God. Some people argue that there is God, while others believe that God does not exist. The arguments that support the existence of God can be divided into two categories; the posterior arguments and the ‘a priori’ arguments (Rowe 16). The former refers to the arguments that are developed based on the premise that is only known through the experience that people have in the world.
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The latter, on the other hand, is based on the premises that can be known without the world experiences. One of the arguments that have been developed is the Cosmological Argument. This is an argument that supports the fact that there is a God. The other two arguments are the Ontological Argument and the Design Argument. The Cosmological Argument is a posteriori argument. The Design Argument is also a posteriori argument, but the Ontological Argument is a priori argument.
The Cosmological Argument has two parts. The first part attempts to prove the existence of a being that is not like other beings, while the second part of the argument proves that this special being has some features, such as perfect goodness, omniscience, and omnipotence. Moreover, this being is the creator of the world, and it is separate and independent of the world. The two parts of the Cosmological Argument face objections from other philosophers, with the first part being the most objected.
The first part states that “every being (that exists or ever did exist) is either a dependent being or a self-existing being. Not every being can be a dependent being; therefore, there exists a self-existing being” (Rowe 18). A dependent being is a kind of being whose existence can only be accounted for by the results of the activities carried out by other things. In other words, it is the kind of being whose existence can only be explained by another being.
On the other hand, a self-existent being is a being whose existence does not have to be explained by another being, but its own nature accounts for its existence. God is a self-existing being (Rowe 17). The premises of the first part of the Cosmological Argument and the part that has been focused on in the article have been criticized for not being deductively valid. In other words, they are said to be true, but their conclusions are not true.
For instance, the argument states that God is a self-existing being, but it fails to provide enough grounds to prove that God really exists. The premises are true, as God is truly a self-existing being. However, the conclusion that God exists is not true because they fail to prove that God truly exists. The argument is good because it is able to justify the existence of a special being, but it is not deductively valid because it fails to prove the existence of God.
The Carnap’s discussion about the explanation using the laws can be connected to the Cosmological Argument. The argument by Carnap does not explain why God exists. Instead, it tries to explain how God exists.
It gives the laws that try to explain how God exists through three premises. For instance, the third premise, which could be termed as the third law, explains that God is a self-existent being. In other words, God’s existence does not depend on the existence of another being. Therefore, the Cosmological Argument is consistent with Carnap’s discussion of explanation by the laws (Carnap 142).
Carnap, Rudolf. The Value of Laws. New York: IMG, 1966. Print.
Rowe, L. William. The Cosmological Argument. New York: Fordham University Press, 1998. Print.