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What is God?                 .
Have you ever wondered whether God exists? Most people
But have you wondered whether God‘s existence can be
Is there evidence, I mean real hard-core scientific evidence,
     that God exists?
Are there any good reasons to think that God does not
How many of you here believe that God exists?
How many of you think that God‘s existence can be
The question, "Do we have any good reason to think that
  God does (or does not) exist?", is equally important in
  the Philosophy of Religion.
There are four main positions with regard to the existence
  of God that one might take:
       Theism - the belief that God exists.
       Weak atheism - the lack of belief in any deity.
       Strong atheism - the belief that no deity exists.
       Agnosticism - the belief that the existence or non-
  …….existence of God is not known or cannot be known.
Most of Philosophy of Religion involves determining which
  of these positions is most rational to take. However, this
  assumes that the existence of God can be debated and
  proved or disproved.
The existence of God is a
  metaphysical question central to
  a branch of philosophy called the
  Philosophy of Religion.
As the name implies, this area of
  philosophy applies philosophical
  methods to the study of a wide
  variety of religious issues,
  including the existence of God.
Philosophy of Religion should be
  distinguished from a type of
  theology called revealed
                     ―Theos‖ is the Greek word for ―God,‖
                       so ―Theology‖ literally means
                           . study of God.‖
                     Revealed Theology is a type of
                       theology that claims human
                       knowledge of God comes through
                       special revelations such as the
                       Bible or Qur‘an or through visions
                       or other types of direct revelations
                       from God.
                     St. Thomas Aquinas said that
                       revealed theology provides
                       ―saving knowledge‖ – that is,
St. Thomas Aquinas     knowledge that will result in our
Another kind of theology, called Natural Theology, has to
  do with the knowledge of God that is possible based on
  the use of ―natural‖ reason – that is, reason unaided by
  special revelations.
St. Thomas says that this sort of theology can provide us
  with some knowledge of God‘s nature and can
  demonstrate that God exists, but it cannot provide saving
  knowledge because, after all, even devils know that God
Natural theology is sometimes called rational theology or
  philosophical theology. As this last name indicates, this
  kind of theology is more closely related to the Philosophy
  of Religion than is revealed theology.
Both natural theology and the Philosophy of Religion they
  solely on the use of human
                             .reason in their attempts to
  discover something about the divine.
They do not assume the truth of some special revelation;
  they allow only what reason can prove.
Natural Theology has as its professed object to vindicate
  our belief in God, and to deal with the manifold
  objections, which from a wide variety of standpoints have
  been urged either against His existence or against His
  infinite perfections.
Sometimes Revealed and Natural Theology overlap on
Thomas Aquinas said that if it an issue in which there is
  disagreement between the.two, then faith (revealed
  theology) takes precedence over reason (natural
One thing it's important to understand is that the
    Philosophy of Religion is far more subtle in its study of
    such arguments than some critics of religion suppose.
It recognizes that religious beliefs are a complex
    interaction of ideas and to suppose that a single
    argument could ground them all is not only
    unreasonable but contrary to the way in which we decide
    questions in everyday life.
Thus the modern justification of belief is cumulative and
    complaining that a particular argument fails to make the
    case for the entire network of beliefs is to miss the point.
Indeed, although there is general agreement that the five
   main arguments fail to prove the existence of God, some
   philosophers of religion claim that this is not what should
   be aimed at; instead, their combination makes it more
   likely than not that God exists.
If we were to believe because of arguments, or even if we
   could show that the existence of God were certain or
   rationally justified, there would be no room left for faith.
Religious belief is to be taken not as something that can be
    proven or disproven but instead as a boundary condition
    or principle through which we interpret life and our
There must be some measure of considering the evidence
    and arguments for and against and deciding on the
    balance of probabilities.
It is also suggested that God would not make it
    unreasonable for us to believe in Him, so there must be
    some value in the proofs of His existence, whether or
    not we find them convincing.
Recall that Kierkegaard
  identified ―subjective      .
  truths‖ as those things
  which I believe are true
  for ME.
William James noted that
  truth is what ―works‖ for
Belief is not objective
  rationality (or we would
  not call it ―faith‖); but
  belief in the unseen (and
  yet important to us)
  things shape and give
  meaning to our lives.
Theistical Systems

         The philosophical
           systems which assert
           the existence of God
           fall into three classes:
           deism, pantheism, and
Deism teaches that God created the world, but that having
  created it, He leaves it to the guidance of those laws
  which He established at its creation, abstaining from
  further interference.
                     He acts thus, it holds, both in regard
                        to the physical and moral order.
                     There is no such thing as a personal
                        providence: nor does prayer avail to
                        obtain His special assistance.
                     The externality, not to say the
                        remoteness, of God in relation to
                        the world is fundamental in this
Pantheism goes to the other extreme. It denies that there
  is any distinction between .God and the universe.
Nothing exists, it contends, except God.
The universe is, in fact, simply the Divine Being evolving
  itself in various forms.
By this it means that they deserve a religious reverence.
Theism holds a middle position between these. Like deism,
   it maintains the doctrine of .creation, affirming that finite
   things are fundamentally distinct from their Infinite Maker.
But it rejects the teaching which makes God remote from
   the world.
It asserts, on the contrary, that God is, and must be, ever
   present to every created thing, sustaining it in existence
   and conferring upon it whatever activity it possesses -
   that "in Him we live and move and have are being."
And further, Theism says that He exercises a special and
   detailed providence over the whole course of things,
   interfering as He sees fit, and guiding all things to their
   respective ends.
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you
will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and
the body more than clothing?...why do you worry about clothing? Consider the
lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you
that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God
so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the
oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?‖ (Matt. 6:25-30)
Theistic philosophies and religion are not exclusively
  ―western.‖ The Hindu Brahman is a god-figure of sorts,
  but certainly the ultimate reality.


Nontheistic philosophies, such as Buddhism and Taoism
  are not overtly concerned with the issue of God‘s
  existence even though they have been concerned with
  the nature and existence of some ―ultimate reality.‖
Two other forms of nontheistical philosophies are
  agnosticism and atheism.
Agnosticism (from the Greek  .
  words, A=not and
  gnosis=knowledge) admits to
  the middle ground of
  uncertainty between a belief
  in a God or some ultimate
  reality and a rejection of
  belief in a God or some
  ultimate reality.
An agnostic‘s identification
  means that he literally ―does
  not know.‖
The ONE THING that an Agnostic DOES KNOW
         is that he DOESN’T KNOW
. Atheistic philosophies, while
    claiming not to believe in
    the existence of God,
    nevertheless often spend
    a great deal of time
    devising rational proofs
    designed to prove that the
    theistic proofs for the
    existence of God are
    irrational or at least
    logically unsupportable.
Q: Who died and made YOU God?
    DID !
Go to next slide
Agnosticism & Atheism Compared
        How Can we know God?
If He is ineffable or indescribable, then how is it that people have
   sought to give accounts of Him within religious texts throughout
   the years?
One answer is to say that we can take a negative approach and
   only say what God is not.
To some (like the Jews), God is even too holy to be named; and
   perhaps He is beyond human language and its limits?
Others suggest that God could be known from His effects, hence
   talk of His being all-powerful, just, all knowing, as well as the
   converse of these.
More recent answers include regarding religious texts as a myths,
   perhaps giving timeless insights into the human condition but
   often through the interpretations and context of a particular age.
    But, can we honestly “know” God and His nature?
          THE IDEA OF GOD
Before the emergence of the belief that the whole world is
   under the sovereign control of a single being, people
   often believed in a plurality of divine beings or gods, a
   religious position called polytheism.
In ancient Greece and Rome, for example, the various
   gods had control over different aspects of life, so that
   one naturally worshipped several gods, a god of war, a
   goddess of love, and so forth.
Sometimes, however, one might believe that there are a
   number of gods but worship only one of them, the god of
   one‘s own tribe, a religious position called henotheism.
Monotheism, the belief in only one divine being, has
  passed through a profound change, a change he
  describes with the help of the expressions ―up there‖
  and ―out there.‖
The god ―up there‖ is a being located in space above us,
  presumably at some definite distance from the earth, in
  a region known as the heavens. He is ―above all‖ and
  outside of time, space, and the limitations of a finite
He is a ―transcendent‖ God, and he does not take time to
  bother with individual matters. He controls the world
  much like an unseen puppeteer controls a marionette
  on the stage.
The fundamental change from the God ―up there‖ to the
  God ―out there‖ in the past 800 years is the change from
  thinking of God as located
                              .at some spatial distance from
  the earth to thinking of God as separate from and
  independent of the world.
According to this idea, God has no location in some spot or
  region of physical space.
He is a purely spiritual being, a supremely good, all-
  powerful, all-knowing, personal being who has created
  the world, but is not a part of it.
He is separate from the world, not subject to its laws, and
  yet he judges it, and guides it to its final purpose.
He is HERE ―with‖ the world, but not ―of‖ the world. He is
  an ―eminent‖ God.
 Transcendent God – controls
  the world from “up there” 

 Eminent God – controls the
world from “out there” (here) 
 Two views of     This rather majestic idea
God controlling       of an eminent God was
  the world           slowly developed over
                      the centuries by great
                      western theologians
                      such as Augustine,
                      Boethius, Bonaventure,
                     Avicenna, Anselm,
                      Maimonides, and
                  It has been the dominant
                      idea of God in western
According to many major theologians, God is conceived of
  as a supremely good being, separate from and
  independent of the world, all-powerful, all-knowing, and
  the creator of the universe.
Two other features that were ascribed to God by the great
  theologians are self-existent and eternal.
The dominant idea of God in western civilization, then, is
  the idea of a supremely good being, creator of but
  separate from and independent of the world, all-
  powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient),
  eternal, and self-existent.
What is it for a being to be omnipotent?
How are we to understand the idea of self-existence?
In what way is God thought to be separate from and
   independent of the world?
What is meant when it is said that God, and God alone, is

Only to the extent that we can answer these and similar
  questions do we comprehend the central idea of God to
  emerge within western civilization.
Before turning to a study of the question of the existence of
  God, therefore, it is important to enrich our grasp of this
  idea of God by trying to answer some of these basic
             Paradox of the Stone

Does God have the
   power to create a
   stone so heavy that
   He cannot lift it?
Is it possible that he
   does or does not?
In his great work, the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas
   Aquinas undertakes to explain what it is for God to be
After pointing out that for God to be omnipotent is for God
   to be able to do all things that are possible, Aquinas
   carefully explains that there are two different kinds of
   possibility, relative possibility and absolute
   possibility, and inquires as to which kind of possibility is
   meant when it is said that God‘s omnipotence is the
   ability to do all things that are possible. Something is a
   relative possibility when it lies within the power of some
   being or beings to do.
Flying by natural means, for example, is possible relative
   to birds but not relative to humans.
Something is an absolute possibility, however, if it is not a
   contradiction in terms.
Having explained the two different kinds of possibility,
   Aquinas points out that it must be absolute possibility
   which is meant when God‘s
                                 . omnipotence is explained as
   the ability to do all things that are possible. For if we
   meant relative possibility, our explanation would say no
   more than that ―God is omnipotent‖ means that he can
   do all things that are in his power to do. And while it is
   certainly true that God can do all things that are in his
   power to do, it explains nothing. ―God is omnipotent,‖
   then, means that God can do whatever does not involve
   a contradiction in terms.
Does this mean that there are some things God cannot do?
In one sense it clearly does mean this. God cannot make
   one and the same thing both round and square at the
   same time.
The idea that God‘s omnipotence does not include the
   power to do something inconsistent with any of his basic
   attributes can help us solve what has been called the
   paradox of the stone.
According to this paradox, either God has the power to
   create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it, or God
   does not have that power.
If he does have the power to create such a stone, then
   there is something God cannot do: lift the stone he can
On the other hand, if God cannot create such a stone, then
   there is also something he cannot do: create a stone so
   heavy he cannot lift it.
In either case there is something God cannot do.
   Therefore, God is not omnipotent. But……..
The solution to this puzzle see that creating a stone
  so heavy that God cannot lift it is doing something
  inconsistent with one of God‘s essential attributes—the
  attribute of omnipotence.
For if there exists a stone so heavy that God lacks the
  power to lift it, then God is not omnipotent.
Therefore, if God has the power to create such a stone, he
  has the power to bring it about that he lacks an attribute
  (omnipotence) that is essential to him.
So, the proper solution to the puzzle is to say that God
  cannot create such a stone any more than he can do an
  evil deed.
 The Dilemma of Divine Command

In Plato‘s Euthyphro, the issue concerning God‘s
   goodness and his commands could be expressed in a
   two part question:

     Is something good because God
   commands it, or does God command it
           because it is good?
The idea that God (and his commands) must be perfectly
  good is connected to the view that God is a being who
                                . praise, and worship.
  deserves unconditional gratitude,
For if a being were to fall short of perfect goodness, it
  would not be worthy of unreserved praise and worship.
So, God is not just a good being, his goodness is
Moreover, God doesn‘t simply happen to be perfectly
  good; it is his nature to be that way.
God logically could not fail to be perfectly good. It was for
  this reason that God does not have the power to do evil.
To attribute such a power to God is to attribute to him the
  power to cease to be the being that he necessarily is.
Being God is part of the nature or essence of the being
  who is God. So, since the being who is God cannot
  cease to be God, that being cannot cease to be perfectly
  good.                                          Or can he?
Plato‘s writings were in the form of dialogues, usually
    between Socrates and one or more interlocutors.
In one of these dialogues, the Euthyphro, there is a
    discussion concerning whether ―right‖ can be defined as
    ―that which the gods command.‖
Socrates is skeptical and asks: Is conduct right because
    the gods command it, or do the gods command it
    because it is right?
It is one of the most famous questions in the history of
    philosophy. The British philosopher Antony Flew
    suggests that ―one good test of a person‘s aptitude for
    philosophy is to discover whether he can grasp its force
    and point.‖
The point is this. If we accept the theological conception of
   right and wrong, we are caught in a dilemma. Socrates‘
   question asks us to clarify what we mean. There are two
   things we might mean, and both lead to trouble.
1. First, we might mean that conduct is right because God
   commands it. For example, in Exodus 20:16, we read
   that God commands us to be truthful. On this option, the
   reason we should be truthful is simply that God requires
   it. Apart from the divine command, truth telling is neither
   good nor bad. It is God‘s command that makes
   truthfulness right. But this leads to trouble, for it
   represents God‘s commands as arbitrary. It means that
   God could have given different commands just as easily.
He could have commanded us to be liars, and then lying,
  and not truthfulness, would . be right. (You may be
  tempted to reply: ―But God would never command us to
  lie!‖ But why not? If he did endorse lying, God would not
  be commanding us to do wrong, because his command
  would make lying right.) Remember that on this view,
  honesty was not right before God commanded it.
Therefore, he could have had no more reason to command
  it than its opposite; and so, from a moral point of view,
  his command is perfectly arbitrary.
Moreover, on this view, the doctrine of the goodness of
  God is reduced to nonsense.
It is important to religious believers that God is not only all-
    powerful and all-knowing, but that he is also good; yet if
    we accept the idea that good and bad are defined by
    reference to God‘s will, this notion is deprived of any
    meaning. What could it mean to say that God‘s
    commands are good? If ―X is good‖ means ―X is
    commanded by God,‖ then ―God‘s commands are good‖
    would mean only ―God‘s commands are commanded by
    God,‖ an empty truism. In his Discourse on Metaphysics
    (1686) Leibniz put the point clearly:
So in saying that things are not good by any rule of
    goodness, but sheerly by the will of God, it seems to me
    that one destroys, without realizing it, all the love of God
    and all his glory. For why praise him for what he has
    done if he would be equally praiseworthy in doing
    exactly the contrary?

 If God’s commands
   could be arbitrary,
how can we say that He
       is GOOD ?
Thus if we choose the first of Socrates‘ two options, we are
  stuck with consequences that even the most religious
  people must find unacceptable.

2. There is a way to avoid these troublesome
   consequences. We can take the second of Socrates‘
   options. We need not say that right conduct is right
   because God commands it. Instead, we may say that
   God commands right conduct because it is right. God,
   who is infinitely wise, realizes that truthfulness is far
   better than deceitfulness, and so he commands us to be
   truthful; he sees that killing is wrong, and so he
   commands us not to kill; and so on for all the
If we take this option, we avoid the troublesome
   consequences that plagued the first alternative. God‘s
   commands turn out to be not at all arbitrary; they are the
   result of his wisdom in knowing what is best. And the
   doctrine of the goodness of God is preserved: To say
   that his commands are good means that he commands
   only what, in perfect wisdom, he sees to be the best. But
   this option leads to a different problem, which is equally
   troublesome for the theological conception of right and
   wrong: In taking this option, we have virtually abandoned
   the theological conception of right and wrong.
   If God knows some things are good
 (and also knows some things are evil),
 we cannot say that He knows the Good
    because He is Good unless we are
also willing to say that He knows the Evil
            because He is Evil.
      So the standard of good & evil
        must exist outside of God.
If we say that God commands us to be truthful because
   truthfulness is right, then we are admitting that there is
   some standard of right and
                                . wrong that is independent of
   God‘s will. We are saying that God sees or recognizes
   that truthfulness is right, and that is very different from
   his making it right. The rightness exists prior to and
   independent of God‘s command, and it is the reason for
   the command. Thus if we want to know why we should
   be truthful, the reply ―Because God commands it‖ will not
   take us very far. We may still ask ―But why does God
   command it?‖ and the answer to that question will
   provide the underlying reasons why truthfulness is a
   good thing.

All this may be summarized in the following argument:
Many religious people believe that they must accept a
                              . and wrong because it
   theological conception of right
   would be impious not to do so. They feel, somehow, that
   if they believe in God, they should think that right and
   wrong are to be defined ultimately in terms of his will.
   But this argument suggests otherwise.
It suggests that, on the contrary, the Divine Command
   Theory of right and wrong itself leads to impious results,
   so that a pious person should not accept it. And in fact,
   some of the greatest theologians, such as St. Thomas
   Aquinas (ca. 1225—1274), rejected the theory for just
   this reason.
   But even if we cannot

say that “God’s commands
     are good,” can we
        still say that
      “God is good”?

Theologians and philosophers have developed arguments
  for the existence of God, arguments which, they have
  claimed, prove beyond reasonable doubt that there is a
Arguments for the existence of God are commonly divided
  into a posteriori arguments and a priori arguments.
An a posteriori argument depends on a principle or
  premise that can be known only by means of our
  experience of the world.
An a priori argument, on the other hand, purports to rest
   on principles all of which can be known independently of
   our experience of the world,
                                 . by just reflecting on and
   understanding them.
Of the three major arguments for the existence of God—the
   Cosmological, the Design, and the Ontological—only the
   last of these is entirely a priori.
In the Cosmological Argument one starts from some
   simple fact about the world, such as that it contains
   things which are caused to exist by other things. In the
   Design Argument a somewhat more complicated fact
   about the world serves as a starting point, the fact that
   the world exhibits order and design. In the Ontological
   Argument, however, one begins simply with a
   concept of God.
Ontological Argument
       This argument was first
         propounded by St. Anselm,
         Archbishop of Canterbury in
         his Proslogion of 1077-78.
       Iin the Proslogion Anselm sets
          out to convince "the fool,"
          that is, the person who "has
          said in his heart, „There is
          no God‟ " (Psalm 14:1;
Anselm‘s argument is considered by some that he
  intended it for those who were already theists, not
  necessarily for convincing atheists. This distinction is
  important because his goals for the argument tell us how
  it was supposed to function: if it was meant for theists, to
  provide a rational basis for already-existing faith and
  hence work as a cumulative argument (as discussed
  above), then we might judge it differently than if it was
  supposed to prove definitively the existence of God.
Anselm himself wrote:
  “I have written the following treatise [as] ... one who
  seeks to understand what he believes...”
Given this context, we can now look at the argument itself.
In basic form, it states that the definition of God entails His
   existence. For example:

P1: God is the greatest possible being, one whom nothing
  greater than can be conceived of;
P2: If God is just a concept and does not exist in reality then a
  greater being can be conceived, one that exists both as a
  concept and in reality;
C1: This being would be greater than God, contradicting P1;
C2: Therefore, God is not just a concept and must exist in
Thus the fact that we define God to be the greatest
  possible being means that He must exist, or else He
  would no longer be the greatest.
Another way to understand the argument is to distinguish
  between a necessary being (that is, one that necessarily
  must exist) and a contingent one (that is, one that may or
  may not exist, depending on the circumstances).
According to the ontological argument, then, it would be
  greater for God to exist as a necessary being than as a
  contingent one.
Notice that this argument depends only on the definition,
  not any facts about the world. It is perhaps for this
  reason that many people find it unsatisfactory at first
Does the notion of a "greatest possible being" make
                     Let’s do the argument again
In presenting Anselm‘s argument again, I shall use the term God in
    place of the longer phrase ―the being than which none greater is
    possible‖—wherever the term God appears we are to think of it as
    simply an abbreviation of the longer phrase.
1. God exists in the understanding.
   As we‘ve noted, anyone who hears of the being than which none greater is possible
   is, in Anselm‘s view, committed to premise 1.
2. God might have existed in reality (God is a possible being).
   Anselm, I think, assumes the truth of premise 2 without making it explicit in his
3. If something exists only in the understanding and might have
   existed in reality, then it might have been greater than it is.
   Statement 3 is the key idea in Anselm‘s Ontological Argument. It is intended as a
   general principle true of anything. Steps 1–3 constitute the basic premises of
   Anselm‘s Ontological Argument.
From these three items it follows, so Anselm believes, that
  God exists in reality.       .
But how does Anselm propose to convince us that if we
  accept 1–3 we are committed by the rules of logic to
  accept his conclusion that God exists in reality?
Anselm‘s procedure is to offer what is called a reductio ad
  absurdum proof of his conclusion. Instead of showing
  directly that the existence of God follows from1–3,
  Anselm invites us to suppose that God does not exist
  (that is, that the conclusion he wants to establish is
Then he shows how this supposition when conjoined with
  1–3 leads to an absurd result, a result that couldn‘t
  possibly be true because it is contradictory.
In short, with the help of 1–3,Anselm shows that the
   supposition that God does not exist reduces to an
Since the supposition that God does not exist leads to an
   absurdity, that supposition must be rejected in favor of
   the conclusion that God does exist.

Does Anselm succeed in reducing the fool‘s belief that
  God does not exist to an absurdity?
The best way to answer this question is to follow the steps
  of his argument.
4. Suppose God exists only in the understanding.
  This supposition, as we saw earlier, is Anselm‘s way of expressing the
  fool‘s belief that God does not exist.
5. God might have been greater than he is. (2, 4, and 3)6
  Step 5 follows from steps 2, 4, and 3. Since 3, if true, is true of anything, it
  will be true of God. Step 3, therefore, implies that if God exists only in the
  understanding and might have existed in reality, then God might have been
  greater than he is. If so, then given 2 and 4, 5 must be true. For what 3
  says when applied to God is that given 2 and 4 it follows that 5.
6. God is a being than which a greater is possible. (5)
  Surely if God is such that he logically might have been greater, then he is
  such than which a greater is possible.
We‘re now in a position to appreciate Anselm‘s reductio argument.
   He has shown us that if we accept 1–4 we must accept 6. But 6
                                  . Anselm was after. For
   is unacceptable; it is the absurdity
   replacing God in step 6 with the longer phrase it abbreviates, we
   see that 6 amounts to the absurd assertion:
7. The being than which none greater is possible is a being than
   which a greater is possible.
  Now since 1–4 have led us to an obviously false conclusion, if we accept
  Anselm‘s basic premises 1–3 as true, 4, the supposition that God exists
  only in the understanding, must be rejected as false. Thus we have shown
8. It is false that God exists only in the understanding.
  But since premise 1 tells us that God does exist in the understanding, and
  8 tells us that God does not exist only there, we may infer that
9. God exists in reality as well as in the understanding. (1, 8)
Defending critics of Anselm’s
  argument:                   .
Try to think, for example, of a
  hockey player than which
  none greater is possible.
How fast would he have to
How many goals would such a
  player have to score in a
How fast would he have to
  shoot the puck?
Could this player ever fall down,
  be checked, or receive a
                           . player than which none
Although the phrase ―The hockey
  greater is possible‖ seems meaningful, as soon as we try
  to get a clear idea of what such a being would be like, we
  discover that we can‘t form a coherent idea of it at all.
  For we are being invited to think of some limited, finite
  thing—a hockey player or an island—and then to think of
  it as exhibiting unlimited, infinite perfections.
Perhaps, then, since Anselm‘s reasoning applies only to
  possible things, Anselm can reject its application to his
  critic‘s hockey player on the grounds that the hockey
  player and ―than which none greater is possible‖ is, like
  the round square, an impossible thing.
    Cosmological Argument
According to Plato in his dialogue the Timaeus, “...everything
   that comes to be or changes must do so owing to some
   cause; for nothing can come to be without a cause.”
Historically, the cosmological argument can be traced to the
   writings of the Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, but
   the major developments in the argument took place in the
   thirteenth and in the eighteenth centuries.
In the thirteenth century St. Thomas Aquinas put forth five
   distinct arguments for the existence of God, and of these,
   the first three are versions of the Cosmological Argument.
The Cosmological Argument has two parts.
In the first part the effort is to prove the existence of a
   special sort of being, for example, a being that could not
   have failed to exist, or a being that causes change in
   other things but is itself unchanging.
In the second part of the argument the effort is to prove
   that the special sort of being whose existence has been
   established in the first part has, and must have, the
   features—perfect goodness, omnipotence, omniscience,
   and so on—which go together to make up the theistic
   idea of God.
What this means, then, is that Aquinas‘ first three
   arguments (of five) are different versions of only the first
   part of the Cosmological Argument.
     St. Thomas Aquinas'
           FIVE WAYS
St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) was a Dominican priest,
  theologian, and philosopher. Called the Doctor
  Angelicus (the Angelic Doctor,) Aquinas is considered
  one the greatest Christian philosophers to have ever
  lived. Two of his most famous works, the Summa
  Theologiae and the Summa Contra Gentiles, are the
  finest examples of his work on Christian philosophy.
           First Way: (Cosmological)
            Argument From Motion

St. Thomas Aquinas, studying the works of the Greek
  philosopher Aristotle, concluded from common
  observation that an object that is in motion (e.g. the
  planets, a rolling stone) is put in motion by some other
  object or force.
From this, Aquinas believes that ultimately there must have
  been an UNMOVED MOVER (GOD) who first put things
  in motion.
Follow the argument this way:
P1: Everything that moves is moved by something else;
P2: An infinite regress (that is, going back through a chain
  of movers forever) is impossible;
C: Therefore, there must exist a first mover (i.e. God).
          Second Way: (Cosmological)
            Causation Of Existence

This way deals with the issue of existence. Aquinas
  concluded that common sense observation tells us that
  no object creates itself. In other words, some previous
  object had to create it. Aquinas believed that ultimately
  there must have been an UNCAUSED FIRST CAUSE
  (GOD) who began the chain of existence for all things.

The second cosmological argument proceeds similarly.
Follow the argument this way:

1) There exists things that are caused (created) by other
2) Nothing can be the cause of itself (nothing can create
3) There can not be an endless string of objects causing
  other objects to exist.
4) Therefore, there must be an uncaused first cause called
The first two cosmological arguments seem much the
  same but the slight distinction is that the first focuses on
                              . by agents acting in the
  the fact that things are moved
  world while the second discusses the actors causing
  these things to happen.
Several criticisms have been made of Aquinas'
  assumptions. Philosophers have challenged the idea
  that events are linked in a "chain" from one to the next,
  each resting, as it were, on those below. Another telling
  objection is to ask why there could not be more than one
  first cause/mover? Why could the chain not lead back to
  several ultimate causes, each somehow outside the
  universe? Not only that, but these two arguments could
  just as easily lead to two different Gods.
Aquinas offers a third argument.
      Third Way: (Cosmological)
   Contingent and Necessary Objects
This way defines two types of objects in the universe:
  contingent beings and necessary beings.
A contingent being is an object that cannot exist without a
  necessary being causing its existence.
Aquinas believed that the existence of contingent beings
  would ultimately necessitate a being which must exist for
  all of the contingent beings to exist.
This being, called a necessary being, is what we call God.
Follow the argument this way:

1) Contingent beings are caused.
2) Not every being can be contingent.
3) If a contingent being exists, then there must exist a
  being which is necessary to cause contingent beings.
4) This necessary being is God.
The idea here is that if everything in the universe was
  contingent then there must.have been some time when
  there were no contingent beings at all. In that case, how
  could the universe have come into being, since
  contingent beings would require a cause? This means
  that there must be some necessary being, which we take
  to be God.

The problem again is that Aquinas‘ third argument might be
  taken to imply another God, different from the other two.
  Others object that matter or energy are not contingent
  (although still others question this assumption), or that
  the contingency could run backwards in time as far as we
  like and "end" in the future.
Final Comment on the Cosmological Argument:

As with the ontological argument, the cosmological
  argument does not appear to be intended to convince
  non-theists that they should become theists but instead
  suggests the existence of God as a possibility, or an
  explanation of the brute fact of the existence of the
How convincing it is depends, apart from the opinions we
  might hold of the content of the argument, on whether
  we feel this fact is in need of explanation or not.
    Fourth Way: The Argument From
        Degrees And Perfection
St. Thomas Aquinas formulated this Way from a very
  interesting observation about the qualities of things. For
  example one may say that of two marble sculptures one
  is more beautiful than the other. So for these two objects,
  one has a greater degree of beauty than the next. This is
  referred to as degrees or gradation of a quality.
From this fact Aquinas concluded that for any given quality
  (e.g. goodness, beauty, knowledge) there must be a
  perfect standard by which all such qualities are
  measured. These perfections are contained in God.
         Fifth Way: (Teleological)
     Argument From Intelligent Design

The final Way that St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of has to do
   with the observable universe and the order of nature.
Aquinas states that common sense tells us that the
   universe works in such a way, that one can conclude that
   is was designed by an intelligent designer, God.
In other words, all physical laws and the order of nature
   and life were designed and ordered by God, the
   intelligent designer.
The Teleological Argument points to the existence of
  purpose and order in the universe and supposes that if
  we see signs of design then there must have been a
Indeed, the word "teleology" comes from the Greek telos,
  meaning "purpose", "goal", or "end."
Sometimes it is called the argument from design, or more
  properly the argument for design.

A more complete explanation of St. Thomas' Fifth Way
  about God as Intelligent Designer can be understood by
  examining William Paley's Teleological Argument.
The basic premise, of all
 . teleological arguments for
   the existence of God, is that
   the world exhibits an
   intelligent purpose based on
   experience from nature such
   as its order, unity,
   coherency, design, and
Hence, there must be an
   intelligent designer to
   account for the observed
   intelligent purpose and order
   that we can observe.
2. Paley's teleological argument is based on an analogy.
Watchmaker is to watch as God is to universe. Just as a
  watch, with its intelligent design and complex function
  must have been created by an intelligent maker.
A watchmaker, the universe,
  with all its complexity and
  greatness, must have
  been created by an
  intelligent and powerful
Therefore a watchmaker is
  to watch as God is to
            If you tripped over a watch you
               would assume (after
               examining it) that it had been
               put together by a clever
            Is it not reasonable to assume
               the same about the world?
            You could say the same about
               an eye.
            Except its maker is a lot
               cleverer than the watchmaker.
Paley's Teleological Argument:

1) Human artifacts are products of intelligent design.
2) The universe resembles human artifacts.
3) Therefore the universe is a product of intelligent design.
4) But the universe is complex and gigantic, in comparison
  to human artifacts.
5) Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly
  intelligent designer who created the universe.
Design Argument: we may disagree about
WHO is in charge, but somebody must be!
HUME - It depends what you look at in the world. What if
 you focus on suffering and disease. Does this suggest a
 designer? An incompetent designer or an evil designer?
 Why only one great Designer? Hume suggests there
 could be several – so not God, in the usual sense of

J S MILL - Nature is ‗guilty‘ of many serious crimes. If
  people committed crimes like these (earthquakes etc)
  they would be punished. Mill suggests that it is wrong to
  think of the world as being ordered or designed.
RICHARD DAWKINS - Modern Darwinian biologist. In his
                            . (1989), he suggests that
  famous book The Selfish Gene
  human beings and other animals exists as gene carriers
  (and not because they‘re important in themselves). The
  human body is a ‗gene survival suit.‘ There is no order or
  design = there is no God.

CHARLES DARWIN - Darwin was famous for formulating
 the ―theory of evolution.‖ Darwin said that, what looks
 like order, has come about as a result of a random
 process. Animals just keep adapting to the things that
 happen (accidentally) in their environments. What looks
 like order is just adaptation.
.   Hume:
    An incompetent designer

    An unordered world

    Gene survival = No God

    Adaptation = No God
After years of trying to create life in the laboratory, the scientists
finally concede that God did a better job than they every could.
The success of evolutionary theory has also provided an
  alternative explanation as to where the order we see has
  come from, with the caveat that there is apparently no
  need to invoke purposive behavior to account for it. This
  is not necessarily an objection against design, however,
  since many theists now suggest that evolution is the
  means used by God to achieve His goals.
With developments in science continually suggesting new
  angles to view the argument from, as well as refinements
  that point to the amount of beauty in the universe as
  opposed to just design, the teleological argument
  rumbles on and it perhaps once again depends on the
  perspective from which it is viewed.
  The Religious Experience Argument

Perhaps the most interesting argument for the existence of
  God comes from the fact that very many people have
  experiences they characterize as religious.
These tend to have different forms, but there is enough
  common ground to list a few of them that have been
  distilled as a result of work by people like William James
  and David Hay.
Some common descriptions include:
  - The experience is hard (if not impossible) to describe.
  - It is a feeling of oneness with God.
  - It can also be a sense of being dependent on God.
  - It may sometimes call attention to a painful separation
  ……from God.
  - It can be experienced anywhere, in everyday situations.
  - It can provide insight into otherwise inaccessible truths.
  - The experience tends to be transient.

There are other descriptions, of course, and the
  experience itself seems to be largely personal.
The issue, then, is to explain these religious experiences in
  a satisfactory way. The religious experience argument,
  again, does not seek to prove that God exists but
  instead that it is reasonable to believe that He does
  because of the direct experience of Him.
Moreover, the argument gives a motive for non-believers to
  also believe unless they can explain the experiences
  (which they may have for themselves) in another way.
  Indeed, we could say the argument is an inference to the
  best explanation:
  P1: People have religious experiences;
  P2: The existence of God explains these experiences;
  C: Therefore, God exists.
. In summary, the argument
  from religious
  experience does not
  prove existence
  definitively and depends
  in good measure on
  what our prior opinions
  of such experiences are.
 Nevertheless, it provides
  an explanation for a
    Other Types of Argument
There are other types of arguments used to prove the
   existence of God.
One commonly occurring one (used by Kant as well as
   others) is the Moral Argument.
In its simplest form, it says that without God, there would
   be no morality. Since human beings have some
   internal sense of morality, there must be a God who
   not only created the world but also instilled within
   human beings a sense of right and wrong.
Another common argument
  is the Free Will
  Argument, which is
  designed to fly in the
  face of the notion of an
  uncreated universe that
  still (for some reason)
  has laws (such as cause
  and effect).
P1: Every event is derived from a cause determined by
  universal laws.             .
P2. Human actions are undetermined.
P3: Undetermined actions do no follow universal laws and
  thus must be the result of free will.
P4: But if every event has a cause, then even undetermined
  events (resulting from free will) must have a cause.
P4: The cause of free will must also (by analogy) be the
  cause of the universal laws.
C: Therefore God, the cause of the universal laws, must
  exist as the cause of free will.

Personally, I don‘t think it is a very convincing argument.
                        God “smites” those who do
                        not obey Him, because they
                          use their free will badly.

On the other hand (or
maybe with the same
   hand), the Bible
  says that the Lord
disciplines those He
loves (Hebrews 12:6).
For thought and discussion: .
If there is only one God whose existence is being ―proven‖
    in all these arguments, why is it that there is a plurality of
If people can agree that God exists, then are all religions
    equally good in their approaches to God?

We‘ll discuss that after we read the handout.