A cosmological argument is meant to explain the existence of the physical universe. The arguments are supposed to be sound deductive arguments, meaning that the premises lead to evidence, which prove the conclusion to be an absolute truth. The two major cosmological arguments attempt to explain the existence of God. They are the CAUSAL argument and the Contingency argument. There are few differences between the two arguments and there are problems with both. Many of the problems with one can be easily associated with the other. Since the CAUSAL argument was the first argument to exist I believe that the Contingency argument is simply an improvement of the CAUSAL argument. However, the contingency argument better explains the existence of a necessary being, God.
The CAUSAL argument states that there are things that came into existence and that everything in the world that exists or has existed is caused by something else, which leads to another cause. But these causes cannot explain each other forever, and therefore there must be a first uncaused cause. This first uncaused cause is supposed to be God. The causal argument tries to demonstrate that God exists because the notion of infinity is impossible and that there must have been a beginning. This beginning is the first uncaused cause leading to the world s existence.
The Contingency argument is slightly different from the CAUSAL argument. It answers the question why is there a universe? The basis of the argument is that there is a contingent universe meaning that the universe s existence is dependant of another being. It includes the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which states that every being or truth is either explained by itself or another truth or being. Since the universe cannot be explained by itself that there must be a necessary being that explains it. That necessary being is supposed to be God. The Contingency argument does not deny that the possibility of an infinite series of contingent being could exist, rather that since we are here there has to be a plausible explanation. However, since none of the physical world even has to exist, it must have been created by something. PSR states that there must a sufficient explanation and since we are here and our universe does exist, there must have been a necessary being which created it, God.
The first premise of both arguments show what they are trying to prove, and they each differ slightly. The CAUSAL argument is trying to prove that everything in the physical world that has existed or exists has some cause for its existence. The Contingency argument attempts to demonstrate why the universe exists rather then why everything is caused. Ultimately both the arguments exist to prove the existence of God. The first premise of the CAUSAL states that there are things that came into existence. The first premise of the Contingency argument says that there is a contingent universe. The difference between these two statements is what they are trying to prove. The CAUSAL argument is trying to prove that there are things that exist and thus there are causes for their existence. The Contingency argument is proving our universe has an explanation for its existence. Both of these premises are similar because the physical existences of things are what create a universe. For example the physical existence of animals, humans, trees, the atmosphere and cars are all within our world and the worlds is a part of our universe. The Contingency argument is an improvement on the CAUSAL argument because after the failure of the CUASAL argument there had to come a more in depth and rational argument that would be easier to prove. By stating that a contingent universe exists, the contingency argument is proving an easier and broader premise and due to the following premises has less fallacies then the CAUSAL argument making the first premise of the Contingency argument is an easier argument to prove.
The Principle of Sufficient reason and the second premise of the CAUSAL argument are extremely similar. PSR states that every being has to have a reason for its existence, whether it be itself or another being. The second premise of the CAUSAL argument states the every thing that exists has a cause. A sufficient reason for existence and a cause for existence seem to be very similar statements. Nevertheless, the PSR is more precise because reason must be precise and deductive. For example, according to the CAUSAL argument a man died and his death was caused by a car crash. However, because of PSR this is not a sufficient reason for the man to die. According the Contingency argument a mad died because he was involved in a car accident where his airbag failed and he struck his head against the windshield breaking his neck, killing him instantly. This series of reasons for the man s death satisfy PSR and could also qualify as the cause for his death. Simply that the man was in a car accident and the man died is not a satisfactory explanation for PSR. Since PSR is gives us a more satisfactory explanation for the existence of beings and truths as opposed to the cause of things, again the Contingency argument has been improved upon the CAUSAL argument.
In the third premises of the arguments is where there is a major difference. The CAUSAL argument will not work if time is infinite. The Contingency argument can accept an infinite series of contingent beings. Although both arguments state that time is finite there is different reasoning. The CAUSAL argument says that there cannot be an infinite amount of causes, thus, there has to be a first uncaused cause. If time were infinite this argument would fail. Contingency argument can accept an infinite series of contingent beings but since there does not seem to be any other logical explanation for the existence of the universe that there has to be a necessary being to explain it. As long as there is sufficient reason for the existence of another being it is accepted by the Contingency argument. But there is not any such infinite string of sufficient reasons. So since that does not exist, according to PSR, the only reasonable explanation for the existence of the universe is that there has to exist a first necessary being. In addition, our universe does exist when it does not have to. The mere fact that it does exist and that I m sitting at my computer right now writing this paper means that there has to be some sort of reasonable explanation for it all of this universe and what is within it to exist. This only logical and reasonable explanation that we have found is that there is a necessary being, which was the creator of the universe.
The conclusions of these arguments are both that there is a God. But the way that they state this is different. The CAUSAL argument has gathered from its premises that since things exist they must have a cause, and since time is finite the possibility of there being and infinite amount of causes is impossible, therefore there must be a first uncaused cause, God. This argument appears to be a convincing argument, but it is not clear that this first uncaused cause is actually God, it does not succeed in proving that time is finite nor that there is actually one God. One could gather from this argument that the first uncaused cause is Santa Clause or Mighty Mouse. The clarity of the argument is inconclusive making the argument not very persuasive.
The Contingency argument, however, is more persuasive and is and overall a better explanation for God. The entire argument states that a contingent universe exists and that every contingent being has an reasonable explanation, since our universe does exist and there is no other sufficient reason that exists now explaining its existence, it must be a necessary being. The key to this argument that makes it a better argument then the CAUSAL argument is that if there was to be an infinite series of contingent beings it accepts that as long as there is always sufficient reason. Although, the conclusion that there is exists a first necessary being does not directly point a God, it can be more easily accepted that it is God then the CAUSAL argument because its trying to explain the universe and not just the existence of things.
Both cosmological arguments are trying to prove that there is a God. I believe that due to the failure of the CAUSAL argument that the Contingency is an improvement and a better argument in general. The fact that the contingency argument is trying to explain the existence of the universe instead of just the existence of things is the first and best improvement upon the CAUSAL argument. Also since the contingency argument can accept that there could be an infinite series of contingent beings bypasses the major problem with the CAUSAL argument. Lastly, we live in a universe that does exist; a definite answer to why we exist and why we are here does not exist. Therefore the most plausible reason for our existence is that there was a creator of it all. The Contingency argument better explains the reason for the existence of the physical world then the CAUSAL argument does.