The Cosmological Argument


This is not properly an argument from effect to cause; for the proposition that every effect must have a cause is simply identical, and means only that every caused event must have a cause. It is rather an argument from begun existence to a sufficient cause of that beginning, and may be accurately stated as follows:

Everything begun, whether substance or phenomenon, owes its existence to some producing cause. The universe, at least so far as its present form is concerned, is a thing begun, and owes its existence to a cause which is equal to its production. This cause must be indefinitely great.

It is to be noticed that this argument moves wholly in the realm of nature. The argument from man?s constitution and beginning upon the planet is treated under another head (see Anthropological Argument). That the present form of the universe is not eternal in the past, but has begun to be, not only personal observation but the testimony of geology assures us. For statements of the argument, see Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (Bohn?s transl.),370; Gillespie, Necessary Existence of God, 8:34-44; Bibliotheca Sacra, 1849:613; 1850:613; Porter, Hum. Intellect, 50; Herbert Spencer, First Principles, 93. It has often been claimed, as by Locke, Clarke, and Robert Hall, that this argument is sufficient to conduct the mind to an Eternal and Infinite First Cause. We proceed therefore to mention

1. The defects of the Cosmological Argument.

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