- Cosmological Argument
One of the oldest arguments for the existence of God is the Cosmological Argument, which is also called the First Cause Argument. The premise of this argument is that everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The universe began to exist, therefore the universe must have a cause that exists independently of itself. Since time, matter, and energy only exist within the universe, a cause that exists outside of the universe must therefore be timeless and spaceless.
|The Cosmological Argument can be understood as follows:|
Premise 1: In this world there are beings who are needy—what does it mean to be needy?
Premise 2: It is impossible for beings who are needy to create themselves—why?
→ Therefore, there must be a being who is Needless who created them.
A question that may arise is, “If God created everything, then who created God?” The answer to the chain of cause-and-effect stops at an essential cause which is not dependent upon any other cause.
When one asks why something is salty, the answer is because of the salt in it. But if we ask why salt is salty, there is no answer to that. Salt is salty. That is its essence. It does not need a cause to make it salty. The chain of saltiness of all products ends at salt itself.
Similarly, one does not ask why water is wet, or why sugar is sweet – these are properties that are essential to the objects they belong to.
Scientific advances have postulated the Big Bang as the origin of the universe – a densely collapsed ball that expanded to produce time, matter, and energy. The cause of the Big Bang cannot be determined using physical sciences as there were no physics at that instant—whatever produced the universe was outside of time, matter, energy and space. Whatever produced it must also have been infinitely powerful in order to have wielded such an explosion. In Islam, the characteristics of this non-physical cause are ascribed to God.
- Divine Nature Argument
The Divine Nature Argument is that humans have natural inclinations towards absolute forms such as beauty, love, justice, happiness and perfection. These inclinations are unending—they are not satisfied by finite means. Yet inclinations must have a corresponding object. If one has an inclination for something, that presupposes that the object they are inclined towards exists.
For example, having ears presupposes that sound exists, and having eyes presupposes that light exists. Thus, there must be a corresponding reality that is the object of human inclination towards perfection. There must be an absolute source of love, justice, and happiness: God.
|“I was born with ears with which I can hear” → therefore sound exists|
In Islam this instinctive inclination towards perfection and virtue is known as “fitrah.” All human beings possess a fitrah that acts as an internal compass pointing towards God and drawing one to Him. This feeling of yearning for perfection, similar to the feelings such as hunger and thirst, are indicative of real human needs and inclines one toward reaching the object of such needs. The fact that one’s fitrah points towards God and His absolute perfection suggests that humans have a need to overcome their own imperfections by emulating the absolute forms of beauty, love, justice, happiness and perfection—the attributes of God.
- The Argument from Beauty
A third argument for the existence of God is known as the Argument from Beauty. The argument is an observation from the sciences that the laws of mathematics and physics are elegant rather than convoluted, which supposes that they were designed rather than having come about randomly. Similarly, the beauty of nature and the organized system of life and the universe suggest the existence of an intelligent designer.
Interestingly, nature is often modelled extremely well by mathematics though it did not need to be that way. Scientists have commented that it is oddly convenient that nature exhibits so many patterns and is often described by succinct mathematical solutions rather than convoluted ones. As put by the physicist Berndt Matthias:
The wonder in how mathematically beautiful nature is suggests that it was designed by something, something that is outside of nature itself. This argument couples with aspects of the Cosmological Argument to posit God as an intelligent designer that caused the creation of the universe.
Craig, W. L. “Initial arguments: A defense of the cosmological argument for the existence of God.” Craig-Smith Debate: Craig’s Initial Arguments, http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/ docs /craig -smith1.html.
Fripp, J., Fripp, M., & Fripp, D. (2000). Speaking of science: Notable quotes on science, engineering, and the environment. Eagle Rock, VA: LLH Technology Pub.
Shomali, M. H. (2013, August). Islamic Studies Intensive Course. Vaughan.
Wigner, E. P. (1960). The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences. Richard Courant lecture in mathematical sciences delivered at New York University, May 11, 1959. Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics, 13(1), 1–14. doi: 10.1002/cpa.3160130102