The Cosmological Argument 1. complete the readings, and 2. answer the reading questions. THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT By Samuel Clarke From A Demonstration o

The Cosmological Argument 1. complete the readings, and 2. answer the reading questions. THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
By Samuel Clarke

From A Demonstration o

Click here to Order a Custom answer to this Question from our writers. It’s fast and plagiarism-free.

The Cosmological Argument 1. complete the readings, and 2. answer the reading questions. THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
By Samuel Clarke

From A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God (1705)

I. First, then, it is absolutely and undeniably certain that something
has existed from all eternity. This is so evident and undeniable a
proposition, that no atheist in any age has ever presumed to assert
the contrary, and therefore there is little need of being particular in
the proof of it. For since something now is, it is evident that
something always was, otherwise the things that now are must
have been produced out of nothing, absolutely and without a cause,
which is a plain contradiction in terms. For, to say a thing is
produced and yet that there is no cause at all for that production, is
to say that something is affected when it is affected by nothing, that
is, at the same when it is not affected at all. Whatever exists has a
cause, a reason, a ground of its existence, a foundation on which
its existence relies, a ground or reason why it does exist rather than
not exist, either in the necessity of its own nature (and then it must
have been of itself eternal), or in the will of some other being (and
then that other being must, at least in the order of nature and
causality, have existed before it).

That something, therefore, has really existed from eternity, is one of
the most certain and evident truths in the world, acknowledged by
all men and disputed by no one. Yet, as to the manner how it can
be, there is nothing in nature more difficult for the mind of men to
conceive than this very first plain and self-evident truth. For how
anything can have existed eternally, that is, how an eternal duration
can be now actually past, is a thing utterly as impossible for our
narrow understandings to comprehend, as anything that is not an
express contradiction can be imagined to be. And yet, to deny the
truth of the proposition, that an eternal duration is now actually
past, would be to assert something still far more unintelligible, even
a real and express contradiction. …

II There has existed from eternity some one unchangeable and
independent being. For since something must needs have been
from eternity, as has been already proved and is granted on all
hands, either there has always existed some one unchangeable
and independent being from which all other beings that are or ever
were in the universe have received their original, or else there has
been an infinite succession of changeable and dependent beings
produced one from another in an endless progression without any
original cause at all. Now this latter supposition is so very absurd
that, though all atheism must in its accounts of most things (as shall

1

be shown hereafter) terminate in it, yet I think very few atheists ever
were so weak as openly and directly to defend it. For it is plainly
impossible and contradictory to itself. I shall not argue against it
from the supposed impossibility of infinite succession, barely and
absolutely considered in itself, for a reason which shall be
mentioned hereafter. But, if we consider such an infinite
progression as one entire endless series of dependent beings, it is
plain this whole series of beings can have no cause from without of
its existence because in it are supposed to be included all things
that are, or ever were, in the universe. And it is plain it can have no
reason within itself for its existence because no one being in this
infinite succession is supposed to be self-existent or necessary
(which is the only ground or reason of existence of anything that
can be imagined within the thing itself, as will presently more fully
appear), but every one dependent on the foregoing. And where no
part is necessary, it is manifest the whole cannot be necessary—
absolute necessity of existence not being an extrinsic, relative, and
accidental denomination but an inward and essential property of the
nature of the thing which so exists.

An infinite succession, therefore, of merely dependent beings
without any original independent cause is a series of beings that
has neither necessity, nor cause, nor any reason or ground at all of
its existence either within itself or from without. That is, it is an
express contradiction and impossibility. It is a supposing
something to be caused (because it is granted in every one of its
stages of succession not to be necessarily and of itself), and yet
that, in the whole, it is caused absolutely by nothing, which every
man knows is a contradiction to imagine done in time; and because
duration in this case makes no difference, it is equally a
contradiction to suppose it done from eternity. And consequently
there must, on the contrary, of necessity have existed from eternity
some one immutable and independent being…

Otherwise, thus: either there has always existed some
unchangeable and independent being from which all other beings
have received their original, or else there has been an infinite
succession of changeable and dependent beings, produced one
from another in an endless progression without any original cause
at all. According to this latter supposition, there is nothing in the
universe self-existent or necessarily existing. And if so, then it was
originally equally possible that from eternity there should never
have existed anything at all, as that there should from eternity have
existed a succession of changeable and dependent beings. Which
being supposed, then, what is it that has from eternity determined
such a succession of beings to exist, rather than that from eternity

2

there should never have existed anything at all? Necessity it was
not because it was equally possible, in this supposition, that they
should not have existed at all. Chance is nothing but a mere word,
without any signification. And other being it is supposed there was
none, to determine the existence of these. Their existence,
therefore, was determined by nothing; neither by any necessity in
the nature of the things themselves, because it is supposed that
none of them are self-existent, nor by any other being, because no
other is supposed to exist. That is to say, of two equally possible
things, viz., whether anything or nothing should from eternity have
existed, the one is determined rather than the other absolutely by
nothing, which is an express contradiction. And consequently, as
before, there must on the contrary of necessity have existed from
eternity some one immutable and independent being. Which, what
it is, remains in the next place to be inquired.

III. That unchangeable and independent being which has existed
from eternity, without any external cause of its existence, must be
self-existent, that is, necessarily existing. For whatever exists must
either have come into being out of nothing, absolutely without
cause, or it must have been produced by some external cause, or it
must be self-existent. Now to arise out of nothing absolutely
without any cause has been already shown to be a plain
contradiction. To have been produced by some external cause
cannot possibly be true of everything, but something must have
existed eternally and independently, as has likewise been shown
already. Which remains, therefore, [is] that that being which has
existed independently from eternity must of necessity be self-
existent. Now to be self-existent is not to be produced by itself, for
that is an express contradiction, but it is (which is the only idea we
can frame of self-existence, and without which the word seems to
have no signification at all)—it is, I say, to exist by an absolute
necessity originally in the nature of the thing itself.

3

Looking for this or a Similar Assignment? Click below to Place your Order