GOD AND COSMOS (I)
H ISTORY and moral experience are by no means the only features of our world that have been held to demand God as their ultimate explanation. Many apologists have trained their spotlights not upon those, but upon the design and order of nature or upon natural beauty as even more urgently requiring belief in a divine Author. One most famous argument stands somewhat apart from all these attempts to infer God's existence from this or that restricted set of phenomena, namely the 'Cosmological Argument'. It takes as its starting-point the whole of phenomena, the world, the universe, the cosmos, call it what you will. Because there is a world of limited things, it must owe its existence to an unlimited being. Because everything we see or touch is conditioned by things outside itself, there must exist one totally unconditioned being. Because everything we know needs to be explained in terms of activity other than its own, something must exist whose being is its own explanation.
This is the path of argument followed by St Thomas Aquinas in the first three of his famous 'Five Ways' or demonstrations of God's existence. This is also the argument refurbished today by the Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic 'neo-scholastics', a most powerful group among theologians. If it is an abstract and dry argument, it more than compensates for that by its apparently quite invulnerable premiss, which states simply that there is a world -- a world of limited things. It is not, therefore, exposed to