Form of argument used in natural theology to prove the existence of God. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa theologiae, presented two versions of the cosmological argument: the first-cause argument and the argument from contingency. The first-cause argument begins with the fact that there is change in the world, and a change is always the effect of some cause or causes. Each cause is itself the effect of a further cause or set of causes; this chain moves in a series that either never ends or is completed by a first cause, which must be of a radically different nature in that it is not itself caused. Such a first cause is an important aspect, though not the entirety, of what Christianity means by God. The argument from contingency follows by another route a similar basic movement of thought from the nature of the world to its ultimate ground.
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