Cosmogony

What is cosmogony? Cosmogony can be defined as a study of the physical universe
in terms of its originating time and space. In other words, cosmogony is the
study of the universe and its origins. The origin and the nature of the universe
have been one of the most debated topics throughout history. Both the scientific
and theological communities have yet to ascertain a common ground on how the
universe came into being and whether it was an act of "God" or merely
a spontaneous and random phenomenon. New discoveries in the scientific world
provide new viewpoints on the creation of the universe and its relevance to a
supreme intelligent "Creator." Due to mankind\'s constantly changing
perspective of the world by scientific means, the argument on the origin of the
universe is also forced to progress and develop itself. Through the analysis of
the works by Thomas Aquinas, David Hume, and John Haught, the development of the
theory on the originating cause of the universe, through the course of history,
can be easily identified. A very early interpretation on the origin of the
universe and the existence of a "Creator" can be found in Thomas

Aquinas\' Summa Theologica. Thomas Aquinas, in Summa Theologica, indirectly
offers his own views on the origin of the universe. The term indirectly is used
because his arguments are found in his five proofs for the existence of God and
are not directly targeted at establishing a viewpoint on the origin of the
universe. Aquinas\' first implication on the origin of the universe can be found
in his first proof. Aquinas states that "in the world some things are in
motion." Anything that is in motion, therefore, must have been placed in
motion by something else. This chain of movement, however, can not go on to
infinity for there would be no first or any intermediate movers. Therefore there
exists a first unmoved mover that is the cause of all in motion (Aquinas, Q.2,
art.3, "I answer"). Aquinas, in mentioning "the first unmoved
mover," is referring to God. Although Aquinas\' first proof can be read in a
literal sense one must analyze it figuratively in order to deduce his viewpoint
on cosmogony. The act of the first unmoved mover putting the first object into
motion is symbolic of Aquinas\' belief that God created the universe. God, in
putting the first object into motion, created the universe. Consequently, other
objects were put into motion within that universe. This is the chain of motion
discussed in Aquinas\' proof. In other words, to Aquinas, the existence of our
universe in motion is a result of an act of God (the creator of the universe).

Several observations can be made in examining Aquinas\' viewpoint on cosmogony.

First of all, the argument takes a very linear path. The proof is too simple for
such a large task as proving the existence of God. It does not take into account
complex ideas that obviously declare this proof erroneous. For example, it is
common knowledge today that all things are made of atoms and that all atoms are
in constant motion. Therefore, there is no such thing as an inanimate object in
existence. Another problems with Aquinas\' viewpoint is that it does not consider
the possibility that motion, and not rest, is the natural order of things. For
if everything is in motion, would it not make more sense to declare motion as
the natural order? (Hume, VIII.4) Although a seemingly dysfunctional argument on

Aquinas\' part, one must take into account the time period in which this proof
was constructed. Aquinas lived and wrote in the 13th century, before the
existence of atomic science and other scientific theories. In this, one could
easily see how the lack of science and other "future knowledge"
contribute to a very primitive insight on cosmogony. Furthermore, with the
development of worldly knowledge, the argument on the originating cause of the
universe is also forced to develop in order to accommodate such changes. David

Hume, for example, in Dialogues and Natural History of Religion, discusses
cosmogony in a modern 18th century light. In the text, Hume creates three
characters each representing a different viewpoint of religious belief. Demea
represents the orthodox believer, Cleanthes represents the modern 18th century
deist, and Philo represents Hume\'s position, the skeptic. By using the three
characters, Hume is able to argue all sides of a certain issue, and through the
character Philo, is able to voice his own views. Hume employs this method for
the discussion of cosmogony as well. Hume voices the opinion of the deist
empiricist on the origin of the universe through