Philosophy 111 - 6.3.4 Hindu Cosmology

One of the primary arguments for the existence of God as found within Hindu traditions is based on cosmological conditions necessary to explain the reality of karma. As explained in the introduction to philosophy chapter and earlier in this chapter, karma may be thought of as the causal law that links causes to effects. Assuming the doctrine of interdependence, karma asserts that if we act in such a way to cause harm to others, we increase the amount of negativity in nature. We therefore hurt ourself by harming others. As the self moves through rebirth (samsara), the karmic debt incurred is retained. Note that positive actions also are retained. The goal is liberation of the soul from the cycle of rebirth.

Maintenance of the Law of Karma

While one can understand karmic causality without an appeal to divinity, how the causal karmic chain is so well-ordered and capable of realizing just results is not as easily explainable without an appeal to divinity. One possible presentation of the argument for the existence of God from karma could therefore read as follows:

  1. If karma is, there must be some force/entity that accounts for the appropriateness (justice) of the karmic debt or karmic reward earned.
  2. The source responsible for the appropriateness (justice) of the debt or reward earned must be a conscious agent capable of lending order to all karmic interactions (past, present, and future).
  3. Karmic appropriateness (justice) does exist.
  4. Therefore, a conscious agent capable of lending order to all karmic interactions (past, present, and future) must exist.
  5. Therefore, God exists.

Physical World as Manifestation of Divine Consciousness

The cosmology built upon the religious doctrines allows for an argument within Hindu thought that joins a version of the moral argument and the design argument. Unless a divine designer were assumed, the moral and cosmological fabric assumed within the perspective could not be asserted.

Hindu Arguments Against the Existence of God

One of the primary arguments against the existence of God is found in the Mīmāmsā tradition. This ancient school suggests that the Vedas were eternal but without authors. The cosmological and teleological evidence as examined above was deemed inconclusive. The focus of this tradition and its several subtraditions was on living properly.

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The content of this course has been taken from the free Philosophy textbook by Openstax