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Aquinas Casual Arguments

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In the history of philosophy, many well known philosophers have constructed many arguments and theories to discover proofs of God's existence. Thomas Aquinas, a well-known philosopher from the 13th century thought of God as an all powerful, all knowing and entirely good being. He then presented his own arguments attempting to prove the existence of God. He presented a total of 5 arguments with simple observations that lead up to the existence of God. His first two arguments were based on motion and general causation. Although the existence of motion and general causation were not directly linked to the existence of God, his arguments included additional principles and those principles would link to the conclusion that god exists. In this essay, I will evaluate the first two arguments, the strengths and weaknesses and assess their overall success of proving God's existence.

The first argument that Aquinas proposed for the existence of God is the argument from motion. Aquinas states that our senses prove that some things are in motion. Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion and only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into actual motion therefore an infinite chain of causes is impossible. Since an infinite chain of causes is impossible and nothing can move itself, there must be a first cause of motion. After gathering all these possible ideas of motion being related to God, Aquinas came to the conclusion that motion requires an outside force and the first cause cannot be another moving body, thus a supernatural entity must exist to cause the first accelerating object in nature to move. While Aquinas' argument is somewhat logical and rational, there are also some contradictions and flaws that need to be counted for. According to Sober, although there may be a supernatural entity that causes the first moving object in nature to move, that does not guarantee the existence of God. You could easily state that the universe itself was the first cause of motion. Aquinas' proofs addresses concepts that we do not understand, and since we do not understand it then God must be the cause because there is no other explanation. Aquinas also states "Whatever moves is moved by another." This conflicts with the notion of God as that of something unmoved (i.e the Unmoved Mover). If so, then God is the exception to the truth of the premise. If God is pure actuality, then it would seem that God can't do anything since God is already everything God could be. If God is already everything God can be, then there is no potential for God to be able to act or be in any way different from what God is, therefore, this argument is circular. There is also an essential problem with the concept of actuality and potentiality. It is not a necessity to propose that natural processes have a beginning, middle and end. Why must there be a beginning to the universe?

The second argument that Aquinas states is general causation. In a world of sensible things, we find that there is an order of efficient causes. Nothing exists prior to itself; therefore nothing is the efficient cause of itself. In efficient causes, it is impossible to go on to infinity because all efficient causes follow in order. The first is the cause of the intermediate cause and the intermediate cause is the cause of the ultimate cause. It is important to remember that cause is followed by effect; therefore if there is no cause and effect, there will be no first cause, intermediate cause or ultimate cause. If a previous efficient cause does not exist, its result will not exist either. If it is possible to go infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, intermediate cause or ultimate cause, which is false. According to Aquinas, there cannot be an endless regression of cause and effect; there must be a first cause, which is God. One problem with this is the problem



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