The Cosmological Argument:
St. Thomas of Aquinas (1225-1274)
5 Ways of Knowing God Exists:
- Argument from Motion (First Mover) -
- P1. There is Motion (movement, change) in the universe.
- P2. Everything which is in motion must be moved by something else (i.e., nothing moves itself).
- P2.1 All things which move must potentially be movable.
- P2.2 Only Actual (i.e., Real) things change potential motion to actual motion.
- P2.3 It is impossible to be both potentially and actually in motion at any given time.
- P2.4 Only things actually in motion cause things potentially in motion to actually move.
- P2.4.1 Since, every change from potential to actual motion is caused by something already in motion, nothing causes itself to move (P2).
- P3. There cannot be an infinite regression of movers.
- C. Therefore, there must be a First Mover; and, the First Mover is God.
- Argument from Causation (First Cause)-
- P1. Every effect (e.g., the Universe) has an efficient cause.
Note: Aristotle's theory of Causation - The Four Causes
- Material - The substance which underlies the object
- Formal - The shape or form which the substance takes
- Final - The purpose or function of the object
- Efficient - The antecedent condition (motion or action) which brought about the effect
- P2. Nothing is the efficient cause of itself.
- P3. There cannot be an infinite regression of efficient causes.
- C. Therefore, there must be a First Cause; and, the First Cause is God.
- Argument from Contingency (Argument From Necessity)
- P1. Some things exist contingently (i.e., they might not exist).
- P2. All contingent things did not exist at one time.
- P3. If everything were contingent, there would have been a time when nothing existed.
- P4. If there were a time when nothing existed, nothing would exist now.
- P5. But, something does exist now.
- C1. Therefore, there must be at least one thing which exists necessarily.
- P6. All necessary entities either do or do not have an efficient cause.
- P6.1 There cannot be an infinite regression of efficient causes.
- C2. Therefore, there must be some necessary entity which is the First Cause of necessity in all other things; and, this necessary entity is God.
- Argument from Excellence (Degrees of Perfection)
- P1. Things in the universe are greater or lesser in regard to their properties.
- P2. Superlative judgments depend upon comparing the imperfect with the perfect.
- P2.1 There must exist something perfect in order to make comparisons.
- P3. There must be a perfect being in order to judge different levels of being.
- P4. Anything of the greatest quality must be the cause of things with lesser quality.
- C. Therefore, there must exist some greatest being which is the cause of all lesser beings.
- Argument from Harmony (A Teleological Argument)
- P1. Material objects seem to work toward some end.
- P2. If there is an end toward which things work, they do not operate by chance.
- P3. Anything which works toward an end must either guide itself or be guided by something else.
- P4. It is impossible for a material object to guide itself.
- C. Therefore, there must be some intelligence which guides material objects to their ends; that intelligence is God.
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