Aquinas' Arguments for the Existence of God
In Summa Theologica, Question 2, Article 3, Aquinas attempts to prove
the existence of God. He begins with two objections, which will not be
addressed here, and continues on to state five arguments for the
existence of God. I intend to show that Aquinas' first three arguments
are unsound from a scientific standpoint, through support of the Big
Bang theory of the creation of the universe.
In the first and second arguments Aquinas begins by stating that some
things change and that the changes to these things are caused by
things other than themselves. He says that a thing can change only if
it has a potentiality for being that into what it changes. Aquinas'
change is defined as taking a characteristic of an object out of
potentiality into actuality. This can only be accomplished by
something that is already in reality. He also states that an object's
property cannot be in reality and potentiality at the same time. A pot
can be actually hot and potentially cold, but it cannot be both
actually hot and potentially hot. Because of this necessity of the
object changing to be in reality while the change occurring to be in
potentiality that an object cannot change itself. He continues by
saying that for any change to occur there must have been a previous
cause that existed in reality and if one was to trace this line of
causes and effects all the way back there must be a first cause that
began the chain. But there cannot be anything worldly like that
because anything natural must have an impetus already in reality to
transform it from potentiality to reality. The only explanation, in
Aquinas' eyes, for the first object would be that it had always
existed and the only thing that has that property is God.
It is in the last premise that I encounter problems. According to the
most prevalent Big Bang theory, the universe began from a singularity.
Singularity is a point of zero space and infinite mass, density, and
curvature. Because of these extraordinary circumstances within the
singularity there is no time and all of the laws of physics as we know
them cease to exist. Because this strange situation is exempt from the
normal laws that govern the universe it is possible for this
singularity to have exploded without cause. There is no time at the
instant of singularity and all time and space began the instant after
the explosion of the singularity, aptly named the Big Bang. This is
the beginning of the universe and the event that caused it is exempt
from the normal laws that now cause the universe to function in the
way it does. This exemption can explain away the beginning of Aquinas'
chain of events and changes, thus eliminating the necessity of a God.
The argument that God caused the singularity and the Big Bang can also
be explained away,...