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Aquinas' Proofs For The Existence Of God Paper Explaining Aquinas' 5 Proofs For The Existence Of God, And Raising Questions To Their Validity.

1429 words - 6 pages

Aquinas' Proofs for the Existence of God -In Aquinas' first proof for the existence of God, he begins by stating that there is motion in the world and states that there is no motion with out cause. He defines motion as "...the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality" (Aquinas 25). In this he stipulates that potentiality cannot cause motion, only actuality has this ability. Like in the example of the cigarette, a very enjoyable past time, that cannot become lit without the aid of a match or lighter (the actuality). Further, the cigarette cannot exist in potentiality and actuality simultaneously, for it to be unlit and lit at the same time is absurd. The cigarette can, though, be potentially cold. Seeing this, Aquinas says that prior existing acts, as to reduce the potential to the actual, must establish all motion. This is all well and good, but the meat of the argument is in infinite regress. Aquinas says that there cannot be an infinite regress, where potency turns to act and back to potency, because in infinite regress there is a constant regression to potentiality, which could never incite act. There must be a first act or "mover", moving without motion. There are certain problems I notice in this chain of events, namely where he jumps from denying infinite regress and then saying that there must be an initial mover. He says that there is a chain of movement, wherein, one thing is moved, which is moved by another, and another and goes on to say that "...this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover..."(Aquinas 25). Now in what respect can this not go on to infinity? He reasons that it can't go on to infinity because 'then there would be no first mover,' but how does this show that it could not infinitely proceed? It seems like a large jump.The second proof follows along the same lines, using the idea of finite causality to move to an uncaused cause. He starts in stating that there is no time at which something causes its self, for something to exist before itself would be impossible. Then he makes the same bold move, in saying there can be no infinite regress because that would entail potential cause, not actual cause and would be false. There is still uncertainty in this chain of reasoning, mirroring the arguments brought up for the first proof. Even overlooking that, it is hard to automatically conclude that the unmoved mover or uncaused cause in this case is necessarily the God of theology.For the third proof, Aquinas begins with possibility in nature, and states that if we find contingent things to exist, then it is a possibility for them to or not to exist. Definition does not define existence, but existence itself defines existence definitely. He then goes on to say that in time, it is an impossibility for these things to always exist, and at some point and time there would have been a moment where all were in a state of potentiality (Principle of Plenitude). In this, assuming there is no...

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