Aquinas First Cause
Evanka Williamson Paper Assignment PHIL 1500, Fall 2010 The existence of God is a subject that can be argued and debated in many ways. The idea of Thomas Aquinas theology on the existence of God was presented to us in class along with a couple other popular theories. Thomas Aquinas believed in a cosmological way to explain the existence of God using five ways to prove the existence of God. Aquinas’ First Way of proof also referred to as the “Way of Motion” explains that things occurring in the world are continuously caused by something else that has already occurred.
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I agree that Aquinas’ idea for the existence of God and believe it is most logical for explaining the events and development of the world to me. Aquinas explains in his First Way anything that undergoes a change is caused because of the event of something else and cannot undergo change on it’s own. Nothing can be moved from a state of potential to a state of actuality without being moved by something else already in a state of actuality. Aquinas also says in this first cause that this cycle of change however is not infinite and did begin with a first initiator that was not or cannot be changed this being God.
This suggests that there would be nothing if there were no first initiate or cause of everything, God. Aquinas’ First Way supports used the idea of notion to speak of God’s work of maintaining things but also keeping events and progression of the world going. I believe a being cannot reach a state of actuality without the influence of another being with a state of actuality because it has no idea of its potential or reasoning to evolve without the influence of another.
Bertrand Russell’s argument against Aquinas’ First Cause is that if everything has a cause then God’s existence must have a cause and that it is possible for the existence of anything to not have a beginning. I disagree with this argument I don’t believe anything can come into being without having a purpose. There must be a being that serves as the beginning of causes that cannot be changed and is reasoning for the first influence on another. I believe that existence of mankind and all things on the earth is o better each other, progress and continuously be evolving. I think such a massive way of life had to begin with a higher being that made it possible for this evolution to happen, no matter what title you give it must exist. I believe when Aquinas says everything has a cause he is referring to everything that has since existed since God first made it possible, this does not include God. In a way God is outside this cycle because he is the creator of making it possible.
For example if a person puts a domino effect together and simply pushes the first domino they are simply responsible for the creation, the formation of the dominos and making them possible to hit one another, no action was put upon the person that caused them to push the first domino. Another common argument against Aquinas First Way is that one can acknowledge the existence of God and at the same time acknowledge that God is not the first cause.
However God is an eternal being, meaning timeless. If God is timeless God existed at all times, and time does not apply to god. If God has always existed, then God does not have a cause but is the initiator. The argument of God existence and history of causation of events is something that can be debated in many ways. However the Aquinas theory is correct to me. Everything that evolves and causes one another must be traced back to a higher being at a point of beginning.