For centuries, the five ways were regarded as the truth and revered by theologians and common folk alike. The five ways deal with reason and observation. The first way, Aquinas explained, revolves around a first mover. As described by Young, W. 2004) this is, “the change of something from being at rest to being in motion is a change in its nature from potential to actuality, and this is only possible if something that is already active sets the potential mover in motion” (p. 530).
Essentially, without believing in an unmoved mover, nothing in the world would be explicable. The first way generally posits that there must be a first mover, and that first mover must be God. According to Cahn (2009), Whatever is moved must be moved by another.
If that by which it is moved be itself moved, then this also must needs be moved by another and that by another mover, consequently, no other mover, seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are moved by the first mover; as he staff moves only because it is moved by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, moved by no other; and this everyone understands to be God. (p. 60).
My question is who caused God to move and who or what gave God the energy to begin the movement? As stated by Cahn (2009), “motion is nothing else than the reduction of something potentiality to actuality.
But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality” (p. 60).
... Overall Aristotle’s understanding of the Prime Mover is that He is God, the cause of all motion and in his book the ‘Metaphysics’ ... of events must lead back to something which moves it but does not move itself. Therefore the ‘uncaused cause’ must be different ... Change or motion is always caused by something. 4) Objects in the physical world were in a state of actuality and ...
Given his argument, it is only logical to counter act this with the question, what or who was in a state of actuality that gave energy and actuality to God? I feel it worthy to present the question as to why this ‘first mover’ must be God. How do we know the first mover wasn’t a collection of aliens or a cookie for that matter? If it turns out a chocolate chip cookie was indeed the ‘first mover’, would this make cookies God?
I’m wondering why we must logically draw some conclusion that this God, that defies the exact rationale of the argument for this ‘way’, must have been the ‘first mover’. Who moved the first mover? Why must be conclude that the first mover must be God and did not have a mover to move itself into existence? The second way essentially centers on God’s existence needing to be demonstrated. Basically stated, there are causes for everything. The second way can be explained partially by stating that there is nothing that can be the efficient cause of itself, as this would mean it would have to be before itself which is preposterous (Cahn, 2009, p. 0).
The author goes on to explain that it is impossible that this causation can be infinite because cause and effect is always in motion, and the ultimate outcome is always depended on the previous cause and effect. Therefore, without a first cause there could be no final cause. The nonexistence of a cause does not link into the observation, therefore it should seem obvious that there must be a first cause, and this cause must be God (pp. 60-61).
I find this argument to have merit, as something generally does cause something else to occur.
Yet, once again, what caused God to come into existence? This ‘way’ explains that nothing can cause itself to exist, yet he makes the claim that clearly God did just that. Perhaps the ‘big bang theory’, or other theories discussing matter, energy, atoms molecules and parts- perhaps even at a quantum mechanics level could be used to more logically explain this infinite existence of the world. Personally, this seems like a more probably explanation for the creation of the Universe.
Considering the ‘first cause’ argument could be an infinite argument, this clearly points to the argument that there may be no first cause, which could facilitate the proving of there being no God as well. As this proof uses cause and effect as a way to prove God’s existence- we are assuming we must believe that God can simply exist by effect without a prior cause. I cannot help but agree with the cause and effect theory, disregarding the potential for a being to have just come into effect without a cause.
Throughout history It has been man kinds quest to find a proof of the existence of God. Even today, religious archeologist, plunder the Earth, looking for Noah's Ark, The Ark of the Covenant, or the site Jesus Christ was thought to have been buried. These men and women are searching for artifacts to prove the existence of God to people who believe there is no God. Many people, however, do not ...
The third way is once again based on efficient causality. According to Kerr (2001), “The fact that some things have the possibility of being or not being, respectively, has equally clear roots in Aristotle” (p. 60).
Mavrodes (1976) spoke of the third way by discussing that in the third way he starts by stating that, “we find among things some which are capable of existing or not existing, since we find that some things come into being and pass away … in other words, we perceive that some things are corruptible or perishable” (p. 8).
The third way describes contingent beings as being that cannot exist without a necessary being causing its existence. Aquinas states that this necessary being must exist for all other contingent beings to exist- and this necessary being would be God. Personally, I do not know an abundance of physics, quantum mechanics or particles theories. Yet, from the little knowledge I have acquired regarding these topics- I can logically conclude that the necessary being does not necessarily need to be a being.
I have learnt that due to probability and chaos within our universe, necessary being is in no way necessary. Regarding causality, Mavrodes, (1976) expresses that, “It is, indeed, his second proof which is strictly the causal argument, in the sense that it deals explicitly with the order of efficient causality; but in every proof the idea of ontological dependence on a transcendent cause appears in some form or another” (p. 51).
In this argument Saint Aquinas made the distinction between contingent or potential beings and necessary or actual beings.
However, modern physics has demonstrated that there are really no strict definitions of such things. In a universe of probability and chaos, things may exist without necessarily being dependent of other things. On the other hand, as demonstrated by Einstein’s equation, matter and energy are mutually dependent from each other. Hence, their contingency and necessity are reflexive. Secondly, my grounds for questioning the third way rest upon the traits of this necessary being(s).
Discuss the extent to which Descartes has overcome his doubts of the first Meditations In Descartes' meditations, Descartes begins what Bernard Williams has called the project of 'pure enquiry' to discover an indubitable premise or foundation to base his knowledge on, by subjecting everything to a kind of scepticism now known as Cartesian doubt. This is known as foundational ism, where a ...
Are there multiple beings or is this one singular being?
What traits do these beings collectively or individually share? These are questions I cannot answer- but sparked my interest. The Fourth way of Aquinas five ways is “based on the gradation found in things. Some things are discovered to be more or less good, or true, or noble, than other things, and so on … therefore something which is truest and best and noblest of things (come from God)” (Kenny, 1969, p. 70).
The argument for the fourth way is essentially that due to there being nobility, ruth and all things good- there must be something that that is best, noblest, truest, etc. The claim is basically that there must be something that creates and causes the greatness, nobility, goodness and perfection and that being is God. I believe that Aquinas was saying that goodness is only goodness in comparison to the ultimate goodness which is God. This argument claims that all goodness and perfection as the result of a God. Yet, even in seemingly ‘bad’ things, there lies an innate perfection at times.
That could be the basis for the argument that God may also encapsulate the perfect evil. I also have an issue with the standard to which this is measured. We have different standards that vary and have large scale differences. Also, the terms truth, nobility etc. mean different things to different people. It would be silly to assume that everybody looks at these great characteristics the same way, and if someone thought that murder was noble and good- than God must be the ultimate murderer or hold the same qualities as the act of murder does.
The fifth way observes that bodies act toward ends and that something acting toward an end must possess knowledge, or is in the direction of something. It is also described as the teleological argument or the watch maker argument as well. As stated by Cahn (2009, p. 61), We see that things which lack knowledge, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way. Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move toward an end, unless it is directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is directed by the archer.
Set in India during the late 1960’s, The God of Small Things renders the story of an Indian family engulfed by its society’s traditions, its nation’s struggles and the caste system. The Kochamma family, prominent touchable Indians and owner of the Paradise Pickles & Preserves (a pickle factory that later on branched out to making of jams as well), lives in Ayemenem, Kerala, India. It is a big ...
Therefore, some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to this end, and this being we call God. This is the argument which perplexes me the most and always has. The world around us and its perfection- plants, animals, people and just the universe in general is so full of complexities. It seems as though these things must be acting out of knowledge or in direct connection with something of knowledge. Just the way a plant grows toward the sun is perplexing- how does it know to do that?
Nature is perfect and functions with high levels of perfection. This leads me to believe that there must be something directing this perfection for it all to flow and connect the way it does. I frankly do not have much of a counter-argument for this ‘way’- as this is the ‘way’ that has always perplexed me, and is the only step convincing enough for me to equate this direct knowledge as coming from God. In conclusion, Aquinas five ways has some merit, even though they have been around for centuries.
Given the time period they were constructed in, the philosophical thought behind them is rather advanced and complex. I found issues with the majority of the arguments, yet believe that the fifth way has merit. Upon critical analysis of the five ways, I conclude that most of the arguments can be easily rebutted, yet are still very interesting and give one much to ponder.