Hi, What do you’ll know about the medieval Islamic arguement for the existence of God? Why was it not developed by Aquinas?
I don’t know anything about it, will you provide a summary or a link?
*]Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
*]The universe began to exist
*]Therefore, the universe must have a cause.
Thanks. I know this argument, just not by this name. And the link provides other food for thought as well.
stilll…the next question is…what caused the cause…and we are back to where we started.
I believe in the Divine…but I sure don’t understand it. Don’t think I am designed to. Just to worship and trust, not to understand it.
It’s the first cause argument. Can anything that exists be self-creating?
Faith does not trump understanding…
Aquinas’ proof of the existence of God IS taught in senior level medieval history courses. I was most convinced.
Not to devalue the importance of understanding, but this is the very attitude that is responsible for so many rebellious children out there.
“I don’t understand the things my parents tell me to do, so why should I listen?”
I’m not trying to trump understanding. I’m a scholar and a scientist…but I still don’t understand…I just keep cracking away at it, and the more I learn, the less I realize I know, and the more awe and trust I have in “the system”.
I can no more will myself to understand than I can will myself to believe. Only time, and experience can help me in both areas.
But I argue that is a horrible maxim for epistemology.
Hello! I know I’ve read a bunch of your posts, but I don’t think I’ve ever addressed you before. Nice to finally do so.
In any case, the argument doesn’t say that everything needs a cause. It says that everything that begins to exist needs a cause. God, not having begun to exist, is in need of no cause.
The reason is that the need for causation derives not from a universal law which says, ‘everything needs a cause’ but from the principle of sufficient reason.
The principle of sufficient reason says that everything must have sufficient reason for its existence. Things can have that reason in themselves or outside of themselves. Those things which have the reason in themselves are self-sufficient (necessary) beings. When something has a reason outside of itself, it is caused (a contingent being). In fact, that is exactly what a ‘reason outside of itself’ is-- a cause.
God is His own reason for His existence, and thus he is not caused. Plus, having never come into being, he needs no cause (but that’s basically saying the same thing).
Now, if the principle was that everything needed a cause, that would indeed be perplexing. (I think it is often mistakenly presented this way. But as in this case, it is presented correctly as ‘everything that has a beginning has a cause’).
And I suppose that this argument reasons that everything (the universe) had a beginning. But, that means that it is all contingent and needs a cause. Hence, the need of a first cause which brings everything into existence, as Thomas would say, ‘which everyone understands to be God.’ Hehe.
I hope this was helpful.
But I argue it’s not.
There, I guess we’re even. :rolleyes:
How is faith helpful in conducting scientific research then?
I don’t know. Ask someone who actually claimed that it was.
Science is a form of epistemology. My original claim was:
Faith does not trump understanding…
But I argue that [faith] is a horrible maxim for epistemology.
You’re right, science is a form of epistemology. But I didn’t say that I was referring specifically to science rather than to epistemology in general.
The Kalam Cosmological Argument can be summarized as follows:
Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its
The universe began to exist.
2.1 Argument based on the impossibility of an
2.11 An actual infinite cannot exist.
2.12 An infinite temporal regress of
events is an actual infinite.
2.13 Therefore, an infinite temporal
regress of events cannot exist.
2.2 Argument based on the impossibility of
the formation of an actual infinite by
2.21 A collection formed by successive
addition cannot be actually infinite.
2.22 The temporal series of past events
is a collection formed by successive
2.23 Therefore, the temporal series of
past events cannot be actually
- Therefore, the universe has a cause of its
The argument in fact contains two sub-arguments. In mathematics, an actual infinite is a set that contains an infinite number of members, for example an actual infinite set of paintings contains an infinite number of paintings.
In this case # 2.1 states that an actual infinite series of events, one event preceded by another, and another and another, could not exist in actuality because of the absurdities that it entails. If an infinite for instance is divided in two, what would result is not two finite collections but two infinite collections. You simply cannot divide something in half and end up with twice as much as when you began, meaning that, in such an infinite collection, the parts are equal to the whole. Impossible!
Hence, an actual infinite collection cannot exist. Since a beginningless, uncaused universe entails an actual infinite, a beginningless, uncaused universe cannot exist. Hence the universe could not have existed for an infinite amount of time in the past.
Argument 2.2 states that an actual infinite cannot be made by simply adding one thing after another. A series of events occuring one after another is a collection formed by successive addition. Take for example the fact that we are now in the year 2006. If an infinite succession of events/ years had preceded 2006, how did we ever reach 2006 in the first place? If the universe had always existed for an infinte amount of time in the past, then no matter how many years we add, no matter how long we wait, we will never reach the year 2006 simply because it is impossible to traverse infinity. But the fact that we are now in the year 2006 contradicts this assumption. Hence, the universe is not infinite but began at some finite time in the past. If it began, then there is a cause for its existence, God.