The existence of an Absolute Intelligent First Cause has been proven to exist with absolute metaphysical certainty. So why are people still atheists? Are Atheists irrational?


#123

We have both a material and immaterial nature.


#124

Hi Everyone! Late to the game here. I’ve been thinking about Aquinas’ first cause for a while now, and I don’t buy it (I am Catholic, btw).

Tried to read this thread as much as possible, still not convinced.

My question is: Why is it assumed that a first cause is intelligent, and not just a natural phenomenon, like energy or something? Like, okay, it’s been revealed to us that God is the cause, but without that revelation, I think arguments really assume a lot of things…


#125

Can you prove this?


#126

I have read the entire thread. Which of your posts gave the proof?

rossum


#127

First explain what in particular is being assumed so i can address that first.


#128

No Answer? Okay, let me make it easier for you.

The following is what I’ve argued so far…

The universe exists (physical reality). So the question is, is the universe necessarily actual?

The universe is changing, its parts are constantly in a state of becoming. New forms become actual whereas before they were only potential. The universe is a sequence of potential states. The universe has emergent properties none of which are necessarily actual and yet they are a part of what the universe is. If physical reality was necessarily actual it would not have emergent properties or new forms or new states of being. This is to say it would not be in any respect potentially actual, but rather everything that it is or could possibly be would be fully actual from all eternity. There would be no evolution of forms because they would all be actual - necessarily real…

Thus the universe (physical reality) cannot be considered to be a necessarily actual being or collection of beings.

Therefore that which is necessarily actual is not that which is changing or a process. It is not the Universe.

Therefore the universe does not exist because of its own nature, because if it did it would be pure actuality - having no emergent properties or potential parts or forms. Therefore it exists because of some other nature (something that is not a physical process).

A thing either has the reason for its actuality in its own nature or it is contingent upon the actuality of another nature distinct from itself for its existence. Therefore the universe (physical reality) and anything that is not necessary is contingent on the existence of a being that exists because of its own nature - its nature is to exist.

Of course, this doesn’t by itself argue for an intelligent first cause, but it is an argument for a necessary act of reality that is essentially distinct from physical processes or the Universe; also it shows that the Universe is in fact dependent for its existence on that which necessarily exists since the Universe does not exist by its own nature.

Please explain why this argument doesn’t hold up or what you think are the assumptions that it makes. After that we can discuss whether or not i can prove that such a cause is intelligent.


#129

Pardon me, I felt the need to contribute. Um… what?:metal::crossed_fingers::facepunch::ok_hand::call_me_hand:

Just joking. Carry on.


#130

That’s for another thread.


#131

You have said it yourself. Your argument, as presented, is insufficient.

If you define “universe” as the material STEM universe of science, then you have a point. For philosophical purposes, and we are in the philosophy forum here, I define the universe as “All That Exists (ATE).” If your claimed first cause exists, then it is already part of the ATE universe, and that universe is uncaused.

Science agrees that the STEM universe had a cause: the multiverse or whatever. If you want to move away from science then you need to move the the ATE universe of philosophy; that does not have a cause since any proposed existing cause is already part of the ATE universe.

rossum


#132

How is that? You still haven’t provided any proof for your first claim about the intelligent first cause, and what if that intelligent first cause was a God that is greater than your god who created your god or a whole different god unrelated to your religion.


#133

The arguments concerning God’s intelligence can be found in, let’s say, http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles1.htm#44 or http://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FP/FP014.html#FPQ14OUTP1.

But proving that first cause is “not just a natural phenomenon, like energy or something” is still easier. First cause is unchanging. Every “natural phenomenon” keeps changing. Therefore, First cause is not a natural phenomenon.

Take that same “energy”. It is not hard to see that it does change: for example, kinetic energy becomes potential energy and vice versa.


#134

Insofar as proving that the first cause is intelligent, yes. But what i have argued so far is that the first cause is not a physical process or to put it simply it is not the universe. What is your position on that. Where is the assumption in my argument?


#135

Proving the existence of God is not the same thing as proving divine revelation. That was never my intention. However a proof of an intelligent first cause that sustains our existence does give us cause to consider the probability of whether or not such a being has contacted us. But first, before we even consider the argument for an intelligent first cause i would like you to consider the merits of my argument for a necessary first cause that is not the universe, is not a physical process, is not natural phenomena. It is on that basis that i intend to argue that such a being is essentially intelligent as a cause.


#136

So, your argument is that the first cause is essentially a part of the physical universe, and therefore physical reality is uncaused?


#137

This just your own made up definition of what a universe is. Its a circular argument.


#138

We agree. The multiverse is the cause of our universe and is not intelligent. Hence intelligence os not required as a cause.

What “universe” are you referring to here? The STEM universe of science can have a non-intelligent cause. The ATE universe of philosophy cannot have a cause, intelligent or otherwise, since any existing proposed cause is already part of the All That Exists universe and cannot be the cause.

rossum


#139

No. The ATE universe includes any existing non-material entities. If angels or djinn exist, then they are part of the ATE universe. The ATE universe includes all that exists. If you propose a cause, then I will ask if that cause exists. If it does, then it is by definition part of the ATE universe. If it does not exist, then it cannot be a cause.

If any existing entity is eternal, as claimed for God, then the ATE universe is also eternal. If it is eternal then it does not need a cause, by the Kalaam argument.

Everything that exists is inside the ATE universe. Nothing external to the ATE universe can exist.

rossum


#140

Its irrelevant whether or not a multiverse exists. You do not understand the argument. Physical reality (no matter how big it is) is changing and therefore it cannot be considered to be a necessary being.

The universe or multiverse exists (physical reality). So the question is, is the universe or multiverse necessarily actual?

Physical reality is changing, its parts are constantly in a state of becoming. New forms become actual whereas before they were only potential. The universe or multiverse (physical reality) is a sequence of potential states. The universe or multiverse has emergent properties none of which are necessarily actual and yet they are a part of what the universe or multiverse is (physical reality). If physical reality was necessarily actual it would not have emergent properties or new forms or new states of being. This is to say it would not be in any respect potentially actual, but rather everything that it is or could possibly be would be fully actual from all eternity. There would be no evolution of forms because they would all be actual - necessarily real…

Thus the universe or multiverse (physical reality) cannot be considered to be a necessarily actual being or collection of beings.

Therefore that which is necessarily actual is not that which is changing or a process. It is not the Universe.

Therefore the universe or multiverse does not exist because of its own nature, because if it did it would be pure actuality - having no emergent properties or potential parts or forms. Therefore it exists because of some other nature (something that is not a physical process).

A thing either has the reason for its actuality in its own nature or it is contingent upon the actuality of another nature distinct from itself for its existence. Therefore the universe or multiverse (physical reality) and anything that is not necessary is contingent on the existence of a being that exists because of its own nature - its nature is to exist.

Of course, this doesn’t by itself argue for an intelligent first cause, but it is an argument for a necessary act of reality that is essentially distinct from physical processes or the Universe or multiverse; also it shows that the Universe or multiverse is in fact dependent for its existence on that which necessarily exists since the Universe or multiverse does not exist by its own nature.

Please explain why this argument doesn’t hold up or what you think are the assumptions that it makes. After that we can discuss whether or not i can prove that such a cause is intelligent.


#141

This is just a circular argument, you are just defining your conclusion into existence. This game of semantics doesn’t work, and neither does it address my argument.

So you are arguing that immaterial (non-physical) reality is essentially identical in nature to that which is physical (material) and therefore what is true of one is true of the other? I don’t get it.


#142

A lot of Catholic (Thomist?) argument seems to depend on what is, and is not Necessary. I reject that concept.

If your First Cause is Necessary, then the actions of that First Cause are also Necessary. Hence all effects of the Necessary cause are themselves Necessary. Alternative, your Necessary God cannot act, since any actions are not Necessary, and one thing cannot be both Necessary and non Necessary. That separates the Necessary God from the non-Necessary actions, rendering God impotent.

How is it possible for a Necessary entity to cause any non-Necessary entity? Once you start from a Necessary First Cause, then everything becomes Necessary, and the concept is rendered useless; merely a synonym for “exists”.

You are right about the impact of change. Everything that changes is impermanent: basic Buddhism. When examined change permeates everything, including the God of the Bible who changes from day to day in Genesis, doing different things on different days. Difference in time is change, by definition.

When we look at a mountain it does not seem to change. Many people reify that seeming permanence as ‘Necessary’ or some similar philosophical concept. That is an error: mountains do change, they are not permanent but impermanent.

rossum


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.