This is in response to a friend’s critique of my argument for the existence of God.
Change is something existing potentiality becoming an actuality. Only what is already actual can cause something to go from potentiality to actuality.
If we end up agreeing that there would have to originally be an entity that caused everything to go from potentiality to actuality, it doesn’t mean that the uncaused cause created all potentiality. The argument hinges on the relationship between things transitioning between states, but doesn’t comment on potentiality itself. Since the goal of the argument is typically to show that an entity that not just caused the events to begin but caused everything to exist, the argument would fall short.
I would guess the response to this criticism would have to posit qualities of potentialities that are beyond our experience. Since we simply have experience of things changing from potentiality to actuality, much of the proposed qualities of potential entities would be unfounded speculation.
You claim that the goal of the argument is to establish an entity that caused everything to exist. (What do you mean by “typically”? Do you mean the goal of cosmological arguments is typically to establish the cause of the existence of all things?) The goal of this argument, for Aristotle, was to determine the cause, or explanation of all motion. The goal for Aquinas (according to some Thomists) was to establish the existence of a being worthy of the name God, or god. So, it is hardly a critique to say the argument establishes the existence of a being who is the cause of all change, but does not establish that this being also created all things. After all, it would be a strange sort of atheism to grant that a supernatural being exists who causes all change. Continue reading
I’ve compiled some objections and some brief responses to this argument for the existence of God. Some of these are specific to the argument, some apply to arguments in general. Please comment! Be sure to bring up any other objections, and feel free to pursue these questions deeper. I’d love to discuss this more!
Certainly, we could discuss each one of these topics in greater detail. I’ve briefly responded to these objections to hopefully clarify the argument, and to at least point in the direction of a possible rebuttal. Continue reading
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in self satisfaction; he guardeth my opinions from challenge
He restoreth my pride: he leadeth me in the paths of right-ness for my name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of comment threads, I will fear no troll.
For thou art on my side; thy memes and thy sick burns, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a page before me in the absence of mine enemies: thou anointest my posts with likes; My friends list runneth over.
Surely the cool kids and celebrities shall follow me all the tweets of my life:
And I will dwell in a bubble of affirmation forever.
This is a Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God. This represents my current understanding of Aquinas’s First Way, the “Argument from Motion,” and it is my attempt to describe a version of it for a modern layman like myself. If I have misunderstood Aquinas, or made a mistake in reasoning, be sure to point it out in the comments!
Let’s talk about change. Let’s talk about it in the most general and fundamental sense, not just cultural change, not just behavioral, or physical, or chemical, but the very metaphysics of change. What must be true for any change whatsoever to occur?
Posted in Christian Apologetics, Philosophy
Tagged act and potency, apologetics, aquinas, argument, aristotle, cosmological, existence of God, Philosophy, the first way, thomism
It is well known among American Evangelicals, that the “hip” thing is to be hip-ster and the Hipster’s theology of choice is of the “Reformed” variety. There are even “Reformed before it was cool” T-Shirts… The phenomenon is well known: hipster 20-somethings, eager to follow Christ, soon discover the history of the Reformers and their wonderful, “Five Solas.” These often proceed to ingest-wholesale, the rest of the Reformers doctrine… and sometimes even their fashion sense.
Many may not realize, there is another breed of Christian hipster. Some say they are only rumor, an echo of an extinct fad. But I assure you, while we may be rare, we do indeed exist. I speak, of course, of the elusive Dispensational Hipster. Continue reading