• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critique of Aquinas's cosmological argument - 3rd way(Contingency)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Critique of Aquinas's cosmological argument - 3rd way (Contingency) Aquinas's 3rd way suggests that the world consists of contingent beings. As all contingent beings have a cause, namely another contingent being, there must have been a time when nothing existed, (unless contingent beings exist as a brute fact). Therefore, contingent beings could not have come into existence unless there is a necessary being which is non- contingent that caused them. Aquinas named this being God. The problem with Aquinas's view is that as physicians have suggested matter is eternal and therefore a necessary being is not required to cause contingent beings. The basis of Aquinas's argument depends on the fact that contingent beings require a cause which is in turn contingent. "Contingent beings require contingent causes", as stated by Stephen Evans in Philosophy Of Religion(55). This basis leads one to believe that an infinite series of contingent beings exists, but Aquinas claims this to be "illogical", thus the need for a necessary being. The objections occur due to the nature of contingency and the recently suggested, eternal nature of matter. ...read more.

Middle

Thus as Peter Cole suggests in Philosophy Of Religion(22), the cause of the universe is not about the metaphysical necessary being called God, it is about the nature of matter. In continuance to this, the matter itself could be defined as the necessary being as it is eternal and therefore could not have failed to exist. Thus "Matter would be a necessary being and would satisfy the arguments definition of God" ( Stephen Evans in Philosophy Of Religion(55). This would undermine Aquinas as he stated that the necessary being was separate from the universe. In essence, this view of matter as eternal means that if God exists, then far from being separate from the universe, God is the universe. Therefore, God would be defined as the matter of the universe which thus means that pantheism applies which undermines Aquinas. So if a belief in God is needed, then God is the universe, and not God was the cause of the universe as Aquinas argued. A further criticism of this argument, which also applies to Aquinas' 1st and 2nd ways, is that he never considered that the universe has always existed, and not finite as he suggested(i.e. ...read more.

Conclusion

The consequence of this principle is that, even if the universe has always existed and matter is eternal, there is no reason for its existence. Thus, Leibniz suggested that according to his principle the reason for the universe is God; God is the sufficient reason for the universe. As shown above, the matter of the universe and therefore the universe itself as a whole should have a finally adequate explanation. Kant points out in Philosophy of Religion p.190 (various authors), " the existence of a being whose essence included existence itself would not be self explanatory". As my argument has shown, this being is the matter the universe is comprised of (pantheism). Therefore, there is a clear contradiction between Kant's point and the fact of eternal matter. Because matter's essence does contain existence (a brute fact), it would mean that it would not be self-explanatory according to Kant. Thus the principle of sufficient reason has not been adhered to because the universe is not only without cause, it is without a reason for existence. This contradiction undermines the fact of eternal matter and to some extent invalidates it . However, as pointed out in Philosophy of Religion(selected readings) p. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Assess Nietzsche's critique of religion.

    Nietzsche contradicts himself here. He says that Christianity denies life, but earlier he said that if believing in God gave a poor man some home and helped him live a better life, then he should carry on believing it. If you pursue pessimism far enough you might find optimism but

  2. What does St. Thomas Aquinas consider to be the nature and methodology of the ...

    Both Vatican I and Thomas agree that revelation is necessary even when philosophy has explained such truth that it could acquire by human knowledge (Redford, 2002. P32-b) these truths include for instance the nature of God and the laws of the Ten Commandments.

  1. Explain the Ontological argument.

    For Newman the conscience is like an inner voice those guides our behaviour and produces feelings such as guilt and shame. Newman argues that the conscience is the voice of God within us, where the human meets the divine everyday.

  2. One major difference between both Hindu and Muslims perception of God is the common ...

    Muslims believe that nothing comes in to existence with out a reason and without a creator, they believe that the prophets where given the insight from god and the guidance throughout history. Muslims urge to improve themselves and try stopping them selves from doing wrong which is all started by

  1. Explain the Ontological argument from Anslem and Gaunillo's objection 9s?

    For example, in premise three lets suppose God does not exist in reality. Now, we could think of something greater, a being that has all the same virtuous characteristics as we think God has, but also being able to exist in reality.

  2. A Big Bang Cosmological Argument for God's Nonexistence

    and then explode in an infinitely extended big bang. However, Friedmann's solutions to Einstein's equation do not by themselves show that our universe began in a big bang singularity. There exists a certain discrepancy between his solutions and the global features of our universe, a discrepancy that might seem to render inapplicable their prediction of a big bang singularity.

  1. Man and the Universe

    Dembski suggests that an alien could fill the role of an intelligent designer. The concept of Intelligent Designer states that the universe displays features of being designed. Unlike Dembski's early suggestion, he admits that "no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe

  2. Birth Of The Universe

    It is an illusion - with a certain degree of opacity - but it is an illusion. An illusion. Now, what you also know is that upon this same film, you can project another beam that is split into another reference and reflection.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work