• 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. T H E C O S M O L O G ...

    is based on the claim that NO EXISTENTIAL STATEMENT CAN BE NECESSARY. Necessity only applies to thought; it cannot apply to being. Kant is, therefore, rejecting the idea of God as de re necessary. Brian Davies says that as God is not a something, we should not ask what caused God.

  1. Explain the Ontological argument.

    Hume argued that to discuss the universe in human terms is an unacceptable analogy, it would be better to describe the universe as a inert animal or vegetable- something which grows by its own accord as opposed to a machine, which is something made by hand.

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

    path of a particle or light ray encounters some matter or randomly oriented curvature. v) There is some point p such that all the past directed (or future directed) spacetime paths from p start converging again. This condition implies that there is enough matter present in the universe to focus every past directed (or future directed)

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

    Part of this would be the explanation of how we view the trinity. "This may not be something that can be rationally approved, apart from Christian revelation." This doctrinal content, inseparable from Christian faith cannot be subsumed or left behind in some new "world theology".

  1. Man and the Universe

    There is much criticism from the scientific community over this concept. Specified complexity does not have a wide application in other fields. It is flawed by the way it treats the different possible explanations, leaving it open for false conclusions.

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

    even belong to god not only that but the whole universe belongs to god. To be a Muslim, you have to think about the vital question which is that is there or is there not a god? Is either that god exist or that he does not exist, and many

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