• 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 ...

    2-9) It is enlightenment. The knowledge of divine things is not within human reason. They only become apparent when God reveals them to us. " The First Vatican Council (1870) sought to steer a way between the twin errors of fideism and rationalism in Roman Catholic theologians, but is better remembered for anathematising those

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

    Therefore existence is not like a real predicate (characteristic/quality) but is just a concept in the mind but actually exist in reality. The anology of the car attempts to try and simply Kant's objections to the ontological argument. 'What would be an ideal car?' For most civilians a 'perfect car' would probably include power steering, air conditioning, electric windows etc.

  2. Explain the Ontological argument.

    The moral argument has the strength of helping to enforce believer's beliefs. Those who already believe in God will trace the notion of morality back to God. Newman's argument may appeal to those who already support the biblical stories of the existence of God.

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

    conscience and from all this they conclude that there is a God. The light " God is the light of the heavens and the earth; his light may be compared to a niche in which there is a lamp; the lamp is in a crystal; the crystal is, as it

  2. T H E C O S M O L O G ...

    There cannot be an infinite regress of causes because this will never provide a sufficient reason 7. Therefore there must be a first Cause of the world which has no reason beyond itself but is its own sufficient reason.

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

    The instantaneously existing point is a singularity, which means that it is an end point of spacetime; there is no earlier time than the instant of the singularity for it itself is the first instant of time. On the other hand, if the universe is flat (uncurved)

  2. Man and the Universe

    If any of these values were slightly different, the universe would not exist. Scientist's criticise this concept as there is not enough existing evidence to support this theory. There is also the argument that if the factors were different, there may still be life, even if it was different from what we know it as.

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