. PHILOSOPHERS WHO IS GOD? What is God? . Have you ever wondered whether God exists? Most people have. But have you wondered whether God‘s existence can be proven? Is there evidence, I mean real hard-core scientific evidence, that God exists? Are there any good reasons to think that God does not exist? How many of you here believe that God exists? How many of you think that God‘s existence can be proven? The question, "Do we have any good reason to think that God does (or does not) exist?", is equally important in the Philosophy of Religion. . There are four main positions with regard to the existence of God that one might take: Theism - the belief that God exists. Weak atheism - the lack of belief in any deity. Strong atheism - the belief that no deity exists. Agnosticism - the belief that the existence or non- …….existence of God is not known or cannot be known. Most of Philosophy of Religion involves determining which of these positions is most rational to take. However, this assumes that the existence of God can be debated and proved or disproved. The existence of God is a . metaphysical question central to a branch of philosophy called the Philosophy of Religion. As the name implies, this area of philosophy applies philosophical methods to the study of a wide variety of religious issues, including the existence of God. Philosophy of Religion should be distinguished from a type of theology called revealed theology. ―Theos‖ is the Greek word for ―God,‖ so ―Theology‖ literally means ―the . study of God.‖ Revealed Theology is a type of theology that claims human knowledge of God comes through special revelations such as the Bible or Qur‘an or through visions or other types of direct revelations from God. St. Thomas Aquinas said that revealed theology provides ―saving knowledge‖ – that is, St. Thomas Aquinas knowledge that will result in our salvation. Another kind of theology, called Natural Theology, has to do with the knowledge of God that is possible based on . the use of ―natural‖ reason – that is, reason unaided by special revelations. St. Thomas says that this sort of theology can provide us with some knowledge of God‘s nature and can demonstrate that God exists, but it cannot provide saving knowledge because, after all, even devils know that God exists. Natural theology is sometimes called rational theology or philosophical theology. As this last name indicates, this kind of theology is more closely related to the Philosophy of Religion than is revealed theology. Both natural theology and the Philosophy of Religion they solely on the use of human .reason in their attempts to discover something about the divine. They do not assume the truth of some special revelation; they allow only what reason can prove. Natural Theology has as its professed object to vindicate our belief in God, and to deal with the manifold objections, which from a wide variety of standpoints have been urged either against His existence or against His infinite perfections. Sometimes Revealed and Natural Theology overlap on issues. Thomas Aquinas said that if it an issue in which there is disagreement between the.two, then faith (revealed theology) takes precedence over reason (natural theology). One thing it's important to understand is that the . Philosophy of Religion is far more subtle in its study of such arguments than some critics of religion suppose. It recognizes that religious beliefs are a complex interaction of ideas and to suppose that a single argument could ground them all is not only unreasonable but contrary to the way in which we decide questions in everyday life. Thus the modern justification of belief is cumulative and complaining that a particular argument fails to make the case for the entire network of beliefs is to miss the point. . Indeed, although there is general agreement that the five main arguments fail to prove the existence of God, some philosophers of religion claim that this is not what should be aimed at; instead, their combination makes it more likely than not that God exists. If we were to believe because of arguments, or even if we could show that the existence of God were certain or rationally justified, there would be no room left for faith. . Religious belief is to be taken not as something that can be proven or disproven but instead as a boundary condition or principle through which we interpret life and our experiences. There must be some measure of considering the evidence and arguments for and against and deciding on the balance of probabilities. It is also suggested that God would not make it unreasonable for us to believe in Him, so there must be some value in the proofs of His existence, whether or not we find them convincing. Recall that Kierkegaard identified ―subjective . truths‖ as those things which I believe are true for ME. William James noted that truth is what ―works‖ for you. Belief is not objective rationality (or we would not call it ―faith‖); but belief in the unseen (and yet important to us) things shape and give meaning to our lives. Theistical Systems The philosophical systems which assert the existence of God fall into three classes: deism, pantheism, and theism. Deism teaches that God created the world, but that having . created it, He leaves it to the guidance of those laws which He established at its creation, abstaining from further interference. He acts thus, it holds, both in regard to the physical and moral order. There is no such thing as a personal providence: nor does prayer avail to obtain His special assistance. The externality, not to say the remoteness, of God in relation to the world is fundamental in this system. Pantheism goes to the other extreme. It denies that there is any distinction between .God and the universe. Nothing exists, it contends, except God. The universe is, in fact, simply the Divine Being evolving itself in various forms. By this it means that they deserve a religious reverence. Theism holds a middle position between these. Like deism, it maintains the doctrine of .creation, affirming that finite things are fundamentally distinct from their Infinite Maker. But it rejects the teaching which makes God remote from the world. It asserts, on the contrary, that God is, and must be, ever present to every created thing, sustaining it in existence and conferring upon it whatever activity it possesses - that "in Him we live and move and have are being." And further, Theism says that He exercises a special and detailed providence over the whole course of things, interfering as He sees fit, and guiding all things to their respective ends. "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?...why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?‖ (Matt. 6:25-30) Theistic philosophies and religion are not exclusively . ―western.‖ The Hindu Brahman is a god-figure of sorts, but certainly the ultimate reality. NONTHEISTICAL SYSTEMS Nontheistic philosophies, such as Buddhism and Taoism are not overtly concerned with the issue of God‘s existence even though they have been concerned with the nature and existence of some ―ultimate reality.‖ Two other forms of nontheistical philosophies are agnosticism and atheism. Agnosticism (from the Greek . words, A=not and gnosis=knowledge) admits to the middle ground of uncertainty between a belief in a God or some ultimate reality and a rejection of belief in a God or some ultimate reality. An agnostic‘s identification means that he literally ―does not know.‖ The ONE THING that an Agnostic DOES KNOW is that he DOESN’T KNOW PURE AGNOSTICISM LIGHT SUMMER READING FOR AN AGNOSTIC LIVING IN COLUMBIA, SC DURING AUGUST . Atheistic philosophies, while claiming not to believe in the existence of God, nevertheless often spend a great deal of time devising rational proofs designed to prove that the theistic proofs for the existence of God are irrational or at least logically unsupportable. Q: Who died and made YOU God? . GOD DID ! Go to next slide Agnosticism & Atheism Compared HOW CAN I KNOW GOD? How Can we know God? If He is ineffable or indescribable, then how is it that people have sought to give accounts of Him within religious texts throughout the years? One answer is to say that we can take a negative approach and only say what God is not. To some (like the Jews), God is even too holy to be named; and perhaps He is beyond human language and its limits? Others suggest that God could be known from His effects, hence talk of His being all-powerful, just, all knowing, as well as the converse of these. More recent answers include regarding religious texts as a myths, perhaps giving timeless insights into the human condition but often through the interpretations and context of a particular age. But, can we honestly “know” God and His nature? THE IDEA OF GOD Before the emergence of the belief that the whole world is under the sovereign control of a single being, people often believed in a plurality of divine beings or gods, a religious position called polytheism. In ancient Greece and Rome, for example, the various gods had control over different aspects of life, so that one naturally worshipped several gods, a god of war, a goddess of love, and so forth. Sometimes, however, one might believe that there are a number of gods but worship only one of them, the god of one‘s own tribe, a religious position called henotheism. Monotheism, the belief in only one divine being, has . passed through a profound change, a change he describes with the help of the expressions ―up there‖ and ―out there.‖ The god ―up there‖ is a being located in space above us, presumably at some definite distance from the earth, in a region known as the heavens. He is ―above all‖ and outside of time, space, and the limitations of a finite existence. He is a ―transcendent‖ God, and he does not take time to bother with individual matters. He controls the world much like an unseen puppeteer controls a marionette on the stage. The fundamental change from the God ―up there‖ to the God ―out there‖ in the past 800 years is the change from thinking of God as located .at some spatial distance from the earth to thinking of God as separate from and independent of the world. According to this idea, God has no location in some spot or region of physical space. He is a purely spiritual being, a supremely good, all- powerful, all-knowing, personal being who has created the world, but is not a part of it. He is separate from the world, not subject to its laws, and yet he judges it, and guides it to its final purpose. He is HERE ―with‖ the world, but not ―of‖ the world. He is an ―eminent‖ God. The TRANSCENDENT GOD Transcendent God – controls the world from “up there” Eminent God – controls the world from “out there” (here) Two views of This rather majestic idea God controlling of an eminent God was the world slowly developed over the centuries by great western theologians such as Augustine, Boethius, Bonaventure, Avicenna, Anselm, Maimonides, and Aquinas. It has been the dominant idea of God in western civilization. THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD According to many major theologians, God is conceived of as a supremely good being, separate from and independent of the world, all-powerful, all-knowing, and the creator of the universe. Two other features that were ascribed to God by the great theologians are self-existent and eternal. The dominant idea of God in western civilization, then, is the idea of a supremely good being, creator of but separate from and independent of the world, all- powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), eternal, and self-existent. What is it for a being to be omnipotent? How are we to understand the idea of self-existence? . In what way is God thought to be separate from and independent of the world? What is meant when it is said that God, and God alone, is eternal? Only to the extent that we can answer these and similar questions do we comprehend the central idea of God to emerge within western civilization. Before turning to a study of the question of the existence of God, therefore, it is important to enrich our grasp of this idea of God by trying to answer some of these basic questions. OMNIPOTENCE: Paradox of the Stone Does God have the power to create a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it? Is it possible that he does or does not? In his great work, the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas undertakes to explain what it is for God to be . omnipotent. After pointing out that for God to be omnipotent is for God to be able to do all things that are possible, Aquinas carefully explains that there are two different kinds of possibility, relative possibility and absolute possibility, and inquires as to which kind of possibility is meant when it is said that God‘s omnipotence is the ability to do all things that are possible. Something is a relative possibility when it lies within the power of some being or beings to do. Flying by natural means, for example, is possible relative to birds but not relative to humans. Something is an absolute possibility, however, if it is not a contradiction in terms. Having explained the two different kinds of possibility, Aquinas points out that it must be absolute possibility which is meant when God‘s . omnipotence is explained as the ability to do all things that are possible. For if we meant relative possibility, our explanation would say no more than that ―God is omnipotent‖ means that he can do all things that are in his power to do. And while it is certainly true that God can do all things that are in his power to do, it explains nothing. ―God is omnipotent,‖ then, means that God can do whatever does not involve a contradiction in terms. Does this mean that there are some things God cannot do? In one sense it clearly does mean this. God cannot make one and the same thing both round and square at the same time. The idea that God‘s omnipotence does not include the . power to do something inconsistent with any of his basic attributes can help us solve what has been called the paradox of the stone. According to this paradox, either God has the power to create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it, or God does not have that power. If he does have the power to create such a stone, then there is something God cannot do: lift the stone he can create. On the other hand, if God cannot create such a stone, then there is also something he cannot do: create a stone so heavy he cannot lift it. In either case there is something God cannot do. Therefore, God is not omnipotent. But…….. The solution to this puzzle is.to see that creating a stone so heavy that God cannot lift it is doing something inconsistent with one of God‘s essential attributes—the attribute of omnipotence. For if there exists a stone so heavy that God lacks the power to lift it, then God is not omnipotent. Therefore, if God has the power to create such a stone, he has the power to bring it about that he lacks an attribute (omnipotence) that is essential to him. So, the proper solution to the puzzle is to say that God cannot create such a stone any more than he can do an evil deed. GOODNESS: The Dilemma of Divine Command In Plato‘s Euthyphro, the issue concerning God‘s goodness and his commands could be expressed in a two part question: Is something good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good? The idea that God (and his commands) must be perfectly good is connected to the view that God is a being who . praise, and worship. deserves unconditional gratitude, For if a being were to fall short of perfect goodness, it would not be worthy of unreserved praise and worship. So, God is not just a good being, his goodness is unsurpassable. Moreover, God doesn‘t simply happen to be perfectly good; it is his nature to be that way. God logically could not fail to be perfectly good. It was for this reason that God does not have the power to do evil. To attribute such a power to God is to attribute to him the power to cease to be the being that he necessarily is. Being God is part of the nature or essence of the being who is God. So, since the being who is God cannot cease to be God, that being cannot cease to be perfectly good. Or can he? Plato‘s writings were in the form of dialogues, usually . between Socrates and one or more interlocutors. In one of these dialogues, the Euthyphro, there is a discussion concerning whether ―right‖ can be defined as ―that which the gods command.‖ Socrates is skeptical and asks: Is conduct right because the gods command it, or do the gods command it because it is right? It is one of the most famous questions in the history of philosophy. The British philosopher Antony Flew suggests that ―one good test of a person‘s aptitude for philosophy is to discover whether he can grasp its force and point.‖ The point is this. If we accept the theological conception of . right and wrong, we are caught in a dilemma. Socrates‘ question asks us to clarify what we mean. There are two things we might mean, and both lead to trouble. 1. First, we might mean that conduct is right because God commands it. For example, in Exodus 20:16, we read that God commands us to be truthful. On this option, the reason we should be truthful is simply that God requires it. Apart from the divine command, truth telling is neither good nor bad. It is God‘s command that makes truthfulness right. But this leads to trouble, for it represents God‘s commands as arbitrary. It means that God could have given different commands just as easily. He could have commanded us to be liars, and then lying, and not truthfulness, would . be right. (You may be tempted to reply: ―But God would never command us to lie!‖ But why not? If he did endorse lying, God would not be commanding us to do wrong, because his command would make lying right.) Remember that on this view, honesty was not right before God commanded it. Therefore, he could have had no more reason to command it than its opposite; and so, from a moral point of view, his command is perfectly arbitrary. Moreover, on this view, the doctrine of the goodness of God is reduced to nonsense. It is important to religious believers that God is not only all- powerful and all-knowing, but that he is also good; yet if . we accept the idea that good and bad are defined by reference to God‘s will, this notion is deprived of any meaning. What could it mean to say that God‘s commands are good? If ―X is good‖ means ―X is commanded by God,‖ then ―God‘s commands are good‖ would mean only ―God‘s commands are commanded by God,‖ an empty truism. In his Discourse on Metaphysics (1686) Leibniz put the point clearly: So in saying that things are not good by any rule of goodness, but sheerly by the will of God, it seems to me that one destroys, without realizing it, all the love of God and all his glory. For why praise him for what he has done if he would be equally praiseworthy in doing exactly the contrary? . If God’s commands could be arbitrary, how can we say that He is GOOD ? Thus if we choose the first of Socrates‘ two options, we are . stuck with consequences that even the most religious people must find unacceptable. 2. There is a way to avoid these troublesome consequences. We can take the second of Socrates‘ options. We need not say that right conduct is right because God commands it. Instead, we may say that God commands right conduct because it is right. God, who is infinitely wise, realizes that truthfulness is far better than deceitfulness, and so he commands us to be truthful; he sees that killing is wrong, and so he commands us not to kill; and so on for all the commandments. . If we take this option, we avoid the troublesome consequences that plagued the first alternative. God‘s commands turn out to be not at all arbitrary; they are the result of his wisdom in knowing what is best. And the doctrine of the goodness of God is preserved: To say that his commands are good means that he commands only what, in perfect wisdom, he sees to be the best. But this option leads to a different problem, which is equally troublesome for the theological conception of right and wrong: In taking this option, we have virtually abandoned the theological conception of right and wrong. If God knows some things are good , (and also knows some things are evil), we cannot say that He knows the Good because He is Good unless we are also willing to say that He knows the Evil because He is Evil. So the standard of good & evil must exist outside of God. If we say that God commands us to be truthful because truthfulness is right, then we are admitting that there is some standard of right and . wrong that is independent of God‘s will. We are saying that God sees or recognizes that truthfulness is right, and that is very different from his making it right. The rightness exists prior to and independent of God‘s command, and it is the reason for the command. Thus if we want to know why we should be truthful, the reply ―Because God commands it‖ will not take us very far. We may still ask ―But why does God command it?‖ and the answer to that question will provide the underlying reasons why truthfulness is a good thing. All this may be summarized in the following argument: Many religious people believe that they must accept a . and wrong because it theological conception of right would be impious not to do so. They feel, somehow, that if they believe in God, they should think that right and wrong are to be defined ultimately in terms of his will. But this argument suggests otherwise. It suggests that, on the contrary, the Divine Command Theory of right and wrong itself leads to impious results, so that a pious person should not accept it. And in fact, some of the greatest theologians, such as St. Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225—1274), rejected the theory for just this reason. But even if we cannot . say that “God’s commands are good,” can we still say that “God is good”? WHAT IS THE ARGUMENT? Theologians and philosophers have developed arguments for the existence of God, arguments which, they have claimed, prove beyond reasonable doubt that there is a God. Arguments for the existence of God are commonly divided into a posteriori arguments and a priori arguments. An a posteriori argument depends on a principle or premise that can be known only by means of our experience of the world. An a priori argument, on the other hand, purports to rest on principles all of which can be known independently of our experience of the world, . by just reflecting on and understanding them. Of the three major arguments for the existence of God—the Cosmological, the Design, and the Ontological—only the last of these is entirely a priori. In the Cosmological Argument one starts from some simple fact about the world, such as that it contains things which are caused to exist by other things. In the Design Argument a somewhat more complicated fact about the world serves as a starting point, the fact that the world exhibits order and design. In the Ontological Argument, however, one begins simply with a concept of God. Ontological Argument This argument was first propounded by St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury in his Proslogion of 1077-78. Iin the Proslogion Anselm sets out to convince "the fool," that is, the person who "has said in his heart, „There is no God‟ " (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Anselm‘s argument is considered by some that he intended it for those who were already theists, not . necessarily for convincing atheists. This distinction is important because his goals for the argument tell us how it was supposed to function: if it was meant for theists, to provide a rational basis for already-existing faith and hence work as a cumulative argument (as discussed above), then we might judge it differently than if it was supposed to prove definitively the existence of God. Anselm himself wrote: “I have written the following treatise [as] ... one who seeks to understand what he believes...” Given this context, we can now look at the argument itself. . In basic form, it states that the definition of God entails His existence. For example: P1: God is the greatest possible being, one whom nothing greater than can be conceived of; P2: If God is just a concept and does not exist in reality then a greater being can be conceived, one that exists both as a concept and in reality; C1: This being would be greater than God, contradicting P1; C2: Therefore, God is not just a concept and must exist in reality. Thus the fact that we define God to be the greatest possible being means that He must exist, or else He . would no longer be the greatest. Another way to understand the argument is to distinguish between a necessary being (that is, one that necessarily must exist) and a contingent one (that is, one that may or may not exist, depending on the circumstances). According to the ontological argument, then, it would be greater for God to exist as a necessary being than as a contingent one. Notice that this argument depends only on the definition, not any facts about the world. It is perhaps for this reason that many people find it unsatisfactory at first glance. Does the notion of a "greatest possible being" make sense? Let’s do the argument again In presenting Anselm‘s argument again, I shall use the term God in place of the longer phrase ―the being than which none greater is possible‖—wherever the term God appears we are to think of it as simply an abbreviation of the longer phrase. 1. God exists in the understanding. As we‘ve noted, anyone who hears of the being than which none greater is possible is, in Anselm‘s view, committed to premise 1. 2. God might have existed in reality (God is a possible being). Anselm, I think, assumes the truth of premise 2 without making it explicit in his reasoning. 3. If something exists only in the understanding and might have existed in reality, then it might have been greater than it is. Statement 3 is the key idea in Anselm‘s Ontological Argument. It is intended as a general principle true of anything. Steps 1–3 constitute the basic premises of Anselm‘s Ontological Argument. From these three items it follows, so Anselm believes, that God exists in reality. . But how does Anselm propose to convince us that if we accept 1–3 we are committed by the rules of logic to accept his conclusion that God exists in reality? Anselm‘s procedure is to offer what is called a reductio ad absurdum proof of his conclusion. Instead of showing directly that the existence of God follows from1–3, Anselm invites us to suppose that God does not exist (that is, that the conclusion he wants to establish is false). Then he shows how this supposition when conjoined with 1–3 leads to an absurd result, a result that couldn‘t possibly be true because it is contradictory. In short, with the help of 1–3,Anselm shows that the supposition that God does not exist reduces to an absurdity. Since the supposition that God does not exist leads to an absurdity, that supposition must be rejected in favor of the conclusion that God does exist. Does Anselm succeed in reducing the fool‘s belief that God does not exist to an absurdity? The best way to answer this question is to follow the steps of his argument. . 4. Suppose God exists only in the understanding. This supposition, as we saw earlier, is Anselm‘s way of expressing the fool‘s belief that God does not exist. 5. God might have been greater than he is. (2, 4, and 3)6 Step 5 follows from steps 2, 4, and 3. Since 3, if true, is true of anything, it will be true of God. Step 3, therefore, implies that if God exists only in the understanding and might have existed in reality, then God might have been greater than he is. If so, then given 2 and 4, 5 must be true. For what 3 says when applied to God is that given 2 and 4 it follows that 5. 6. God is a being than which a greater is possible. (5) Surely if God is such that he logically might have been greater, then he is such than which a greater is possible. We‘re now in a position to appreciate Anselm‘s reductio argument. He has shown us that if we accept 1–4 we must accept 6. But 6 . Anselm was after. For is unacceptable; it is the absurdity replacing God in step 6 with the longer phrase it abbreviates, we see that 6 amounts to the absurd assertion: 7. The being than which none greater is possible is a being than which a greater is possible. Now since 1–4 have led us to an obviously false conclusion, if we accept Anselm‘s basic premises 1–3 as true, 4, the supposition that God exists only in the understanding, must be rejected as false. Thus we have shown that 8. It is false that God exists only in the understanding. But since premise 1 tells us that God does exist in the understanding, and 8 tells us that God does not exist only there, we may infer that 9. God exists in reality as well as in the understanding. (1, 8) Defending critics of Anselm’s argument: . Try to think, for example, of a hockey player than which none greater is possible. How fast would he have to skate? How many goals would such a player have to score in a game? How fast would he have to shoot the puck? Could this player ever fall down, be checked, or receive a penalty? . player than which none Although the phrase ―The hockey greater is possible‖ seems meaningful, as soon as we try to get a clear idea of what such a being would be like, we discover that we can‘t form a coherent idea of it at all. For we are being invited to think of some limited, finite thing—a hockey player or an island—and then to think of it as exhibiting unlimited, infinite perfections. Perhaps, then, since Anselm‘s reasoning applies only to possible things, Anselm can reject its application to his critic‘s hockey player on the grounds that the hockey player and ―than which none greater is possible‖ is, like the round square, an impossible thing. Cosmological Argument According to Plato in his dialogue the Timaeus, “...everything that comes to be or changes must do so owing to some cause; for nothing can come to be without a cause.” Historically, the cosmological argument can be traced to the writings of the Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, but the major developments in the argument took place in the thirteenth and in the eighteenth centuries. In the thirteenth century St. Thomas Aquinas put forth five distinct arguments for the existence of God, and of these, the first three are versions of the Cosmological Argument. The Cosmological Argument has two parts. . In the first part the effort is to prove the existence of a special sort of being, for example, a being that could not have failed to exist, or a being that causes change in other things but is itself unchanging. In the second part of the argument the effort is to prove that the special sort of being whose existence has been established in the first part has, and must have, the features—perfect goodness, omnipotence, omniscience, and so on—which go together to make up the theistic idea of God. What this means, then, is that Aquinas‘ first three arguments (of five) are different versions of only the first part of the Cosmological Argument. St. Thomas Aquinas' FIVE WAYS Background: St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) was a Dominican priest, theologian, and philosopher. Called the Doctor Angelicus (the Angelic Doctor,) Aquinas is considered one the greatest Christian philosophers to have ever lived. Two of his most famous works, the Summa Theologiae and the Summa Contra Gentiles, are the finest examples of his work on Christian philosophy. First Way: (Cosmological) Argument From Motion St. Thomas Aquinas, studying the works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, concluded from common observation that an object that is in motion (e.g. the planets, a rolling stone) is put in motion by some other object or force. From this, Aquinas believes that ultimately there must have been an UNMOVED MOVER (GOD) who first put things in motion. Follow the argument this way: . P1: Everything that moves is moved by something else; P2: An infinite regress (that is, going back through a chain of movers forever) is impossible; C: Therefore, there must exist a first mover (i.e. God). Second Way: (Cosmological) Causation Of Existence This way deals with the issue of existence. Aquinas concluded that common sense observation tells us that no object creates itself. In other words, some previous object had to create it. Aquinas believed that ultimately there must have been an UNCAUSED FIRST CAUSE (GOD) who began the chain of existence for all things. The second cosmological argument proceeds similarly. . Follow the argument this way: 1) There exists things that are caused (created) by other things. 2) Nothing can be the cause of itself (nothing can create itself.) 3) There can not be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist. 4) Therefore, there must be an uncaused first cause called God. The first two cosmological arguments seem much the same but the slight distinction is that the first focuses on . by agents acting in the the fact that things are moved world while the second discusses the actors causing these things to happen. Several criticisms have been made of Aquinas' assumptions. Philosophers have challenged the idea that events are linked in a "chain" from one to the next, each resting, as it were, on those below. Another telling objection is to ask why there could not be more than one first cause/mover? Why could the chain not lead back to several ultimate causes, each somehow outside the universe? Not only that, but these two arguments could just as easily lead to two different Gods. Aquinas offers a third argument. Third Way: (Cosmological) Contingent and Necessary Objects This way defines two types of objects in the universe: contingent beings and necessary beings. A contingent being is an object that cannot exist without a necessary being causing its existence. Aquinas believed that the existence of contingent beings would ultimately necessitate a being which must exist for all of the contingent beings to exist. This being, called a necessary being, is what we call God. . Follow the argument this way: 1) Contingent beings are caused. 2) Not every being can be contingent. 3) If a contingent being exists, then there must exist a being which is necessary to cause contingent beings. 4) This necessary being is God. The idea here is that if everything in the universe was contingent then there must.have been some time when there were no contingent beings at all. In that case, how could the universe have come into being, since contingent beings would require a cause? This means that there must be some necessary being, which we take to be God. The problem again is that Aquinas‘ third argument might be taken to imply another God, different from the other two. Others object that matter or energy are not contingent (although still others question this assumption), or that the contingency could run backwards in time as far as we like and "end" in the future. Final Comment on the Cosmological Argument: . As with the ontological argument, the cosmological argument does not appear to be intended to convince non-theists that they should become theists but instead suggests the existence of God as a possibility, or an explanation of the brute fact of the existence of the universe. How convincing it is depends, apart from the opinions we might hold of the content of the argument, on whether we feel this fact is in need of explanation or not. Fourth Way: The Argument From Degrees And Perfection St. Thomas Aquinas formulated this Way from a very interesting observation about the qualities of things. For example one may say that of two marble sculptures one is more beautiful than the other. So for these two objects, one has a greater degree of beauty than the next. This is referred to as degrees or gradation of a quality. From this fact Aquinas concluded that for any given quality (e.g. goodness, beauty, knowledge) there must be a perfect standard by which all such qualities are measured. These perfections are contained in God. Fifth Way: (Teleological) Argument From Intelligent Design The final Way that St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of has to do with the observable universe and the order of nature. Aquinas states that common sense tells us that the universe works in such a way, that one can conclude that is was designed by an intelligent designer, God. In other words, all physical laws and the order of nature and life were designed and ordered by God, the intelligent designer. The Teleological Argument points to the existence of . purpose and order in the universe and supposes that if we see signs of design then there must have been a designer. Indeed, the word "teleology" comes from the Greek telos, meaning "purpose", "goal", or "end." Sometimes it is called the argument from design, or more properly the argument for design. A more complete explanation of St. Thomas' Fifth Way about God as Intelligent Designer can be understood by examining William Paley's Teleological Argument. The basic premise, of all . teleological arguments for the existence of God, is that the world exhibits an intelligent purpose based on experience from nature such as its order, unity, coherency, design, and complexity. Hence, there must be an intelligent designer to account for the observed intelligent purpose and order that we can observe. 2. Paley's teleological argument is based on an analogy. . Watchmaker is to watch as God is to universe. Just as a watch, with its intelligent design and complex function must have been created by an intelligent maker. A watchmaker, the universe, with all its complexity and greatness, must have been created by an intelligent and powerful creator. Therefore a watchmaker is to watch as God is to universe. WILLIAM PALEY AND HIS WATCH. . If you tripped over a watch you would assume (after examining it) that it had been put together by a clever watchmaker. Is it not reasonable to assume the same about the world? You could say the same about an eye. Except its maker is a lot cleverer than the watchmaker. . Paley's Teleological Argument: 1) Human artifacts are products of intelligent design. 2) The universe resembles human artifacts. 3) Therefore the universe is a product of intelligent design. 4) But the universe is complex and gigantic, in comparison to human artifacts. 5) Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe. Design Argument: we may disagree about WHO is in charge, but somebody must be! CRITICISMS HUME - It depends what you look at in the world. What if you focus on suffering and disease. Does this suggest a designer? An incompetent designer or an evil designer? Why only one great Designer? Hume suggests there could be several – so not God, in the usual sense of God. J S MILL - Nature is ‗guilty‘ of many serious crimes. If people committed crimes like these (earthquakes etc) they would be punished. Mill suggests that it is wrong to think of the world as being ordered or designed. Hume’s “EVIL DESIGNER” RICHARD DAWKINS - Modern Darwinian biologist. In his . (1989), he suggests that famous book The Selfish Gene human beings and other animals exists as gene carriers (and not because they‘re important in themselves). The human body is a ‗gene survival suit.‘ There is no order or design = there is no God. CHARLES DARWIN - Darwin was famous for formulating the ―theory of evolution.‖ Darwin said that, what looks like order, has come about as a result of a random process. Animals just keep adapting to the things that happen (accidentally) in their environments. What looks like order is just adaptation. . Hume: An incompetent designer Mill: An unordered world Dawkins: Gene survival = No God Darwin: Adaptation = No God After years of trying to create life in the laboratory, the scientists finally concede that God did a better job than they every could. The success of evolutionary theory has also provided an . alternative explanation as to where the order we see has come from, with the caveat that there is apparently no need to invoke purposive behavior to account for it. This is not necessarily an objection against design, however, since many theists now suggest that evolution is the means used by God to achieve His goals. With developments in science continually suggesting new angles to view the argument from, as well as refinements that point to the amount of beauty in the universe as opposed to just design, the teleological argument rumbles on and it perhaps once again depends on the perspective from which it is viewed. The Religious Experience Argument Perhaps the most interesting argument for the existence of God comes from the fact that very many people have experiences they characterize as religious. These tend to have different forms, but there is enough common ground to list a few of them that have been distilled as a result of work by people like William James and David Hay. Some common descriptions include: . - The experience is hard (if not impossible) to describe. - It is a feeling of oneness with God. - It can also be a sense of being dependent on God. - It may sometimes call attention to a painful separation ……from God. - It can be experienced anywhere, in everyday situations. - It can provide insight into otherwise inaccessible truths. - The experience tends to be transient. There are other descriptions, of course, and the experience itself seems to be largely personal. The issue, then, is to explain these religious experiences in . a satisfactory way. The religious experience argument, again, does not seek to prove that God exists but instead that it is reasonable to believe that He does because of the direct experience of Him. Moreover, the argument gives a motive for non-believers to also believe unless they can explain the experiences (which they may have for themselves) in another way. Indeed, we could say the argument is an inference to the best explanation: P1: People have religious experiences; P2: The existence of God explains these experiences; C: Therefore, God exists. . In summary, the argument from religious experience does not prove existence definitively and depends in good measure on what our prior opinions of such experiences are. Nevertheless, it provides an explanation for a widespread phenomenon. Other Types of Argument There are other types of arguments used to prove the existence of God. One commonly occurring one (used by Kant as well as others) is the Moral Argument. In its simplest form, it says that without God, there would be no morality. Since human beings have some internal sense of morality, there must be a God who not only created the world but also instilled within human beings a sense of right and wrong. . Another common argument is the Free Will Argument, which is designed to fly in the face of the notion of an uncreated universe that still (for some reason) has laws (such as cause and effect). P1: Every event is derived from a cause determined by universal laws. . P2. Human actions are undetermined. P3: Undetermined actions do no follow universal laws and thus must be the result of free will. P4: But if every event has a cause, then even undetermined events (resulting from free will) must have a cause. P4: The cause of free will must also (by analogy) be the cause of the universal laws. C: Therefore God, the cause of the universal laws, must exist as the cause of free will. Personally, I don‘t think it is a very convincing argument. God “smites” those who do not obey Him, because they use their free will badly. On the other hand (or maybe with the same hand), the Bible says that the Lord disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). For thought and discussion: . If there is only one God whose existence is being ―proven‖ in all these arguments, why is it that there is a plurality of religions? If people can agree that God exists, then are all religions equally good in their approaches to God? We‘ll discuss that after we read the handout.