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Existance Of God Essay, Research Paper
“No one can think the opposite of that which is self evident…But the opposite of the proposition “God Exists” can be thought…therefore the proposition that God existence is self evident.”( Thomas Aquinas)
Some people may say that God is an omnipotent, omniscient being that the universe revolves around. In other words, God is all-powerful, all knowing, and runs the universe, but the mere claim, to prove Gods existence, seems to invite ridicule. The people who ridicule are not always right. They are the people who laugh first and think later. Before modern technology and scientific innovations were discovered, world-renowned doctors and scientists in the past laughed at every new discovery. They laughed when they heard for the first time about diseases so tiny that you could not see them. They continued to laugh at virtually every discovery that challenged their previous believes. They always laughed first, but when premises became proven, they were also the first to jump on the bandwagon.
The question religious philosophers have been pondering for ages, why do we seek proof for the Existence of God? I think the answer is, we fear death and seek assurance that survival is not only possible, but also guaranteed. Since we can only survive within a condition that is not undergoing constant change and decay, we need something that exists forever and is not subject to change. Such condition of eternal being ness is what we termed God. The next question then may be: Is the end worth all the trouble? Here we can again take advice from our Saints, Mystics, Sages, and the Scripture. They all speak of “Heavenly Bliss”. The value this condition has for us is made clear in this quote from the New Testament (Matt. 13:44-46): “The Kingdome of Heaven is like this. A man happens to find a Treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and is so happy that he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field.”
The topic that concerns me in religious philosophy is, can the existence of God be revealed or can He be proved by other people’s arguments. The arguments for the existence of God divide into two main groups, a priori and posteriori arguments. A priori argument depends on no premises and a posteriori argument is based on premises that can know by experiences of life and the universe. Philosophers for centuries have questioned and have tried to prove the existence of a God. The two philosophers that come to my mind are Saint Thomas Aquinas and William Paley. Both of these philosophers are alike in the fact that they both argued a posteriori arguments. Out of both of their arguments, Thomas Aquinas’s argument was categorized as cosmological. This type of argument begins with a posteriori assumptions that a great, spirtitual being exists and something other than the plain existence of the being is supposed to explain it. The second philosopher, William Paley’s argument was theological. A theological argument for the existence of God begins with a premise that the world demonstrates intelligent purpose and goes forward to the conclusion that there must be or there may be a supreme being with a divine intelligence. Even though, Thomas Aquinas and William Paley both agree that God exists, and while their arguments to prove God’s existence share some differences, similarities surface as well. (Pojman,Louis P.(1999) p.41)
Thomas Aquinas was a philosopher in an era of that Christianity was the only religion and to go against Christianity or any of its beliefs was thought to be sacrilegious. The two points, which crossed Thomas Aquinas’, mind, which through his argument he will prove wrong. One was if God was so good why does he let evil exist among those, which he created. The second is everything can be explained through the principal of nature or human reason. In lieu of this there is no need to hypothesis Gods existence. In order to disprove these two points Aquinas presents his five premise arguments in order to prove the existence of God or Supreme Being. (Wulf , Maurice De(1959))
In the first premise he argues the point of motion or change. In this regard another must move anything that has moved. He believes that if there were not a first mover then there would be no other movers. In this premise the first mover is God. If there were no mover before humans became relevant then as of now we would have no movement.( Copleston,Frederick(1976))
His second premise states causation. Causation is the relationship of a cause and its effect. He argues that there are different levels of causes. The cause prior to the cause that recently occurred is the dependent of the two. This is because he made a conclusion that there must be a first cause dependent of all other causes. The existence of non-important beings demands the existence of an important being. All causes would be obsolete if the existence of the first cause or the most important being. This cause represents the existence of God.
In his third premise Aquinas debates contingency and the necessary being. He states that in order for us to exist, since we are dependent on some being; we are dependent on God because God has a master plan for every person. God is like a puppet master and all humans are the puppets. Every person in the universe needs a higher being to look up to and ask for guidance. This is proven in such a case as in people in death. All Christians believes in life after death. People believe that when they die their soul either goes to heaven or hell. If their life were immortal they believe that their soul would be condemned to hell. If their life were moral, according to what their beliefs consider to be moral, they would supposedly prosper in heaven with God. Another example of people and death is that no body knows when they are going to die. God has a metaphorical list of who is going to die along with when and where. You do not have a choice of when and where you are going to die. Even if an individual were going to take his or her own life, God has control of them like a puppet and decides if it is their time to go. Therefore, we must affirm the existence of an independent being, which is absolutely necessary for everything in the universe to function. To prove Gods existence it would be impossible because nothing is capable of existing or not existing without God. God exists because the existence of the universe demands him and all his attributes.
Aquinas’ fourth premise argues that there are degrees of excellence in everything that exists in the universe and outside the universe has levels of some form of perfection. This is such in the case of boiling water. When the water is first boiling it is water and in a sense is the lowest level of heat pertaining to water. After boiling the water ten minutes it is hotter than before, but it still is not boiling. Hen when the water is boiling, it is at the hottest degree water can be while it is boiling. Just like omniscient and omnipotent are the highest degrees of intelligence and knowledge. This is also true in the degrees of goodness. In all the degrees of goodness, there is still a supreme good. Everything in the universe represents goodness and the creator and controller of all the goodness is the supreme good. This represents the existence of god.
Thomas Aquinas’ fifth and final premise argues the fact of harmony and order in nature. Beings that do not possess knowledge do not move forward are good unless they are guided by someone or something with posses’ knowledge or divine intelligent being. Thomas Aquinas compares an arrow to an archer. Without the archer who symbolizes God and the bow that symbolizes the universe, the arrow that represents everything in nature would be worthless or would serve a purpose. Just as God to the universe, without God the universe would not exist and everything in the universe wouldn’t exist or be relevant, which concludes God that is out intelligent designer.( Pojman,Louis P.(1999))
William Paley was a religious philosopher during a more modern era then the one of Thomas Aquinas. At this time there were other religions then just Christianity. During Paley’s time he argues eight premises of some metaphorical intelligent designer or a great being who had designed a watch that was found on the ground, but even though we know someone or something created the watch he, she or it was not in plain sight. From finding this watch he argues eight premises to prove the existence of God.
Paley’s first premise argues even though we have never seen this watchmaker or we have not physically touched the watchmaker; then someone must have purposely put the watch together. This relates to God creating the universe. Although we have never seen or touched God we know someone purposely put the universe the way it is today. Something as the universe just didn’t suddenly come together by itself, a great designer or a great intelligent being created everything in such a way that everything in the universe runs in a continuing repetitive cycle. For example the food chain in nature, for animals in the animal kingdom to survive they must prey on and feed on the weaker animals below them. Without this detailed cycle, which on could have been created by an intelligent being, life wouldn’t be existent. That is why the watchmaker or God as we know our supreme being to be exists.( Pojman,Louis P.(1999))
Paley’s second premise argues even though the watch and the universe may not be perfect, this does not take away from a designer being evident. Imperfections do not take away from planned order because even though every time the watch is wound it may not keep perfect time. In the universe among every species of animals there is a food chain and even though the food chain is supposed to be fair it still comes down to the survival of the fittest. But even though there are some imperfections there is still an evident designer, as we know as God. (Copleston,Frederick(1976))
Paley’s third premise argues that because of our ignorance to the knowledge of the watch and the universe we still are uncertain to how they may work in some aspects: but even though our ignorance may overcome knowledge it is still evident that an intelligent designer was present in the making of the universe on the watch.
Paley’s fourth premise and fifth are somewhat the same. Paley argues that the pieces of the watch are a metaphor for the way the universe is. It is this way because they were made that way and were declared to do what the intelligent designer designated them to do. The design plan of the watch is the universe and the order represents all that exists in and outside the watch and the universe. This premise concludes that the great designer is God.
Paley’s sixth premise states he would be shocked to hear that if the watch and its mechanism do not prove God’s existence then it would only be a motive in our mind. But he believes that the metaphor of the watch does prove God’s existence
Paley’s seventh premise argues the watch is the way it is because the laws of “metallic nature”. The law of metallic nature is that the watch does what it does because of nature and because nature is part of the universe the watchmaker must have created it. Just like the laws of nature or any law, as a matter of fact is created by some type of agent. The agent is supposed to represent God and law is the universes. Therefore, God created the universe, which proves God, exists.
In Paley’s eighth and final premise he argues that there are many things we do not know about the watch. We do not know how the watch was made. We somewhat know the usefulness of the watch. We make an educated guess that the watch contains some type of purpose. Like the watch and its watchmaker is very simple and the universe and God is very complex. So in the end Paley concludes that the watch is the unvirse and the watchmaker is like the universe maker except for the universe maker is a much creative being is more of an intelligent creator and designer and in the end God is in existence and brings an end to a means. (Pojman,Louis P.(1999))
It was not all contrast after all. Different as they were – in the eras they lived in most of their premises – These two great philosophers had their last premises in common In both of Aquinas’s last premise and Paley’s seventh premise are arguing that nature, although; some believed nature came about through scientific evolution. It is true, nature was created through evolution but evolution must have been created by a supreme higher intelligence such as God, or they’re of a God. Aquinas believed that in order to have harmony and order in nature there must be a higher intelligent creator because since nature is a part of the universe and since God created the universe; he concludes that God created and controls all we know of today. Paley argued primarily the same premise. He argued the laws of metallic nature, which states that, a wrist watch found in nature, although; we are ignorant to the knowledge of where the watch was created and who created it, the watch must have been created by a higher intelligence or a great designer. With the conclusions made from Aquinas and Paley, we can conclude that although they both took different standpoints they both have the same final conclusion, it is possible to prove Gods existence and God exists even if society differs in opinion.
1.Ferre,Fredrick(1967).Basic Modern Philosophy of Religion :New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons
2.Wulf , Maurice De(1959) The System of Thomas Aquinas :New York : Dover Publications
3.Copleston,Frederick(1976)Thomas Aquinas :London :Harper & Row Publishers
4.LeMahieu,D.L.(1976) The Mind Of William Paley :University Of Nebraska Press : Lincoln and London
5.Pojman,Louis P.(1999)Philosophy :The Quest for trueth :Wadsworth Pubishing Co
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