Cosmological arguments of proof for the existence of God states that ‘everything we know has a cause. This cause cannot have an infinite regress and therefore there must be a first cause, which is God. In this paper, I will discuss the assumptions Saint Thomas Aquinas makes and how they are supposed to entail the existence of God, general problems Dr. Michael Martin sees with cosmological proofs and how he sees these occurring in Aquinas arguments, and finally comment on the conclusions reached by both Aquinas and Martins and point out where they disagree in their arguments.
Aquinas believed that it was proper to identify pointers towards the presence of God based on general human experience of the universe. He suggested five common ways of the argument that proves God’s existence. The arguments draw some aspect of the universe that points to the existence of the creator. Aquinas makes two basic assumptions that underlie each of the five ways of the arguments that prove the god exists. The first assumption is guided by the thought that the universe mirrors God as its creator. Secondly, it assumes that the ordering of the universe is evidence of God’s existence. Thus, for each of the five arguments I have discussed below, Aquinas makes the two assumptions as proof of the God’s existence.
In the first argument, Aquinas begins by observing that things in the universe are in motion. Examples to show this may include; the earth orbiting around the sun, or even stones rolling down the valley. Things cannot move by themselves but must be moved by something else. Each cause of movement must itself have a cause as well. And this occurs because there is a series of movements that lies behind the universe. Aquinas believes in the existence of one original cause of motion to God’s existence. Second, Aquinas notes the existence of causes and effects in the universe. One effect is determined by the influence of another cause. The motion idea provides the best example for the sequence of causes and effects. All effects may be traced back to a single original cause which is God. The third way is concerned with the existence of contingent beings. Beings are not in the universe as a matter of necessity but come into existence for the sole reason that something which already exists brought it into being. As human beings we are a series of causation according to Aquinas. He declares that the original cause of being can only be someone whose existence is necessary, who is God. The fourth way begins with human values such as truth, goodness, and nobility. He suggests that God is the origin of these ideas and is the original cause. Lastly, the universe shows traces of intelligent designs. They are caused and designed by someone because things don’t design themselves. Aquinas’s argument from this observation concludes that the source of natural orderliness of the universe must be conceded to be God.
Dr. Michael Martin sees two general problems with cosmological proofs. The first problem he identified was based on the simple version of the cosmological argument. The problem of this version of the argument is that even if it is successful in showing a first cause, this first cause is not necessarily God. This problem makes Aquinas’s arguments useless especially the support of the view that God exists. Secondly, he sees that there cannot be an infinite sequence of causes. He argues that we lack experience of infinite causal sequences as suggested by Aquinas, but we do no there are infinite series such as natural numbers. This explains the reason for the difference between causal and mathematical series.
Aquinas and Martin respectively differ in their arguments on the existence of God. Whereas Aquinas states everything we know has a cause, martin argues that it doesn’t have a cause. Despite criticisms, Aquinas’s position is supported by the strongest and most compelling arguments. His argument that everything that exists has a cause is a more compelling argument.