Today, I am going to examine one of the five arguments that were posited by the great Christian theologian of antiquity, St Thomas Aquinas. It is his argument of the First Cause in order to proof the existence of God. The argument puts forward the necessity of a thing to have a cause that is extrinsic to itself. Then, as there cannot be an infinite regression of things needing a cause, he concludes the necessity of an uncaused cause, which is God.
I want to identify the propositions put forward here and evaluate the assumptions here foremost. Firstly, it is the proposition that all things must have a cause. I would raise the question, “why?” Why must there be a cause to a thing in existence? Well, I presume that this is deemed necessary if the being(this can be ascribed to processes too) is intelligent in design in nature and hence could not have existed by itself. Why can’t a thing that is intelligent in design not exist by itself? Because intelligence in design is not self-forming in nature; it needs an efficient cause. Therefore, the thing which is intelligent in design must have an intelligent designer to design it. Now why does an intelligent designer need to have an intelligent designer for his being? Well, that is because the intelligent designer is intelligent in design as well. For example, a watch( an intelligent in design item) needs to be caused by an intelligent designer(a human being), but the human being is also intelligent in design and hence also in necessity of an intelligent designer for his being. A materialist would very well say that the womb of a mother coupled with all the fertilization processes is the intelligent designer of a human being. What designed that process then, which is very much intelligent in its design? And if we regress in our postulation of the necessity of an intelligent designer for an intelligent in design thing, we end up with a position whereby it is impossible to infinitely regress and we must admit of an intelligent designer who does not need a cause. Let’s take a look at the propositions laid down.
1. An item needs to have a cause if it is intelligent in design and therefore contingent in nature
2. The universe and all that is in existence right now are intelligent in design and therefore needs a cause
3. God is the intelligent designer who is uncaused
The first proposition states a categorization clause for a thing to need a cause. It is either intelligent in design and therefore needs a cause, or it is not intelligent in design and therefore may not need a cause. My question is, does God fit into the categorization as a being that is intelligent in design. If we examine the God of the Bible, I suppose we would have to admit that God bears traits that are intelligent in design. Intelligence in design is contingent in nature. If that is so, then the third proposition has been violated since by bearing traits that are intelligent in design, God would be construed under the first proposition as needing a cause. One may propose that perhaps traits that are intelligent in design can exist without a cause and that an intelligent in design God existing without a cause is possible. Fine, I won’t debate the proposition, but I would then find the argument for a proof of God unnecessary since the second proposition listed above is invalid. Because even if we construe the universe and all that is in existence as being billed under the categorization of being intelligent in design, under the amended proposition just mentioned, the universe and all that is in existence would not need a cause.
So what are the alternatives? One is that God is not an intelligent in design God and therefore does not need a cause. But that is contradictory to the Christian’s viewpoint right? Two, we specify a quantifying quality in the first proposition by stating that all things other than God requires a cause if it is intelligent in design. But why does God escape the necessity of having to have a cause if intelligently in design? Seems arbitrary. But really, is that possible? Is it possible that God is intelligent in design but does not need a cause. In which part of my argument have I made an error? Is it a linguistic/semantic error, whereby I have ascribed “intelligent in design” as a property both of the universe and of God? For maybe “intelligent in design” can be sub-specialized into types of those requiring causes and those not requiring causes. Oh well, I am getting lazy. Shall think about this some other time.