The First Cause Essay Research Paper One

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The First Cause Essay, Research Paper One of the most commonly pondered philosophical questions is the mystery of the universe’s origin. For countless centuries mankind has speculated as to how and why the universe as we know it came into existence. Unfortunately, in attempting to answer this question, we simply raise more questions; each as unanswerable as the last. For instance, in asking where the universe came from, many have applied the cosmological argument to arrive at the conclusion that God must have imposed His creative influence. However, for other philosophers this poses the equally perplexing question as to how God achieved existence. Consequently, the question has to be asked; must there be a first cause of everything? While considering the topic of causality,

it would be beneficial to investigate the ideas of two of the leading philosophers in this area; Saint Thomas Aquinas and David Hume. While Aquinas attempts to prove the reality of a finite chain of causality and hence an initial cause, Hume argues against trusting implicitly our perception of causality. Through his examination of the cosmological argument concerning the existence of God, Aquinas was able to validate and support his refutation of a causal series continuing infinitely into the past. Essentially, Aquinas succeeds in justifying that the universe has a definitive beginning and proceeds to explain the necessity of God as the agent of this beginning. For the purpose of understanding Aquinas’ argument, causality can be defined as the relationship between two

consecutive events and the presumption that one always precludes the other and in fact brings it about. What Aquinas’ argues is that in order for an event to happen, a force must be applied by something else. Aquinas uses the analogy of a stick moving something only if a hand moves the stick. However, he contends that this series of cause and effect cannot go back into an infinite past. According to his Summa Theologica, Aquinas reasons that ” this cannot go back to infinity. If it did, there would be no first cause of change and, consequently, no other causes of change-for something can be a secondary cause of change only if it is changed by a primary cause.” Essentially Aquinas argues that to remove a cause, is to also remove its effect. Therefore, by removing the initial

efficient cause, all resultant intermediary causes are also removed. This would also negate the possibility of any final cause. Aquinas’ argument at this point appears to be logically sound insofar as providing a satisfactory justification for a primary initial cause. However the question still remains of what this initial cause was and the justification for its independent existence outside the laws of causality. Inseparably linked with his proposition of a finite chain of causation are Aquinas’ arguments proclaiming the existence of God who he introduces as the literal “First Mover” or initial cause. However many philosophers have disagreed with Aquinas’ proclivity towards this cosmological style of argument and see it as superficial answer to the problem of how the

universe was set into motion. In response to Aquinas’ proposition of God as the initial cause, a common response is that this only moves the causal series back one step. Consequently it can be argued that Aquinas fails to identify the initial cause, leaving only another equally perplexing question; what created God? In retaliation, Aquinas further develops this cosmological style argument by explaining qualities of God to circumvent this objection. Basically Aquinas defence revolves around God being outside time and space. Similarly He possesses a quality of infiniteness that transcends these restrictions; “He is without beginning and end, and has all His being simultaneously; and in this consists the notion of eternity.” Expanding on this, in accordance with his theory of