Skip navigation

Image

Introduction: Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Quinas as a 13th Century Dominican priest, theologian and philosopher.  In his Summa Theologica, Aquinas set fourth five “proofs” of the existence of God.  It is claimed that these proofs, rather than theoretical, work from Aristotle’s doctrine on causes, have their basis in the world around us and are therefore irrefutable proof of God.

This article seeks to refute the Five Proofs of Thomas Aquinas.

1: The Proof from Motion.

Premise:

We observe motion all around us. Whatever is in motion now was at rest until moved by something else, and that by something else, and so on. But if there were an infinite series of movers, all waiting to be moved by something else, then actual motion could never have got started, and there would be no motion now. But there is motion now. So there must be a First Mover which is itself unmoved. This First Mover we call God.

Refutation:

Newtonian Law states that indeed motion must have a cause.  The universe as we know it came into being from the singularity commonly known as the Big Bang.  That as far as we know was the prime mover from which all matter in the universe continues to expand unto this day.  The discovery in 2013 of the Bosonic Field has proven that matter can indeed come from nothing and Aquinas’ first proof therefore fails.  Indeed, if the first mover were God, what motivated God to not only makes that first movement but continue to keep movement going?

Also, Aquinas states that the prime mover must be God, without any evidence to support that claim.  That is not a proof, it is an assumption.

2. The Proof from Efficient Cause

Premise:

Everything in the world has its efficient cause–its maker–and that maker has its maker, and so on. The coffee table was made by the carpenter, the carpenter by his or her parents, and on and on. But if there were just an infinite series of such makers, the series could never have got started, and therefore be nothing now. But there is something everything there is! So there must have been a First Maker, that was not itself made, and that First Maker we call God.

Refutation:

Aquinas is obviously partially correct that anything in existence must have come from something or someone else.  This is only logical.  Where he makes the mistake is that if there is no infinite regression, then where did his God come from?  And if his argument is that God, being infinite, has always been there, then it is therefore equally valid to argue that the universe may have been there from infinity – or that there has been continual expansion and contraction of universes.  Einstein said as much in the Theory of Relativity.

Self causation has also been observed in sub-atomic particles in laboratory experiments and again the discovery of the Bosonic Field, which fits the standard model of physics, proves that matter can spring out of apparently nothing.

Again, Thomas Aquinas states that the cause must be God, without evidence to support that claim.  That again is an assumption, not proof.

3. The Proof from Necessary vs. Possible Being

Premise:

Possible, or contingent, beings are those, such as cars and trees and you and I, whose existence is not necessary. For all such beings there is a time before they come to be when they are not yet, and a time after they cease to be when they are no more. If everything were merely possible, there would have been a time, long ago, when nothing had yet come to be. Nothing comes from nothing, so in that case there would be nothing now! But there is something now-the world and everything in it-so there must be at least one necessary being. This Necessary Being we call God.

Refutation:

This is allied to the second proof and claims that nothing comes from nothing.  Modern physics teaches us that in a chaotic and infinite universe, this definition is not necessarily true.  Furthermore, if it were true, then it again begs the question, what created God?

Yet again, Thomas Aquinas makes the claim that the necessary being is God, without supplying any evidence to support that.  Yet again, he gives an assumption, not proof.

4. The Proof from Degrees of Perfection

Premise:

We all evaluate things and people in terms of their being more or less perfectly true, good, noble and so on. We have certain standards of how things and people should be. But we would have no such standards unless there were some being that is perfect in every way, something that is the truest, noblest, and best. That Most Perfect Being we call God.

Refutation:

Aquinas assumes that his God invented everything.  It logically follows therefore that the same God must have, according to the Bible, created Satan and evil.  It can logically be argued therefore that the same God is responsible for the most evil and ignoble acts.  Indeed, we can take this argument further and state that if God is omniscient and omnipotent, and all things are predestined (as Aquinas also believed), that the same God must be responsible for each and every ill upon the face of the planet which he has all preplanned, from the fall of man, right up to every thing which ails society today.

Were that not enough, even a precursory reading of the Bible shows the Judeo/Christian God, far from being infinitely good and noble, to be a petty-minded, childish, sadistic and even possibly psychotic character who destroyed the entire planet on a whim, killed every first born in Egypt, and ordered his followers to commit genocide.

Indeed, if the Bible were to be believed, then God shows himself to be far from perfect,

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” (Exodus 20:5, KJV).

What sort of a perfect God is jealous?  What sort of a just and forgiving God condemns innocent children for five generations?

Look further into the Old Testament and we find that the Judeo/Christian God does indeed have limitations;

And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” (Judges 1:19, KJV)

So we see that the perfect, omnipotent God was allegedly bested by ordinary iron. So much for omnipotence.

Thomas Aquinas speaks of a perfect being when even the scriptures do not support that claim.  That again is an assumption, not proof.

5. The Proof from Design

Premise:

As we look at the world around us, and ourselves, we see ample evidence of design–the bird’s wing, designed for the purpose of flight; the human ear, designed for the purpose of hearing; the natural environment, designed to support life; and on and on. If there is design, there must be a designer. That Designer we call God.

Refutation:

This is most absurd argument of them all.  The way our bodies are nowadays are down to Darwinian evolution, not some great design.  Indeed, the design itself is far from perfect.  As human beings our heads are too large for our spindly necks, our tapering ankles too thin to support our large frames, and the human appendix not only serves no useful purpose, its very existence is downright dangerous to every human being.  These are just some of the faults with the human body.  Another one being, whoever thought it was clever to have the maternity ward next door to the sewage plant is a good design would not get a job in even the most corrupt planning department.

If the human body were so perfect, then consider that many creatures have far superior senses of smell, hearing and eyesight than mankind.  Indeed, eyesight is a particular problem in humankind, to the point that the vast majority of people over the age of 40 require some form of corrective lenses.  Why then would God give what is supposedly his greatest creation senses which are inferior to “lesser” creatures?

This premise also assumes the argument that the Earth was made perfect for human habitation.  Well for a start, we can’t live on two thirds of it, which are covered with water.  Of the one third left, we cannot survive the colder parts of the polar regions, nor the hotter desert regions, the higher mountain regions, or jungles, to name but a few places.  Then we have seismic regions with the ever present threats of earthquake, volcanic eruption, and tsunami.  Add in other natural disasters (acts of God as Insurance companies call them) such as hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, to name but a few, and we see that the Earth is actually a very dangerous place to live indeed.  There are of course the temperate regions where we survive adequately.  Given of course that we wear clothes to protect ourselves from the elements and our surroundings, we aren’t bitten by disease carrying insects or animals, we do fall foul of predators, and we do not eat, or in some cases even touch, things which are poisonous.  All in all, if there is a miracle of life, it is that mankind has managed to flourish in an environment so unsuited to human life.

Saint Thomas Aquinas makes a claim of life on Earth and even the planet itself to have a designer, with no evidence to back up that claim.  As with his other four claims, that is an assumption, not proof.

Conclusion:

One of the people who refuted many of the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas was the Scottish theologian John Duns Scottus.  Because of these refutations, followers of Duns became known as “Dunsers”, which eventually became “dunces”.  Considering that I have roundly destroyed each of the “proofs” of Aquinas to be no more than unsupported assumptions, one has to ask the question, just who is the dunce now?

Back of the class, Thomas, back of the class.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: