Monday, October 31, 2011

A Good Book to get concerning Aquinas and modern Protestant thought


The book is called Aquinas, Calvin, & Contemporary Protestant Thought, by Arvin Vos. Arvin Vos is a protestant (in the reformed tradition) professor of philosophy. The purpose of the book is to show that there is a current trend in modern protestant thought to misinterpret Aquinas' thoughts. He therefore sets out to show what the misinterpretations are, and to compare the two great thinkers - Calvin and Aquinas.
Every christian who is the least bit interested in theology should read this book.
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Quote Concerning Naturalism and Knowledge

    Robert J. Henle, in the footnotes to his Aquinas Lecture Method in Metaphysics, quotes the following words from a book called Science is a Sacred Cow by Anthony Standen.

    "Mr. Sidney Hook has seriously wondered (in Education for Modern Man) whether man is intelligent. He says this is an empirical question on which considerable evidence has accumulated...But how does evidence accumulate? Does it lie around in a sort of dustpile, or does it accumulate in minds, and if so, don't the men have to be intelligent in order to take in the evidence? Perhaps it would not be too outrageously daring to conclude that 'at least some men possess at least some intelligence.' (p.62-63)"

    This quote points to what C. S. Lewis has called the "self-contradiction of the Naturalist." (see title for chapter 3 of Miracles: A Preliminary Study, 1st edition.) In the second edition of the same book he rephrased the title to say, "The Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism".

    The problem that both men see here, is that it seems that if Naturalism (which claims that only that which is observable by the natural sciences exists) is true, then all rational inference is impossible. The problem with Standen's remark is that he is discussing the accumulation of knowledge. The fact is, today, computers have mass amounts of knowledge stored up, however we wouldn't say that computers are minds. This does not mean, however, that the general idea behind Standen's remarks is wrong. The fact remains that, the knoweldge, which is stored in computers, means something to humans. This is what is called by many philosophers, intentional being. Human's have 'knowledge of' things. The very nature and existence of such knowledge implies that Naturalism is false.

Final thoughts from C. S. Lewis's "A Grief Observed"

    My wife and I finished reading A Grief Observed today. I would advise anybody who wishes to speak about suffering, who needs to comfort somebody who is suffering, or who is suffering, to read this book. I'd like to quote some final thoughts from the last chapter. (My previous post included quotes from the other parts of the book.)

    "Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it. (p. 62)"

    "Not my idea of God, but God. Not my idea of H., but H. Yes, and also not my idea of my neighbour, but my neighbour. For don't we often make this mistake as regards people who are still alive - who are with us in the same room? Talking and acting not to the man himself but to the picture - almost the précis - we've made of him in our own minds? And he has to depart from it pretty widely before we even notice the fact. In real life - that's one way it differs from novels - his words and acts are, if we observe closely, hardly ever quite 'in character,' that is, in what we call his character. There's always a card in his hand we didn't know about. My reason for assuming that I do this to other people is the fact that so often I find them obviously doing it to me. (p. 67)"

    Concerning how we approach God, C. S. Lewis says, "If you're approaching Him not as the goal but as a road, not as the end but as a means, you're not really approaching Him at all. That's what was really wrong with all those popular pictures of happy reunions 'on the further shore'; not the simple-minded and very earthly images, but the fact that they make an End of what we can get only as a by-product of the true End. (p. 68)"

    This last quote reminds me of a blog post that I wrote concerning man's end, and the fact that, ultimately, God is man's true End.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Some thoughts on God and Evil from C. S. Lewis's "A Grief Observed"

    My wife and I are reading through A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis. It is the record of C. S. Lewis's thoughts about his grief after the death of his wife. When he married her, she had already been diagnosed with terminal cancer. After their marriage she had a brief remission and then died. This is an amazing book to read, written by the man who also wrote The Problem with Pain. He deals with the problem of pain in this book as well, but from a different perspective. I would encourage you that as you read these words, you remember that these are the thoughts of a man who has just lost the person he loved the most in this world, and is dealing with the loss. Some of the things he says, if they had been said by anyone else, would seem inconsiderate and insensitive.

    We have both, and I'm not ashamed to say it, cried and laughed because of what he says. Sometimes his thoughts are difficult to take. The book has been very pertinent for us as my wife is frequently plagued with unexplained pain. This suffering has been put into perspective by Lewis's thoughts. I'd like to share some of his thoughts that have been particularly thought provoking for us.

    "You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? ...Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief. (p.22-23)"

   "If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to 'glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild. (p. 26-27)"

    Concerning Materialism, Lewis says, "If H. 'is not,' then she never was. I mistook a cloud of atoms for a person. There aren't, and never were, any people. Death only reveals the vacuity that was always there. What we call the living are simply those who have not yet been unmasked. All equally bankrupt, but some not yet declared. But this must be nonsense; vacuity revealed to whom? Bankruptcy declared to whom? To other boxes of fireworks or clouds of atoms. I will never believe - more strictly I can't believe - that one set of physical events could be, or make, a mistake about other sets. No, my real fear is not of materialism. (p. 28-29)"

   Concerning some of his writings that seem harsh, he says, "Aren't all these notes the senseless writhings of a man who won't accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it? Who still thinks there is some device (if only he could find it) which will make pain not to be pain. (p. 33)"

    "From the rational point of view, what new factor has H.'s death introduced into the problem of the universe? What grounds has it given me for doubting all that I believe? I knew already that these things, and worse, happened daily. I would have said that I had taken them into account. I had been warned - I had warned myself - not to reckon on worldly happiness. We were even promised sufferings. They were part of the programme. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accepted it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination. Yes; but should it, for a sane man, make quite such a difference as this? No. And it wouldn't for a man whose faith had been real faith and whose concern for other people's sorrows had been real concern. The case is too plain. If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which 'took thse things into account' was not faith but imagination. (p. 36-37)"

    "What is grief compared with physical pain? Whatever fools may say, the body can suffer twenty times more than the mind. (p. 40)"

    "The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed - might grow tired of his vile sport - might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't. (p. 43)"

    "What do people mean when they say, 'I am not afraid of God because I know He is good'? Have they never been to a dentist? (p. 43)"

    Discussing the feeling he has that in his deepest sorrow God does not seem to be present, Lewis says this, "The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can't give it: you are like a drowing man who can't be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear. (p. 46)"

    "God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down. (p. 52)"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Outline of the Book of Romans

    Biblical commentary is not a subject that I have, as of yet, chosen to write about. However, I love studying the Bible and particularly the book of Romans. So, I decided that I would post my thoughts on how the book of Romans should be outlined. I have studied, in depth, for the last 6 years or so, the book of Romans, and in seeking to understand Romans I became dissatisfied with the traditional 3 part structure of Romans. The traditional structure of Romans has a hard time interpreting Romans 5 and 7, and the more I study it, the more that I am convinced that the way in which we interpret Romans 5 will determine how we understand the entire book of Romans (I am not saying that it is a hinge chapter, or anything like that; I think that you will see what I mean as I procede to unpack this outline of Romans.). 

    In the traditional 3 part structure of Romans, some authors put Romans 5 in the first part - Justification, while others put it in the second part - Sanctification. It seems to fit well in both sections. However, in doing so they discount Romans 5:12-21, and look primarily at Romans 5:1-11. Romans 5:12-21 seems uncomfortably situated between Romans 5:11 and Romans 6:1, at least if you hold to the traditional 3 part structure. Furthermore, if Romans 6:1-8:39 are said to be about sanctification then Romans 7 seems uncomfortably situated in between Romans 6 and 8, and must be interpreted in a way that does, in my view, violence to the text, and to what Paul is saying in Romans 7. As for Romans 7, I have written a paper in which I present arguments for how I think that Romans 7 fits into the book of Romans. So, I will not at this point address, in detail, my thoughts on Romans 7.

    On top of that, Romans 9-11, in the traditional view are almost seen to be some sort of insertion. They don't fit well within the 3 part structure, because they don't talk about sanctification (in the 3 part view - 6-8), nor do they talk about the practical consequences of the theology of Romans 1-11 that is found in Romans 12-15:13. They seem to be uncomfortably situated between 8:39 and 12:1. (In the traditional 3 part division there are a lot of uncomfortable verses.) I will begin by giving my outline of Romans, I will explain it a little bit, and the rest is up to the reader. I think that the following outline makes better sense of Romans 5:12-21, 7:1-25, and Romans 9-11, than the traditional three-part view.  

Outline of Romans

I) Introduction and Purpose Statement - 1:1-17
II) Justification by Faith Alone - 1:18-5:11
            A/ The depravity of the Gentiles - 1:18-32
            B/ The depravity of the Jews - 2:1-3:8
            C/ Therefore, All mankind is equally depraved before God - 3:9-20
            D/ Justification by Faith Alone - 3:21-5:21
                        (i) The exposition of Justification by faith alone - 3:21-31
                        (ii) This is the way it's always been - Old Testament examples/ proofs - 4:1-25
                        (iii) The Consequences of Justification by Faith - 5:1-11
III) Comparison of the Old with the New - 5:12-8:39
            A/ The exposition of the Comparison - 5:12-21
            B/ Answer to a First Question that arises from the Comparison - 6:1-23
            C/ Answer to a Second Question that arises from the Comparison - 7:1-8:39
                        (i) Life under the Law - 7:1-25
                        (ii) Life under the Spirit - 8:1-39
IV) If we are no longer under the Law of Moses, then what about the Jews? - 9:1-11:36
            A/ History of the Jews - 9:1-33
            B/ Present State of Israel - 10:1-21
            C/ Future State of Israel - 11:1-36
V) Practical Application of the Preceding Argument - 12:1-15:13
            A/ Life in the Church - 12:1-8
            B/ Life in Society - 12:9-21
            C/ Christians and the Government - 13:1-7
            D/ The ultimate principle - Love - 13:8-14
            E/ Dealing with differences of opinion based upon tradition - 14:1-13

VI) Closing & Salutations - 15:14-16:27

    I think that the above outline is able to put both halves of Romans 5 in their appropriate places within the book of Romans, and because they are in their proper places the rest of Romans falls into place. Romans 6-8 are in the context of Romans 5:12-21, and Romans 9-11 is, partially, in light of the conclusion of Romans 5:12-8:39. (I say "partially" because a friend of mine, Joel Macieras, told me that he thought that Romans 9-11 was the continuation of a point that Paul started making in Romans 3. His idea sounds interesting, however, I do not want to make that claim myself. It is, extremely likely that Paul is writing 9-11 in light of the two preceding section [according to my outline], but I will stick with what I have said above. Either way, Joel's suggestion, if it is right, still seems to fit nicely within my outline.)

     In Romans 5:12-21 we see Paul comparing Adam with Jesus, comparing what the sin of Adam brought to what the grace of God in Christ Jesus brought. We also see Paul comparing the law of Moses, and it's results, with the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and its results. In Romans 5:18-21 he sums up the comparison beautifully. However, Romans 5:20-21 leaves us with some hesitations, which Paul then proceeds to address. You will notice that Paul says in Romans 6:1 "What shall we say then?", and in Romans 6:15 "What then?" These two phrases refer back to Romans 5:20-21 where Paul made the claim that "the law came to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Then, in Romans 7:7 Paul again says, "What shall we say?" This time he is referring to the second question that comes up from Romans 5:20-21, namely, if the law increased sin, then it must be bad, which is essentially what he says in Romans 7:7. Therefore, Romans 7:1-4 outlines the position of the Christian concerning the Law, as a way of introducing the second question. In Romans 7:5 Paul summarizes what he will go on to say in Romans 7:7-25; and in Romans 7:6 Paul summarizes what he will then say in Romans 8:1-39. So, we see in Romans 5:12-8:39 a constant comparison of the old with the new, this is what it was, now it is this. (My terminology is probably not perfect, I'm not sure that "old" and "new" are the best words to use, but for the time being it gets the general idea across.) Also, I think that this outline does more justice to what Paul is trying to say in the passages which are difficult when seen from the traditional view. Furthermore, though, in this outline, the section of Romans 6-8 could not be technically entitled "sanctification", it does address the issue of sanctification by grace as opposed to trying to be perfect under the law.

    I will leave it at that, and let the reader compare my outline with the book of Romans (My paper on Romans 7 would help to complete the thoughts presented here.). It seems to me that this outline makes more sense of the book of Romans than the traditional 3 part view, and, not only that, but makes Romans 1:18-11:36 into a complete exposition of the Gospel, well organized, well argued, and easy to explain. Thank you for considering my humble ramblings on the Epistle to the Romans.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Rationality of Believing

    I've been fairly busy lately, however I have been reading an article by Joseph Raz, "Reasons: Explanatory and Normative"in New Essays on the Explanation of Action (a link to this paper can also be found on his personal website). In this paper he makes an interesting comment on the rationality of belief. He says, "The rationality of believing depends on one's openness to critical evaluation of the belief, one's ability and willingness to revise or reject it were the evidence to point that way.(p. 189)"

   It seems to me that he has a certain point, however, there is more to the rationality of a belief then the agents willingness to be open to a critical evaluation and potentially change his belief. It seems that more importantly a belief is rational when it is based upon valid reasoning, or, we could say, when it is logical. It also seems to me that a belief that is true is rational in the sense that it is rational to believe it, even if one did not arrive at that belief through a process of reasoning.

   We need to make sure that when we say that we belief X (X is a place holder that is used to refer to any proposition) that we have a reason to believe X. In other words, we need to make sure that our beliefs are rational. This is what Peter says in 1 Peter 3:15 "But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." We need to make sure that it is rational to believe what we believe, and that our beliefs are rational.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Article on Aquinas and Reformed Theology

   A friend of mine, Doug Beaumont, has recently published an interesting article on Aquinas and Reformed Theology entitled, "Was Aquinas Reformed?" I would encourage anyone interested in predestination, free-will, and other related issues to check it out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Thought on the Importance of Discussion

   Socrates, in the Protagoras, notes that it is important for us to discuss our ideas for the simple reason that we "see" better when we pass our ideas off on others.

   Quoting Homer he says, "Going in tandem, one perceives before the other (348d)." This is easily illustrated by the tandem bike. When one is riding a Tandem, the one in front sees what is coming before the other. However they both participate in the movement of the bicycle. Socrates goes on to explain why he quoted Homer. He says, "Human beings are simply more resourceful this way in action, speech, and thought. If someone has a private perception, he immediately starts going around and looking until he finds somebody he can show it to and have it  corroborated (348d)."

  Regardless of the subject we need to test our ideas on others as to their coherence, and truth. In order to do so, we must be ready to acknowledge that we may be wrong.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Socrates in the Protagoras on Being a Wise Student

    In today's society there is no shortage of teachers, each proclaiming to possess the truth in one form or another. One need only go to University or College to realize that such is the case. As is often the case with today's students, many people simply eat up everything they're given without giving a second thought to whether or not it is good for them. In the Protagoras, Socrates gives the following lesson to a young man, named Hippocrates, who wished to go hear Protagoras - a well-known Sophist.

   "So if you are a knowledgeable consumer, you can buy teachings safely from Protagoras or anyone else. But if you're not, please don't risk what is most dear to you on a roll of the dice, for there is a far greater risk in buying teachings than in buying food....But you cannot carry teachings away in a separate container. You put your money down and take the teachings away in your soul by having learned it, and off you go, either helped or injured (313e-314b)."

   Before simply buying into the teachings of any so-called teacher we need to be sure that the teacher is credible, and qualified, to teach on the subject at hand. Furthermore, we need to be sure that the teacher knows the subject that he is supposed to be teaching. One cannot give what one does not possess.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How to Decide: Majority vote? or Specialist Opinion?

   In some prior articles (here and here) I wrote about church government, and one of my points was that it is not up to the majority to decide on any given issue. Rather, it is the qualified person who should decide. I gave an example, something along the following lines: If you have a problem with your liver, are you going to post it on facebook and ask what you should do? Whatever the majority agrees upon, that is what you will do? No. At least I hope not. You will most likely go to a doctor, a specialist, a person who knows the subject in question and who can make the appropriate decisions based upon his knowledge of Medicine.
 
   I was reading the Laches by Plato today and came across an interesting quote by Socrates. The Laches begins with a conversation between two men who are trying to decide upon what is the best way to educate two boys that they are responsible for. They approach Laches, Nicias, and Socrates is included in the mix. After having heard the preliminary opinions of Nicias and Laches, the two men turn to Socrates and ask for Socrates to cast his vote because Nicias and Laches disagree. If Socrates sides with one of the two men, then the decision will be made. Socrates responds in the following way:

  "Socrates: ... Suppose there should be a council to decide whether your son ought to practice a particular kind of gymnastic exercise, would you be persuaded by the greater number or by whoever has been educated and exercised under a good trainer?
  Melesias: Probably by the latter, Socrates.
  Socrates: And would you be persuaded by him rather than by the four of us?
  Melesias: Probably.
  Socrates: So I think it is by knowledge that one ought to make decisions, if one is to make them well, and not by majority rule.
  Melesias: Certainly.
  Socrates: So in this present case it is also necessary to investigate first whether any of us is an expert in the subject we are debating, or not. And if one of us is, then we should listen to him even if he is only one, and disregard the others. But if no one of us is an expert, then we must look for someone who is. (184e-185a)"

    The point that Socrates makes is the same point that I was trying to make in the other articles that I wrote; that is, we should not be seeking the opinions of the majority when we seek to make a decision, but the opinion of those qualified to make the decision in question.

Socrates on knowledge in the Charmides

   Some random thoughts on Socrates and the question of knowledge in the Charmides.

    In the Charmides Socrates begins by trying to discover what temperance is by questioning a young man, Charmides, who is said to possess this character trait. Socrates assumes that if Charmides possesses it he must know what it is. (We will not be considering whether or not this assumption is true.) The discussion leads to a definition of Temperance borrowed from another. The definition given is: "minding one's own business (161b - all quotes from the Charmides can be found in "Plato: Complete Works, edited by John M. Cooper.)." Charmides could not say what was meant by this definition, so Critias, Charmides guardian, is called upon to explain and defend this definition. The questioning of Socrates leads Critias to change, ever so slightly his definition to, "the doing of good things (163e)," and the temperate man as, "the man who does what he ought (164b)." Temperance, at this point is a question of proper action. However, upon further questioning, Critias again changes his definition to say that Temperance is "to know oneself (164d - 165a)."
   
    The rest of the dialogue will concentrate on this final definition to see if this is even possible. Socrates notes that if Temperance is knowledge (as defined as knowledge of oneself), then it is a science. In modern terminology science is often seen as having to do with physics, chemistry, biology, and other such domains of research, but a more accurate definition of the term would be to say that a science is a body of knowledge. (We might be able to say more, but for our purposes it is not necessary.)

    The interesting point of the dialogue, for modern epistemology (which is the study of knowledge as knowledge), is when Socrates asks if such a science is possible. Socrates points out that Science, as a body of knowledge, is intentional, meaning, it is "of something." (see: 166a) Socrates then asks Critias about the object of this science; to which Critias responds, "this is the only science which is both of other sciences and of itself (166c-e)." The immediate question is: is it possible to have a science of science? Which is essentially what modern epistemology claims to be: a science which studies science. (I should think so, however, it seems that in order for it to exist, it must study its object, not declare, a priori, what it's object will look like.)

    The problem that Socrates brings up is that this science, all while studying the other sciences, as sciences, must at the same time be over itself, studying itself. In Socrates own words, "But we are saying, it seems, that there is a science of this sort, which is a science of no branch of learning but is a science of itself and the other sciences (168a)." Socrates leaves us sceptical about the possibility of a science of science (a knowledge of knowledge), however, his very scepticism points the way to the response, that is, he notes, a number of times, that a science is, by definition, "of" something. He also notes that if there is a science of science, then it will be not only applicable to all sciences, but also to itself. In other words, we have an object for the science of sciences. The question is this, does this mean, that we are able to establish certain criteria, applicable to all bodies of knowledge, by which we can be certain that the subject in question is knowledge? This seems to be the point of section 171a-e. Each science has a different object, and, as such, the science of science cannot establish a criteria which will determine whether the doctor has knowledge of medicine - it is the science of medicine, with it's proper object, which determines what it means to have knowledge of medicine. In other words, each science is defined by it's proper object - knowledge is "of" an object, and the criteria for each branch of knowledge is determined by that branch.

   

Prouver que Dieu Existe à partir de la Changement

    Dans un publication précédent nous avons donné un introduction à des éléments qui sont nécessaire à comprendre pour pouvoir suivre l'argument suivant. Je vais cité, premièrement, les prémisses de l'argument, et je vais, ensuite, expliquer ce que Thomas d'Aquin est en train de faire ici. 

    La première voie de Thomas d’Aquin est comme suit :

(1)   « Il est évident, nos sens nous l’attestent, que dans ce monde certaines choses se meuvent. »[1]
(2)   « tout ce qui se meut est mû par un autre. »[2]
a.       « rien ne se meut qu’autant qu’il est en puissance par rapport au terme de son mouvement, tandis qu’au contraire, ce qui meut le fait pour autant qu’il est en acte. »[3]
                                                                          i.      « car mouvoir, c’est faire passer de la puissance à l’acte. »[4]
1.      « et rien ne peut être amené à l’acte autrement que par un être en acte. »[5]
a.       Par exemple – mettant le feu au bois
2.      « Or il n’est pas possible que le même être, envisagé sous le même rapport, soit à la fois en acte et en puissance, il ne le peut que sous des rapports divers. »[6]
a.       Par exemple – la feu – si un morceau de bois est, actuellement, en feu, alors il n’est pas potentiellement en feu.
3.      «  Il est donc impossible que sous le même rapport et de la même manière quelque chose soit à la fois mouvant et mû. »[7]
4.      Alors, la deuxième prémisse est vraie.
(3)   « Donc, si la chose qui meut est mue elle-même, il faut qu’elle aussi soit mue par une autre, et celle-ci par une autre encore. »[8]
(4)   « Or, on ne peut ainsi continuer à l’infini »[9]
a.       « car dans ce cas il n’y aurait pas de moteur premier, et il s’ensuivrait qu’il n’y aurait pas non plus d’autres moteurs. »[10]
                                                                          i.      « car les moteurs seconds ne meuvent que selon qu’ils sont mûs par le moteur premier. »[11]
1.      Par exemple – la main qui meut une branche qui meut un roche.
(5)   « Donc il est nécessaire de parvenir à un moteur premier qui ne soit lui-même mû par aucun autre. »[12]
(6)   « un tel être, tout le monde comprend que c’est Dieu. »[13]

C’est quoi que Thomas d’Aquin est en train de dire ici?

Premièrement, quand il parle du mouvement, il à en tête n’importe quel type de mouvement. Le mouvement, comme Thomas d’Aquin l’a définis, est l’actualisation d’un potentielle. Pour exemple on peut parler du mouvement localisé, comme une main qui meut une branche qui meut un rocher qui meut une feuille. Ce type de mouvement est un séries de causes à effet essentielle qui est la type de mouvement la plus reconnu parce qu’on voit un mouvement de place à place. Un deuxième type de mouvement, qu’on ne considère pas nécessairement comme un mouvement, est ce qu’on appelle en philosophie un changement accidentel. Un changement accidentelle est un changement qui est subis par un être substantielle mais qui n’affecte pas l’essence (ou nature) de l’être en question. Par exemple, un changement accidentel serait un changement de poids, de grandeur, de la couleur des cheveux, etc. Un dernier type de mouvement s’appelle un changement substantiel. Ce type de changement est subi par une substance, quand la nature de la substance en question est changée. Par exemple, quand un chat meurt, c’est un changement substantiel. Avant le mort, le chat avait le nature d’un chat, mais, après la mort, quoi que le chat mort à toujours l’aire comme un chat, il n’est pu un chat, c’est un pile de chair décomposant qui à la forme accidentel d’un chat.

Deuxièmement, pour bien comprendre cet argument on doit comprendre deux principes qu’il affirme, et défends. Le premier principe est ceci : « tout ce qui se meut est mû par un autre. »[14] Ce principe est basé sur les principes de changement que nous avons déjà vu. C'est-à-dire, une chose potentielle (étant donné qu’il n’existe pas, techniquement) peux seulement devenir actuel (être mis en acte) par quelque chose qui est déjà en acte. Autrement dit, quelque chose qui n’existe pas, ne peux pas mettre en action quelque chose d’autre. S’il n’y a rien en acte, alors, il n’y aurait jamais quelques choses en acte. Ceci s’appelle le principe de la causalité. Par exemple, la bois peux seulement devenir chaud, et prendre le feu, si quelque chose l’allume, comme un autre branche qui est déjà en feu, ou un lighter ou des éclaires, ou un vitre de magnification, etc. Ce qu’on peut, tout de suite, voir, c’est que, si la chose qui allume la bois n’est pas déjà en acte (déjà en feu) il dois être mis en feu par un autre, et ainsi de suite.

Le deuxième principe dit ceci : Une régression infinie de moteurs essentielle n’est pas possible. Nous avons déjà regardé la définition d’une série des causes essentielles. Comme nous avons vue, sans le cause premier le deuxième ne peux pas exister. Nous avons donné l’exemple d’une main qui meut une branche qui meut une roche. Étant donné que la cause agis simultanément avec l’effet, s’il n’y a pas de cause, il n’y aurait pas d’effet. Alors, par définition, une régression infinie de moteurs essentielle n’est pas possible.

On est obliger de conclure qu’il est nécessaire, pour des séries de cause essentielles, qu’il existe un première moteur qui n’est pas meut par un autre. Ceci est ce qu’on appelle Dieu.

Maintenant, nous n’avons que démontré qu’il existe un première moteur, qui doit exister. S’il n’existe pas, à chaque moment, alors il n’y aurait absolument rien en existence. Ceci est, on est obliger de dire, une description minimale de Dieu, mais, on déduit de cette preuve que Dieu est celui qui maintiens en existence tout ce qui existe.[15]

De plus, ceci est une démonstration qui est basé sur l’expérience. On commence avec ce qu’on voit, et expérience, dans ce monde. Alors, ceci est une démonstration empirique de l’existence de Dieu.

Troisièmement, le premier moteur, qui n’est pas meut par un autre, qu’on voit à travers cette démonstration, n’est pas le cause premier d’un séries de cause accidentel, qui aurait pu être le cause de le première effet, et en suite, qui aurait pu disparaitre. Cette démonstration nous décrivent un première moteur qui existe simultanément avec, étant donné que c’est la cause première de tout choses, chaque changement qui arrivent. S’il n’existait pas, ou s’il n’agissait pas, alors, il n’aurait absolument, littéralement, rien en existence. Une conséquence de ce troisième point est qu’on peut dire, avec Peter, qu’en Dieu, en Jésus, « nous avons la vie, le mouvement et l’être. »[16] Avec Paul, on peut dire que Jésus « est avant toutes choses, et tout subsiste en lui. »[17]

            Il y a aussi une conséquence pratique à cette démonstration. On est obliger de dire que à chaque instante de notre vie, à chaque pensée qu’on pense, et à chaque action qu’on fait, c’est Dieu qui nous garde en existence et qui te donne la capacité d’agir. En vue de ceci on devrait pensée deux fois sur notre façon de vivre.


[1]Thomas d’Aquin, Somme Théologique, pris de : http://docteurangelique.free.fr/index.html (accedé le 22 Juillet, 2011), 1.II.3.

[2]Ibid.

[3]Ibid.

[4]Ibid.

[5]Ibid.

[6]Ibid.

[7]Ibid.

[8]Ibid.

[9]Ibid.

[10]Ibid.

[11]Ibid.

[12]Ibid.

[13]Ibid.

[14]Ibid.

[15]On peut, par exemple, déduire, à partir de ce démonstration, le fait que Dieu est acte pure, qu’il est existence, qu’il ne change pas, et qu’il est éternelle.

[16]Actes 17 :28.

[17]Col. 1 :17. Voit aussi 1 Cor. 8 :6.