The Instigator
Thomistic_Calvinist
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
Vict0rian
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Does God Exist?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Thomistic_Calvinist
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 582 times Debate No: 92148
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (35)
Votes (1)

 

Thomistic_Calvinist

Pro

The question of the existence of God is a highly contentious one and deserves the utmost consideration from any person concerned with the truth. I will be using three arguments for the existence of God:

1. The Argument from Motion
2. The Argument from Divine Governance (Teleology)
3. The Argument from Substance Dualism

Before we begin, it will be useful to define the sort of Theism I am advocating for. I am advocating for classical theism in the sense advocated by Aquinas and not the Neo-Theism or Theistic Personalism of modern philosophical theology. This entails that God is simple, pure act, and maximally great (possesses omni-properties or perfections to the highest degree to use Thomistic language), Let us jump right into the arguments so as to see whether or not they can be truly said to be valid and sound.

The Argument from Motion [1]:

Before we begin, let us define motion. A thing can be said to be in motion iff it changes in location (local motion), quality, or quantity. I will assume an understanding of the Aristotelian notions of act and potency. [2]

P1. Some things are moved.
P2. If something is moved to being F, then it is potentially but not actually F.
P3. If something moves a thing to be F, then it (the mover) is in a state of actuality relevant to F.
C1. If something were to move itself to be F (e.g., be both moved and its own mover), then it would be both potentially but not actually F and also in a state of actuality relevant to F (conjunction, modus ponens, P1-3).
P4. But it is not possible for something to be both potentially but not actually F and also in a state of actuality relevant to F.
C2. It is not possible for something to move itself to be F (modus tollens, C1, P4).
P5. If it is not possible for something to move itself to be F, then if something is moved, it is moved by something else.
C3. If something is moved, it is moved by something else (modus ponens, C2, P5).
P6. If B moves A and B is moved, then B must be moved by some other thing, C. And if C is moved, then C must be moved by still some other thing, D. And so on.
P7. If the series of movers was to go on to infinity, then there would be no first mover.
P8. If there were no first mover, then there would be no motion.
C4. There is a first mover (modus tollens, P1, P7).
C5. That first mover is the thing that everyone takes to be God (definition).

The argument is rather straightforward. Some things are moved; those things cannot be their own mover (as it would be in a state of potentiality and actuality relevant to itself, which violates the law of non-contradiction) so they must be moved by something else; this generates an infinite chain of movement, which, in the final analysis, makes motion impossible; therefore, there must be an unmoved mover.

A potential objection is how do we know that this unmoved mover is a conscious agent? Why, the nontheist says, could it not be event causation? This question is a good one; however, it is misplaced. To quote from this blog post [3] summarizing why a being of pure act has intelligence and will:

"Pure act is absolutely simple since composite parts are in potency to the whole, and so what lacks all potency lacks any composition. This conclusion is the easier one to see because it demands only that we understand act so far as it is opposed to potency, and thus in an exterior way. The next conclusion- the one concerning freedom- demands knowing what act is in itself.

The fullest and most complete sense of act is immanence, and thus the fullest and most perfect actuality is the most complete immanent activity of intelligence and will. Pure act is therefore immediately and self-evidently personal, intelligent, and perfect with respect to what it wills. This is why Aristotle doesn"t argue to the divine attributes of blessedness or perfect intelligence: as soon as he establishes that some pure act exists he can simply set these things down as what he already meant. This is also why St. Thomas can be so confident in the first way that the first mover is "what all men call God", since a living, intelligent being with a perfectly rectified will who is responsible for the motion, activity and life of things in the universe is in fact what "all men call God". (St. Thomas goes on to prove all these attributes too, mercifully, since he realized that his readers probably had less penetration into the concept of "act" than he and Aristotle had).

Pure act thus has a perfectly rectified will, which is to say it possesses the most perfect object in the most perfect fashion, and in an immutable and necessary way. The will of what is purely actual is thus completely determined and unchangeable, considered simply of itself. But this unchanging will is simultaneously absolutely free with respect to its inferiors. Freedom always involves imperfection, even when said of God, for it concerns an object that is other than the last end of the will as perfectly possessed. It"s important to get this right: while freedom is a perfection of the will, it always involves the imperfection, namely the imperfection of an object other than the last end of the will as perfectly possessed. God"s freedom is always said with respect to creatures- for this is the only way that freedom is a perfection of the will. Freedom is indetermination, and indetermination is only of value to a will with respect to things other than an absolute end in which it rests. If you are possessing your last end, indetermination of the will would be an imperfection and defect- just as it is now with respect to the goods we attain (no one wants to possess a good in a way that can be lost)."

The Argument from Divine Governance [1]

P1. If something always or for the most part acts in the same way in order to bring about that which is best, then it acts for the sake of an end
P2. Beings in nature always or for the most part act in the same way in order to bring about that which is best.
C1. Beings in nature act for the sake of an end (modus ponens, P1, P2)
P3. If beings in nature act for the sake of an end, then beings in nature are directed by something that has cognition and intelligence
C2. Beings in nature are directed by something that has cognition and intelligence (modus ponens, C1, P3)
C3. We call that director of unthinking things "God"

This argument is deceptively simple. It may seem easy to defeat; however, it is stronger than it appears. It is a logically valid syllogism and it is hard to deny the regularity of natural bodies and their tending towards an end (even some atheists believe in "natural teleology").

The Arguement from Contingency

P1. The body exists (C1)
P2. The body is a contingent entity (there exists m-world [logically consistent] where body x does not exist)
P3. The body depends on another entity X for its existence
P4. There can be no infinite regress of contingent entities as none would come into existence
P5. If there is a contingent body X existing then there must a Necessary Being
P6. There is a contingent body X
C1. There is a Necessary Being
C2. This Necessary Being is who we call God

Sources

1. Just The Arguments, ed. Michael Bruce and Steven Barbone, pgs. 12,17
2. https://en.wikipedia.org...
Vict0rian

Con

Alright so that took a long time to read your argument so I think i'm going to quickly tl;dr it for everyone else (correct me if I'm wrong about this) So for your main argument is you say it's impossible for something to occur without something or someone to be the instigator, in this case i'm gonna assume you mean it's impossible for a universe to exist without a god to create it. well there's one gigantic flaw with that argument because by that logic something or someone had to have created that god, then someone had to create that someone to create that god, then someone had to create that someone to create that someone to create that god, and it goes on for infinity. Which well... that's a paradox, and in case you didn't know paradoxes like that as far as we know are pretty much impossible. Now do I have a solution to this and do I claim to know how the universe came about? No not at all, but I'm not gonna jump to conclusions and say that god did it.

Now with that out of the way I just wanna say one little thing, even if a god did create the universe then chances are it isn't the christian god or Muslim god or any of those simply because there are many contradictions in all of those religions. Now I'm not gonna provide you with hundreds of sources right now but I will if you really want me too.
Debate Round No. 1
Thomistic_Calvinist

Pro

The debate in question is over the existence of God, specifically whether or not the God envisioned by classical theists, like the Scholastics, exists. It is not my burden to demonstrate that the Christian God is the one who exists, rather the only impetus placed on me is whether or not Classical Theism (God is simple, pure act, omni-, and so on) exists. Therefore, my opponents statement that:

"Now with that out of the way I just wanna say one little thing, even if a god did create the universe then chances are it isn't the christian god or Muslim god or any of those simply because there are many contradictions in all of those religions. Now I'm not gonna provide you with hundreds of sources right now but I will if you really want me too."

May be dismissed as irrelevant to the debate topic.

My opponent did not touch on the argument from necessity or the argument from Divine Governance so those two arguments stand unopposed. If my opponent wishes to touch on them in their rebuttal then we may examine their arguments to the contrary. My opponent does, however, attempt a critique of the argument from motion. Let us examine this criticism and see if it holds up.

" well there's one gigantic flaw with that argument because by that logic something or someone had to have created that god, then someone had to create that someone to create that god, then someone had to create that someone to create that someone to create that god, and it goes on for infinity. Which well... that's a paradox, and in case you didn't know paradoxes like that as far as we know are pretty much impossible."

This is said because:

"So for your main argument is you say it's impossible for something to occur without something or someone to be the instigator, in this case i'm gonna assume you mean it's impossible for a universe to exist without a god to create it."

While I would affirm the latter, I would not affirm the former. The entire point of the argument is to argue from some things being in motion (of the three Aristotelian types) to their primary and efficient cause for motion, an unmoved mover, or God. From this we may deduce that God is pure actuality because if he were in a state of potentiality then there would be a cause for that potentiality external to the unmoved mover. This being is also divinely simple (ie., devoid of all forms of composition) because to be composed means to be in potentiality as a part is in potential to the whole. We may also deduce intelligence as the perfection of pure act is immanence and the perfection of immanence is providence (see my quote after I give the argument from motion). We may thus deduce that this unmoved mover is intelligent. We can also deduce its intelligence via an argument from the contrary. There are two generally accepted types of causation: agent and event causation. Event causation cannot be the unmoved mover because to be an event is to be in motion or to be in potentiality in respect to the cause and effect that composes the event. You then get the infinite regress of events in which no motion is possible, which is absurd. Therefore, a self-willing agent is the unmoved mover of the argument.

I now leave it up to my opponent to bring his case against my arguments.
Vict0rian

Con

Vict0rian forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Thomistic_Calvinist

Pro

All of my arguments stand. I pass the debate to Victorian to refute my arguments.
Vict0rian

Con

Vict0rian forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Thomistic_Calvinist

Pro

As none of my arguments have been refuted I would strongly suggest you vote pro!
Vict0rian

Con

Vict0rian forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Karne1290 6 months ago
Karne1290
God exists..because there is no one out there protecting me and loving me but how come im still protected and loved for? It's because God exists in our hearts. No where else. If God doesn't exist in your heart then for you there is no God. But for me this is a God and he is with me right now.
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 6 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
"Moreover, I've never heard nor seen the term "omnipotent will", do you just mean he can do anything?"

By that I mean:

(6) S is omnipotent =df there is no state of affairs p such that S is unable to bring about p at least partially due to lack of power - http://www.iep.utm.edu...

"Again, what do you mean by pure actuality?"

Pure actuality is almost a term of negation in the sense that the best definition of the phrase is that there is no potency in God whatsoever. I would recommend that you take a look at this link. It should help you understand what I mean a bit better. - http://www.newadvent.org...
Posted by Heirio 6 months ago
Heirio
Moreover, I've never heard nor seen the term "omnipotent will", do you just mean he can do anything?
Posted by Heirio 6 months ago
Heirio
"No it does not. The reason being that to be an unmoved mover is to be pure actuality, and to be pure actuality and divine simplicity is to imply monotheism. Aquinas puts it this way in his three proofs of monotheism:"

Again, what do you mean by pure actuality?

"Firstly, nothing cannot move itself."

That's not solving the problem. That's just reiterating part of the problem.
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 6 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
"If God is able to be a mover yet not himself be moved, then doesn't that mean that other things - things that are not God - can be movers other things without themselves being moved?"

No it does not. The reason being that to be an unmoved mover is to be pure actuality, and to be pure actuality and divine simplicity is to imply monotheism. Aquinas puts it this way in his three proofs of monotheism:

"First from His simplicity. For it is manifest that the reason why any singular thing is "this particular thing" is because it cannot be communicated to many: since that whereby Socrates is a man, can be communicated to many; whereas, what makes him this particular man, is only communicable to one. Therefore, if Socrates were a man by what makes him to be this particular man, as there cannot be many Socrates, so there could not in that way be many men. Now this belongs to God alone; for God Himself is His own nature, as was shown above (Question 3, Article 3). Therefore, in the very same way God is God, and He is this God. Impossible is it therefore that many Gods should exist." - http://www.newadvent.org...

"This argument has committed the logical fallacy known as begging the question. This argument posited more questions than answers. Aquinas concluded that the first mover must be God. However, what motivated God to make the first move? Although motion cannot have infinite regression, this argument assumed that God had been either not moving from infinity or he has been moving ever since. What then is the source of his energy? If nothing can move itself, how then God was able to move himself?"

There are two issues with this line of reasoning. Firstly, nothing cannot move itself. Secondly, and this is a good question, what prompted God to create in the first place? The answer, from Aquinas, is this: God created out of love that human beings may freely partake in the beatific vision.
Posted by Heirio 6 months ago
Heirio
"AM (Argument from Motion) -> Unmoved Mover
Unmoved Mover->pure actuality
Pure actuality->immanence
Immanence->omnipotent will
->intelligence
->blissfulness
blissfulness+omnipotent will->perfect love
perfect love (love between equals)->multi-personal relations in God"

Honestly? This looks a bit slippery to me.
Could you elaborate on what you mean by "pure actuality", I couldn't find what it means and I've never heard it before.

"If you want to claim the evil is gratuitous then yes, you do have to do that. I've given you a perfectly reasonable explanation as to the general purpose of God."

You're trying to shift the burden of proof and your claim is that which is the extraordinary. You said that all evil (and thus suffering) has purpose. I pointed out that an example of this evil/suffering is a child dying of cancer. Hence, from your reasoning, a child dying of cancer has some sort of purpose. The nature of your claim means that you are the one that must provide evidence and back up your position.
You have not described why a child dying of cancer has purpose at all.

This is what you said:

"The purpose is demonstrate, or, as I would prefer given my belief in divine simplicity, self-manifest, His qualities in creation. A child dying of cancer may be evil but it is not gratuitous. We know the general content of the divine purpose; however, that does not necessitate that we know the specific content of the divine purpose. "

You haven't given the purpose at all. At most, via "that does not necessitate", you imply that you do not truly know what the purpose of the aforementioned evil is.
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 6 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
"Are you dropping this point because you agree with it or you didn't see it?"

I didn't address it because I felt like it was adequately addressed earlier. I believe you can derive certain attributes of God from the argument from motion a priori even though the argument itself is a posteriori. For example:

-> - entailment operator

AM (Argument from Motion) -> Unmoved Mover
Unmoved Mover->pure actuality
Pure actuality->immanence
Immanence->omnipotent will
->intelligence
->blissfulness
blissfulness+omnipotent will->perfect love
perfect love (love between equals)->multi-personal relations in God

I firmly believe all of these things can be demonstrated a priori from the argument from motion (if it succeeds), and, if I am right, then the Christian tri-personal God is the only option.

"No it isn't.
You are the one who claims that a child dying of cancer holds some sort of purpose.
Therefore you have to back that up and tell us what that purpose is."

If you want to claim the evil is gratuitous then yes, you do have to do that. I've given you a perfectly reasonable explanation as to the general purpose of God.
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 6 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
"I'm willing to vote on this debate if you send me a PM after it is over"

Will do!
Posted by Ockham 6 months ago
Ockham
I'm willing to vote on this debate if you send me a PM after it is over.
Posted by Heirio 6 months ago
Heirio
Are you dropping this point because you agree with it or you didn't see it?

"But, as said before, his arguments don't prove any particular God.
It could be used to prove Allah, Brahman, the Spaghetti monster, the Godly turtle named Phil...

The furthest it goes to support is deism."
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 5 months ago
dsjpk5
Thomistic_CalvinistVict0rianTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ff many times, so conduct to Pro.