Source for Gracyk:
St. Thomas Aquinas:
The Existence of God can be proved in five ways.
Argument Analysis of the Five Ways © 2016 Theodore Gracyk
Source for St Thomas:
Summa Theologiae : First Part : Question 2 The existence of God :
Article 3, Whether God exists?
The First Way: Argument from Motion
- 1.) Our senses prove that some things are in motion.
- 2.) Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.
- 3.) Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.
- 4.) Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another).
- 5.) Therefore nothing can move itself.
- 6.) Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else.
- 7.) The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.
- 8.) Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
The actual word of St Thomas:
The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
What did Gracyk get wrong:
"Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion."
No, what Saint Thomas said is that things move or change* if they are in potency to sth other than their actual (nature, state, quality, place etc.).
If I walk from a library to a train station, when I was in the library, I was in potency of being in the train station.
When I walk, each foot is moved by me when rest of me is not actually moving on that foot, but standing (and changing angle) on the other.
When Sun is moved from zenith, it is because it was in potency of being in sunset.
*The word cambiare in Latin is only used for monetary or other commercial exchange, including barter, so change something from a state to other is "movere" in Latin).
The Second Way: Argument from Efficient Causes
- 1.) We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world.
- 2.) Nothing exists prior to itself.
- 3.) Therefore nothing [in the world of things we perceive] is the efficient cause of itself.
- 4.) If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results (the effect).
- 5.) Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, nothing in the series exists.
- 6.) If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now.
- 7.) That is plainly false (i.e., there are things existing now that came about through efficient causes).
- 8.) Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past.
- 9.) Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.
The actual word of St Thomas:
The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.
What did Gracyk get wrong:
"We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world."
No, but when we perceive, we analyse a series of efficient causes. He did not say "it is manifest and we perceive by senses" (as for first way), but he said "in the world of sense" (both what we perceive and what we analyse about what we see) "we find" (rationally speaking : we analyse).
"If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results (the effect)."
Substitute prior to previous.
"If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now."
Substitute "into more causing and less caused causes" instead of "past", which is not the issue (that would be the parallel kalaam argument), substitute "effects" for things (the thing itself may not be an effect, but its state may be so, like my state two meters over natural ground is caused by the architecture under me, without it causing my existence), and the "now" is similarily irrelevant.
"Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past." Delete "past". It's about the more causing and less caused.
"Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God." Verbally correct, but he takes, after the foregoing, "first" to mean "earliest" which was not St Thomas' meaning.
If you want Kalaam, I think you find that in Saint Bonaventura or in Duns Scotus.
Saint Thomas explicitly rejects Kalaam in I P, Q46, A2.
On the contrary, The articles of faith cannot be proved demonstratively, because faith is of things "that appear not" (Hebrews 11:1). But that God is the Creator of the world: hence that the world began, is an article of faith; for we say, "I believe in one God," etc. And again, Gregory says (Hom. i in Ezech.), that Moses prophesied of the past, saying, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth": in which words the newness of the world is stated. Therefore the newness of the world is known only by revelation; and therefore it cannot be proved demonstratively.
And in his answer to objection 7, he rejects Kalaam:
Reply to Objection 7. In efficient causes it is impossible to proceed to infinity per se--thus, there cannot be an infinite number of causes that are per se required for a certain effect; for instance, that a stone be moved by a stick, the stick by the hand, and so on to infinity. But it is not impossible to proceed to infinity "accidentally" as regards efficient causes; for instance, if all the causes thus infinitely multiplied should have the order of only one cause, their multiplication being accidental, as an artificer acts by means of many hammers accidentally, because one after the other may be broken. It is accidental, therefore, that one particular hammer acts after the action of another; and likewise it is accidental to this particular man as generator to be generated by another man; for he generates as a man, and not as the son of another man. For all men generating hold one grade in efficient causes--viz. the grade of a particular generator. Hence it is not impossible for a man to be generated by man to infinity; but such a thing would be impossible if the generation of this man depended upon this man, and on an elementary body, and on the sun, and so on to infinity.
So, the second way cannot be analysed so as to make God the earliest cause. God is the foremost cause in a simultaneous series.
Also, when speaking in "second way" of "things", rather than "effects", Gracyk anticipates on the distinction between things that are contingent (can exist and can be non-existing) and things that are necessary, from which the contingent things get their being.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Octave of All Saints