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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:35 am 
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I know St. Thomas didn't like kalaam. How does it contradict Thomistic metaphysics?

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:08 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I know St. Thomas didn't like kalaam. How does it contradict Thomistic metaphysics?



Because it uses the side called "fact" that an eternal universe is logically impossible

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:20 pm 
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Aristotle believed in an eternal universe. St. Thomas didn't reject the Kalaam argument on the grounds that it's impossible. See the reply to objection 6 in the article of the Summa I linked above. Objection 6 is Kalaam. The proposition being refuted is that the world can be shown by reason to have a beginning in time.

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:40 pm 
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Moreover, while it may be a technical point, Craig doesn't dislike Aristotle's argument because he doesn't like Aristotle's metaphysics nor accept the Kalam for the same reason. Rather Craig thinks that Thomas just didn't have access to the information we do today with respect to the second premise. He thinks that modern science strongly shows the second premise to be true. He also thinks relatively recent work on infinities shows that the second premise can be philosophically demonstrated. Thomists, of course, disagree with him on the second count and just aren't willing to stake their theology on the first. But neither of those mean that Craig likes the Kalam because he doesn't like Aristotelian metaphysics. Now, Craig does not like some aspects of Aristotelianism, but that's largely because he really is more platonic, and theologically, he rejects the classical theists claim that God is strongly immutable and impassible. I'd characterize Craig's rejection of classical theism, then, not as philosophical primarily but rather theological. And he is aware of the philosophical implications, as I already mentioned. He embraces them. So one man's modus ponens is another man's reductio.

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:54 pm 
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Craig does indeed reject Aristotelean metaphysics, which is why he rejects each of St. Thomas's five ways.

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:56 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Aristotle believed in an eternal universe. St. Thomas didn't reject the Kalaam argument on the grounds that it's impossible. .


Yes, that is precisely my point, indeed that was precisely the point that originated this thread. St Thomas believed that it is logically possible for the universe to be eternal. Kalam argues that it is NOT logically possible for the universe to be eternal, the entire point of Kalam is to argue that the idea of an eternal universe is a logical contradiction. You really can't find a more fundamental disagreement than that.

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:15 pm 
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But St. Thomas does not reject that argument on metaphysical grounds. He shared the belief that a completed infinity is nonsensical, which is the argument that underlies Kalaam. He just didn't think that an eternal universe requires a completed infinity, which Kalaam more or less does.

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:17 pm 
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Can you not make a version of the Kalam wherein the minor premise "the universe had a beginning" is empirical rather than logical?

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:51 pm 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
Can you not make a version of the Kalam wherein the minor premise "the universe had a beginning" is empirical rather than logical?


I'm not really sure how you would demonstrate that empirically. We can't observe the beginning of the universe. I agree with St. Thomas that it's unknowable from natural reason alone whether the universe has a beginning. [And before someone says "the Big Bang", many scientists trying to avoid Kalaam speculate that there may have been an infinite sequence of big bangs and big crunches prior to "the Big Bang."]

Of course, in my mind, the real problem with Kalaam is that it doesn't demonstrate the existence of God hic et nunc. It demonstrates that a Creator at one time existed (provided you accept the minor premise), but it doesn't demonstrate that He still exists.

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:59 pm 
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Denise Dee wrote:
If the universe has to have a cause, and if the cause is God, then does God not also have to have a cause?

If you can say that God does not have a cause, why can't it be said that the universe does not have a cause?
Because the universe shows itself to be contingent, and changing. The conclusion to the argument is that something has to be eternal and unchanging. If the argument is sound it doesn't make sense to then say 'but why can't that also be contingent'?

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:35 pm 
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ThomisticCajunAggie wrote:
ForeverFaithful wrote:
Can you not make a version of the Kalam wherein the minor premise "the universe had a beginning" is empirical rather than logical?


I'm not really sure how you would demonstrate that empirically. We can't observe the beginning of the universe. I agree with St. Thomas that it's unknowable from natural reason alone whether the universe has a beginning. [And before someone says "the Big Bang", many scientists trying to avoid Kalaam speculate that there may have been an infinite sequence of big bangs and big crunches prior to "the Big Bang."]

Of course, in my mind, the real problem with Kalaam is that it doesn't demonstrate the existence of God hic et nunc. It demonstrates that a Creator at one time existed (provided you accept the minor premise), but it doesn't demonstrate that He still exists.

You can. You can state the minor premise as, "The evidence as we have it today suggests that the universe began a finite time ago." The conclusion is, in one sense, much weaker than Craig would like: the evidence as we have it today suggests that the universe had a cause outside of itself. And, of course, the entire debate then (properly, in my view) is over the question of whether or not the evidence as we have it today does suggest that the universe began a finite time ago. I think it does. So now the argument is really about rational warrant, which is what any good empirical argument for any conclusion (not just God's existence) should do.

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:51 pm 
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Also, his favorite argument for the existence of God, the Kalam cosmological argument, directly contradicts the basic principles of Aristotelean and Thomistic metaphysics, which he surely knows.


I've had extensive conversations and debates with many Thomists, most of whom reject Kalam, but I have never heard this objection. As far as I can see, in Craig's typical presentation, the only detectable metaphysical assumptions are that effects have causes. That is the first premise stated simply, and I haven't ever had a committed Thomist deny that one. It is the second premise (that the universe began to exist) that they object to as an assumed premise. I'd be interested to hear where your objection is coming from.

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Last edited by forumjunkie on Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: "Thoms Aquinas believed that the universe is eternal"
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:51 pm 
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Oops... Didn't see page two before I responded. I see my question has already been asked. Sorry... I'll catch up!

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