Does God Exist? Aquinas’ First Two Ways


Thomas Aquinas famously gave five arguments for the existence of God in his Summa Theologica. Today I am going to discuss the first two:

  1. The argument from motion.
  2. The argument from efficient causality.

The strengths of Aquinas’ arguments, in my opinion, are:

  1. They are not based upon scientific premises, so scientific objections are void.
  2. If the premises are true, the conclusions necessarily follow. They are not probably true, they must be true.

A major weakness of Aquinas’ arguments, if this can even be considered a weakness, is that we are far removed from his context and therefore some of the terms he uses are easily misunderstood. In fact, many of the objections to Aquinas’ arguments are based on a misunderstanding of his terms. But this can easily be remedied by a proper explanation.

The Argument from Motion

It is evident to our senses that some things are in motion. Since motion is nothing more than the reduction of a potentiality to actuality, nothing can set itself in motion, but must be put in motion by something else which is already in act. That which is already in motion must itself be put in motion, and so forth. This cannot go on infinitely for there would be no first mover and consequently no intermediary or final movers. Therefore, it is necessary to arrive at a First Mover (Summa. Part 1, Question 2, Article 3).

First, notice that Aquinas does not say “all things are in motion.” This is important to note because some have tried to object by saying “If everything is in motion, what put God in motion.” This is of course absurd because Aquinas never said that everything was in motion. Not to mention, the very point of this argument is to show that the First Mover is not in motion. It has not potentials to actualize. It is Pure Act.

Secondly, Aquinas’ definition of “motion” is a bit different than what the modern reader thinks of. He does not here simply mean local motion like the kind you observe on the highway. Rather he means something like change. For Aquinas, motion is nothing more than the act of moving from potentiality to actuality. The acorn is potential an oak. One day it will actually be an oak. So when he says “somethings are in motion” he is saying “somethings are moving from potentiality to actuality”. The second premise is that they cannot move themselves from potentiality to actuality, but must be acted upon.

Next, consider the kind of causal series Aquinas has in mind. He is not thinking along the lines that some have asserted. He is not arguing that if you follow the chain of causes and effects backward in time, you’ll arrive at a being that set everything in motion. Aquinas’ argument is not based on a universe that began. He isn’t arguing for a God that set everything in motion a long time ago and we observe the effects today. He may have believed this, but that isn’t what he is arguing for here. No, his argument is much stronger.

Aquinas has in mind a causal series ordered per se, or essentially. In the Summa, he gives the example of a hand and a staff. Dr. Edward Feser provides a great example in which he adds to Aquinas’ illustration. Consider a hand which is moving a staff, which is moving a stone, which is moving a leaf. In this illustration, all of the components are moving simultaneously. It isn’t that the hand moves at one point in time, the staff moves at another, and so forth. No, all move at the same time. Because of this, all of the lower components are completely dependent on the hand, which in this illustration is the first mover. In reality, the hand is being moved by muscles in the arm, which are being moved by neurons in the brain, and so forth. But this is merely an illustration to demonstrate the kind of causal series Aquinas has in mind. In causal series ordered per se, there must be a first mover. To not have a first mover is not to move at all because all of the lower elements are completely dependent on the first mover for their own motion. To not have a first mover is to not have a causal series ordered per se.

Whatever else God is, He is the First Mover.

The Argument from Efficient Causality

In the world of senses there is an order of efficient causes. A thing cannot be the efficient cause of itself, for it would be prior to itself, and that is impossible. In efficient causes it is impossible to go to infinity, therfore it is necessary to arrive at a First Cause.

Again, Aquinas does not say that “everything has a cause” therefore the objection that “If everything has a cause, what caused God?” is simply void.

As with the first argument, this argument is also not dependent on a universe that had a beginning. As far as Aquinas is concerned, the universe may be past-eternal, it doesn’t matter. He is not arguing for a God that caused everything to come into existence a long time ago. He is arguing for a God that causes things to exist right here and now. As in the first argument, he has in mind a causal series ordered per se which I explained above.

The difference between the first and and second arguments is that in the first argument, Aquinas is explaining how anything here and now can move, or be actualized from potency, by positing a First Mover. In the second argument, Aquinas is explaining how anything can exist at all here and now by positing a First Cause.


Aquinas’ arguments for the existence of God seem outdated to many. When examined, this is usually because of a misunderstanding of what Aquinas is actually saying, or because of the flaws of modern philosophy. However, Aquinas’ arguments have been successfully defended by contemporary philosophers. For further reading, I highly recommend Edward Feser’s Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide.  Of course, you can read straight from the horse’s mouth and read Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.

In Nigeria, Appeal Court Bars Code of Conduct Tribunal From Proceeding With CJ’s Trial

BY THE ATLANTIC POST January 24, 2019 

ABUJA – The Court of Appeal in Abuja has barred the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) from proceeding with hearing in the false assets declaration filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN) Walter Onnoghen.

At the resumed hearing of the appeal the Defence Counsel, Wole Olanipekun told the court that the CCT has vowed not to comply with orders from other courts which it described as Court of Coordinate Jurisdiction except that of the Court of Appeal.

He, however, emphasised on the issue of jurisdiction raised before the CCT which according to him was ignored. Mr Olanipekun argued that if the application is not granted it will affect the judiciary in totality and will be a threat to the country and the constitution as a whole.

In a counter affidavit, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Oye Koleosho said the decision on whether to stay proceedings at the tribunal is at the discretion of the tribunal.

He drew the court’s attention to the fact that the lower tribunal adjourned the hearing of the application challenging its jurisdiction which was at the instance of the defence counsel and if the court stay proceedings, the tribunal cannot decide on the issue of jurisdiction.

Justice Abdul Aboki who presided over the appeal wasted no time after the arguments to order the CCT to stay proceeding pending the determination of the appeal and adjourned to January 30, 2019.

Does a repeated or ignored mistake turn to be a good thing?

Cheche Winnie

Does a repeated or ignored mistake turn to be a good thing?

Whereby you keep repeating a mistake previously made by someone else. Or choose to ignored it all together since no one seem to ask you about it. And when they eventually ask you about it, you work hard to justify your wrong doings.

What point am I trying to clear out here?

This is the exact scenario happening in most countries where people have encroached or grabbed wildlife land. Maybe its their relatives or someone else or even themselves that stole that land. Knowing very well that it doesn’t belong to them.

Years passed by and no one seem to question them. So they either stole more or started getting comfortable and brave about such land. They went ahead to turn this land to farms, ranch, built permanent structures and fenced it.

Basically, they offered themselves ownership rights…

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Emails of top Republicans stolen in major hack

President Trump (YouTube screenshot)

President Trump (YouTube screenshot)

The email accounts of four senior aides at the GOP House campaign arm were hacked during the 2018 election.

Thousands of sensitive emails by members of the National Republican Congressional Committee were exposed to an outside intruder, reported Politico, citing three senior party officials.

The party officials said the email traffic was surveilled for several months.

Politico reported the intrusion was detected in April by an NRCC vendor and reported to the committee, which alerted the FBI.

But senior and rank-and-file House Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., were not informed of the hack until Politico contacted the NRCC on Monday.

Committee officials told Politico they withheld the information because they feared revealing the hack would compromise their internal investigation’s effort to find the culprit.

“We don’t want to get into details about what was taken because it’s an ongoing investigation,” a senior party official told Politico. “Let’s say they had access to four active accounts. I think you can draw from that.”

Politico said party officials privately believe the hacker was a foreign agent, due to the nature of the attack. 

They said the hack did not compromise donor information.

“The NRCC can confirm that it was the victim of a cyber intrusion by an unknown entity,” said Ian Prior, a vice president at Mercury Public Affairs, which was hired by the committee to oversee the response to the hack. “The cybersecurity of the Committee’s data is paramount, and upon learning of the intrusion, the NRCC immediately launched an internal investigation and notified the FBI, which is now investigating the matter.”

Politico noted that in July, President Trump chastised the Democratic National Committee for being hacked.

“The DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses, and they were able to be hacked,” Trump told CBS News. “I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans, too. But, and this may be wrong, but they had much stronger defenses.”