|Philosophy 102: Introduction to
Aquinas' Argument from Efficient Cause.
1. There is an efficient cause for everything; nothing can be the
efficient cause of itself.
2. It is not possible to regress to infinity in efficient causes.
3. To take away the cause is to take away the effect.
4. If there be no first cause then there will be no others.
Therefore, a First Cause exists (and this is God).
1. The nature of causality is a difficult field of study. How do we distinguish
between accidental correlations and necessary connections?
2. Consider Aquinas' notion of a universe of interlocking causes. The cement of the
universe is not just a linear sequence, but causality is a web whereby every event is
connected to each and other event directly or remotely.
Summary of Objections:
1. By the first premiss, if God is something, then we can ask what caused God.
2. Perhaps causes run through time like a circle: a rosetta pattern of cards where
there is no first or bottom card. I.e., there is no beginning or end.
3. Perhaps there is no time; time is an illusion. There is no gap between cause and
effect. Consider the cases of a vibrating wire--is there a gap between the motion and the
4. We cannot assume a priori that time has a beginning, middle, and end.
5. If we assume that the universe was just always here, we do not have to account for a
beginning. "Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity." Occams
6. Which is any less reasonable--an infinite regress or an infinite God?
7. Since causes are proportioned to the effect, the deity must be as finite as
the universe is finite..
8. If the first premiss is true, it seems as if miracles would be ruled out. A miracle
is a noncaused event.