Topics Worth Investigating

  1. How do you think Thomas would respond to the following objection to the First Cause argument for God's existence?

    The argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity.…If anything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God.[1]

  2. Research the concept of the "Great Chain of Being." Relate this presupposition to the levels of being and goodness described by Thomas.[2] Would the assumption of "Great Chain of Being" indicate how someone viewed contemporary moral issues such as animal rights, extinction of species, or other ecological issues?

  3. If the premisses in the First Cause argument were true, how could Thomas account for miracles? How could he account for chance events? Is the First Cause argument inconsistent with either the ideas of predestination or fatalism?

  4. Which of Thomas's arguments are most open to the objection of the existence of non-moral [3] evil?



Bertrand Russell. Why I Am Not a Christian. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957.


A. O. Lovejoy's The Great Chain of Being: The Study of the History of an Idea, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970.


I.e., natural events such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes—non-moral evil includes events not dependent on human free will—the so-called "acts of God" as sometimes labeled in insurance policies.