|Philosophy 102: Introduction to
Aquinas' Argument from Necessity
1. Since things are generated, it is possible for them to be or not be.
2. Since things are countable, they are finite in number.
3. If, for all things, they do not exist at some time, then given infinite time, there
would be nothing in existence. (Nothing can come from nothing.)
4. But many things exist.
Therefore, a Necessary Being (i.e., a Being of which it is impossible that it should
not exist) exists.
1. A time-line with the length of existence of individual things sketched. The infinite
length of the line soon exhausts the number of individual things.
2. Modern cosmological theories imply that space is finite and curved. Matter is warped
Summary of Objections:
1. If God exists (is a thing), then by premiss 1, it is possible for God to not be.
If God is different, then the argument assumes the point it is trying to prove.
2. "Necessary is a predicate of propositions, not of things; it doesnt make
sense to say that a being is necessary. Things just are. The only kind of necessity is
3. Since things are constantly being generated, does this imply that God continually
creates them? Consider Russells Five-Minute World Hypothesis.
4. By premiss 3, if nothing can come from nothing, then could God create the universe ex
5. By premiss 2, we have a problem with the criterion of counting--is a chair one thing
or several (viz., legs, back, and seat).
6. Is nature continuous or discrete? The argument assumes the latter.