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ForumsWEPRNew Proofs Of God

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Ntech
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Ntech
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@Hahiha @Doombreed
Of our Knowledge of the Existence of a God
(John Locke, Concerning Human Understanding: Chapter X, pages 349 – 351)
(Articles I – VI, VIII)

I. We are capable of knowing certainly that there is a God. Though God has given us no innate ideas of Himself,; though He has stamped no original characters on our minds, wherein we may read His being; yet having furnished us with those faculties our minds are endowed with, He hath not left Himself without witness: since we have sense, perception, and reason, and cannot want a clear proof of Him, as long as we carry ourselves about us...

II. For man knows that he himself exists. I think it is beyond question, that man has a clear idea of his own being; he knows certainly that he exists, and that he is something. He that can doubt whether he be anything or no, I speak not to; no more than I would argue with pure nothing, or endeavor to convince a nonentity that it were something. If any one pretends to be so skeptical as to deny his own existence, (for really to doubt of it is manifestly impossible,) let him for me enjoy his beloved happiness of being nothing, until hunger or some other pain convince him of the contrary. This, then, I think I may take for a truth, which every one’s certain knowledge assures him of, beyond the liberty of doubting, viz. That he is something that actually exists. [Note well the meaning of “actually,” that is, something that is actual vs. that which does not exist.]

III. He knows also that nothing cannot produce a being; therefore something must have existed from eternity. In the next place, man knows, by an intuitive certainty, that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to two right angles. If a man knows not that nonentity, or the absence of all being, cannot be equal to two right angles, it is impossible he should know any demonstration in Euclid. If, therefore, we know there is some real being, and that nonentity cannot produce any real being, it is an evident demonstration, that from eternity there has been something; since what was not from eternity had a beginning; and what had a beginning must be produced by something else.

IV. And that eternal Being must be most powerful. Next, it is evident, that what had its being and beginning from another, must also have all that which is in and belongs to its being from another too. All the powers it has must be owing to and received from the same source. This eternal source, then, of all being must also be the source and origin of all power; and so this eternal Being must also be the most powerful.

V. And most knowing. Again, a man finds in himself perception and knowledge. We have then got one step further; and we are certain now that there is not only some being, but some knowing, intelligent being in the world. There was a time, then, where was no knowing being and when knowledge began to be; or else there has been also a knowing being from eternity.

If it be said, there was a time when no being had any knowledge, when that eternal being was void of understanding; I reply, that then it was impossible there should ever have been any knowledge: it being as impossible that things wholly void of knowledge, and operating blindly, and without any perception, should produce a knowing being, as it is impossible that a triangle should make itself three angles bigger than two right ones. For it is as repugnant to the idea of senseless matter, that it should put into itself sense, perception, and knowledge, as it is repugnant to the idea of a triangle, that it should put into itself greater angles than two right ones.

VI. And therefore God. Thus, from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, – That there is an eternal, most powerful, and most knowing Being; which whether any one will please to call God, it matters not. The thing is evident; and from this idea duly considered, will easily be deduced all those other attributes, which we ought to ascribe to this eternal Being.

If, nevertheless, any one should be found so senselessly arrogant, as to suppose man alone knowing and wise, but yet the product of mere ignorance and chance; and that all the rest of the universe acted only by that blind haphazard; I shall leave him that very rational and emphatical rebuke of Tully (1. ii. De Leg.), to be considered at his leisure: “What can be more sillily arrogant and mis-becoming, than for a man to think that he has a mind and understanding in him, but yet in all the universe beside there is no such thing? Or that those things, which with the utmost stretch of his reason he can scarce comprehend, should be moved and managed without any reason at all?” Quid est enim verius, quam neminem esse oportere tam stulte arrogantem, ut in se mentem et rationem putet inesse, in caelo mundoque non putet? Aut ea quae vic summa ingenii [ingenī] ratione comprehendat, nulla ratione moveri puter?

From what has been said, it is plain to me we have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God, than of anything our senses have not immediately discovered to us. Nay, I presume I may say, that we more certainly know that there is a God, than that there is anything else without us. When I say we know, I mean there is such a knowledge within our reach which we cannot miss, if we will but apply our minds to that…

VIII. Recapitulation – something from eternity. There is no truth more evident than that something must be from eternity. I never yet heard of any one so unreasonable, or that could suppose so manifest a contradiction, as a time wherein there was perfectly nothing. This being of all absurdities the greatest, to imagine that pure nothing, the perfect negation and absence of all beings [Id est, the complete absence of actualities], should ever produce any real existence. [Id est, actualities have potential, where there is no actualities there is no potential, nor can there ever be.]

Of God – His Existence
(Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, Part I)

DEFINITIONS

1. BY CAUSE of itself, I understand that, [a Being] whose essence involves existence; or that, [a Being] whose nature cannot be conceived unless existing.

2. That thing is called FINITE in its own kind (in suo genere) which can be limited by another thing of the same nature. For example, a body is called finite, because we [may] always conceive another which is greater. So a thought is limited by another thought; but a body is not limited by a thought, not a thought by a body.

3. BY SUBSTANCE, I understand that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; in other words, that, the conception of which does not need the conception of another thing from which it must be formed.

4. BY ATTRIBUTE, I understand that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence [constituting the essence of a substance, not the intellect].

5. BY MODE, I understand the affections of substance, or that which is in another thing through which also it is conceived.

6. BY GOD, I understand Being absolutely infinite, that is to say, [a] substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.

Explanation. I say absolutely infinite but not infinite in its own kind (in suo genere); for of whatever is infinite only in its own kind (in suo genere), we can deny infinite attributes; but to the essence of that which is absolutely infinite pertains whatever expresses essence and involves no negation.

7. That thing is called FREE which exists from the necessity of its own nature alone, and is determined to action by itself alone. That thing, on the other hand, is called necessary, or rather compelled, which by another is determined to existence and action in a fixed and prescribed manner.

8. BY ETERNITY, I understand existence itself, so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow from the definition alone of the eternal thing.

Explanation. For such existence, like the essence of the thing, is conceived as an eternal truth. It cannot therefore be explained by duration or time, even if the duration be conceived without beginning or end.

AXIOMS

1. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another.

2. That which cannot be conceived through another must be conceived through itself.

3. From a given determinate cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no determinate cause be given, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

4. The knowledge (cognitio) of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause.

5. Those things which have nothing mutually in common with one another cannot through one another be mutually understood, that is to say, the conception of the other. [A blind man cannot understand the sense of sight merely through the sense of hearing; nor can a deaf man understand the sense of hearing merely through the sense of sight.]

6. A true idea must agree with that of which it is the idea (*** suo ideato).

7. The essence of that thing which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.

PROPOSITIONS

PROPOSITION 1. Substance is by its nature prior to its affections.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definitions 3 and 5. [That is to say, nothing can have no affections.]

PROPOSITION 2. Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another.
DEMONSTRATION. This is also evident from Definition 3. For each substance must be in itself and must be conceived through itself, that is to say, the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other. [That is to say, if two substances – which are wholly independent of each other – have different attributes, it is self evident that they share nothing in common – the opposite of proper – with each other.] Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 3. If two things have nothing in common with one another, one cannot be the cause of the other.
DEMONSTRATION. If they have nothing mutually common with one another, they cannot (Axiom 5) through one another be mutually understood, and therefore (Axiom 4) one cannot be the cause of the other. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 4.Two or more distinct things are distinguished from one another, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their affections.
DEMONSTRATION. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another (Axiom 1), that is to say (Definitions 3 & 5), outside the intellect there is nothing but substances and their affections. There is nothing therefore outside the intellect by which a number of things can be distinguished one from another, but substances or (which is the same thing by Definition 4) their attributes and their affections. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 5. In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.
DEMONSTRATION. If there were two or more distinct substances, they must be distinguished one from the other by difference of attributes or difference of affections (Proposition 4). If they are distinguished only by difference of attributes, it will be granted that there is but one substance of the same attribute. But if they are distinguished by difference of affections, since substance is prior by nature to its affections (Proposition 1), the affections therefore being placed on one side, and the substance being considered in itself, or, in other words, (Definition 3 and Axiom 6), truly considered, it cannot be conceived as distinguished from another substance, that is to say (Proposition 4), there cannot be two or more substances, but only one possessing the same nature or attribute. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 6.One substance cannot be produced by another substance.
DEMONSTRATION. There cannot in nature be two substances of the same attribute (Proposition 5), that is to say (Proposition 2), two which have anything in common with one another. And therefore (Proposition 3) one [substance] cannot be the cause of the other, that is to say, one [substance] cannot be produced by the other [substance]. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 7. It pertains to the nature of substance to exist.
DEMONSTRATION. There is nothing by which substance can be produced (Proposition 6). It will therefore be the cause of itself, that is to say (Definition 1), its essence necessarily involves existence, or in other words it pertains to its nature to exist. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 8. Every substance is necessarily infinite.
DEMONSTRATION. Substance which has only one attribute cannot exist except as one substance (Proposition 6), and to the nature of this one substance it pertains to exist (Proposition 7). It must therefore from its nature exist as finite or infinite. But it cannot exist as finite substance, for (Definition 2) it must (if finite) be limited by another substance of the same nature, which also must necessarily exist (Proposition 7), and therefore would be two substances of the same attribute, which is absurd (Proposition 5). It exists therefore as infinite substance. Q.E.D.

Scholium 1. Since finiteness is in truth partly negation, and infinitude absolute affirmation of existence of some kind, it follows from Proposition 7 alone that all substance must be infinite.

Scholium 2. I fully expect that those who judge things confusedly, and who have not been accustomed to cognise things through their first causes, will find it difficult to comprehend the demonstration of the 7th Proposition, since they do not distinguish between the modifications of substances and substances themselves, and are ignorant of the manner in which things are produced.
Hence it comes to pass that they erroneously ascribe to substances a beginning like that which they see belongs to natural things; for those who are ignorant of the true causes of things confound every thing, and without any mental repugnance represent trees speaking like men, or imagine that men are made out of stones as well as begotten from seed, and that all forms can be changed one into the other. So also those who confound human nature with the divine, readily attribute to God human affects, especially so long as they are ignorant of the manner in which affects are produced in the mind. But if men would attend to the nature of substance, they could not entertain a single doubt of the truth of Proposition 7; indeed this proposition would be considered by all to be axiomatic, and reckoned among common notions.
For by “substance” would be understood that which is in itself and is conceived through itself, or, in other words, that, the knowledge of which does not need the knowledge of another thing.
But by “modifications” would be understood those things which are in another thing – those things, the conception of which is formed from the conception of the thing in which they are. Hence we can have true ideas of non-existent modifications, since although they may not actually exist outside the intellect, their essence nevertheless is so comprehended in something else, that they may be conceived through it.
But the truth of substances is not outside the intellect unless in the substances themselves, because they are conceived through themselves.
If any one, therefore, were to say that he possessed a clear and distinct, that is to say, a true idea of substance, and that he nevertheless doubted whether such a substance exists, he would forsooth be in the same position as if he were to say that he had a true idea and nevertheless doubted whether or not it was false (as is evident to any one who pays a little attention).
Similarly, if any one were to affirm that substance is created, he would affirm at the same time that a false idea had become true, and this is a greater absurdity than can be conceived.
It is therefore necessary to admit that, the existence of substance, like its essence, is an eternal truth.
Hence a demonstration (which I have thought worth while to append) by a different method is possible, showing that there are not to substances possessing the same nature.
But in order to prove this methodically it is to be noted: 1. That the true definition of any one thing neither involves nor expresses anything except the nature of the thing defined. From which it follows, 2. That a definition does not involve or express any certain number of individuals, since it expresses nothing but the nature of the thing defined. For example, the definition of a triangle expresses nothing but the simple nature of a triangle, and not any certain number of triangles. 3. It is to be observed that of every existing thing there is some certain cause by reason of which it exists. 4. Finally, it is to be observed that this cause, by reason of which a thing exists, must either be contained in the nature itself and definition of the existing thing (simply because it pertains to the nature of the thing to exist), or it must exist outside the thing.
This being granted, it follows that if a certain number of individuals exist in nature, there must necessarily be a cause why those individuals, and neither more nor fewer, exist.
If, for example, there are twenty men in existence (whom, for the sake of greater clearness, I suppose existing at the same time, and that no others existed before them), it will not be sufficient, in order that we may give a reason why twenty men exist, to give a cause for human nature generally; but it will be necessary, in addition, to give a reason why neither more nor fewer than twenty exist, since, as we have already observed, under the third head, there must necessarily be a cause why each exists.
But this cause (as we have shown under the second and third heads) cannot be contained in human nature itself, since the true definition of a man does not involve the number twenty, and therefore (by the fourth head) the cause why these twenty men exist, and consequently the cause of why each exists, must necessarily lie outside each one; and therefore we must conclude generally that whenever it is possible for several individuals of the same nature to exist, there must necessarily be an external cause for their existence.
Since now it pertains to the nature of substance to exist (as we have shown in this Scholium), its definition must involve necessary existence, and consequently from its definition alone its existence must be concluded.
But from its definition (as we have already shown under the second and third heads) the existence of more substances than one cannot be deduced.
It follows, therefore, from this definition necessarily that there cannot be two substances possessing the same nature.

PROPOSITION 9. The more reality or being a thing possesses, the more attributes belong to it.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definition 4. [For as attributes constitute a thing’s essence to the intellect, the more “essence” a thing has, a corresponding number of attributes is perceived by the intellect.]

PROPOSITION 10. Each attribute of a substance must be conceived through itself.
DEMONSTRATION. For an attribute is that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence (Definition 4), and therefore (Definition 3) it must be conceived through itself. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 11. God, or substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.
DEMONSTRATION. If this be denied, conceive, if it is possible that God does not exist. Then it follows (Axiom 7) that His essence does not involve existence. But this (Proposition 7) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. For the existence or non-existence of everything there must be a reason or cause. For example, if a triangle exists, there must be a reason or cause why it exists; and if it does not exist, there must be a reason or cause which hinders its existence or which negates it.
But this reason or cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing or lie outside it. For example, the nature of the thing itself shows the reason why a square circle does not exist, the reason being that a square circle involves a contradiction. And the reason, on the other hand, why substance involves existence (see Proposition 7).
But the reason why a circle or triangle exists or does not exist is not drawn from their nature, but from the order of corporeal nature generally; for from that it must follow, either that a triangle necessarily exists, or that is impossible for it to exist. But this is self evident.
Therefore it follows that if there be no cause nor reason which hinders a thing from existing, it exists necessarily. If, therefore, there be no reason nor cause which hinders God from existence, or which negates His existence, we must conclude absolutely that He exists.
But if there be such a reason or cause, it must be either be in the nature itself of God or must lie outside it, that is to say, in another substance of another nature. For if the reason lay in a substance of the same nature, the existence of God would by this very fact admitted.
But substance possessing another nature could have nothing in common with God (Proposition 2), and therefore could not give Him existence nor negate it.
Since, therefore, the reason or cause which could negate the divine existence cannot be outside the divine nature, it will necessarily, supposing that the divine nature does not exist, be in His Nature itself, which would therefore involve a contradiction.
But to affirm this of the Being absolutely infinite and consummately perfect is absurd. Therefore neither in God nor outside God is there any cause or reason which can negate His existence, and therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. Inability to exist is impotence, and, on the other hand, ability to exist is power, as is self-evident. If, therefore, there is nothing which necessarily exists excepting things finite, it follows that things finite are more powerful than the absolutely infinite Being, and this (as is self evident) is absurd; therefore either nothing exists or Being absolutely infinite also necessarily exists.
But we ourselves exist, either in ourselves or in something else which necessarily exists (Axiom 1 & Proposition 7). Therefore the Being absolutely infinite, that is to say (Definition 6), God, necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Scholium. In this last demonstration I wished to prove the existence of God a posteriori, in order that the demonstration be the more easily understood, and not because the existence of God does not follow a priori from the same grounds.
For since ability to exist is power, it follows that the more reality belongs to the nature of anything, the greater is the power for existence it derives from itself; and it also follows, therefore, that the Being absolutely infinite, or God, has from Himself an absolutely infinite power of existence, and that He therefore necessarily exists.
Many persons, nevertheless, will perhaps not be able easily to see the force of this demonstration, because they have been accustomed to contemplate those things alone which flow from external causes, and they see also that those things which are quickly produced from these causes, that is to say, which easily exist, easily perish, whilst, on the other hand, they adjudge those things to be more difficult to produce, that is to say, not so easy to bring into existence, to which they conceive more properties pertain.
In order that these prejudices may be removed, I do not need here to show in what respect this saying, “What is quickly made perishes,” is true, nor to inquire whether, looking at the whole of nature, all things are or are not equally easy.
But this only it will be sufficient for me to observe, that I do not speak of things which are produced by external causes, but that I speak of substances alone which (Proposition 6) can be produced by no external cause.
For whatever perfection or reality those things may have which are produced by external causes, whether they consist of many parts or of few, they owe it all to the virtue of an external cause alone and not from their own.
On the other hand, whatever perfection substance has is due to no external cause.
Therefore its existence must follow from its nature alone, and is therefore nothing else than its essence.
Perfection consequently does not prevent the existence of a thing, but establishes it; imperfection, on the other hand, prevents existence, and so of no existence can we be more sure than of the existence of the Being absolutely infinite or perfect, that is to say, God.
For since His essence shuts out all imperfection and involves absolute perfection, for this very reason all cause of doubt concerning His existence is taken away, and the highest certainty concerning it is given, – a truth which I trust will be evident to any one who bestows only moderate attention.

  • 180 Replies
Ntech
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Ntech
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@FishPreferred

In other words, this " potential" is entirely ficticious. We don't need to invoke cosmic entities to make such concepts into real things, though, because reality functions independent of our ideas about it.

It is our way of designating what could happen. The concepts are not made into real things, but the concepts signify those real things being actualized from our notion of &quototence," which is used to signify that which is not actual.


A thing currently in existence can't just suddenly not be in existence, because that would mean a discontinuity in the state of the universe came from literally out of nowhere.

You're right. But a thing that doesn't exist needs something to kick it into existence, and a thing's potential is not actual.


Yeah, because that "movement" has no requirement for being sustained. The only risk to its future existence is from physical interactions.

Movement is the actualization of potential. Since a thing cannot be the efficient cause/actualizer of itself, a sustinant principle is required for motion.


If its past existence is not actual, then what you are saying is that it never existed. This is not so in the case of any apple I'm aware of, so why have I never found an actual apple with an infinite regression of past-selves attached?

The apple was actual, but it is not.


In other words, it's an inert causal catalyst that doesn't actively do anything, but simply needs to be present for other things to do anything. So much for proving your God, then.

The point of my argument is proving the Sustinant Principle, it belongs to another argument to establish its Intelligence and Almighty power.


conceptual construct, it should be clear that there are not any potential objects to be actualized and that no object of any kind ever "moves" in this way.

For an object to be actual, it has to be actualized; it cannot actualize itself; if it exists, another actualized it; its future existence is not actual therefore if it exists next second another actualized it.

We have no need for the term potence, though it is useful to denote outcomes we have come to experience from certain actualities.

Consider this: the universe along with all its physical properties is in itself an actuality, and the Sustinant principle actualizes this, instead of all sorts of separate "beings" within it; that is, the Sustinant principle sustains the fabric of existence.


Whichever will happen is actual. Whichever won't happen isn't. Neither is potential.

Whichever happens (whether you will it or not) is actual when it exists, and whatever doesn't happen (whether you will it or not) is not actual when it does not exist.

@HahiHa


.. which is... ?? And how does it compare/differ to the Aristotelian ones?

When St. Thomas speaks of the movement from the potential to the actual, the main thing he has in mind is the change from when a thing does not exist to when it does exist. It moves from potentially existing to actually existing. Now the only cause which always is actually existing without any change is God -- for God does not move from potence to actuality, but is actuality -- he is existence. So God is the only cause that can create from nothingness. Only God can make creatures, who do not actually exist, to actually exist is because God is the only being who is always actually existing.

Potentiality or "Potentia" is the representation of all future forms and states of being a specific existence can take. It is the intrinsic property of some object or existence which constitute its entire set of possible forms. It describes the entire set of changes and forms any object or existence can become and are thus always present in the object from it's initial creation.

If an acorn can eventually become a colossal tree, than the &quototentiality" of being a tree was always within the acorn itself, and the state of being a tree constitutes the realization of that potential within the acorn.

Actuality or "Actus" constitutes the specific forms or states of existence a specific object or being actually becomes. Actuality encompasses both the finite forms of being and the gradual process of transformation from one state to being to another. Actuality also represents the state of perfection and the end of the process of transformation, i.e. an object has reached the state of existence it always had the potential to become and will no longer change.

A big part of this is also that the entire Universe is in a constant state of flux, change, and transformations and is simply moving along a path of potentialities until it reaches a final, complete state of being and existence.

God is seen in this light as the "Actus Purus", as it exists in its most infinitely perfect final form. It is the "Unmovable Mover", the thing which acts, but is not acted upon and that from which all other potentialities and actualities emerge.

Humans on the other hand (as well as others existences whether living, dead or inanimate) are in a constant state of change and transformations along paths of possible potentialities, moving constantly between states of change and completion, form and flux.


This is why: an object cannot change if it does not have the potential (i.e. the ability) to change. If an object, at the time it is actual, does not have the potential (i.e. ability) to change, it won't. Simple enough.

Objects to not have potentials, everything can exist, and everything conversely can not exist, what can and can not exist is not limited by &quototentiality" but is merely our understanding of which objects turn into what, and that within the sphere of the actual material universe.


I ask, how can you actualize something that does not exist? The "actual actualizing the potential" goes against causality.

Something is said to be actualized when it exists, and before which it did not. That existence is deemed potential, as it is possible that it would have existed.


By this I mean it has the ability to ripen; it physically is in a state/disposition that enables it to ripen in the future. That is what I mean by actual potential.

That potential to ripen is a byproduct of your experience of knowing that apples ripen, it is not an intrinsic characteristic of that apple.


Only half true. The ripe apple or the squashed apple, these potential future states only exist in our minds. The potential to reach those states is necessarily true, else it couldn't reach those states.

The material that forms the apple, within the physical universe, has the proper characteristics to be squashed.
FishPreferred
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But a thing that doesn't exist needs something to kick it into existence, [...]
No, but I can see where you get that idea.

Since a thing cannot be the efficient cause/actualizer of itself, a sustinant principle is required for motion.
No, it isn't. It wouldn't be regardless.

The apple was actual, but it is not.
So, now we're saying that there is no apple? Is the universe completely devoid of apples? Have I just been imagining them all along?

The point of my argument is proving the Sustinant Principle, it belongs to another argument to establish its Intelligence and Almighty power.
Something your argument spectacularly failed to do.

For an object to be actual, it has to be actualized; it cannot actualize itself; if it exists, another actualized it; [...]
No, but I can see where you get that idea.

[...] its future existence is not actual therefore if it exists next second another actualized it.
1 The problem here is that you keep alternating between "this apple is the same singular object over time" (endurantism) and "this apple is one of a series of individual things, any of which can exist independent of the others" (perdurantism). They don't fit together. Just pick an apple and stick with it.
2 Both Aquinas and Aristotle specifically stated that time is not made of discrete instances when discussing the Arrow Paradox (in which an arrow in flight is supposedly incapable of moving). Even by their reasoning, an apple at any point in time would not have any need for further interaction if such an interaction was present at a previous time.

Consider this: the universe along with all its physical properties is in itself an actuality, and the Sustinant principle actualizes this, instead of all sorts of separate "beings" within it; that is, the Sustinant principle sustains the fabric of existence.
Considered and rejected on the grounds of total redundancy and requisite special pleading.

Whichever happens (whether you will it or not) is actual when it exists, and whatever doesn't happen (whether you will it or not) is not actual when it does not exist.
Exactly.

When St. Thomas speaks of the movement from the potential to the actual, the main thing he has in mind is the change from when a thing does not exist to when it does exist. It moves from potentially existing to actually existing.
Does he, though? Does he? Can you give us an idea of where you're actually getting this information?

Now the only cause which always is actually existing without any change is God -- for God does not move from potence to actuality, but is actuality -- he is existence.
1 Special pleading. You never justified that fantastical exception.
2 If we grant that exception anyway, we reach the inevitable conclusion that God is an inert whatsit that does not do, think, or feel. That is what existing without change would entail.
3 If you insist upon equating God with existence, your argument will ultimately become "the state of existing is real". Clearly, that is not something you need to prove to us, because things obviously exist. It is also clearly not what you set out to prove, since it would be the utmost absurdity to suppose that the physical existence of matter makes up rules and demands specifically for humans to follow and assigns punishments and rewards on the basis of their behaviour. That would be like having the property of friction appear before you as a flaming tire and order you to build a temple.

Potentiality or "Potentia" is the representation of all future forms and states of being a specific existence can take. It is the intrinsic property of some object or existence which constitute its entire set of possible forms. It describes the entire set of changes and forms any object or existence can become and are thus always present in the object from it's initial creation.
What you are saying, then, is that it, like all intrinsic properties of matter, necessarily exists. You're basically confirming what I said on page 4; that ordinary matter has all of the properties required for everything in existence to exist exactly the way it is.

A big part of this is also that the entire Universe is in a constant state of flux, change, and transformations and is simply moving along a path of potentialities until it reaches a final, complete state of being and existence.
Also called the heat death of the universe, yes.

Objects to not have potentials, everything can exist, and everything conversely can not exist, [...]
No. Even in indeterminist circles, it's generally understood that not everything is possible.

Something is said to be actualized when it exists, and before which it did not. That existence is deemed potential, as it is possible that it would have existed.
Sure, but an object is actualized by the process that makes it; not by the intervention of some quasi-inexistent entity outside of time that, by its nature, cannot intervene.

That potential to ripen is a byproduct of your experience of knowing that apples ripen, it is not an intrinsic characteristic of that apple.
You were just saying that "[Potentiality] is the intrinsic property of some object or existence [...]", so which is it?
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@FishPreferred


ME: A thing needs another to be its efficient cause.
YOU: No, but I can see where you get that idea.
ME: Since a thing cannot be the efficient cause/actualizer of itself, a sustinant principle is required for motion.
YOU: No, it isn't. It wouldn't be regardless.

Why? If no "efficient cause" exists, nothing would exist either. If an "efficient cause" is not required then nothing exists to require its existence. Yet things exist, "regardless" of what you believe.


So, now we're saying that there is no apple? Is the universe completely devoid of apples? Have I just been imagining them all along?

The apple as it existed in the past no longer is actual.


ME: For an object to be actual, it has to be actualized; it cannot actualize itself; if it exists, another actualized it; [...]
YOU: No, but I see where you get the idea.

Name me one way a potential can be actualized by nothing.


1 The problem here is that you keep alternating between "this apple is the same singular object over time" (endurantism) and "this apple is one of a series of individual things, any of which can exist independent of the others" (perdurantism). They don't fit together. Just pick an apple and stick with it.

This apple is a state, in a series of states, the potentials of which are actualized by the Sustaining Force through the actualization of the physical plane.


ME: Whichever happens (whether you will it or not) is actual when it exists, and whatever doesn't happen (whether you will it or not) is not actual when it does not exist.
YOU (PREVIOUSLY): Whichever will happen is actual. Whichever won't happen isn't. Neither is potential. [Denies the potential, claims that the potential is in fact actual.]
YOU: Exactly.

You do not make sense. You deny the potential, then affirm it.


Does he, though? Does he? Can you give us an idea of where you're actually getting this information?

ARGUMENTS IN PROOF OF GOD'S EXISTENCE ' v **

Having shown then that it is not futile to endeavour to
prove the existence of God, we may proceed to set forth the
reasons whereby both philosophers and Catholic doctors
have proved that there is a God. In the first place we shall
give the arguments by which Aristotle sets out to prove
God's existence : and he aims at proving this from the
point of view of movement, in two ways.
The first way is as follows. 1 Whatever is in motion is
1 7 Phys. i.

24 THE SUMMA CONTRA GENTILES

moved by another : and it is clear to the sense that something,
the sun for instance, is in motion. Therefore it is set in
motion by something else moving it. Now that which moves
it is itself either moved or not. If it be not moved, then the
point is proved that we must needs postulate an immovable
mover : and this we call God. If, however, it be moved, it
is moved by another mover. Either, therefore, we must
proceed to infinity, or we must come to an immovable
mover. But it is not possible to proceed to infinity. There-
fore it is necessary to postulate an immovable mover.

This argument contains two propositions that need to be
proved : namely that whatever is in motion is moved by
another, and that it is not possible to proceed to infinity in
movers and things moved.

The first of these is proved by the Philosopher in three
ways. First, thus. If a thing moves itself, it must needs
have the principle of its movement in itself, else it would
clearly be moved by another. Again it must be moved
primarily, that is, it must be moved by reason of itself and
not by reason of its part, as an animal is moved by the
movement of its foot, for in the latter way not the whole but
the part would be moved by itself, and one part by another.
Again it must be divisible and have parts, since whatever
is moved is divisible, as is proved in 6 Phys. 1

These things being supposed, he argues as follows. That
which is stated to be moved by itself is moved primarily.
Therefore if one of its parts is at rest, it follows that the
whole is at rest. For if, while one part is at rest, another
of its parts were in motion, the whole itself would not be
moved primarily, but its part which is in motion while
another is at rest. Now nothing that is at rest while
another is at rest, is moved by itself : for that which is at
rest as a result of another thing being at rest must needs
be in motion as a result of the other's motion, and hence it
is not moved by itself. Hence that which was stated to be
moved by itself, is not moved by itself. Therefore what-
ever is in motion must needs be moved by another.

1 Ch. iv.

CHAPTER XIII 25

Nor is this argument traversed by the statement that
might be made, that supposing a thing moves itself, it is
impossible for a part thereof to be at rest, or again by the
statement that to be at rest or in motion does not belong to
a part except accidentally, as Avicenna quibbles. 1 Because
the force of the argument lies in this, that if a thing moves
itself primarily and of itself, not by reason of its parts, it
follows that its being moved does not depend on some
thing; whereas with a divisible thing, being moved, like
being, depends on its parts, so that it cannot move itself
primarily and of itself. Therefore the truth of the conclu-
sion drawn does not require that we suppose as an absolute
truth that a part of that which moves itself is at rest, but
that this conditional statement be true that if a part were at
rest, the whole would be at rest. Which statement can be
true even if the antecedent be false, even as this conditional
proposition is true : // a man is an *** he is irrational.

Secondly, 2 he proves it by induction, thus. A thing is
not moved by itself if it is moved accidentally, since its
motion is occasioned by the motion of something else.
Nor again if it is moved by force, as is manifest. Nor if it
is moved by its nature like those things whose movement
proceeds from themselves, such as animals, which clearly
are moved by their souls. Nor if it is moved by nature, as
heavy and light things are, since these are moved by their
generating cause and by that which removes the obstacle
to their movement. Now whatsoever things are in motion
are moved either per se or accidentally; and if per se, either
by force or by nature : and if the latter, either by something
in them, as in the case of animals, or not by something in
them, as in the case of heavy and light bodies. Therefore
whatever is in motion is moved by another.

Thirdly, 3 he proves his point thus. Nothing is at the
same time in act and in potentiality in respect of the same
thing. Now whatever is in motion, as such, is in poten-
tiality, because motion is the act of that which is in poten-

1 2 Suffic. i. 2 8 Phys. iv.

3 8 Phys. v. 8.

26 THE SUMMA CONTRA GENTILES

tiality, as such. 1 Whereas whatever moves, as such, is in
act, for nothing acts except in so far as it is in act. There-
fore nothing is both mover and moved in respect of the
same movement. Hence nothing moves itself.

We must observe, however, that Plato, 2 who asserted
that every mover is moved, employed the term movement
in a more general sense than Aristotle. For Aristotle took
movement in its strict sense, for the act of a thing that is
in potentiality as such, in which sense it applies only to
divisible things and bodies, as is proved in 6 Phys. 3
Whereas according to Plato that which moves itself is not
a body; for he took movement for any operation, so that
to understand or to think is a kind of movement, to which
manner of speaking Aristotle alludes in 3 De Animal In
this sense, then, he said that the first mover moves itself,
in as much as it understands, desires and loves itself.
This, in a certain respect, is not in contradiction with the
arguments of Aristotle; for it makes no difference whether
with Plato we come to a first mover that moves itself, or
with Aristotle to something first which is altogether
immovable.

He proves the other proposition, namely that it is impos-
sible to proceed to infinity in movers and things moved,
by three arguments.

The first 5 of these is as follows. If one were to proceed
to infinity in movers and things moved, all this infinite
number of things would necessarily be bodies, since what-
ever is moved is divisible and corporeal, as is proved in
6 Phys. 6 Now every body that moves through being moved
is moved at the same time as it moves. Therefore all this
infinite number of things are moved at the same time as
one of them is moved. But one of them, since it is finite,
is moved in a finite time. Therefore all this infinite
number of things are moved in a finite time. But this is
impossible. Therefore it is impossible to proceed to
infinity in movers and things moved.

1 3 Phys. i. 6. 2 Phadrus § xxiv. (D.). 3 L.c

* Ch. vii. 6 7 Phys., l.c. 6 L.c.

CHAPTER XIII 27

That it is impossible for the aforesaid infinite number of
things to be moved in a finite time, he proves thus. 1 Mover
and moved must needs be simultaneous ; and he proves
this by induction from each species of movement. But
bodies cannot be simultaneous except by continuity or con-
tact. Wherefore since all the aforesaid movers and things
moved are bodies, as proved, they must needs be as one
movable thing through their continuity or contact. And
thus one infinite thing would be moved in a finite time,
which is shown to be impossible in 6 Phys. 2

The second argument 3 in proof of the same statement is
as follows. In an ordinate series of movers and things
moved, where namely throughout the series one is moved
by the other, we must needs find that if the first mover be
taken away or cease to move, none of the others will move '
or be moved : because the first is the cause of movement in
all the others. Now if an ordinate series of movers and_/ -
things moved proceed to infinity, there will be no first 1<^ C
mover, but all will be intermediate movers as it were.
Therefore it will be impossible for any of them to be
moved : and thus nothing in the world will be moved.

The third argument* amounts to the same, except that it
proceeds in the reverse order, namely by beginning from
above : and it is as follows. That which moves instru-
mentally, cannot move unless there be something that
moves principally. But if we proceed to infinity in movers <• •
and things moved, they will all be like instrumental movers, ;
because they will be alleged to be moved movers, and there
will be nothing by way of principal mover. Therefore
nothing will be moved.

We have thus clearly proved both statements which were
supposed in the first process of demonstration whereby
Aristotle proved the existence of a first immovable mover.

The second 5 way is as follows. If every mover is
moved, this statement is true either in itself or accidentally
If accidentally, it follows that it is not necessary : for that
which is accidentally true is not necessary. Therefore it is
1 7 Phys. i. ii. 2 Ch. vii. 3 8 Phys. v. 4 Ibid.

28 THE SUMMA CONTRA GENTILES

a contingent proposition that no mover is moved. But if
a mover be not moved, it does not move, as the opponent
asserts. Therefore it is contingent that nothing is moved,
since, if nothing moves, nothing is moved. Now Aristotle
holds this to be impossible, 1 namely, that at any time there
be no movement. Therefore the first proposition was not
contingent, because a false impossibility does not follow
from a false contingency. And therefore this proposition,
Every mover is moved by another, was not accidentally true.
Again, if any two things are found accidentally united
in a certain subject, and one of them is to be found without
the other, it is probable that the latter can be found without
the former : thus if white and musical are found in Socrates,
and musical without white is found in Plato, it is probable
that it is possible to find white without musical in some
subject. Accordingly if mover and moved be united
together in some subject accidentally, and it be found that
a certain thing is moved without its being a mover, it is
probable that a mover is to be found that is not moved.
Nor can one urge against this the case of two things one
of which depends on the other; because those in question
are united not per se but accidentally. If, however, the
aforesaid proposition is true in itself, again there follows
something impossible or unfitting. For the mover must
needs be moved either by the same kind of movement or
by another kind. If by the same kind, it follows that what-
ever causes alteration must itself be altered, and further-
more that the healer must be healed, that the teacher must
be taught, and in respect of the same science. But this is
impossible : for the teacher must needs have science, while
the learner must needs not have it, and thus the same will
be both possessed and not possessed by the same, which is
impossible. And if it be moved by another kind of move-
ment, so that, to wit, that which causes alteration be moved
in respect of place, and that which moves in respect of place
be increased, and so on, it will follow that we cannot go on
indefinitely, since the genera and species of movement are

1 8 Phys. i.

CHAPTER XIII 29

finite in number. And thus there will be some first mover
that is not moved by another. Unless, perchance, some-
one say that a recurrence takes place, in this way, that when
all the genera and species of movement have been ex-
hausted, a return must be made to the first ; for instance,
if that which moves in respect of place be altered, and that
which causes alteration be increased, then again that which
is increased be moved in respect of place. But the conse-
quence of this will be the same as before ; namely, that
which moves by one kind of movement is itself moved by
the same kind, not immediately indeed but mediately. It
remains therefore that we must needs postulate some first
mover that is not moved by anything outside itself.

Since however, given that there is a first mover that is
not moved by anything outside itself, it does not follow
that it is absolutely immovable, Aristotle proceeds further,
saying that this may happen in two ways. First, so that
this first mover is absolutely immovable. And if this be
granted, our point is established, namely that there is a
first immovable mover. Secondly, that this first mover is
moved by itself. And this seems probable : because what
is of itself is always prior to what is of another : wherefore
also in things moved, it is logical that what is moved first
is moved by itself and not by another.

But, if this be granted, the same consequence follows. 1
For it cannot be said that the whole of that which moves
itself is moved by its whole self, because then the absurd
consequences mentioned above would follow, namely that
a person might teach and be taught at the same time, and
in like manner as to other kinds of movement ; and again
that a thing would be at the same time in act and in poten-
tiality, since a mover, as such, is in act, while that which
is moved is in potentiality. It remains, therefore, that one
part thereof is mover only, and the other part moved. And
thus we have the same conclusion as before, namely that
there is something that moves and is itself immovable.

And it cannot be said that both parts are moved, so that
1 8 Phys., I.e.

30 THE SUMMA CONTRA GENTILES

one is moved by the other ; nor that one part moves both
itself and the other ; nor that the whole moves a part ; nor
that part moves the whole, since the above absurdities
would follow, namely that something would both move and
be moved by the same kind of movement, and that it would
be at the same time in potentiality and in act, and more-
over that the whole would move itself not primarily but by
reason of its part. It remains, therefore, that in that which
moves itself, one part must be immovable, and must move
the other part.

Since, however, in those things among us which move
themselves, namely animals, the part which moves, namely
the soul, though immovable of itself, is nevertheless moved
accidentally, he goes on to show that in the first mover, the
part which moves is not moved neither of itself nor
accidentally. 1

For in those things which among us move themselves,
namely animals, since they are corruptible, the part which
moves is moved accidentally. Now those corruptible
things which move themselves must needs be reducible to
some first self-mover that is everlasting. Therefore that
which moves itself must have a mover, which is moved
neither of itself nor accidentally.

It is clear that, in accordance with his hypothesis, some
self-mover must be everlasting. For if, as he supposes,
movement is everlasting, the production of these self-
movers that are subject to generation and corruption must
be everlasting. But no one of these self-movers, since it
does not always exist, can be the cause of this everlasting-
ness. Nor can all of them together, both because they
would be infinite, and because they do not exist all together.
It follows therefore that there must be an everlasting self-
mover, that causes the everlastingness of generation in
these lower self-movers. And thus its mover is not moved,
neither of itself nor accidentally. Again, we observe that
in self-movers some begin to be moved anew on account of
some movement whereby the animal is not moved by itself,

1 8 Phys. vi.

CHAPTER XIII 31

for instance by the digestion of food or a change in the
atmosphere : by which movement the mover that moves
itself is moved accidentally. Whence we may gather that
no self-mover, whose mover is moved per se or accidentally,
is always moved. But the first self-mover is always in
motion, else movement could not be everlasting, since
every other movement is caused by the movement of the
first self-mover. It follows therefore that the first self-
mover is moved by a mover who .is not moved, neither per
se nor accidentally.

Nor is this argument rebutted by the fact that the movers
of the lower spheres cause an everlasting movement, and
yet are said to be moved accidentally. For they are said
to be moved accidentally not by reason of themselves, but
by reason of the things subject to their motion, which
follow the motion of the higher sphere.

Since, however, God is not part of a self-mover, Aristotle
goes on in his Metaphysics 1 to trace from this motor that
is part of a self-mover, another mover altogether separate,
which is God. For since every self-mover is moved
through its appetite, it follows that the motor that is part
of a self-mover, moves on account of the appetite for some
appetible object. And this object is above the motor in
moving, because the appetent is a moved mover, whereas
the appetible is a mover altogether unmoved. Therefore
there must needs be a first mover separate and altogether
immovable, and this is God.

Now two things would seem to weaken the above argu-
ments. The first of these is that they proceed from the
supposition of the eternity of movement, and among
Catholics this is supposed to be false. To this we reply
that the most effective way to prove God's existence is from
the supposition of the eternity of the world, which being
supposed, it seems less manifest that God exists. For if
the world and movement had a beginning, it is clear that
we must suppose some cause to have produced the world
and movement, because whatever becomes anew must take

1 D. 11. vii.

32 THE SUMMA CONTRA GENTILES

its origin from some cause of its becoming, since nothing
evolves itself from potentiality to act, or from non-being
to being.

The second is that the aforesaid arguments suppose that
the first moved thing, namely the heavenly body, has its
motive principle in itself, whence it follows that it is
animated : and by many this is not granted.

To this we reply that if the first mover is not supposed
to have its motive principle in itself, it follows that it is
immediately moved by something altogether immovable.
Hence also Aristotle draws this conclusion with an alterna-
tive, namely that either we must come at once to a first
mover immovable and separate, or to a self-mover from
which again we come to a first mover immovable and
separate. 1

The Philosopher proceeds in a different way in 2 Mctaph.
to show that it is impossible to proceed to infinity in
efficient causes, and that we must come to one first cause,
and this we call God. This is how he proceeds. In all
efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of
the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of
the ultimate, whether the intermediate be one or several.
Now if the cause be removed, that which it causes is
removed. Therefore if we remove the first the inter-
mediate cannot be a cause. But if we go on to infinity in
efficient causes, no cause will be first. Therefore all the
others which are intermediate will be removed. Now this
is clearly false. Therefore we must suppose the existence
of a first efficient cause: and this is God.

Another reason can be drawn from the words of Aristotle.
For in 2 Metaph. 2 he shows that those things which excel
as true excel as beings : and in 4 Metaph. 3 he shows that
there is something supremely true, from the fact that we
see that of two false things one is falser than the other,
wherefore it follows that one also is truer than the other.
Now this is by reason of approximation to that which is
simply and supremely true. Wherefore we may further
1 8 Phys. v. 12. a D. la. i. 5. 3 D. 3. iv. 27, 28.

CHAPTER XIV 33

conclude that there is something that is supremely being.
And this we call God.

Another argument in support of this conclusion is
adduced by Damascene 1 from the government of things :
and the same reasoning is indicated by the Commentator
in 2 Phys. 2 It runs as follows. It is impossible for con-
trary and discordant things to accord in one order always
or frequently except by someone's governance, whereby
each and all are made to tend to a definite end. Now we
see that in the world things of different natures accord in
one order, not seldom and fortuitously, but always or for
the most part. Therefore it follows that there is someone
by whose providence the world is governed. And this we
call God.


What you are saying, then, is that it, like all intrinsic properties of matter, necessarily exists. You're basically confirming what I said on page 4; that ordinary matter has all of the properties required for everything in existence to exist exactly the way it is.

Do not put words in my mouth. Matter exists within the actual physical world, which did not cause itself, nor maintains its existence, but is Sustained by the Sustinant Principle.


by its nature, cannot intervene.

You are applying characteristics to the nature of a principle of whose existence we are debating; good effort to change the topic.


You were just saying that "[Potentiality] is the intrinsic property of some object or existence [...]", so which is it?

That that potential to ripen is but one of the infinite potentials available, but specifically, that those potentials exist as forms in the mind of the knower, to assign
general probabilities with each perceived "object" of which he is informed.

HahiHa
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@Ntech
First, thanks for finally providing more insight into the supposed sources of your claims. I'll read through it and may reply on that later.

Objects to not have potentials, everything can exist, and everything conversely can not exist, what can and can not exist is not limited by " potentiality" but is merely our understanding of which objects turn into what, and that within the sphere of the actual material universe.

That potential to ripen is a byproduct of your experience of knowing that apples ripen, it is not an intrinsic characteristic of that apple.

- Not everything can exist, because the universe doesn't have unlimited potential. Especially if you assume that causality is true, then not everything is possible.
- The phrase "everything can not exist" is meaningless.
- What can and cannot exist is entirely unrelated to our understanding/experience of existence. Our understanding of existence is purely descriptive and has absolutely no consequence for the existence of an object.

Something is said to be actualized when it exists, and before which it did not. That existence is deemed potential, as it is possible that it would have existed.

You contradict yourself. First you say that existence is actual, then you say it is deemed potential.

Also, at no point do you explain how something that does not exist can be part of an existing object's "motion". All you do is presuppose that motion in order to be able to claim a sustaining principle.
Lastly, I think I remember your definition of time from previous debates but just to be sure, could you briefly say what time is in your opinion please?
FishPreferred
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If no "efficient cause" exists, nothing would exist either. If an "efficient cause" is not required then nothing exists to require its existence.
So you assume, but reality is independent of your assumptions.

As for why, let's consider some of the claims you've made:
1 You've claimed that God exists.
2 You've claimed that God is uncaused.
If I am to accept both of those, I certainly can't accept your claim that nothing can exist without a cause, as that would be a direct contradiction.

The apple as it existed in the past no longer is actual.
How about "the apple as it exists in the present was also actual in the past, because it's the same friggin' apple".

Name me one way a potential can be actualized by nothing.
Nice straw man. I never asserted that potentials must be actualized; you did.

This apple is a state, in a series of states, the potentials of which are actualized by the Sustaining Force through the actualization of the physical plane.
No, the state of the apple is a state. It isn't equivalent to the apple itself any more than wetness is the same as a rainforest. The state at a given time follows naturally from the state at the previous time. It does not require magical assistance.

You do not make sense. You deny the potential, then affirm it.
You reword the same statement I made and pretend that the different wording in any way supports your argument.

In the first place we shall
give the arguments by which Aristotle sets out to prove
God's existence
Aristotle never attempted to prove any such thing. He likely never knew or cared much about the God under discussion.

Now that which moves
it is itself either moved or not. If it be not moved, then the
point is proved that we must needs postulate an immovable
mover : and this we call God.
Which is exactly the problem. If you've just established that unmoved things can move other things, you don't need divine power to have movable things be moved.

But it is not possible to proceed to infinity.
It most assuredly is possible. Just ignoring that possibility does not secure your reasoning against it.

Therefore if one of its parts is at rest, it follows that the
whole is at rest.
No, it doesn't. It follows only that part of it is at rest; in one particular frame of reference, no less.

Now nothing that is at rest while
another is at rest, is moved by itself : for that which is at
rest as a result of another thing being at rest must needs
be in motion as a result of the other's motion, [...]
This is the worst form of post hoc. It's assuming causation from coincidence. Two things at rest needn't even be correlated in any way. Why would the movement of one necessitate the movement of the other?

Therefore the truth of the conclu-
sion drawn does not require that we suppose as an absolute
truth that a part of that which moves itself is at rest, but
that this conditional statement be true that if a part were at
rest, the whole would be at rest.
Well, that statement isn't true. It's completely nonsensical.

Nor if it
is moved by its nature like those things whose movement
proceeds from themselves, such as animals, which clearly
are moved by their souls.
Uh, no. That's an entirely unfounded assumption.

Therefore
whatever is in motion is moved by another.
No, but I can see where he gets that idea.

Nothing is at the
same time in act and in potentiality in respect of the same
thing. Now whatever is in motion, as such, is in poten-
tiality, because motion is the act of that which is in poten-[...]tiality, as such.
If X is in motion, and motion is "the act of potentiality", then X is necessarily in act and in potentiality at the same time by virtue of this very definition.

Whereas according to Plato that which moves itself is not
a body; for he took movement for any operation, so that
to understand or to think is a kind of movement, [...]
Therefore, to be unmoved is to never think or understand, and while this might not be in contradiction with the arguments of Aristotle, it certainly contradicts yours.

If one were to proceed
to infinity in movers and things moved, all this infinite
number of things would necessarily be bodies, since what-
ever is moved is divisible and corporeal, as is proved in
6 Phys.
No, it is not proved. It isn't even a reasonable conclusion.

Now every body that moves through being moved
is moved at the same time as it moves. Therefore all this
infinite number of things are moved at the same time as
one of them is moved.
No, they aren't. No part of that makes any sense.

But
bodies cannot be simultaneous except by continuity or con-
tact.
By that reasoning, everything in the universe is touching everything else in the universe right now.

And
thus one infinite thing would be moved in a finite time,
which is shown to be impossible in 6 Phys. 2
What he's saying is essentially that no series of events can have any causal relationship whatsoever, because they inevitably have effects that extend beyond whatever triggered them.

In an ordinate series of movers and things
moved, where namely throughout the series one is moved
by the other, we must needs find that if the first mover be
taken away or cease to move, none of the others will move '
or be moved
No, you wouldn't, because there is no such thing as a first mover. It's just an assumption, and totally unjustifiable at that.

That which moves instru-
mentally, cannot move unless there be something that
moves principally.
No, that's just the exact same assumption slightly reworded.

Now Aristotle
holds this to be impossible, 1 namely, that at any time there
be no movement.
Then there is necessarily an infinite regression of movable things.

Again, if any two things are found accidentally united
in a certain subject, and one of them is to be found without
the other, it is probable that the latter can be found without
the former [...]
Really? If Darth Vader is found in fiction, and there is fiction independent of Darth Vader, it then stands to reason that Darth Vader exists apart from fiction? Are you sure you want to support him on this?

But this is
impossible : for the teacher must needs have science, while
the learner must needs not have it, and thus the same will
be both possessed and not possessed by the same, which is
impossible.
So, if, for example, Aquinas was taught the philosophy of Aristotle, he cannot possibly teach the philosophy of Aristotle, because by being taught, he cannot possibly possess the knowledge needed to teach it. That's ... uh, interesting, I suppose.

It remains, therefore, that in that which
moves itself, one part must be immovable, and must move
the other part.
No. That would restrict all motion to mere joint articulation, which obviously is not the case.

Now those corruptible
things which move themselves must needs be reducible to
some first self-mover that is everlasting.
Uh, no. That was pulled completely out of nowhere. There is no such need.

Nor can all of them together, both because they
would be infinite, and because they do not exist all together.
Again, this does not follow from anything previously established. The entirety of ordinary things can be infinite. They don't need to all exist simultaneously and forever as the same things.

But the first self-mover is always in
motion, else movement could not be everlasting, since
every other movement is caused by the movement of the
first self-mover. It follows therefore that the first self-
mover is moved by a mover who .is not moved, neither per
se nor accidentally.
Seriously, where did either of these conclusions come from?

And this object is above the motor in
moving, because the appetent is a moved mover, whereas
the appetible is a mover altogether unmoved.
Where does this come from?

To this we reply that if the first mover is not supposed
to have its motive principle in itself, it follows that it is
immediately moved by something altogether immovable.
Why would that follow? Why would the first thing to move something need to then be moved by an immovable thing?

In all
efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of
the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of
the ultimate, whether the intermediate be one or several.
Now if the cause be removed, that which it causes is
removed. Therefore if we remove the first the inter-
mediate cannot be a cause. But if we go on to infinity in
efficient causes, no cause will be first. Therefore all the
others which are intermediate will be removed. Now this
is clearly false.
Of course it's false; it has no logical basis. Removing one intermediate does not remove every other intermediate. That would be like pouring a glass of water from a tap and retroactively removing all water from ever being in the tap. Causality doesn't work that way.

[...] from the fact that we
see that of two false things one is falser than the other,
wherefore it follows that one also is truer than the other.
No, in fact, we don't. We may find more false things grouped together in one statement than another, but it does not follow that the other statement is more true.

Now this is by reason of approximation to that which is
simply and supremely true. Wherefore we may further
conclude that there is something that is supremely being.
And this we call God.
We may also conclude by the same reasoning that there is something that is supremely absent and something that is supremely unexceptional. These we don't call anything, because they still clearly do not exist.

It is impossible for con-
trary and discordant things to accord in one order always
or frequently except by someone's governance, whereby
each and all are made to tend to a definite end.
No, it isn't. Only by assuming that non-governed things are intrinsically discordant and that governed things are always in accord do you reach that conclusion.

Therefore it follows that there is someone
by whose providence the world is governed. And this we
call God.
No, it doesn't, because all of those discordant things that are almost never in accord (i.e. the entire basis of the assumption) are part of the world which was just concluded to be governed on the grounds of being in accord (thus defeating its own assumption).

Do not put words in my mouth. Matter exists within the actual physical world, which did not cause itself, nor maintains its existence, but is Sustained by the Sustinant Principle.
Stop trying to back out of your own admissions. Here's a direct quote from you:
"Potentiality or "Potentia" is the representation of all future forms and states of being a specific existence can take. It is the intrinsic property of some object or existence which constitute its entire set of possible forms. It describes the entire set of changes and forms any object or existence can become and are thus always present in the object from it's initial creation."

How, then, does the "intrinsic property of some object or existence" that is "always present in the object" not necessarily exist?

You are applying characteristics to the nature of a principle of whose existence we are debating; good effort to change the topic.
They're the characteristics you've established through your own argument. If you don't like it, maybe you should try an argument that doesn't specifically entail those characteristics.

That that potential to ripen is but one of the infinite potentials available, but specifically, that those potentials exist as forms in the mind of the knower, to assign
general probabilities with each perceived "object" of which he is informed.
Then you shouldn't be calling it the intrinsic property of some object or existence which constitute its entire set of possible forms. Or is that statement no longer one that you've made? It's hard to keep track.
Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@HahiHa


- Not everything can exist, because the universe doesn't have unlimited potential. Especially if you assume that causality is true, then not everything is possible.

The universe is finite, yet, that which causes it is not.


You contradict yourself. First you say that existence is actual, then you say it is deemed potential.

Existence is actual, but I don't exist the next second. I exist in the present. The next second, when it happens, becomes the present. My previous self is no longer actual, it happened. My future self is potential, and does not exist. That future self is potential when it doesn't exist and actual if it happens.
Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@FishPreferred


As for why, let's consider some of the claims you've made:
1 You've claimed that God exists.
2 You've claimed that God is uncaused.
If I am to accept both of those, I certainly can't accept your claim that nothing can exist without a cause, as that would be a direct contradiction.

God does not move from potence to actuality, He alone Is, for his future existence is not potential. We are limited by the physical existence that Sustains us, and He is Existence.


How about "the apple as it exists in the present was also actual in the past, because it's the same friggin' apple".

Yet it is not actual in the present.


Nice straw man. I never asserted that potentials must be actualized; you did.

Potentials must be actualized; That is an axiom. Something cannot exist without being actualized, whether we call it potential or not. This is a basic tenet of causality.


No, the state of the apple is a state. It isn't equivalent to the apple itself any more than wetness is the same as a rainforest. The state at a given time follows naturally from the state at the previous time. It does not require magical assistance.

The state at a given time does seem to follow from a previous state, yet, this state must be actualized before it exists. God sustains movement; you claim that He directs it.


You reword the same statement I made and pretend that the different wording in any way supports your argument.

My quotes are exactly as they appear.

For your disagreements with the Summa Contra Gentiles' proof, let us begin at the first point of dissent that our argument may be ordered and not all over the map.


Aristotle never attempted to prove any such thing. He likely never knew or cared much about the God under discussion.

Aristotle, Metaphysics, Chapters 6 through 10 of Bk. Twelfth.

[Sed quoniam tres sunt] Since there were three kinds of substance, two of them physical and one unmovable, regarding the latter we must assert that it is necessary that there should be an eternal unmovable substance. (http://dewey.library.upenn.edu/sceti/ljs/pagelevel/image.cfm?manid=ljs025&ampage=61&level=1)

Aristotle believed in the existence of an "eternal unmovable substance," God - The Sustaining Principle.


Which is exactly the problem. If you've just established that unmoved things can move other things, you don't need divine power to have movable things be moved.

To move another, one must exist in a mode of being. That which does not exist cannot cause that which exists. Movement is defined as the motion -- the reduction of potence to act, the actualization of a thing that before did not exist.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

The universe is finite, yet, that which causes it is not.

Now you're using circular reasoning. Proving the existence of God is the entire point of your argument for a sustaining principle, it cannot be its own explanation.

Existence is actual, but I don't exist the next second. I exist in the present. The next second, when it happens, becomes the present. My previous self is no longer actual, it happened. My future self is potential, and does not exist. That future self is potential when it doesn't exist and actual if it happens.

a) That does not explain your contradiction. You clearly said "That existence is deemed potential", yet by your own arguments existence cannot be potential.

b) The next second does not happen on its own. Your past, present and future self is the same 'entity' (or object, if you will) and always actual in its own time. Time is an expression of the causal chain of events, not independent of it; yes, the present can be considered actual, but it never stops being actual because it never stops being the present.
Your entire argumentation would only work if time was some independent dimension. As far as I know there is no evidence for that whatsoever, in fact we know that time is relative. Therefore your version of actuality and potentiality cannot be applied to the real world.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

The universe is finite, [...]
No, it isn't.

Existence is actual, but I don't exist the next second. I exist in the present. The next second, when it happens, becomes the present. My previous self is no longer actual, it happened. My future self is potential, and does not exist. That future self is potential when it doesn't exist and actual if it happens.
Well, if we're assuming that an object exists at one point in time, and a physically identical object exists at the very next point in time, it's reasonable to suppose that we are talking about one object from different frames of reference. I would hope that you at least have a reasonable explanation for how they supposedly aren't.

God does not move from potence to actuality, He alone Is, for his future existence is not potential.
Do you understand what I mean when I say special pleading? I know I don't always explain my point as well as I probably should, but I usually do provide a helpful link in case people aren't familiar with the term. In any case, by your definition of existence, what I'm getting from your statement here is that He doesn't exist. You can disagree, of course, but you really should abandon that definition, because it simply doesn't help you in any way.

We are limited by the physical existence that Sustains us, and He is Existence.
No, He isn't. Existence doesn't do that, nor does anything else.

Yet it is not actual in the present.
In what sense?

Potentials must be actualized; That is an axiom. Something cannot exist without being actualized, whether we call it potential or not. This is a basic tenet of causality.
1 No, that's an ipse dixit. It does not stand to reason. You'd have gone straight for the mathematical proof, otherwise.
2 If God is not actualized and "Something cannot exist without being actualized", then God cannot be a thing that exists. If your "axiom" were true, you'd have just disproven God.

The state at a given time does seem to follow from a previous state, yet, this state must be actualized before it exists. God sustains movement; you claim that He directs it.
1 Wrong on both counts.
2 Movement is sustained without any influence from magical sentient beings.

My quotes are exactly as they appear.
Which makes it all the more ridiculous when you try to deny their meaning.

Aristotle believed in the existence of an "eternal unmovable substance," [Velveeta - The Cheese that Never Dies.]
I respond to your blatant misattribution by positing my own, which is equally reasonable in every way.

To move another, one must exist in a mode of being. That which does not exist cannot cause that which exists. Movement is defined as the motion -- the reduction of potence to act, the actualization of a thing that before did not exist.
1 Being what?
2 This provides no support for your argument.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

@FishPreferred

The universe is finite, [...]

No, it isn't.

This isn't really relevant to Ntech's argument (his claim that objects don't have any potential and can become anything is wrong either way), but... the universe certainly isn't infinite, or is it?
Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@FishPreferred


No, it isn't.

The universe is finite, because through it we know limits, such as size, shape, weight, etc. An infinite universe would not be limited, characteristically or otherwise.


it's reasonable to suppose that we are talking about one object from different frames of reference. I would hope that you at least have a reasonable explanation for how they supposedly aren't.

That "object" may consist of the same atoms that it previously did, yet its "objectivity" exists only in our perception, and in essence, it is only a part of a much larger universe; that universe must be caused to realize the physical existences of the matter of which it contains and which is perceived individually by us.


In any case, by your definition of existence, what I'm getting from your statement here is that He doesn't exist. You can disagree, of course, but you really should abandon that definition, because it simply doesn't help you in any way.

That which moves, that thing's movement must be sustained. However, God does not move. This is not an exception, which would be "Everything has to be sustained except God," because I am not excepting God from the requirement to be sustained, because I never implied that He had to be sustained, by the very fact that He does not move.


In what sense?

In that it does not exist as it used to, but in a different way.


1 No, that's an ipse dixit. It does not stand to reason. You'd have gone straight for the mathematical proof, otherwise.

For nothing is the efficient cause of itself. <---- PROOF. Q.E.D.


2 If God is not actualized and "Something cannot exist without being actualized", then God cannot be a thing that exists. If your "axiom" were true, you'd have just disproven God.

God is not actualized, nor does he have to be, because He does not move from Potence to Actuality. God does not exist, He is existence. To exist implies to be sustained by God, and God is He that is sustinance.


2 Movement is sustained without any influence from magical sentient beings.

Apparently so, metaphysically incorrect.


I respond to your blatant misattribution by positing my own, which is equally reasonable in every way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmoved_mover - Quote: The unmoved mover (Ancient Greek: ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, translit. ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, lit. 'that which moves without being moved')[1] or prime mover (Latin: primum movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause (or first uncaused cause)[2]

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-natphil/#5


2 This provides no support for your argument.

Yes it does, for you state that a cause is not necessary for movement -- that a thing need not have an efficient cause.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

@Ntech

The universe is finite, yet, that which causes it is not.

Now you're using circular reasoning. Proving the existence of God is the entire point of your argument for a sustaining principle, it cannot be its own explanation.

Existence is actual, but I don't exist the next second. I exist in the present. The next second, when it happens, becomes the present. My previous self is no longer actual, it happened. My future self is potential, and does not exist. That future self is potential when it doesn't exist and actual if it happens.

a) That does not explain your contradiction. You clearly said "That existence is deemed potential", yet by your own arguments existence cannot be potential.

b) The next second does not happen on its own. Your past, present and future self is the same 'entity' (or object, if you will) and always actual in its own time. Time is an expression of the causal chain of events, not independent of it; yes, the present can be considered actual, but it never stops being actual because it never stops being the present.
Your entire argumentation would only work if time was some independent dimension. As far as I know there is no evidence for that whatsoever, in fact we know that time is relative. Therefore your version of actuality and potentiality cannot be applied to the real world.

For nothing is the efficient cause of itself. <---- PROOF. Q.E.D.

1. Cause and "actualizer" are two different things, which is why your statement does nothing to prove your "axiom".

2. As I have said before, your actuality/potentiality argument goes against causality, as it essentially imputes the chain of events to some magical force, not cause and effect.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

The universe is finite, because through it we know limits, such as size, shape, weight, etc. An infinite universe would not be limited, characteristically or otherwise.
1 Fallacy of composition. Having finite things does not make everything finite.
2 Those aren't limits. Those are characteristics; none of which pertain to the universe itself, because it is not a single material object.

That "object" may consist of the same atoms that it previously did, yet its "objectivity" exists only in our perception, and in essence, it is only a part of a much larger universe; [...]
If its constituent atoms are the same, what you're calling its objectivity is irrelevant. The matter persists through time without constant actualization.

[...] that universe must be caused to realize the physical existences of the matter of which it contains and which is perceived individually by us.
No, it doesn't.

This is not an exception, which would be "Everything has to be sustained except God," because I am not excepting God from the requirement to be sustained, because I never implied that He had to be sustained, by the very fact that He does not move.
So ... you are saying "Everything has to be sustained except God"?

In that it does not exist as it used to, but in a different way.
That is not the same as making it an entirely separate object. Yes, things change over time. They don't need help from magical transdimensional beings.

For nothing is the efficient cause of itself. <---- PROOF. Q.E.D.
^--False dichotomy.

God is not actualized, nor does he have to be, because He does not move from Potence to Actuality. God does not exist, He is existence. To exist implies to be sustained by God, and God is He that is sustinance.
Th- I'm sorry, what was that?

"God does not exist, [...]"
-Ntech, 05/03/2019

Okay, well it seems we're agreed that existence is not itself a thing that exists, and that God is not Himself a thing that exists. What we disagree on is whether God and existence are the same. I'd like to bring your attention to two facts:
1 If God is existence, by the symmetry of identity, existence is God. Existence is literally defined as "the state or fact of existing", so that must logically also be the definition of God. Nothing else. Nothing more.
2 Not existing implies not causing, doing, or affecting. Therefore, a god that does not exist cannot be a mover of anything that does exist. In other words, if there is a cause (mover) for an object existing, that cause cannot be the mere fact that the object exists (existence).

Apparently so, metaphysically incorrect.
Nice. Now can you in any way support that fantastical claim?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmoved_mover - Quote: The unmoved mover (Ancient Greek: ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, translit. ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, lit. 'that which moves without being moved')[1] or prime mover (Latin: primum movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause (or first uncaused cause)[2]
Which is not an ill-defined constant perpetuator of existence, and not the Judeo-Christian God. Exactly.

[...] you state that a cause is not necessary for movement -- that a thing need not have an efficient cause.
Basically, and your response to my statement provides no support for your argument. Now, I don't believe that things just automatically happen without a reason, but that doesn't exempt you from justifying your position. Certainly not if you want to prove something with it.
Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@HahiHa


Proving the existence of God is the entire point of your argument for a sustaining principle, it cannot be its own explanation.

I'll change my assertation to: the universe is not infinite.


a) That does not explain your contradiction. You clearly said "That existence is deemed potential", yet by your own arguments existence cannot be potential.

The possibilities of existing are deemed potential.


b) The next second does not happen on its own. Your past, present and future self is the same 'entity' (or object, if you will) and always actual in its own time. Time is an expression of the causal chain of events, not independent of it; yes, the present can be considered actual, but it never stops being actual because it never stops being the present.

Your past, present and future self is conceived of as the same 'entity' yet only that state which is actual -- if one is -- can be termed actual.


1. Cause and "actualizer" are two different things, which is why your statement does nothing to prove your "axiom".

The cause is equate with the actualizer.


2. As I have said before, your actuality/potentiality argument goes against causality, as it essentially imputes the chain of events to some magical force, not cause and effect.

That "magical" force is the cause, what exists is its effect.

@FishPreferred


1 Fallacy of composition. Having finite things does not make everything finite.

An infinite substance would not be limited in any way, and were the universe infinite, parts of it -- the physical universe -- would not be finite either.


2 Those aren't limits. Those are characteristics; none of which pertain to the universe itself, because it is not a single material object.

Characteristics are limited by the scope of their applicability. Limit is not found in an infinite substance.

It remains to you to prove that the universe is infinite, since I never claimed that it was in my arguments, and you are bringing that up to foil my assertions.


If its constituent atoms are the same, what you're calling its objectivity is irrelevant. The matter persists through time without constant actualization.

The matter's &quotersist[ence]" is actualized.


No, it doesn't.

So a universe that does not exist, exists around us? Illogical, to say the least.


So ... you are saying "Everything has to be sustained except God"?

Everything that is sustained is sustained by God.


That is not the same as making it an entirely separate object. Yes, things change over time. They don't need help from magical transdimensional beings.

Nor can they get help from inexistent universes.


^--False dichotomy.

^--Prove it.


"God does not exist, [...]"
-Ntech, 05/03/2019

You're totally right! God Is.


1 If God is existence, by the symmetry of identity, existence is God. Existence is literally defined as "the state or fact of existing", so that must logically also be the definition of God. Nothing else. Nothing more.

Symmetry of identity is conceived of and exists only in the mind of he who conceives.


2 Not existing implies not causing, doing, or affecting. Therefore, a god that does not exist cannot be a mover of anything that does exist. In other words, if there is a cause (mover) for an object existing, that cause cannot be the mere fact that the object exists (existence).

Hold on. If you agree that God sustains, that is cause per se. Existence/God does not exist, but sustains that which exist through it. That is an act.

You're right to say that if there is a cause, it does not necessarily have caused something. Yet if something is caused, it necessarily must have been caused by another.


Nice. Now can you in any way support that fantastical claim?

A thing cannot be the efficient cause of itself, therefore, if it is caused another caused it.


Which is not an ill-defined constant perpetuator of existence, and not the Judeo-Christian God. Exactly.

Finally we're getting somewhere! Acknowledge Aristotle's Eternal Substance and I shall proceed to prove that it is intelligent, capable of act, and indeed almighty, omnipotent, and all-powerful.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

An infinite substance would not be limited in any way, and were the universe infinite, parts of it -- the physical universe -- would not be finite either.
1 That's still a fallacy of composition. Having finite things does not make everything finite.
2 The physical universe is infinite. It's what I'm referring to when I say "the universe".

Characteristics are limited by the scope of their applicability. Limit is not found in an infinite substance.
And, likewise, it isn't possessed by the universe, because the universe is not a single material object.

It remains to you to prove that the universe is infinite, since I never claimed that it was in my arguments, and you are bringing that up to foil my assertions.
1 If you claimed that it was, we'd have nothing to argue on that point. You claimed that it wasn't and failed to support that claim.
2 The burden of proof rests foremost on the party that claims to be proving something (i.e. you).
3 To be finite is to have definite boundaries beyond which it does not exist. To exist alongside something that is beyond it is to not be the entire universe.

The matter's &quotersist[ence]" is actualized.
No, it isn't.

So a universe that does not exist, exists around us? Illogical, to say the least.
As only a statement from you could be.

Everything that is sustained is sustained by God.
No, it isn't. We don't need any invisible gremlins for that.

Nor can they get help from inexistent universes.
Correct.

^--Prove it.
What, again?
¬External Causation ≠ Self Causation
There you go.

Symmetry of identity is conceived of and exists only in the mind of he who conceives.
No, it doesn't. It's the simple fact that a thing is what it is.

Hold on. If you agree that God sustains, [...]
Well, I don't, so moving on ...

A thing cannot be the efficient cause of itself, therefore, if it is caused another caused it.
In other words, no, you can't support your claim. Movement is sustained without any influence from magical sentient beings, and nothing in the field of metaphysics can change that.

Acknowledge Aristotle's Eternal Substance and I shall proceed to prove that it is intelligent, capable of act, and indeed almighty, omnipotent, and all-powerful.
1 No, in fact, you shan't, but I'm eager to see you try.
2 There is no logical need for the substance(s) he describes.
3 Having a universe that can contain uncaused causes would invalidate your argument. In fact, it leads directly back to what your false dichotomy blatantly overlooks: You can't prove that everything needs an external cause, because your argument for allowing God rests on the premise that not everything needs an external cause, and you can't prove that not everything needs an external cause, because your argument for needing God rests on the premise that everything needs an external cause.
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