K Summing Up G6

Summing up, let A be some existing thing that can also not exist—you, or this planet, or this galaxy, or all the galaxies taken together—something that does actually exist but that on its own, in its own nature, is related indifferently to existence. And suppose that A is a present member of a beginningless series of generating causes and their effects. Then, since every existing thing has a reason for its existence either in the necessity of its own nature or in the causal efficacy of some other beings, there must be some reason for A's existing. That reason cannot be in the necessity of A's own nature, since A on its own is related indifferently to existence; and so the reason for A's existing must be in the causal efficacy of other beings. However many other beings may in their causal efficacy be contributing instrumentally to A's existing now, their operating causally would not constitute the reason for A's existing now if there were not some first cause at the head of that essentially ordered series of causes. Therefore, since A does exist, such a first cause—Alpha—must exist. As such, Alpha must be not an instrumental but an altogether independent cause, dependent on absolutely nothing else for its present causal operation, which actualizes simultaneously the causal efficacy of all the instrumental causes in the series.

The Alpha whose necessary existence is argued for in G6 is a first sustainer; but I introduced Alpha into this discussion as the hypothetical first mover, the ultimate explanation of all change. Can Alpha the first mover and Alpha the first sustainer be one and the same? I think so. Since we have an argument for the first sustainer's end p.lll existence, it's only natural to take the primary identification of Alpha to be that of first sustainer. What makes it also the first mover is that its sustaining of nature (involving all the natural laws) is what makes possible all the natural changes that occur when and as they do because of the natures of things. Alpha the first mover considered in this way need not initiate any change, but must serve as the essential co-operating, enabling cause of every natural (and even volitional) change.

So, if Alpha the first sustainer is also the first mover, then it is as such altogether immutable, and therefore beginningless and endless. Alpha, by our initial hypothesis the first cause, must as such be at the head of an essentially ordered series of causes that explains the existing of any and every dependently existing thing. And, as the first sustaining cause, Alpha must be a first necessary being that is necessary through itself—that is, must exist altogether independently, in the sense that Alpha's existing is to be explained solely on the basis of Alpha's nature. Alpha's existing, then, is obviously independent of natural laws. But since those laws are inevitably referred to at some relatively elevated stage in the explanation of any dependent being's existing, natural laws must be intimately related to the nature of Alpha in some way. We will look at the nature of that relationship in Chapter Six below.

The last word of this chapter must be that even if, as I think, we now have good evidence for the existence of Alpha, what we have does not constitute an argument for the existence of God, simply because the characteristics essential to the entity in the conclusion of G6 don't constitute a condition sufficient for deity.

end p.112


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