Origins: A Philosophical Argument (Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover)

by Bob Perry

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is an obvious feature of the universe we live in. It’s hard to see how it could ever fall out of favor as a proof for theism. Likewise, Big Bang Cosmology is one of the most rigorously tested and accurately confirmed theories in history. Opponents of theism may dislike the implications of these scientific proofs but the fact is that scientific support for theism is very strong. That said, there is always a liability that comes with using scientific arguments like these to ground our case. Namely, the science could change. Fortunately, science isn’t all we have.

There are several philosophical arguments for theism. I am no philosopher but let me present what I believe is the best, and most compelling, of them in the best way I can.

When you and I talk about “motion,” we think about physical things like baseballs transitioning from one point in physical space to another point in physical space. But when philosophers talk about “motion,” they mean something very different. Motion to a philosopher is more like change. Things are constantly changing so the world we observe is constantly “in motion” in that sense. This idea of motion includes objects moving through space but it also includes phenomena like leaves changing color, falling off trees, and reappearing in the Spring or bodies that form, grow, get old, and then die and decay. The world is constantly in motion.

A God Who Begins Existence

Philosophers describe this ongoing process by saying that things are always “actually” in some state but have the “potential” to move to another state. Think of an ice cube. It is an “actual” block of frozen water but it has the “potential” to become a puddle, then steam, vapor, a cloud, a rain drop, part of a river that flows into a lake, and then something I pour in my glass. There is a continuous chain of events where actual things (with potential) change into other actual things — and something must cause each of these changes to occur. Whatever goes from potential to actual must have a cause.

But the motion must have started somewhere…
 
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Origins: A Philosophical Argument (Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover)