Stairway to Heaven
The following was a letter that was written to the Editor of your Web Philosopher's local news paper years ago. The writer of said letter was addressing an atheist who wrote a few days before.
Here it is: Think hard! Not hardly think. As Aristotle said, it takes quite a lot of work to understand abstract concepts, for they are farther from the senses.
Mr. X's letter about his "atheism" demonstrates the disintegration of modern thought that allows us to believe with ease contradictions without knowing them as such. Mr. X's piece contains terms the meanings of which are difficult to understand, such as "magical" and "superstitious". Therefore, instead of directly addressing his problems, I will discuss the existence of God which he denies.
All experience a material world. Matter is observed by the senses. Beings of matter are individual, singular, and concrete. Without too much meditation we know that matter of itself is non-intelligent, unknowing, necessarily limited by dimensions which many times can be seen. Example: Even a dead body breaks down into this unknowing stuff. No matter what the smallest particle of matter is, its essential characteristic is its extreme limitation.
Note well: In our treatment of the material world we are not addressing the physical sciences. They deal with observable phenomena, only deal with material "causes" and assume that matter is organized. They catalog what they see of material being and what it does, not to mention to predict its future behavior from its past.
Once we speak of what causes matter itself, we are not dealing with material causes per se, but we enter the realm of philosophy, not physical science.
The basic question in relation to material reality is this: How can this unintelligent, limited stuff "know" how to act in an organized manner as we observe it does? Matter acts as if it has purposes. Looking at nature we see beings without intelligence constantly acting for ends. There is order in nature. This same unconscious stuff acts the same, or nearly so, over and over. Even Mr. X states, "the conception, birth, and growth of children, the seasons," act harmoniously.
Now, meditate on the following: A being CANNOT give what it does not have. To believe a being CAN give what it does not have is to believe a contradiction. For example: If one does not have $500 in one's checking account, one may not write a check for that amount and expect money to pop out of nothing into the account to cover the check. One will have to hustle to get the money from somewhere else to cover the check.
No being can cause itself. The reason for this is that to cause itself, it would have to exist before it existed, which is nonsense. No being can change itself, for the changed part must have been in the being before it was in the being, which is also ridiculous.
No being can change itself, (be it a baby, a bug, or an ocean, etc.). But change exists and MUST come from something else rather than the thing changed. An infinite regressive series is impossible. The reason is that counting causes of causes can't go on forever, but must end at a first. There must, therefore, ultimately there is an uncaused changer, or better known as an uncaused cause.
This uncaused causer accounts for the existence of change in things we notice as changed. Example: A baby cannot gain weight from itself alone, but must incorporate nourishment to attain that added weight.. A 10 pound baby human cannot come from an 8 pound baby human, unless the added poundage comes from something else. 8 pounds cannot yield 10 pound on its own. 8 plus 2 equals 10. One must get the two from outside of the baby.
No being can act for purposes and act repeatedly the same when it is non-conscious. Non-conscious matter cannot have in itself change or organization with other material parts, for it cannot give itself the organization it does not have. However, it does change. It organizes, reacts with other matter to cause patterns. Something new is added or taken in a changed thing. Something is present which was not there before. Also matter - because it is non-intelligent cannot have within itself the ability to act according to design or harmonious laws as it does.
Some point to seeming random acts of the sub-atomic. However, these pieces of existing stuff acts seemingly randomly within there own sphere and not outside of it.. This is part of organization.
Since matter by nature does not act for purposes (ends), there must be a being, non material, which causes material beings to act for ends; a being which knows these ends, a being which directs nature and natural material beings in our unified harmonious universe made up of non-knowing parts. This intelligent being running nature we call GOD.
If the existence of such a being is not certain, nothing at all is certain. If we deny God, we assert that sense comes from non-sense, things give themselves perfections which they do not possess, and something can come from nothing. The afore mentioned propositions are absurd.
I guess this Being, the first always existing intelligent Cause, is what Mr. X would call a "personal God".
Led Zeppelin Fan *
Web Editor's notes.
An uncaused cause has to be eternal, i.e. has to have always existed.. Otherwise there would be nothing in existence at all now.
Can we see an uncaused cause? No, for an uncaused cause is eternal, and unchangeable (for if it changed we would have to look backward for another cause for that change, and this cannot go to infinity.) We see matter.
Can we see intelligence per se? No, We cannot see thoughts..Look on other page "Intellect is not matter."
This leaves us with two types of being in the universe. Matter and intelligence. Aristotle called the intelligent part Nous.
We cannot see an Uncaused Cause. We argue to Uncaused Cause. Logically, the existence of this Being cannot be escaped. It cannot be seen, bur its existence cannot be logically avoided.
As far as intelligence is concerned.: We know that conscious intelligent beings exist, because we have direct knowledge of our own nature, that is that we are conscious intelligent beings which order inanimate things, as well as knowledge.
1. To make a painting of a tree, one can organize the paints before us and mix the colors to imitate the tree on the canvas. This is organization.
2. We can write math books that organize concepts starting from the 1 plus 1 = 2 in a graded fashion until we end up building upon each step of mathematical knowledge in a pattern to more and more complex equations.
That conscious beings exist is evident to us.
The First Conscious Being, uncaused orderer of the universe, is like us, necessarily, in that this Being is the cause of conscious being. Consciousness cannot derive from unconsciousness, for a being cannot give what it does not have.
However, since we don't have direct knowledge of this Being as we do of the world captured by our senses, we know more about WHAT IT IS NOT than what IT IS. Example: The First Being: does not change, does not learn one thing at a time (a problem for changed beings only), plus many more "nots".
Being properly eternal, this Being cannot change and always was, for that which changes needs to be changed by another and so on, as we have shown above. The first in order of causes necessarily must have existed eternally. This being possesses all the knowledge we have and so more, i.e. the workings of the universe it organized and organizes constantly.
For example: Since the First Being orders the universe, what WE possess, and are capable of possessing, compared to what the FIRST BEING possesses is like a molecule in an ocean. ( Even this comparison seems to totally underestimates the truth of the matter.)
Freurbach and company said that man projects himself and his nature from his mind to make God like himself. NOT SO. Man can only exist as he does, intelligent, because something somewhat like and greater must have been man's cause. One cannot give what one does not have. And human intelligence, like every other limited being, has to have a source which has the perfection of intelligence.
IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS SUBJECT: I recommend the following:
The New Philastines - About Dawkins and the "NEW ATHEISTS"
Also please read this blog which uses an ingenious argument which includes "The Godfather" movies: