Does God Exist What is God? Who is God? Why do some people conclude that a God exists? Saint Thomas Aquinas goes from the fact that there must be a first efficient cause to the conclusion that God is that cause. Why must Aquinas make the extraordinary jump from there being a cause, to assuming that this cause must be God? Would it not be just as plausible to make matter the first cause? Matter is the substance that any physical object is composed of. Matter is closed and finite, with no beginning or end. The best explanation to the existence of God, is that God does not exist as a first efficient cause. The argument for God, as presented by Aquinas, is to show that the existence of the world and everything in it can only be explained if there is a God who is the first cause.
The argument states that it is impossible for any being to be the efficient cause of itself because then it would have to bring itself into being, and to bring itself into being, it would have to exist before it existed. If a being exists, it is because some being prior to it, was it’s cause. Therefore, if no first cause exists, neither will any other being exist. Therefore, there is a first efficient cause–God. This argument assumes that a first cause is needed to explain the existence of anything.
Aquinas also assumes this first cause to be God. How can anyone rationally conclude that there is a God from the simple statement that a first cause is necessary? Therefore, a first cause does not prove God, it only assumes that there is a God, at best. Could one not put matter in the place of God in Aquinas’ argument and still assume there is a first efficient cause? The theory that matter “is”, is just as plausible as the theory that God “is”. Matter is closed and finite in extent, with no beginning or end. Putting Matter in the place of God in the end of the argument given by Aquinas, is just as plausible.
In fact, matter is an easier concept to understand and to believe in than God. Everyone has a different view of what God is and even what he stands for, but many of those same people understand the concepts of matter. Matter is all around us, and even we are matter. We interact with matter everyday and in every situation, so the knowledge of matter is not trivial. God does not interact with us, he is not around us, and we do not associate with God in the same manner in which we associate with matter. Matter is an understandable concept while God is abstract.
The properties of matter make it a suitable conclusion for Aquinas’ argument in place of God. The explanation of God is then not needed and therefore there is no place for God in the discussion of the origin of matter. Therefore, the best explanation is that God does not exist as a first efficient cause. Not only is matter an easier concept to understand and relate to than God, It is also a tremendous leap of faith to put anything as the first efficient cause. If you were to conclude that there had to be a first efficient cause, why would one assume that God was that cause.
God, of all things, is the most abstract idea that exists. Why does Aquinas make this huge jump to God when matter would also fit in his explanation? Matter may even be a better concept then that of God because we are comfortable with what matter is. Why then, do people of so many different cultures and backgrounds, turn to the belief of a God as the first cause. Surely if so many people believe, they must have some clout as to what they are believing. These people are only believing in God because it is given as a conclusion to us as a being.
Matter is just as suitable of a conclusion to us as a being and it answers the first efficient cause argument. Matter is not nearly as abstract of an idea and in fact, we are matter, so the notion that matter “is” is not nearly as far fetched as the idea that God “is”. The same people who say that God is the first efficient cause also believe in matter. At the same time, more people believe in the concept of matter and what it is than believe in God. In fact, they believe in the very same types of matter while their beliefs of God as the first efficient cause remain very different.
These cultures must have a reason for turning to God rather than matter as their first efficient cause. The reason is that they can give God supernatural powers that do not exist with matter. These supernatural powers differ greatly between cultures, so the main reason they turn to God is very different in similar cases. The reason that cultures turn to God instead of mater is that they can assign these supernatural powers at free will, while the concept of matter is well defined. God is just an easy approach to the unsolved mysteries and theories of the universe. However, matter is a better fit.
Overall, I have shown that the argument given by Aquinas only assumes God, it does not prove it. Matter “is”, just as God “is”. Furthermore, I have shown that the explanation of God is not needed and therefore there is no place for God in the discussion of the first cause. Therefore, God does not exist as a first efficient cause.