Monday, May 07, 2012

Creation, cosmology, and the insights of Thomas Aquinas

source: via search.

Carroll argues that:

  • cosmologists are using metaphysical judgements without a sound philosophical foundation (they are using science, not philosophy or metaphysics)
  • the Big Bang points to supernatural cause of beginning of universe (why?)
  • Thomas Aquinas 'doctrine of creation' says that all that is, in whatever way or ways it is, depends upon God as cause. (but that's just saying that God did it!)

In summary William E Carroll maintains that:-
'Claims by authors like Hawking in 'The Grand Design' and Krauss in 'A Universe from Nothing' about the explanatory reach of science are ostensibly made on the basis of developments in science, but they are really metaphysical judgments, frequently advanced without a sound philosophical foundation. If there is a metaphysical assumption lurking behind this view, it is that the mere existence of things needs no explanation.'

'Robert Spitzer in New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy, claims that modern physics shows us that the past time of the universe is finite. The general argument is that an initial "singularity" [the Big Bang], outside the categories of space and time, points to a supernatural cause of the beginning of the universe.'

For Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) creation is a topic for metaphysics and theology. The doctrine of creation affirms that all that is, in whatever way or ways it is, depends upon God as cause. The natural sciences have as their subject the world of changing things: from subatomic particles to acorns to galaxies. Whenever there is a change there must be something that changes. Whether these changes are biological or cosmological, without beginning or end, or temporally finite, they remain processes. Creation, on the other hand, is the radical causing of the whole existence of whatever exists. Creation is not a change. To cause completely something to exist is not to produce a change in something, is not to work on or with some existing material. When God's creative act is said to be "out of nothing," what is meant is that God does not use anything in creating all that is: it does not mean that there is a change from "nothing" to "something."

"Cosmology and all the other natural sciences offer accounts of change; they do not address the metaphysical and theological questions of creation; they do not speak to why there is something rather than nothing. It is a mistake to use arguments in the natural sciences to deny creation. Similarly, it is a mistake to use arguments in cosmology to seek to confirm the doctrine of creation."

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