09 July 2011

FORTY-SEVENTH

A.  "...according to the philosophers, it is impossible to proceed to infinity in the order of efficient causes which act together at the same time, because in that case the effect would have to depend on an infinite number of actions simultaneously existing. And such causes are essentially infinite, because their infinity is required for the effect caused by them. On the other hand, in the sphere of non-simultaneously acting causes, it is not, according to the partisans of the perpetual generation theory, impossible to proceed to infinity. And the infinity here is accidental to the causes; thus, it is accidental to Socrates’ father that he is another man’s son or not. But it is not accidental to the stick, in moving the stone, that it be moved by the hand; for the stick moves just so far as it is moved."  —  SCG II.38.13

B.  The above clarifies the prime mover argument for God's existence.  The series of chapters from which it's taken is strikingly similar to Kant's antinomies.  Aquinas's arguments are generally more persuasive, though, as are his solutions.