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Aquinas, Ockham, and Descartes about God. A free adaptation of their main arguments

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Descartes:
By ‘God’, I understand, a substance which is infinite, independent, supremely intelligent, supremely powerful, and which created both myself and everything else […] that exists.
“I could not possibly be of such a nature as I am, and yet have in my mind the idea of a God, if God did not in reality exist.” I have concluded the evident existence of God, and that my existence depends entirely on God in all the moments of my life, that I do not think that the human spirit may know anything with greater evidence and certitude.

Thomas Aquinas’ Unmoved Mover

https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t3170-aquinas-first-mover-five-ways-argument

The cosmological argument for God’s existence

https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1333-kalaam-the-cosmological-argument-for-gods-existence

The universe cannot be past eternal

https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1333-kalaam-the-kalaam-cosmological-argument#5124

The cause of the universe must be personal

https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1333-kalaam-the-cosmological-argument-for-gods-existence#5326

Nothing is the thing that stones think of

https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t2817-nothing-is-the-thing-that-stones-think-of

The philosophical cosmological argument of God’s existence https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1333-kalaam-the-cosmological-argument-for-gods-existence#545552

Syllogistic – Arguments of God’s existence based on positive evidence https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t2895-syllogistic-arguments-of-gods-existence-based-on-positive-evidence

Comments
StephenB
Ori: But the decision is made by something that is entirely made by God.
More bad logic. Moral decisions are not made by a something (free will), they are made by a person (Ted Bundy).
The person, yes, of course. And Ted Bundy (the person) is ‘something that is entirely made by God’. Didn’t you know that already?
The faculty of free will doesn’t make decisions at all.
No one claims that it does.
It is the person exercising that faculty who makes the decision.
Sure. And the person is entirely made by God.Origenes
January 30, 2023
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StephenB @183
SB: No. Ted Bundy’s immoral actions are NOT a direct result of something made by God.
Ori: Ted Bundy is made by God, so his immoral actions are a direct result of something made by God.
SB: Bad logic.
You cannot be serious. 1. Ted is something made by God. 2. Ted’s immoral actions are a direct result of Ted. Therefore, 3. Ted’s immoral actions are a direct result of something made by God.
The correct logic is as follows: Ted Bundy was made by God with the gifts of intellect and free will.
Ted Bundy, the gift of intellect, the gift of free will, ALL are made by God.
His immoral actions are a direct result of his misuse of that gift. They are not the direct result of the gift.
No one has claimed that T's immoral actions are the result of the gift. They are the result of Ted and all his capacities involved. And God is a sufficient cause for both Ted and his capacities. Show me the disconnect. Show me a causal chain that starts from Ted Bundy, that does not trace back to God as a sufficient cause.Origenes
January 30, 2023
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SB: God made the decision to create free will, but He did not make the decision to use or misuse it. Origenes:
But the decision is made by something that is entirely made by God.
More bad logic. Moral decisions are not made by a something (free will), they are made by a person (Ted Bundy). The faculty of free will doesn't make decisions at all. It is the person exercising that faculty who makes the decision.StephenB
January 30, 2023
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Origenes:
Ted Bundy is made by God, so his immoral actions are a direct result of something made by God.
Bad logic. The correct logic is as follows: Ted Bundy was made by God with the gifts of intellect and free will. His immoral actions are a direct result of his misuse of that gift. They are not the direct result of the gift. Origenes claims that it is logically impossible for God to create a human being with free will, yet Origenes also claims that he created himself with free will by observing himself. That’s about as bad as logic can get.StephenB
January 30, 2023
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StephenB @179, 175
… there is only ONE ARCHITECT of Ted Bundy’s choices and that would be Ted Bundy. He is, therefore, the only person or agent that is responsible for those choices. He is the one and only AGENT CAUSE or EFFICIENT CAUSE). There are no other agents who participated in his personal moral decisions or actions.
Show me a causal chain that starts with Ted Bundy, that does not trace back to God as a sufficient cause.
But this is exactly what I didn’t say. I say there IS something about Ted Bundy that wasn’t made by God, namely his moral actions.
The moral actions flow from something that is entirely made by God
God made the decision to create free will, but He did not make the decision to use or misuse it.
But the decision is made by something that is entirely made by God.
The gift of Free will is the power to use or misuse it. Ted Bundy had that power, and he misused it.
The power to use or misuse it, Ted Bundy himself, all made by God.
Ori: You want to distinguish between causal categories, but it makes exactly zero difference: every category you can come up with is either made by God or is the direct result of something that is made by God.
SB: No. Ted Bundy’s immoral actions are NOT a direct result of something made by God.
Again, Ted Bundy is made by God.
His *Power* to make good or bad moral decisions is a direct result of something made by God.
Indeed. Everything is made by God.
Ted Bundy had the moral power to resist his immoral actions.
His moral power is also created by God. Show me a causal chain that starts from Ted Bundy, that does not trace back to God as a sufficient cause.Origenes
January 30, 2023
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Origenes at 180, A strong desire toward simple, but elaborate sounding, explanations doesn't explain anything. Human beings have been trying to break the "laws of nature" for a long time by proposing and doing the unnatural. The remote past is in the past and beyond anyone's control. Are you a robot? Born preprogrammed? Only forced to follow your programming? Evidence? Men, including Christians, can do stupid, illogical and even self-destructive things. And you claim we can't alter our "programming"? There is no evidence of this.relatd
January 30, 2023
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StephenB
Ted Bundy’s immoral actions are NOT a direct result of something made by God.
Ted Bundy is made by God, so his immoral actions are a direct result of something made by God. 1.) If everything about us is determined/made by God, then all our actions and thoughts are consequences of God. 2.) We have no control over God. 3.) If A causes B, and we have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then we have no control over B. Therefore, 4.) If everything about us is made by God, then we have no control over our own actions and thoughts.Origenes
January 30, 2023
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Origenes:
According to Aquinas and you, every aspect of Ted Bundy, including his purported ‘free will’ is made by God.
No Aquinas and I do not say that. The problem is with your undefined and (excuse me, sloppy) term, *aspect.* If by every aspect, you mean free will plus the actions that free will allows, then it is NOT true that God created every aspect. If by every aspect you are referring only to Ted Bundy's capacities and his existence, then it is true that God created every aspect. Notice in your next comment, that you make a second error based on the first error:
If there is nothing about Ted Bundy that is not made by God,...
But this is exactly what I didn't say. I say there IS something about Ted Bundy that wasn't made by God, namely his moral actions. God made the decision to create free will, but He did not make the decision to use or misuse it. The gift of Free will is the power to use or misuse it. Ted Bundy had that power, and he misused it. It is a simple as that.
You want to distinguish between causal categories, but it makes exactly zero difference: every category you can come up with is either made by God or is the direct result of something that is made by God.
No. Ted Bundy's immoral actions are NOT a direct result of something made by God. His *Power* to make good or bad moral decisions is a direct result of something made by God. Ted Bundy had the moral power to resist his immoral actions.StephenB
January 29, 2023
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Origenes at 177, God sees all and knows all. He knows, before it happens, who will do wrong and who will do right. God, through the Bible, even tells us about the end of this world in the Book of Revelation. So don't make things more complicated than they are. All things are involved in God's plan. And God can and has interfered in human events, including causing miracles and visitations by the Blessed Virgin Mary. That said, miracles still occur today though the Media rarely reports on them. Some people become saints after miracles are attributed to them. What do you mean by "no free person"? No person acts outside of God's plan but we cannot know our part in advance, only God does. Do you understand? A "free person" is free to act throughout his life with only partial knowledge of his part in God's plan if he believes in God. Those who do not believe may do some good or some evil. It truly is up to them to choose. Again, they have no idea how their choices fit into God's plan. Do you understand?relatd
January 29, 2023
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Relatd @176 Like you, I am a theist who cannot imagine being wrong about it. However, Aquinas argues for a totally deterministic world — see #1 and #6. In Aquinas' world, only God moves on his own and is essentially the only actor. I am arguing that there can be no free human being in such a world. In my opinion, reality is more complicated than what Aquinas proposes.Origenes
January 29, 2023
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Origenes at 175, Where does Aquinas say that? God creates souls and men, however, He gave us free will. The Church recognizes mental illness and behaviors that can develop due to exposure to a certain environment. For example, a boy who grows up around criminals may choose criminal activity as an adult or be forced into it by others. God does not cause sin but we have a fallen nature that is prone to sin. The Sacraments give us the needed graces to help us avoid sinful behavior. Even though God knows what we will do before we do it, we don't get to know. When we sin we can confess our sins and receive forgiveness. Avoiding sin is a lifelong problem but with God's help we can grow in holiness.relatd
January 29, 2023
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StephenB @172
... there is only ONE ARCHITECT of Ted Bundy’s choices and that would be Ted Bundy. He is, therefore, the only person or agent that is responsible for those choices. He is the one and only AGENT CAUSE or EFFICIENT CAUSE). There are no other agents who participated in his personal moral decisions or actions.
Here I disagree and argue that Ted Bundy cannot be responsible for ‘his’ choices. According to Aquinas and you, every aspect of Ted Bundy, including his purported ‘free will’ is made by God. If there is nothing about Ted Bundy that is not made by God, it follows that every action coming from Ted Bundy comes from something that is made by God. You want to distinguish between causal categories, but it makes exactly zero difference: every category you can come up with is either made by God or is the direct result of something that is made by God. In a deterministic world, Ted Bundy can only be an automaton. Allow me to quote myself:
If God created every aspect of man, free will included, then God is the sufficient cause of man. If A is the sufficient cause of B, then A determines B. The actions of B cannot be conceived as a separate entity from B, instead, they are an inextricable aspect of B. Therefore, B, including its actions, is necessarily determined by A.
Origenes
January 29, 2023
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StephenB @170
Ori: The actions of B cannot be a separate entity from B, instead they are an inextricable aspect of it.
SB: Bad logic. The actions of B (the created agent’s moral choices) *must be* a separate entity from B (...)
Ori: I am asking you to please reconsider your statement. Suppose you walk in the street, can it be said that your walking “*must be* a separate entity” from you?
SB: We are not discussing entities. We are discussing categories.
If you are discussing categories and not entities, please use the term ‘category’ and not the term ‘entity’.
Three categories are needed: Category (A) God, the giver of the faculties of intellect and will; Category (B) human moral agents, the receivers of those gifts; and Category (C) the way human moral agents use or misuse those gifts. Those categories must be kept separate. Otherwise, causes get mixed in with their effects.
I would prefer just two entities: man and God. Is the receiver of the gift another entity (or category) than the one who uses or misuses those gifts? How does that make sense? Why would it be helpful?Origenes
January 29, 2023
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SB at 72, Man has two choices: Man is the ultimate reference point. So man prefers the words of other men ONLY. He becomes the God substitute. Man chooses God, and considers what other men say, with God as the ultimate reference point. Man, by himself, is deficient. Even though some want to exclude any mention of God from the 'pure' words of great men, they cannot see, or don't want to see, that what is good and right does not derive solely from other men. God is the source of all good and true knowledge regarding how men should live. Isaiah 5:20 "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"relatd
January 29, 2023
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SB: The broader point, which I have made previously, is that moral choices are the product of a multiplicity of causes. (…) So I don’t think we can say that man “alone” is the one and only cause of his choices. Origenes:
Ori: And here you say that Ted is not the only architect/designer/cause of his choices.
You don’t understand. Let’s try again. Using your language, there is only ONE ARCHITECT of Ted Bundy’s choices and that would be Ted Bundy. He is, therefore, the only person or agent that is responsible for those choices. He is the one and only AGENT CAUSE or EFFICIENT CAUSE). There are no other agents who participated in his personal moral decisions or actions. However, There are MANY OTHER KINDS of CAUSES (CAUSAL CONDITIONS) that play a role in human behavior, causes for which the human agent is NOT RESPONSIBLE and for which he is NOT the ARCHITECT. That is why your above formulation (“architect/designer/cause) is incorrect. You cannot always use those words interchangeably. This leads to logical errors. I will not list all the other causes, but here are a few: Ted Bundy’s CAPACITY of FREE WILL was a CONTRIBUTING CAUSE of his behavior. Without that capacity, he could not make moral decisions or take moral actions. Ted Bundy was NOT the architect of or the person responsible for that capacity. God is the person or agent responsible for its existence, but God is not responsible for the way Ted Bundy misused that gift. Indeed, EXISTENCE itself is yet another cause of Ted Bundy’s immoral behavior. If he didn’t exist, he could not do anything at all, including murder. God is responsible for Ted Bundy’s existence, Ted Bundy is NOT responsible for his own existence. Human beings cannot create themselves. (I know you believe otherwise, because you have claimed responsibility for your own existence, but everyone, except you I guess, knows that it is logically impossible for anyone or anything to bring itself into existence). Ted Bundy’s desire to pursue the ultimate good is yet another cause for his behavior. This is called the *final cause.* A final cause is the reason for a thing’s (or person’s) existence. It is the *why* something was made. God created the desire to pursue the good; Ted Bundy perverted this desire by learning to love what is evil and pursue it as a good for him. So, I will repeat the point yet again. There are many causes for Ted Bundy’s behavior, but only one agent, Ted Bundy, is its architect (efficient cause/agency cause).StephenB
January 29, 2023
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StephenB @165
SB: The broader point, which I have made previously, is that moral choices are the product of a multiplicity of causes. (...) So I don’t think we can say that man “alone” is the one and only cause of his choices.
Ori: And here you say that Ted is not the only architect/designer/cause of his choices. That there is a co-architect who, together with Ted, shapes Ted’s choice. Ted is not solely forming his choice. Absent the influence of this co-architect, Ted’s choice would have turned out differently, therefore there must be a joint responsibility for the definitive form of the choice.
SB: Never have I ever said anything like that. I don’t mind it if you disagree with what I say, but I would ask that you make some effort to comprehend it before you presume to critique it.
"Ted is not the only architect/designer/cause of his choices" is logically implied by your claim that there are multiple causes for his choice. For if multiple causes (A, B, and C) can be identified for an agent’s choice ('choice X'), so that: A + B + C --> ‘choice X’ Then it is logically implied that absent B and C, ‘choice X’ is not obtained. If B and C are real causes of ‘choice X’, then A + B + C --> ‘choice X’ and A --> ‘choice X’ cannot both be true at the same time.Origenes
January 29, 2023
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Origenes:
I am asking you to please reconsider your statement. Suppose you walk in the street, can it be said that your walking “*must be* a separate entity” from you?
We are not discussing entities. We are discussing categories. Your moral actions *must be* placed in a separate category from your faculties of intellect and will, which are a cause of your actions. God, who is the cause of those faculties, is yet another category that must be kept separate from the other two. You began with only two categories (A and B) It is impossible to understand the dynamics that way. That is the essence of your logical errors. Three categories are needed: Category (A) God, the giver of the faculties of intellect and will; Category (B) human moral agents, the receivers of those gifts; and Category (C) the way human moral agents use or misuse those gifts. Those categories must be kept separate. Otherwise, causes get mixed in with their effects.StephenB
January 28, 2023
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StephenB @167
Ori: The actions of B cannot be a separate entity from B, instead they are an inextricable aspect of it.
Bad logic. The actions of B (the created agent’s moral choices) *must be* a separate entity from B (his faculties of intellect and will), which, in turn, allow him to make moral choices (C).
I am asking you to please reconsider your statement. Suppose you walk in the street, can it be said that your walking "*must be* a separate entity" from you? An entity “separate” from you, as in ‘distinct’, as in ‘no connection’? And is it “bad logic” to say that your walking is “an inextricable aspect” of you?Origenes
January 28, 2023
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WJM@
The simpler version of the “God is sufficient cause, therefore determinative” argument is that when God creates a person, he doesn’t just create their beginning. He creates all of their existence down to minute, by the split-instant detail because God is not limited to a linear time experience.
Yours is a more succinct and elegant argument. Indeed, if God is timeless it follows that he doesn't just create the beginning of man. However, in #163 my effort is to critique Aquinas and use his terms and concepts as much as possible. I think I have succeeded. StephenB attempts to make the argument that causation does not imply responsibility and/or determination. I do not envy him in this.Origenes
January 28, 2023
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SB: If we are made by God to act as an automaton, then again, we have no freedom because our behavior is merely the result of our programming. If, on the other hand, we are made by God to act as free agents, then of course, we do have free will. Origenes:
Here I disagree and argue that being made and being determined are inextricably linked. If A is a sufficient cause of B, then A determines B. Determination has no other meaning. The actions of B cannot be a separate entity from B, instead they are an inextricable aspect of it.
Bad logic. The actions of B (the created agent’s moral choices) *must be* a separate entity from B (his faculties of intellect and will), which, in turn, allow him to make moral choices (C). Your gift of free will is not the same thing as what you do with that gift (using or misusing it). Consequently, your choices are not an *aspect* of your faculties, they are *effects* of your faculties. God (A) creates human agents and their moral faculties (B), which produce moral decisions and actions (C).StephenB
January 28, 2023
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The simpler version of the "God is sufficient cause, therefore determinative" argument is that when God creates a person, he doesn't just create their beginning. He creates all of their existence down to minute, by the split-instant detail because God is not limited to a linear time experience. The only way the individual could have led a different life is for God to have created that life differently. The argument that just because God knows the future doesn't mean we don't have free will fails to understand the actual nature of what it means for God to know the future of the things that He creates before he even creates them, because he is creating all of it at the same time, and the only way it can be different is for Him to create it differently.William J Murray
January 28, 2023
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Origenes:
And here you say that Ted is not the only architect/designer/cause of his choices. That there is a co-architect who, together with Ted, shapes Ted’s choice. Ted is not solely forming his choice.
Never have I ever said anything like that. I don’t mind it if you disagree with what I say, but I would ask that you make some effort to comprehend it before you presume to critique it.StephenB
January 28, 2023
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Origenes:
Here you say that it is entirely up to the agent what to do with the received gift. Put differently, the agent is completely free in his choice of how to use the gift.
Here you seem to imply that it is not entirely up to the agent what to do with the received gift.
You remain confused about the difference between a cause and a responsibility, and about the different kinds of causes that come into play. Only the agent cause (efficient cause) can be associated with moral obligations. It is entirely up to the created moral agent to decide what he will do with his gifts of intellect and will. He is, therefore, responsible for his choices because he has control over them. It is not up to the agent to decide if he will be given the faculties of intellect and will, which are also causes of his moral choices. The agent is not responsible for the existence of those faculties and has no control over whether or not he will possess them. He is, therefore, not responsible for their existence. Again, he is responsible only for the way he uses them. There are other causes, among the multiplicity of causes we could mention, such as the agent’s very existence. Another cause would be his need to pursue the ultimate good, which is his final cause. He did not decide to exist or to have a purpose. Those decisions were made by his Creator. The created moral agent is not responsible for their existence because he has no control over them. He is responsible only for his moral choices, over which he does have control.StephenB
January 28, 2023
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StephenB @146
Ori: If everything about us is determined/made by God, then all of our actions are a consequence of God.
To be “made” by God could mean either freedom (for the creature) or no freedom, depending on how one is made. Yet you use the two terms (determined by/made) interchangeably so there is much confusion in your formulation.
Here I disagree and argue that ‘being made’ and ‘being determined’ are inextricably linked. If A is a sufficient cause of B, then A determines B. ‘Determination’ has no other meaning.
But let’s get to the key point. If we are made by God to act as an automaton, then again, we have no freedom because our behavior is merely the result of our programming. If, on the other hand, we are made by God to act as free agents, then of course, we do have free will.
My argument is that the latter scenario is not logically possible. If God created every aspect of man, free will included, then God is the sufficient cause of man. If A is the sufficient cause of B, then A determines B. The actions of B cannot be conceived as a separate entity from B, instead, they are an inextricable aspect of B. Therefore, B, including its actions, is necessarily determined by A. _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.) If nothing can move itself but God, then all movement is coming from the first cause, that is God. 2.) All movement of His creation, is derivative of God moving Himself. 3.) The derivative movement of a moved thing, is not from the thing itself, instead, the movement is from God. 4.) The moved thing that cannot move itself has no control over its derivative movement. 5.) A thing that has no control over its derivative movement, has no responsibility for its movement. 6.) Man is moved but cannot move himself. Therefore, from 5.) and 6.) 7.) Man has no responsibility for his movement.Origenes
January 28, 2023
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StephenB @161
Agent causes (efficient causes) are responsible for the way they use their gifts. The giver of those gifts bears no responsibility. (…) God gave him the gift of intellect and will, but God bears no responsibility for Bundy’s misuse of those gifts.
Here you say that it is entirely up to the agent what to do with the received gift. Put differently, the agent is completely free in his choice of how to use the gift.
The broader point, which I have made previously, is that moral choices are the product of a multiplicity of causes.
Here you seem to imply that it is not entirely up to the agent what to do with the received gift. Here you are saying that “a multiplicity of causes” are co-architects of this choice and impact its definitive form. Absent the influence of these co-architects the agent choice would have turned out differently.
No. Not at all. Ted Bundy’s choices are solely his responsibility, as I have pointed out many times.
And here you are back to saying that Ted Bundy is the only architect/designer of his choices.
So I don’t think we can say that man “alone” is the one and only cause of his choices
And here you say that Ted is not the only architect/designer/cause of his choices. That there is a co-architect who, together with Ted, shapes Ted’s choice. Ted is not solely forming his choice. Absent the influence of this co-architect, Ted’s choice would have turned out differently, therefore there must be a joint responsibility for the definitive form of the choice. So, which is it? Is God a co-architect of Ted’s choice, and is the definitive form of Ted’s choice formed by Ted & God, or is the definitive form of Ted’s choice formed by Ted alone, and is God not a co-architect of Ted's choice?Origenes
January 28, 2023
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Origenes:
Which vocabulary, in your view, should Aquinas have used?
I have no problem with Aquinas' use of the vocabulary of causation to describe choices. I have a problem with your use the vocabulary of causation, such as when you use the term "self-caused" one day to indicate that you caused your choices, and another day to say that you caused your own existence. The first proposition is rational, the latter is not.
When we consider the acts of Ted Bundy, I take it that you would say that Ted Bundy is the efficient cause of his choices and that he “may well be the most important one”.
Yes, in this case, the agent (efficient cause) would seem to be the most important cause since it identifies the person who committed those horrendous acts. There is no guilt attached to other kinds of causes, such as the human need to pursue the good, which, through misuse, can be perverted and aimed toward an evil that is perceived as something good. Agent causes (efficient causes) are responsible for the way they use their gifts. The giver of those gifts bears no responsibility. The broader point, which I have made previously, is that moral choices are the product of a multiplicity of causes. That you don't recognize them as causes is a problem. So it may be time to repeat the point: Causation and personal responsibility are not the same thing.
But you would also point out that it is not the case that “man ‘alone’ is the one and only cause of his choices.”
That is correct. There are many other causes other than the agent cause.
So, are you saying that Ted Bundy’s choices are not entirely Ted Bundy’s responsibility but that God, as a final cause, bears part of the responsibility for them? Do I understand you correctly?
No. Not at all. Ted Bundy's choices are solely his responsibility, as I have pointed out many times. God gave him the gift of intellect and will, but God bears no responsibility for Bundy's misuse of those gifts. If repetition helps, I am happy to do it. Causation is not the same thing as personal responsibility Only the agent (efficient) cause is morally responsible for his actions. Apparently, you have a problem accepting the proposition that more than one cause is in play when someone makes a moral choice. Is that the case?StephenB
January 27, 2023
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The Creation Problem. Let’s zoom out totally and go back in time a bit. Let’s go back to a time before creation and look at the entirety of reality from a distance. Suppose that in the distance we see a magnificent sphere of pure white light. What we are looking at is ‘all there is’. In front of us, we see all there is: God. Now we ponder the question: “How does God create?” Given that it is logically impossible for God to use ‘nothingness’ as a substance for His creation, 'from nothing nothing comes', what is available as a substance for creation? If God is all there is, then it is necessarily true that God Himself is the only substance available for creation. Here we consider the fact that God has no parts, is pure harmony, an indivisible unity. So, we understand that, by definition, it is not possible for Him to remove from Himself a part that can serve as a substance for creation. Here we conclude that God can only create in Himself. It has been said: "we are all in God." The entirety of creation, you and I, Auschwitz, the universe, heaven, and hell … all is in God. I would argue that this is not a coherent idea and that ‘a creation situated in God’ is arguably in direct contradiction to the concept of God as a harmonious indivisible unity. Consider also this: if God is entirely ‘pure act’, how can it be that His creation, which is part of Him and inside of Him, is not?Origenes
January 27, 2023
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StephenB
Ori: Do you agree with the following formulation (feel free to make improvements): Man alone is the cause of his choice, but since God has created every aspect of man, it is obvious that man could not have possibly made his choice without Him.
I don’t think that the vocabulary of causation is necessarily the best way to analyze human choice.
I note that Aquinas uses the vocabulary of causation to analyze human choice. For instance here:
Free will is the cause of its own motion because by his free will man moves himself for the sake of acting. Nevertheless, it does not of necessity belong to liberty that what is free should be the first cause of itself, as neither is it required for one thing to be the cause of another that it be the first cause. God, therefore, is the first cause, moving both natural and voluntary causes. And just as by moving natural causes he does not divert their acts from being natural, so by moving voluntary causes he does not divert their actions from being voluntary; but rather he produces this ability in them: for he operates in each thing according to its own nature. [ST Ia 83.1]
Which vocabulary, in your view, should Aquinas have used?
However, if I was going to use that model, I would say that man is the *efficient cause* of his choices and the ultimate good for which they aim is the *final cause.* (…) So I don’t think we can say that man “alone” is the one and only cause of his choices, though as their agent, he may well be the most important one.
When we consider the acts of Ted Bundy, I take it that you would say that Ted Bundy is the efficient cause of his choices and that he "may well be the most important one". But you would also point out that it is not the case that "man 'alone' is the one and only cause of his choices." So, are you saying that Ted Bundy’s choices are not entirely Ted Bundy’s responsibility but that God, as a final cause, bears part of the responsibility for them? Do I understand you correctly?Origenes
January 27, 2023
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Origenes: ---“Do you agree with the following formulation (feel free to make improvements):”
Man alone is the cause of his choice, but since God has created every aspect of man, it is obvious that man could not have possibly made his choice without Him.
I don’t think that the vocabulary of causation is necessarily the best way to analyze human choice. However, if I was going to use that model, I would say that man is the *efficient cause* of his choices and the ultimate good for which they aim is the *final cause.* Quite often, bad things can appear as good things and good things can appear as bad things. Under the circumstances, the intellect can be fooled, especially when it is anticipated that a good moral choice may prove to be costly, which can make it seem like a bad thing. However, insofar as the will pursues a goal it perceives as good, its final cause will always be the attainment of that good. As I have argued, every human choice is a product of at least two causes. So I don’t think we can say that man “alone” is the one and only cause of his choices, though as their agent, he may well be the most important one.StephenB
January 27, 2023
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StephenB Do you agree with the following formulation (feel free to make improvements): Man alone is the cause of his choice, but since God has created every aspect of man, it is obvious that man could not have possibly made his choice without Him.Origenes
January 26, 2023
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