By John Hick
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Extra resources for Arguments for the Existence of God
For it is not evident that the causal sequence, or rather complex of interlocking sequences, may not extend indefinitely into the past without ever reaching an initial state. However prius does not necessarily mean temporally prior; it may mean logically prior. (12) And so as in the case of the first Way, the argument can be restated in non-temporal terms. It is then a variation on the theme of the first Way. ' (13) And F. C. Copleston offers in illustration the fact that a person's present activity is causally dependent upon (or has as a necessary condition) the existence of the air which he is breathing; and this in turn is causally dependent upon other wider physical conditions, and these upon others.
Tennant (1866-1957), who was active as a writer throughout the first half of the century, teaching for many years at Cambridge University, produced in his two-volume 'Philosophical Theology' (Cambridge University Press, 1928 and 1930, reprinted 1968) what many have regarded as the ablest presentation of a natural theology from within our science-oriented Western culture. Tennant regarded the nineteenth-century approach to God through religious experience as a mistake and continued the work of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century deists, who believed that the reality of God could be established by philosophical reasoning from the evidences of nature.
Aquinas's text is as follows: Some of the things we come across can be but need not be, for we find them springing up and dying away, thus sometimes in being and sometimes not. Now everything cannot be like this, for a thing that need not be, once was not; and 43 if everything need not be, once upon a time there was nothing. But if that were true there would be nothing even now, because something that does not exist can only be brought into being by something already existing. So that if nothing was in being nothing could be brought into being, and nothing would be in being now, which contradicts observation.