Early Western Philosophy of Religion
Early Western Philosophy of Religion
of the classical three laws of rational thinking. Claiming that every proposition is either true or not true, the first law summarily excludes the possibility of a middle-of-the-road alternative between two extremes. The second law states that it is not possible for something to be both true and not true at once and in the same contextual framework. The third law ascribes specific traits to everything. In other words, no two things are similar to each other (De Riemer, 2009).
Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury and one of the torchbearers of the Gregorian mission, challenged the validity of the law of the excluded middle by raising questions about the moment of death, when a person is alive and yet to die. Such a brief transition, according to him, does not conform to the basic assumption stated in the law of the excluded middle, for the dying instance falls in a temporal void where this law is nonfunctional (Stump & Kretzmann, 2001, p. 112). He, however, supported the law of noncontradiction on the basis of having certitude of knowledge about a given statement.
Thus, he argued that “If there is one sun, there are not two” (Ibid, p. 163). In a way, Augustine endorsed inductive reasoning to substantiate his viewpoints on the foundational laws of thought. However, when it came to analyzing the law of identity, he discarded epistemological reasoning and embraced the core of Christian worldviews. The law of intrinsic essence of every being was, according to his opinion, a hypothesis that is relative to the monistic identity of the highest form of Being, e. g. God Himself. In other words, it is possible to develop collective identity given that it finds a stake similar to God’s image (Ibid, p.
87). Cosmological accounts of creation have been put forward by many of the early as well as modern thinkers. Various scientific theories have proved beyond doubt that our universe is not infinite. This proposition is tempting enough to ask what lies beyond the periphery. St. Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian and one of the seminal thinkers of his time, argued vociferously in favor of God’s existence on a cosmic level. His magnum opus Summa Theologiae is considered to be one of the treasure troves of philosophical treatises on creationism. Aquinas takes natural theology as the starting point of his argument.
For nature, laws of existence are not rigid. It is possible for natural things to be born and destroyed, implying that everything is and is not at the same time. But it is truly impossible for anything to outlast its own expiration. What this means is that any form of existence is preceded by another form and that this chain continues backward till the creation of something that served independent of its own necessity for the sake of its succeeding creations. That something is nothing but what we believe as God (Meister, 2009, p. 67). I, despite being an atheist, strongly endorse the line of reasoning Aquinas used to prove God’s existence.
He arrived at his intended position by means of teleological assumptions and subsequent cancellations – if A is true, A cannot be not true. This method of double negation, I believe, holds the secret to success of his originative theological account. References De Reimer, H. T. (2009). Infallible Logic, A Visible and Automatic System of Reasoning. Charleston, South Carolina: BiblioBazaar, LLC. Meister, C. (2009). Introducing Philosophy of Religion. New York: Taylor & Francis. Stump, E. , & Kretzmann, N. (2001). The Cambridge companion to Augustine. New York: Cambridge University Press.