New argument for God's existence

In 1987 (so not really new), Augustine Shutte published an article entitled, "A New Argument for the Existence of God" in Modern Theology (Vol 3, Issue 2) in which he laid out, in Thomistic fashion, his version of such an argument. I won't lay out his support of the argument, partially because it is a 22-page essay. However, if there is anyone out there who would like to interact with me about it, I would be more than happy to send it by email attachment. But everyone is more than welcome to post their thoughts in response without having interacted with the article. Here is his argument:

1. Human persons depend on other persons to develop as persons.
2. If all persons absolutely were dependent in this way then no personal growth at all would occur.
3. Personal growth does occur.
4. Hence there must exist, as its sole sufficient cause, at least one person who is not dependent for personal development on others, an absolutely independent person.
5. This is what Christians recognise as God.


timcoe said…
I'll assume this is covered in the 22-page support, but it seems to me wholly plausible that two entirely dependent entities could simultaneously cause one another to develop, without either of them having any prior personal development.
givenlife said…
This is a very interesting concept... I can understand your speculation (Timcoe), but would have enjoyed reading further support for why you think that the development of "two entirely independent entities" could simultaneously occur...or is at least plausible.
As I think in the moment (I am a true american philosopher), to develop simultaneously would require the development of culture ex nihilo. I assume, in this case, that "culture" is the only conceivable means of mutural and simultaneous development, since development is in the most natural sense a passing on of a creature's culture. This however, seems also like a powerful argument for the divine, being that God made Adam in his image and thus the bearer of the Trinity's culture as well.
But even if I were to try to exhaust this topic, I think we (Timcoe and I) would still come to the same conclusion that either arugment is both "plausible" and somewhat lacking since no such developmental predicament has ever been observed.

I'm out.
Shane said…
This argument doesn't seem very plausible prima facie. There is something like 'society' among non-human animals, especially among apes and lots of animals have what we would call 'personality', e.g. cats, dogs, dolphins.
D.W. Congdon said…
Interesting. I am surprised that no one is immediately questioning the validity of an argument for God's existence that reduces God into a mere "cause" of worldly (human) "effects." That to me is the first, and most decisive, argument against this argument.

But since the issue of growth is ingredient to Shutte's argumentation, I will let him speak for himself, albeit only from a single paragraph:

"Self-knowledge and self-affirmation have a special status as indicators of personal growth. This derives from the fact that they are, like self-consciousness and self-determination, elements in the self-enactment that is the defining characteristic of persons. They are in fact fuller realisations of this capacity and therefore better suited to reveal the nature and requirements of personal growth. This special status for self-knowledge and self-affirmation can be seen more clearly if one thinks of personal growth as in some sense a growth in the unity or integrity of the person. Self-knowledge and self-affirmation are, I think it can be shown, the essential principles of such integration." (Italics mine, not the author's.)

Any thoughts in response to this?
Anonymous said…
Follows Leibniz' reasoning in the Ultimate Origination of what is new?