Chapter

Could the Created World Have Existed for Ever?

Norman Kretzmann

in The Metaphysics of Creation

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246540
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597879 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199246548.003.0005
 Could the Created World Have Existed for Ever?

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The grounds available in the debate over the propositions whether the world has existed for ever (Aristotle), or the world began to exist, became divided for the medievals into those holding the audacious assessment: the view that it can be, and indeed has been, demonstratively proved that the world could not have existed for ever and those holding the judicious assessment (including Aquinas): who deny that such purported demonstrations really do disprove that the world could not have existed for ever. Aquinas does not see a beginningless existence of created things as impossible. Arguments and objections are given to beginninglessness based on considerations of God, on considerations of created things, and on considerations of the making of things, about which Aquinas denies that creating is to be construed as a kind of making at all. He ends by positing an argument in support of the created world's having begun to exist, which he thinks has more probability than all those he rejected.

Keywords: Aquinas; Aristotle; beginninglessness; cosmology; creation; eternity; God

Chapter.  19078 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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