Motion: The Most Manifest Proof of St. Thomas Aquinas with Preliminaries on Religious Indifference


Notion of Motion

             After considering the problem of atheism or religious indifference let us now consider the main point in question and that is motion. (See Part One)


A) The Meaning of Motion

Aristotle defined motion as “the act of a being in potency in so far as it is still in potency.”[1]

This definition speaks of the actualization of that which is in potency. On the other hand, when the potency is entirely actualized there will be no motion in that sense. Yes, motion is the very process of actualization. But Aristotle, take note, added insofar as it is still in potency.

Motion then is the actualization of a potency as long as the potency is still present and not fully actualized.


B) Motion as Change

Motion in a wide sense or motion properly so called signifies change. In fact, motion indicates all kinds of change in matter. These kinds are substantial change, change in quality and local change.

And so we cannot but consider and equate any change as movement or the reverse i.e. any movement as signifying any change whether substantial, local, quantitative or


C) The Causality of Motion in Religious Indifference

The point of departure here is the equation of motion and change or vice-versa as stated above.

By considering motion as change, which is indispensable and inseparable to the former, we can say initially that motion has something to do with the decline in belief.

Henri Daniel-Rops attests that: “simultaneously with the intellectual and political revolution there had taken place a scientific and technical revolution.”[2] The steam-engine, the rhythm of work, the birth of large scale industries and the growth of capitalism are some of the examples of change.

There would always be results and effects of a certain change. The result was a profound disequilibrium[3]. Disequilibrium in many respects has affected the culture of man including the outlook that man is an end to himself, and the sole maker, with supreme control of his own history. In short, belief has also been affected. Vatican Council II said: “The sense of power which modern technical progress begets in man may encourage this outlook.”[4]

In his book, The God of Atheism, Fr. Vincent Miceli also would testify to the above claims. He said:

“Man has come of age. The era of superstition has been superseded by the era of science. Twentieth century man is the creation of a long series of happy – and some very unhappy – happenings, nearly all of them apparently salutary revolutions.”[5]

Changes and revolutions are still at work today. People are still in an Age of Revolution and Change. If these mutations, changes and revolutions affected the belief of people to a Supreme Being, the question now is whether those mutations, changes and revolutions within the walls of history would serve as the sign or mark of the beginning of indifference or irreligion of atheism. “Would the world, by changing its foundations, get rid of God?”[6]

Contemporary man decided to make the most radical change of all. He decided to change his God. He decided to get rid of his God. He changed God, the Supreme Being, to his deity of man and science. Contemporary man’s divine adventure is no longer God. His adventure is man himself e.g. looking for his autonomy through his economic and social emancipation. And so for contemporary man to assert God as the author and end of all things would make his emancipation impossible. “Man even proceeded to change Jesus radically… God is, for the enlightened twentieth-century man, pure fiction.”[7]

And so, in an age of supreme optimism about progressive change, when man conquered gravity, broken through his own atmosphere captured the moon and is already taking up close-up photos of other planets prior to landing there also, it is hardly surprising that he has made a religious cult, an idolatry, a fanatical liturgy of evolutionary development. His new god is the future progress of man. And he has put his fervent, total, blind faith in that god. Twentieth century man is passionately in love with the god of change. He is violent against established, orderly, permanent things; his appetite for for the new is insatiable.[8]

[1] Physics. III, 1, 201a  10.

[2] H. Daniel-Rops, A Fight for God, J. Warrington (trans.), London, J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1966, p. 2.

[3] Ibid. p.2

[4] Gaudium et Spes 20 § 1.

[5] V. Miceli S.J., The Gods of Atheism, Arlington House, New York, 1971, p. 447.

[6] H. Daniel-Rops, A Fight for God, J. Warrington (trans.), London, J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1966, p. 6.

[7] Ibid. The Gods of Atheism, p. 448.

[8] Cf. The Gods of Atheism, p. 448.



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