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St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica

raikou_99raikou_99 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
For truth seekers, this can be a great help. :) You might find the answers to your bugging questions here.

Summa Theologica

Sample question answered: Does God exist?

I was surprised to find not one, but five proofs of God's existence.


Objection 1. It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word "God" means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist.

Objection 2. Further, it is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God's existence.

On the contrary, It is said in the person of God: "I am Who am." (Exodus 3:14)

I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways.

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence--which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): "Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil." This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

Reply to Objection 2. Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.
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Comments

  • jeune_fillejeune_fille PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    ^Based on the principles defined by Aristotle
  • freakster2k1freakster2k1 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    first year philo all over. hehe.
  • albert_sy2albert_sy2 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    The "proofs" are nothing more than circular logic and are not actually self-evident. Therefore useless as proofs.
  • freakster2k1freakster2k1 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    yan, binara na. hehe.
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    teleological proofs are logically unacceptable. you cannot infer a necessary antecedent from a given consequent.
  • decoy47decoy47 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    These are the "proofs from reason" that you were telling us about in another thread raikou_99? How disappointing. FYI, this has been thoroughly discussed and debunked previously here in the RoT.
  • teleological proofs are logically unacceptable. you cannot infer a necessary antecedent from a given consequent.
    :hmm: someone on this thread desperately needs reminding.
  • freakster2k1freakster2k1 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    haha. yan sinasabi ko eh. the moment na first year philo ang mga arguments, sigurado babarahin. hehe
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    ^ because there's no sense in reinventing the wheel from scratch.
  • raikou_99raikou_99 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    then what is authoritatively acceptable? every argument is based on faith. every argument can easily be countered because no one holds the truth. but if you'll try not to be foolish and try to grasp sense, you'll see the picture.

    even logic is bound by faith, so don't be so proud about it, mooch. it is also based on the assumption that the absolute truth exists. without this, i can block all your arguments too. it's a never-ending argument unless someone accepts sense.

    and don't be too proud about Science and empirical knowledge, you are also convinced of its truth through faith.

    but if you'll just ask the question "why?" you would have found God already.

    the sky is blue.

    why?

    because light blah blah

    why?

    because the your lens blah blah

    why

    because your optic nerve blah blah

    why?

    ...

    Because God made it so! period. :)
  • decoy47decoy47 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    ^ Now we're talking about infinite regress? :lol:
  • freakster2k1freakster2k1 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    ah, he tried a comeback.. with the why argument. ang saya.
  • mac_bolan00mac_bolan00 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    if God was invisible he would be blind. he probably senses through other means (like broad band radio). :lol:
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    raikou_99 wrote:
    then what is authoritatively acceptable? every argument is based on faith. every argument can easily be countered because no one holds the truth. but if you'll try not to be foolish and try to grasp sense, you'll see the picture.

    even logic is bound by faith, so don't be so proud about it, mooch. it is also based on the assumption that the absolute truth exists. without this, i can block all your arguments too. it's a never-ending argument unless someone accepts sense.

    and don't be too proud about Science and empirical knowledge, you are also convinced of its truth through faith.

    but if you'll just ask the question "why?" you would have found God already.

    the sky is blue.

    why?

    because light blah blah

    why?

    because the your lens blah blah

    why

    because your optic nerve blah blah

    why?

    ...

    Because God made it so! period. :)

    and why stop just there? why not ask why god made it so? in fact, why go through the entire process of rational inquiry when the "god made it so" answer is an epistemological panacea fit for any type of teleological question?

    further, logic, just like math, is bound by axioms, not faith. axioms, unlike faith, are self-evident truths that cannot, do not, nor will ever contradict themselves at the same time, in the same sense, and in an absolute manner. i suggest a short course in logic, basic epistemology, and the philosophy of science; not just medieval philosophy for you. aquinas' arguments are logically invalid, since they do not necessarily imply their given conclusion.

    even if the universe today can arise out of a cause which we call god, its existence does not necessarily imply the actual existence of this a-priori defined god. the cause of this universe might just as well be the IPU or another diety - as defined by the arguer. in the same sense, saying that if it rains then the ground gets wet does not necessarily imply that it had rained, given the fact that the ground is wet.

    lastly, if indeed everything has a cause, then god must also have a cause. to say that god does not have a cause would violate the preceeding premise, since god is either something or nothing. to say that everything which begins to exist has a cause, and god does not have a beginning is equally invalid. first because we are unable to determine a posteriori whether god indeed began to exist or had always been existent, and second because god is continually changing and in motion which, to borrow aquinas' own words, cannot go on ad infinitum.

    try harder.
  • freakster2k1freakster2k1 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    patay ka. grad ng philo yan. haha. u can quote aquinas, moochie can quote all the dude that said things about aquinas. hehe
  • freakster2k1freakster2k1 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    and a small hint: dont use logical arguments to prove God, use a more personal argument, eats ice cream. hehe. that way, moochie cant really do much, koz what u like is what u like-- and he cant argue against it.
  • don't quote kasi. quoting someone is like giving away quodigo to go with your test questions.
  • freakster2k1freakster2k1 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    and a small hint: dont use logical arguments to prove God, use a more personal argument, eats ice cream. hehe. that way, moochie cant really do much, koz what u like is what u like-- and he cant argue against it.
  • in other words, don't try to prove God. prove na lang na you like God.
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    and a small hint: dont use logical arguments to prove God, use a more personal argument, eats ice cream. hehe. that way, moochie cant really do much, koz what u like is what u like-- and he cant argue against it.

    well, that may be true to an extent, but it wouldn't really count as an argument as much as it would a personal opinion. cheers! :cheers:
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