Thomas Aquinas, a Roman Catholic Dominican monk, was a philosopher and a theologian during medieval times. Born at Rocca Secca in the Kingdom of Naples, he was believed by many Catholics to be the Church’s greatest theologian. At an early age he was very diligent in his studies and was noted as being a faithful prayer and would frequently ask his teachers “what is god?” Many years after, he came to a conclusion that the existence of God is neither self-evident nor beyond proof. He concluded that faith and reason were the two main elements to obtain true knowledge of god. Aquinas publsihed many works regading the existence of god during his time and the one he is most known for is “quinquae viae” or the “Five ways” This piece consists of five proofs of the existence of god and they are The Argument From Motion, Causation Of Existence, Contingent and Necessary Objects, The Argument From Degrees And Perfection and The Argument From Intelligent Design. This paper will discuss the strengths and weaknesses and the overall success in proving the existence of god, in the first two of the five proofs Aquinas had thought of.
The first proof Aquinas provides is the argument from motion. After studying the works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, his idea was clear and simple, an object that is in motion is set in to motion by another energy. For example, if the sea level rises and destroys a town, one might ask why the sea level rose? Did the sea level rise because of a temperature drop in the artic? Did the temperature drop in the artic because of global warming? Did global warming occur because of humans? The questions can go on and on. He claimed that nothing moved itself, and everything had a mover except for the first mover who did not need any movement from any other source. That first mover is whom we call god and without his movement there can be no motion to begin with. Thus we would not exist if it were not for the movement of the God. This was the message Aquinas was trying to convey to his people through his first proof of the existence of god. His second proof, Causation Of Existence, was quite similar to the one of the first proof. It states that, there is an efficient cause for everything and nothing can be the efficient cause of itself. If there were no first efficient cause of the universe’s coming into being, then there could be no second causes because the second causes are completely reliant on the first cause. He points out that we see second causes all around us (mankind being the second cause).
I was in the debate team in high school. And there were times that our team would take the against side of the statement. In his famous work Prologion, written in 1077-1078, Anselm presents the idea the God exists because God is the greatest thing of all, that the idea of thinking of God exists prove its existence. Hundred of years later, Thomas Aquinas brings up the account that addresses ...
If this is true, then we know that there is a first cause and that first cause is God.
Aquinas’s first two proofs would sound very compelling to the reader but one can also easily object his arguments. One of the strengths in his arguments is that both the Argument of motion and the Causation of Existence have a single common logical structure. Aquinas knew that there was not enough evidence to prove to society that god exists in any shape or form. So instead of proving that god exists directly to the reader, Aquinas proves it indirectly by disproving the views of atheism. He leaves the thought in ones mind that there is a force beyond what one is able to see with his or her own eyes and that there must be a first cause for all the events which occur. Another strength Aquinas used to express his key point is that he had approached it in many different ways. All of his proofs lead back to one main point and that is, if there were no first cause, there could be no second causes, and there are second causes. In consequence, there must be a first cause of motion and an existence. Even if Aquinas puts a thought in ones head of the existence of an all mighty being, there are many disputes towards his proofs. In the argument of motion it states that everything needs a cause but the first cause (God) does not need a cause. But if one asks who made god there would be an internal contradiction in his argument (Is god something or not?).
... to our first argument of God’s existence, examining Aquinas first of five proofs of His existence. St. Thomas Aquinas first proof is the argument from motion, inspired ... to achieve his purposes. God’s existence has been a question under debate for a very long time. One of the oldest ... metaphysical questions is: Does God Exist? (Garrett, 1) Theists are ...
The argument does not use the premise that everything needs a cause so it opens up a range of objections. Aquinas also has weaknesses on his second proof, the Causation of Existence. The second proof states that there must be a first cause to all the cause’s that have occurred. But one can claim that there may not be a first cause, it might be just a cycle of causes, which go around repeatedly for example the rain cycle or the seasons of the year. The second argument also states that there is an efficient cause for everything and nothing can be the efficient cause for itself. If this were true, the topic of miracles would be clearly ruled out because it is a noncaused event. One can also say that perhaps there is no time, time is just an illusion to divert the human mind and there is no gap between a cause and an affect.
It is hard to evaluate the success of Aquinas’s proofs of the existence of god because his work was written during medieval times and at that time science had no influence in his work. But if we were to evaluate his work with our current standards, with the help of modern science today, Aquinas’s first proof (the Argument of motion) would be eradicated. Newton’s First Law clearly states that an element would tend to stay at rest or move in a constant rate if no outside force has tampered with it. Thus there is no need for a prime mover at all. His first way would fail to express the message that it tried to convey because now it has been scientifically been proved wrong. With his second way (Causation of Existence), If Aquinas claimed that everything that moved had a cause except for god who never began or ended (eternal), and for this reason he needs no cause. He should have expanded more on the idea of why god must have been eternal. Without supporting the idea of why God is eternal, Aquinas leaves his idea to be hammered down to the ground by modern theorists. The overall quality of his work diminished when he did not expand his thoughts on some of the smaller issues, which lead to the destruction of his proofs at the end.
Comparing “Dolor” and “A Hardware Store as Proof of the Existence of God” Happiness in life is seen through the little things we do and the small stuffs we usually took for granted like the little flower blossoming at the edge of a busy road, the pancake that our mother have lovingly cooked, and the sparingly blue sky in the morning. It is like a fire that keeps on burning with passion. Sadness, ...
In conclusion, Aquinas’s first two proofs did not actually get the job done of proving the existence of god when compared in today’s society. One can clearly note that there is an immense change in the way society reflects today compared to the one of Aquinas’s time because of the impact of science and technology. His proofs might have been successful overall during the medieval times, but certainly not in today’s society because there has been far too much flaws found in his theories with the help of science. If his work were to be evaluated fairly today, then one must not include the knowledge of what science had offered and this would dramatically change the success rate of his proofs.