St. Thomas Aquinas developed a theological system that synthesized Western Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic theology with the philosophy of the ancient Greek thinker Aristotle. In his Summa Theologica, Aquinas devised five arguments for the existence of God, known as the Five Ways, that subsequently proved highly influential. While much of Aquinas’s system is concerned with special revelation, the doctrine of the Incarnation of God’s Word in Jesus Christ,the Five Ways are examples of natural theology. In other words, they are an attempt to discern divine truth in the order of the natural world.
Aquinas’s first three arguments, from motion, from causation begin with a general truth about natural phenomena and proceed to the existence of an ultimate creative source of the universe. In each case, Aquinas identifies this source with God.
Aquinas’s first demonstration of God’s existence is the argument from motion.(Brophy 428) He drew from Aristotle’s observation that each thing in the universe that moves is moved by something else. Aristotle reasoned that the series of movers must have begun with a first or prime mover that had not itself been moved or acted upon by any other agent. Aristotle sometimes called this prime mover “God.” Aquinas understood it as the God of Christianity.
The second of the Five Ways, the argument from causation, builds upon Aristotle’s notion of an efficient cause, the entity or event responsible for a change in a particular thing.(Brophy 428) Aristotle gives as examples a person reaching a decision, a father begetting a child, and a sculptor... [continues]
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