"Whether or not it is the case that there is proof for God's existence."
"It seems that the existence of God can be proven in five ways by the Cosmological Argument."
Saint Thomas Aquinas, put forth his own theory on the existence of God. In his text "Whether God Exists", he stated that through his five arguments he could prove God's existence. His five arguments are from motion, from first efficient cause, from possibility and necessity, from gradation, and from design. Aquinas begins his text with two objections as to why God does not exist. The first states that God does not exist because the word "God" has the meaning of infinite goodness. Therefore, if God actually existed there would be no evil in this world. Because there is evil, God cannot exist. The second objection states that all natural things can be attributed to reasons other than God's existence. The objection states that natural things are the result of human reason or will, without need for God's existence. Aquinas then goes on to explain his first argument, the argument from motion. In this he states that it is evident to everyone that certain things are in motion, and were put into motion by something. He defines motion to be "the reduction of something from a state of potentiality into a state of actuality" Aquinas gives an example of this in his text. He states that something that is actually as hot as fire will make the potentially hot piece of wood actually hot. Furthermore he states that it is not possible to be in a state of actuality and potentiality at the same time from the same point of view. From different points of view, however, this is possible. In the case of the wood, it can be actually hot while at the same time being potentially cold. With this he is basically saying that nothing has the ability to move itself. According to Aquinas, everything has been put into motion by an original force or first mover, and this he believes to be God. Aquinas' second argument is the argument from the formality of efficient causation. In this he states that there is an order of efficient causes in things that occur. Aquinas says that there is no evidence "in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself" He states that there must be a first cause, which creates one or more intermediate causes, which then in turn creates an ultimate cause. According to Aquinas, without a cause, there can be no effect. Therefore without a first cause, there cannot be an intermediate or ultimate cause, or an ultimate effect. So according to Aquinas, there must have been some First Efficient Cause, which he claims is God. Aquinas' third argument is from possibility and necessity. In this Aquinas states that things that can one day cease to exist could not have always existed. Aquinas says " if everything could cease to exist, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence." He stated that if this were true then there would be nothing in existence now. This is because according to Aquinas, if nothing had existed, there would be nothing there to begin to exist. So therefore, according to Aquinas, there must be some being in existence that has always been there. This something has its own necessity and causes necessity in others. This being he believes to be God. Aquinas' fourth argument is from gradation. Aquinas says that "Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble, and the like". But he states that more and less are dependent on the degree of most. An example he gives was that to be hotter, there has to be something that is hottest to judge it by. Aquinas also says "as fire
is the most complete form of heat
there must also be something which to all beings is the cause of their being" , and according to him, that something is God. He is thought of as the best, truest, and noblest being who is the cause for us being here. Aquinas' fifth and final argument is from the governance...
Cited: Bowie, Michaels, Solomon. Twenty Questions, an Introduction to Philosophy. Thomson Learning, USA. 2000.
Miller, ED.L. 2006, Questions that Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy, third shorter Ed., The McGraw-Hill Companies, Colorado.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document