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According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, we can prove God’s existence even with reasoning.

Thus, he made use of the five arguments namely motion, cause and effect, contingency, degrees of perfection and intelligent designer.

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) o lived at a critical juncture of western culture when the arrival of the Aristotelian corpus in Latin translation reopened the question of the relation between faith and reason o born in circa 1225 in Roccasecca, Italy o son of Landulph, count of Aquino, and Theodora, countess of Teano o had eight siblings and was the youngest child o [though his family members were descendants of Emperors Frederick I and Henry VI, they were] considered to be of lower nobility o was sent to the Abbey of Monte Cassino to train among Benedictine monks when he was just 5 years old o [the next five years, he] completed his primary education at a Benedictine house in Naples o [Circa 1239] began attending the University of Naples o [1243] secretly joined an order of Dominican monks, receiving the habit in 1244 o imprisoned in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca o died on March 7, 1274, at the Cistercian monastery of Fossanova, near Terracina, Latium, Papal States, Italy o ranked among the most influential thinkers of medieval Scholasticism o [1245 to 1252] continued to pursue his studies o [1250] taught theology at the University of Paris o [under the tutelage of St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas] subsequently earned his doctorate in theology o also known for his Summa Theologica/Theologiae The Five Ways of Saint Thomas Aquinas 1. Motion o o o o o Objects are in motion. If something is in motion, then it must be set into motion by something outside of itself. There cannot be an infinite chain of movers. So, there is a first, unmoved mover that sets the world into motion. Hence God is the first unmoved mover and he exists.

2. Efficient Cause o o o o o Some events cause other events. If an event happens, then it must be caused by some prior event outside of itself. There cannot be an infinite causal chain of cause and effect. So, there must be a first, efficient cause, uncaused cause. Hence, God is this first cause and he exists.

3. Possibility and Necessity o Contingent things exist. o Each contingent thing has a time when it fails to exist (Aquinas assumes contingent objects are not eternal) o So, if everything were contingent, then there would be a time in the past when nothing existed. A time of complete emptiness o That time of complete emptiness would have been in the past. o If nothing existed in the past, then nothing would exist now, since something cannot come from nothing. o So, if everything were contingent, nothing would exist now. (But clearly things do exist now, the world is not empty.) o Therefore a being exists that is not contingent. o Hence, God is this necessary being and he exists. 4. Degrees of Perfection o Objects have properties to greater or lesser degrees. o If an object has a property to a lesser extent, then there must be an object that has it to the maximum extent. o So there is a being that has all properties to the greatest possible degree. o Hence this being is God and he exists. 5. Design o Among objects that have goals or purpose, some have minds and others do not. o An object that has a goal, but does not have a mind, must have been designed by a being that had a mind. o So there exists a being with a mind who designed all of the mindless objects that act for ends. o Hence this Being is God and he does exist.

Counter arguments o Richard Dawkins: the argument shouldn’t assume that God is an exception to the rule o David Hume: we are trying to prove things beyond our experience by using our own limited experience; how can we know what happened at the beginning of the universe when none of us was there o Bertrand Russell (The Radio Debate: Between Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell) Copleston: There are some things in the world that do not have in themselves the reason or cause for their existence. God is his own sufficient reason. God is not contingent. Russell: He rejected the idea of contingency and that there is a necessary being, God, on which all things depend. God as a necessary being would have to be in a special category of his own, so where does this special category come from and why should such a category be accepted? A ‘necessary being’ has no meaning.

Copleston: If Russell could talk of God in this way, he understood the meaning of a necessary being Russell: The universe does not have to have a beginning. It could always have been there and that was a brute fact o Stephen Hawking: even if there was a first cause, there is no evidence to prove it was a monotheistic God, it could have been anything o Gottfried Leibniz (The Principle of Sufficient Reason) accepted the cosmological argument because he believed that there had to be a ‘sufficient reason’ for the universe to exist but he did not accept that it was uncaused o Immanuel Kant: examined the argument of the existence of a supreme being as a first cause of the universe; he argued the idea that every event must have a first cause only applied to the world of sense experience; it cannot apply to something we have not experienced; he did not accept any justification for the conclusion that God caused the universe to begin; he would not accept it as valid to extend the knowledge we do possess to questions that transcend our experience; God would be a causal being outside space and time as we understand it; therefore it would be impossible for people to have any knowledge of what God created or of God himself

Insights It’s nice to see that at some point, reason enforces our faith in God. With Saint Thomas’ five arguments, we can see the merging of faith and reason, religion and philosophy. For us, we believe that there is an unmoved mover, first efficient cause, non-contingent being, being with the highest degree of perfection, and the intelligent designer but to believe that God takes these five roles, we need faith.