Five Ways to Prove the Existence of God – page 3


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From the Summer 2018 issue of Knowing & Doing:

Five Ways to Prove the Existence of God

by Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274)
Philosopher and Theologian

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  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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1  Source: From Thomas Aquinas,Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Benziger Bros., 1947), 1.2.3,

Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 in Roccasecca, Italy. He felt a call to the priesthood and the scholarly life of the Dominican Order. Eventually he received his doctorate while studying under St. Albert the Great. Aquinas being somewhat shy, his classmates were led to believe that he was not very bright. However, when his dissertation was published, his professor, Albert the Great, proclaimed in Thomas’s defense, “We call this young man a dumb ox, but his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world!”
  His best-known work, the Summa Theologica, addressed the philosophical and theological issues of his day, integrating a high view of Scripture as the inspired Word of God with a belief that God had also given human beings the gift of reason and logic. He was one of the most influential thinkers of the Medieval Scholastic period of history. His Christian apologetics laid a foundation upon which apologists have built through our present day. .

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.



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