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Five Scientific Proofs for the Existence of God


Preface

“Do not heed by whom a thing is said, but rather what is said.”

(Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P., [b. 1225 A.D. in Rocca Secca, Naples, Italy - d. Wednesday, March 7, 1274 A.D., in Fossa Nuova, Italy], Doctor of the Church, Letter to Brother John; emphasis added.)

Saint Thomas Aquinas' 5 proofs for the Existence of God
Based on our Observation of the Effects of God in this World.


Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P.
[b. 1225 A.D. in Rocca Secca, Naples, Italy -
d. Wednesday, March 7, 1274 A.D., in Fossa Nuova, Italy]
Doctor of the Church

Saint Thomas Aquinas presents 5 arguments for the existence of God. He argues that God exists on the basis of:

1) movement;
2) cause;
3) necessity;
4) hierarchy;
5) design.
Summary for Each of the 5 Proofs for the Existence of God.

1.   Argument from Movement.

 
Summary of the Argument from Movement:
If movement is not self-explanatory, whether the movement is corporeal or Spiritual, it necessitates a First Mover.
Premises/Conclusion:
Premise 1. Things are in motion.

Premise 2.  Motion is the reduction from potentiality to actuality.  In other words,  something  moves if it changes from being potentially in motion to being actually in motion.

Premise 3.  Only something in a state of actuality can reduce something else  from a state of potentiality to actuality.  In other words, only something actually  moving can make something else change from potentially moving to actually  moving.

Premise 4.  A thing cannot be both potential and actual in the same respect.  This means that a thing cannot both be potentially moving and actually moving concurrently.

Premise 5.  Sub-Conclusion 1 from:  Premise 2, Premise 3, and Premise 4 - A thing cannot move  itself.

Premise  6.  Sub-Conclusion 2  from:   Premise1, and Premise 5 - A thing must be moved by something else.

Premise 7.  The chain of movers cannot go on to infinity.

Conclusion of Argument from Movement:
There must be a First Mover.  This First Mover is called God.

2.  Argument from Cause (An Uncaused Cause).

Summary of the Argument from Cause, i.e. from an Uncaused Cause:

If interconnected efficient causes are here and now actually operating, air and warmth, say, to preserve my life, then there must be a Supreme Cause from which here and now these causes derive their preservative causality.
Premises/Conclusion:
Premise 1.  A thing cannot be the cause of itself.

Premise 2.  The chain of causes cannot go on to infinity

Premise 3.  If there is no first cause, there would be no effects.

Conclusion of Argument from Cause, i.e. from an Uncaused Cause:
There is a First Cause.  This First Cause is called God.

3.  Argument from Necessity (Contingency).

Summary of the Argument from Necessity, i.e. from Contingency:

If there exist contingent beings, which can cease to exist, then there must be a Necessary Being which cannot cease to exist, which of itself has existence, and which, here and now, gives existence to these contingent beings.

If once nothing at all existed, there would not be now, or ever, anything at all in existence. To suppose all things contingent, that is, of themselves non-existent, is to suppose an absurdity.

Premises/Conclusion:
Premise 1.  It is possible for anything in nature to be or not be, i.e. to exist, or not to exist.

Premise 2.  If it is possible for something to be or not to be, then it must  have at some time not been, i.e. not existed.

Premise 3.  Conclusion:  If everything could be or not be, then it is possible that at one time nothing existed.

Premise 4. Things are brought into existence by something that already exists.

Premise 5.  Conclusion:  Premise 3, and Premise 4.   If at one time nothing existed, then there would be  nothing in existence now. But there are things in existence now.

Premise 6.  Conclusion: So, there must be something which exists necessarily.

Premise 7. An infinite chain of necessary beings is impossible.

Conclusion of Argument from Necessity, i.e. from Contingency:
Something must have its own necessity.  This something which must have its own necessity is called God.

4.  Argument from Hierarchy.

Summary of the Argument from Hierarchy:

If there are beings in the world which differ in their degree of nobility, goodness, and Truth, it is because they have but a share, a part, because they participate diversely, in existence, in nobility, in goodness, and in Truth.

Hence there is, in each of them, a composition, a union, between the subject which participates and the perfection, existence, goodness, Truth, in which it is given to them to participate. Now this composition, this union, presupposes the unity of which it participates.

“Quae secundum se diversa sunt non conveniunt in aliquod unum nisi per aliquam causam, adunantem ipsa.  - Things which are different in themselves cannot unite into something unless something causes them to unite” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part I, Question 3, Article 7, I answer that, ..... Thirdly, ....)

Hence, at the summit, there must be one cause, one source of all perfection, who alone can say, not merely “I have existence, Truth, and life,” but rather “I AM existence, Truth, and life.”

Premises/Conclusion:
Premise 1.  Things are more or less good, true, noble, etc.

Premise 2.  Things can only be more or less good, etc. in relation to a standard  of the maximum.

Premise 3.  The maximum in any genus is the cause of everything else in the genus.

Conclusion of Argument from Hierarchy:
There must be some maximum being which is the cause of all the  good qualities in every other being.  This Maximum Being which is the cause of all the  good qualities in every other being is called God.

5.  Argument from Design.

Summary of the Argument from Design:

If one finds in the world, inanimate and animated, natural activities manifestly proportioned to a purpose, this proportioned fitness presupposes an intelligence which produces and preserves this purposeful tendency.

If the corporeal world tends to a cosmic center of cohesion, if plant and animal tend naturally to assimilation and reproduction, if the eye is here for vision and the ear for hearing, feet for walking, and wings for flying; if the human intellect tends to Truth and the human will tends to good; and if each person, by nature, longs for happiness, then necessarily these natural tendencies, so manifestly ordained to a proportioned good, a proportioned purpose, presuppose a supreme ordinator, a supreme intelligence, which knows and controls the raison d'etre of all things and this supreme ordinator must be Wisdom itself and Truth itself.

For again, union presupposes unity, presupposes absolute identity, which is why:

“A thing uncaused, is of itself, and immediately, i.e. without an intermediary, being itself, one by nature, not by participation” - “Quod causam non habet primum et immediatum est. Ens per essentiam et non per participationem” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book  II, Chapter 15, § 2).
Premises/Conclusion:
Premise 1. Things without intelligence act (for the most part) for the best result.

Premise 2. Conclusion: Things act for an end.

Premise 3. An unintelligent thing cannot move toward an end unless directed by an intelligent being.

Conclusion of Argument from Design:
There is an intelligent being that directs all things toward their end.  This Intelligent Being that directs all things toward their end is called God.




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