Aquinas 5 Ways Argument Assignment

3651 words - 15 pages

. Aquinas first argument is influenced by AristotleIn Aquinas' argument from change (to prove that god exists) is the belief that potentiality can only be moved by an actuality; only an actual motion can change a potential motion into an actual motion. He also goes to say that nothing can be actuality and potentiality at the same; therefore, nothing can move itself and that something in motion has to be moved by something else, and that motion cannot go on to infinity. As a result of this, there must be something, a first mover-a first cause of change-to be put in motion by nothing else and "everyone understands by god" (Melchert 277).Aquinas first argument is influenced by Aristotle's philosophy on the reality of God. Aristotle has also stated that nothing can on for infinity because no actuality can keep bringing together infinity movements so it has to be that "something that moves things without being moved" (Melchert 178) just has Aquinas said that nothing can on to infinity, but something has to be the first mover, which to Aquinas is God.Aquinas basically took Aristotle's idea about actuality and brought it forth for a more Christian attribute to appeal to his Christian audience. Thomas Aquinas was a theologian as Aristotle was a philosopher, and Aquinas wanted to add or rethink the way Aristotle thought of about existence. Both believe that there has to be a first mover, but Aquinas made it a point that it is God, and not merely as an existence as Aristotle put it.2. Aquinas' second argument is influenced by AristotleIn Aquinas' second argument from efficient causality to explain God's existence are series of events that happened in order to cause something. If something happens it must be a caused by something outside itself; nothing can happen on its own, and so no effect can happen if you take away the cause. Again, Aquinas says that the series of events cannot go onto infinity because there would be no first cause, which the effect is depended on the first cause, and that is what "everyone gives the name God" (Melchert 278).Aquinas' second argument is influenced by Aristotle because in Aristotle's way of thinking everything has a premise and what is to be proved is the conclusion, which he calls syllogism. There has to be a starting point and that nothing can start prior to the starting point. Therefore, there has to be a "proximate mover" or the answer that starts the beginning, and this is explained in Aristotle's third "because", which is the efficient cause that causes tend to be conditions, events, or happenings. Also, with Aristotle's argument beings/things do not go into infinity because the chains of events must come to an end if we have the knowledge.In both of these arguments, they agree that in order for something to happen there must be a cause or mover to let the chain of events roll. Nothing can exist before the cause because there will not be an effect; you can't have something come out of nothing and so it must first have to start and go to an end.3. Aquinas third argument is influenced by AristotleIn Aquinas' argument from possibility to necessity he says that things can come to be what they are and can cease being that thing again, and there are two stages to understanding this argument. One: not everything can have merely possible being, or nothing at all would exist because nothing comes from nothing; some beings simply must be. If nothing existed in the past then the world would exist in nothing now. Two: some necessary beings may come from another necessary being, and this too, cannot go on forever because if something is borrowed from another necessary being itself is eternal and necessary. Therefore some being exists of its own necessity, and does not receive its existence from another being, but rather causes them. And this being is "all men speak of as god" (Melchert 179)Aquinas gets this argument from the influence of Aristotle. According to Aristotle for something to exist it must come to end as well, which means it cannot go onto to infinity. I am alive, but not dead because it hasn't happened yet. But Aristotle uses his examples with substances as in the "form is the substance of things" (Melchert 177). He says all materials are made up of substances and that these substances all depend on something to exist like matter, compounds, ect. However, if something does not require form or matter than it can be pure form, which is the best thing of all because they cannot fail the perfection of their form for they have no dependency on the substance it is made of. Basically Aristotle's "pure form" is like that of Aquinas argument of existing on its own.4. Aquinas fourth argument is influenced by PlatoIn Aquinas' argument from grades of goodness in things some things are found to better than another thing. Aquinas claims that the very best being relies on its superlative, like fire is to make things hot; it's what its best at. He goes on to say that if there wasn't something superlative being then anything less would not exist. Since lower things do exist then excellence being must exist, too. The maximum or the most supreme excellence being explains the fact of all the goodness we observe can "we call god" (Melchert 279).Now Aquinas does use some examples of Aristotle in which Aristotle says "that the truest things are the most fully in being" (Melchert 279), but he gets this idea from Plato in which Plato says that the ultimate explanation of everything must be in terms of the Form of the Good for it is the starting point. This goodness gives us the intelligence, it is responsible for truth and knowledge, but it so much more than truth and knowledge for the Goodness surpasses all the other forms as well as the visible world in beauty and honor. The goodness is responsible for every existence there is.Maybe Plato didn't recognize this form as God the way that Aquinas recognized him, but the influenced is there that the greatest goodness is what makes everything else in the world less in the world; it what makes people have imperfections or not having the full knowledge as this goodness.5. Aquinas' fifth argument is influenced by AristotleAll things have an order or arrangement, and work for an end and this order cannot be explained by chance, but only by some design or purpose, which is called "the argument from design" (Melchert 279). Intelligent beings act in a way to achieve a goal and everything happens as though it were planned to happen that way. As Melchert uses in the book the way rabbits are so quick they can escape a fox and a fox is so cunning it can catch a rabbit is that everything happens for a reason. And what is controlling these goals is a higher intelligence, which "we call god" (Melchert 280).Aquinas gets this idea from Aristotle as Aristotle explains the way nature is in the world, which is that things that make up the world have principles of intellect within them. In order to explain their nature, existence, and changes that they are made up of primary substances that are ordered and these principle are eternal to them. And those natural things are because that is the way they are. Yet each natural thing can have a purpose and this purpose is set up by a higher intelligence. If some irregularity happens to sprout up we can't explain why, then it is here by chance and yet still has a purpose according to Aristotle because the purpose is what this imperfect thing is here for.Both Aquinas and Aristotle believe that everything here on earth is here for a reason and by some design or purpose is created by a higher intelligence.Are Aquinas' arguments for the existence of God convincing? Do they have any value? Needless to say, Aquinas upset many of the popular theological ideas prevalent before him. Even though his work was unfinished at the time of his death, his ideas were brought into the theology of the church, giving Christianity a genuine intellectual and rational foundation. Aquinas' work influenced the philosophical climate of the day and gave reason a legitimate place in Christian theology. One of Thomas's most important proofs is based on the idea that all movement has a cause. For a body to move, there must be something to cause the movement. Obviously, there is an abundance of movement in the world. According to Aquinas, it is clear that some being must have initiated the first movement. It follows that because God is this First Mover, God exists. It seems to me that if all movement must be caused by some being, it follows that even God would have to have a mover in order to move. This supports the idea of an infinite succession of movers. Even though this type of critique is fully justified, most people and cultures have a line of thought that makes us believe that a definite beginning and end exist - an alpha and an omega - I think that it is more sensible to think that movement has always existed, and that there is thus no need for a First Mover. Another interesting argument Aquinas presents is based on a conception of possibility and necessity. Thomas thought that every possible event occurs at some point in time. As all existing things could also not exist, there was once a time when nothing existed. If such a point in time did exist, then nothing could be created either, as nothingness cannot become anything by itself. It is evident, that at least some things exist in the present moment, which means that even in the time when nothing existed, something had to exist in order to create something out of the nothing. Therefore, God had to exist even when nothing... [continues]St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)Selection from his Summa theologiae (Summary of theology), ca. 1268Part 1, question 2, article 3 (sometimes abbreviated ST 1.2.3)Available online: writing style and presentation of the medieval philosophers and theologians is quite different from how essays are written today. Thomas begins by introducing a topic (called the 'Question'), which in this case is the existence of a God. He then examines a number of more specific issues or questions within that topic (called the 'Articles'). Below we are looking only at the third article in this Question, the issue of whether God exists. Thomas's method of presentation is to consider various positions or views on that issue; these are positions he will ultimately reject, and so he calls them 'Objections' to his thesis. (Again, the objections below are not Thomas's position; they are positions popular or otherwise known during his day.) After the objections are presented, Thomas presents a contrary view, usually called the 'Sed Contra', which is the latin for what is translated below as "On the Contrary". Again, this is not Thomas's position; it is just a contrary position to show that debate exists on the issue at hand. Next, Thomas gives his own position on the matter, called the "Respondeo", which is the latin for what is translated below as "I answer that". When Thomas says "I answer that" he is giving his own considered position on the issue. Here below, he presents his view of the Five Ways to show that a God exists. Finally, Thomas offers replies to the original Objections, considering them in light of the position he endorses.Question 2: The Existence of GodArticle 3. Whether God exists?Objection 1. It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word 'God' means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist.Objection 2. Further, it is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God's existence.On the contrary, It is said in the person of God: "I am Who am." (Exodus 3:14)I answer that, The existence of God can be shown in five ways.The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient cause, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient cause it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient cause; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existence. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence- which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But 'more' and 'less' are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in [Aristotle's] Metaphysics II. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.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.The debt ceiling is the legal limit on borrowing by the federal government. In some form or another, The United Stated states in today's date have already been under enough debt and the political dispute arises over legislation to raise the debt ceiling. When the debt ceiling is reached, the Treasury has undertaken "extraordinary measures" which buy more time for the ceiling to be raised. The United States has never reached the point of default where the Treasury is unable to pay its obligations. As stated by Annie Lowrey, the U.S Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling, allowing the Treasury to issue new debt in order to be able to make all its payments. (September 30, 2013).CitationLowrey Annie. (2013, September 30). How a Debt Ceiling Crisis Could Become a Financial Crisis. The New York Times. Retrieved from


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