Aquinas – posteriori argument

Taken from New Advent…

St. Thomas (Summa Theologica I:2:3; Cont. Gent., I, xiii) and after him many scholastic writers advance the five following arguments to prove the existence of God:

  • Motion, i.e. the passing from power to act, as it takes place in the universe implies a first unmoved Mover (primum movens immobile), who is God; else we should postulate an infinite series of movers, which is inconceivable.
  • For the same reason efficient causes, as we see them operating in this world, imply the existence of a First Cause that is uncaused, i.e. that possesses in itself the sufficient reason for its existence; and this is God.
  • The fact that contingent beings exist, i.e. beings whose non-existence is recognized as possible, implies the existence of a necessary being, who is God.
  • The graduated perfections of being actually existing in the universe can be understood only by comparison with an absolute standard that is also actual, i.e., an infinitely perfect Being such as God.
  • The wonderful order or evidence of intelligent design which the universe exhibits implies the existence of a supramundane Designer, who is no other than God Himself.

Source – Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6: Fathers of the Church-Gregory XI
Author:    Herbermann, Charles George (1840-1916)

Latin text from Contra Gentiles, Chapter 13:35…
“Sed in mundo videmus res diversarum naturarum in unum ordinem concordare, non ut raro et a casu, sed ut semper vel in maiori parte. Oportet ergo esse aliquem cuius providentia mundus gubernetur. Et hunc dicimus Deum.”
translation by Anton C. Pegis…
“But in the world we find that things of diverse natures come together under one order, and this not rarely or by chance, but always or for the most part. There must therefore be some being by whose providence the world is governed. This we call God.

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