The Five Proofs by St. Thomas Aquinas,
The demonstration of GOD's existence in Church teaching is not based
solely upon revelation. It is and has been declared, following St. Paul's
statement: "GOD's eternal power and divinity, have become visible, recognized
through the things He has made" (Rom 1:20), that human beings can by use of
reason, deduce the certitude of GOD's existence. As stated by St. Pius X in his
'Moto Proprio Sacrarum Antistitum' (Those in Charge of Holy Things) of 1910,
this is a kind of proof called demonstration. One knows through faith of GOD's
existence, but humans should always seek the amplitude of knowledge or the
highest truth that is knowable. Thus apart from faith, GOD can best be known
from material things or things existing within human experience, by reasoning
from something secondary in being to something prior or first, a prime or first
cause, GOD. In Catholic thought, the first formerly presented proofs for GOD's
existence, were the five most valid proofs offered by St. Thomas Aquinas...
1. The first argument reasons from motion to a
prime or first mover, which means that something progresses from a state of
potentiality to actuality, with a cause bring about such movement without the
movement acting independently.
2. The second argument reasons from an order of
efficient causes to a first efficient cause, or things happening in a reasonable
manner, which could not happen without being subordinate to a prior cause.
3. The third argument indicates the necessity of
a being or one who brings material being, because matter cannot of itself
generate into existence and then go on to corruption or dissolution.
4. The fourth argument goes from the degrees of
goodness, truth, nobility, or beauty, which are observed in things and could not
be present unless they had their origin in a cause that has these qualities to
their highest perfection.
5. The fifth argument arises from the
purposefulness of things, which is observed in nonknowing things, for this
demands an intelligent agent or cause, because man of himself cannot order
things to intelligent, effective ends, so there must be a supreme source from
which purposefulness arises.
In all of these arguments the cause is GOD, manifest in the observed truths
that man's reason declares to him. The metaphysical truth is attained, not
without effort, by seeing the entire universe in its dependence upon GOD as the
prime mover, the efficient cause, and the perfect being worthy of our faith.
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