D E X I S T Essay, Research Paper
D O E S G O D E X I S T ?St. Thomas Aquinas has written several important works. Some of them are: The Disputed Questions on the Power of God, Exposition of Dionysius on theDivine Names and Disputed Questions on Spiritual Creatures. Most ofAquinas’s works have been written to try to prove the existence of God. Aquinas has been a firm believer that everything had to have a creator andthe only possible solution would be something called God. It is with thisidea that Aquinas’s Third Way was written. In his De aeternitate mundi contra murmurantes, Aquinas insists that humanreason cannot prove the impossibility of an eternally created universe. Once again Aquinas has written with the certainty that God has to exist inorder to have created the universe. There is no doubt in Aquinas’s mindthat everything was created for a reason and that reason was God’s will. In the text Medieval Philosophy, St. Thomas Aquinas’ article entitled DoesGod Exist? , Aquinas tries to show the different steps that can prove Goddoes exist and that the world had to have been created by God. Thisarticle is comprised of five different ways in which Aquinas tries to provethat we can be sure that God exists. In the third way, Aquinas tries toshow that God exists if it is true that we exist. In the article Aquinas says that it is possible for things to exist andfor them not to exist. He means that living things will one day becomenon-living things. Aquinas believes that all things can not be mortalbecause if it were true, then at some point nothing would exist. What hemeans is if all things were living things, meaning that they had to bemortal, then at some time these things must also become non-existing. Aquinas says that if everything were mortal, then nothing could beexisting at present, because what is nonexistent begins to be only throughsomething which already exists. This can be translated to mean that if allmortal things have to stop existing then there can’t be anything whichexists today. Aquinas believes that it takes a living presence to helpcreate other live things in order for them to live also. This means thatthere must have been something which existed through eternity to helpcreate living things which exist today. Aquinas believes that something had to have created life throughout timein order for things to be living today. He says this thing must haveexisted from the beginning and that it must still exist now. His belief isthat living things and non-living things have lived through eternity withthe help of a higher, more powerful presence. He also says that if it weretrue that nothing existed at one time, then it would be impossible foranything to begin to exist again, meaning nothing could exist now, which isobviously false. What he means by this is that it takes a living presence
to help create other living things. It is impossible for anyone to logically believe that things such asrocks, trees, and water can exist without there being a creator. It is forthis reason that Aquinas believes that God was the only thing that existedthen, so therefore he must have been the one who created everything. This theory does prove that something had to exist from the beginning. The problem I did find with this theory is that it doesn’t prove that Godexists but that something existed. What I mean by this is Aquinas callsthis thing God but he doesn’t prove that it’s the ‘God’ that people believeto exist. Most people would agree that God is something more personal than Aquinas’theory of God. The image of God is interpreted differently by many people,although most of these people would agree that God must be all knowing,truthful, honest, loving, patient, forgiving and eternal. The all knowingand loving God is not the same as Aquinas’ God because Aquinas only provedthat God was something infinite. Aquinas’ theory does not prove that God is patient, loving, or forgivingwhich is what God is believed to mean to most people. The image peoplehave of God doesn’t only stop at being our creator. Another problem which I found while reading Aquinas’ article is that itdoesn’t explain Darwinian theories. Darwinians base their theory onevolution. Darwinians believe that God doesn’t exist but that all livingthings have evolved through nature. The idea of evolution and evolvingfrom nature means that there could not have been a creator but that onemolecule started the process of evolution. This theory can’t be actuallybe disputed in Aquinas’ third way because he only uses the word God to meancreator. Darwinians could say that the first molecule could also be called “God” ifpeople wished, although it wouldn’t be the form of God Christians believein. In both theories, Aquinas’ and Darwin’s, infinite regression is used. Both of these theories lead to different ideas of where existing thingscame from. Aquinas third way has some small problems which can be argued by atheistsand orthodox Christians. I agree with what Aquinas had to say in his thirdway to be true. I believe that it must be true because all things musthave had a creator. While speaking to an Anglican pastor, I learned thathe also agreed in Aquinas’ theory because he was taught that the questionwould still remain of who created the molecule. The question will alwaysremain how did God evolve. I cannot answer this question but Aquinas’theory has helped me understand the process of living things and I is nolonger doubt that God is infinite. B I B L I O G R A P H YAquinas, St. Thomas. “Does God Exist?” In Medieval Philosophy: From St. Augustine to Nicholas of Cusa, 335-38. John F. Wippel, Allan B. Wolter, ed. New York:The Free Press, 1969.