In the coming weeks I would like to share with the doctrines of our faith, which we recite in the Creed, in order that we may profess with better understanding. The first of the doctrines is our belief in the existence of God. St. Thomas Aquinas has written five volumes titled as “Summa Theologica” (Latin meaning: the greatest theology), explaining the doctrines of our faith. He states that there are five ways in which the existence of God can be proved.
The first argument of St. Thomas is from “motion/movement”: everything that moves in the Universe is moved by something else. Reasonably, there should be one first or primary mover, who does not move by any other agent. This primary mover is called God.
The second argument is based on the concept of causation or cause & effect. Everything that exists is caused or produced by another being. For example, a child is begotten by parents; a statue is produced by a sculpture. Just as everything is caused or produced by another being, we can reasonably state that there should be one being which causes a being but it itself was not caused by any bring. That first efficient cause of all things that exist in the world is called God.
The third way in which St. Thomas demonstrates God’s existence is by way of “contingency”. Of those that exist in the world, there are possible beings and necessary beings. Possible beings are those that are capable of existing but not actually existing. For example, a farmer sows the seeds. A seed is possible, but may or may not sprout. On the other hand, electricity is necessarily produced by a windmill. Every necessary being is produced by another necessary being. Thus, there is a chain of necessary beings produced by other beings. Finally, there should be one necessary being that is not produced but necessary in itself. This being is God.
The fourth proof is given from the degrees of perfection. Everything that exists on earth has greater or lesser degree of perfection. A flower, though unique in itself, is more or less beautiful than another. Reason will conclude that there must be one most perfect being, from which other beings get their perfection and uniqueness. According to St. Thomas, that supreme being is God.
The fifth argument is based on the purpose or end of a being. Everything that exists has a purpose and end. Among the existing things, there are unintelligent things, that are directed by another agent towards their ends. The ultimate being that guide and directs every other being is God.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.