arguments dor God’s existence

Dr. Peter Kreeft Presents Incontestable Philosophical Arguments for God’s Existence

The “Five Ways” of Aquinas Revisited

"Thomas Aquinas Confounding Averroes" - Attribution: Giovanni di Paolo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Thomas Aquinas Confounding Averroes” – Attribution: Giovanni di Paolo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., CAGS

In Question two of the First Part of the Summa Theologiae, Aquinas proposes arguments or proofs for the existence of God in what are commonly referred to as the “Five Ways.”  These “Five Ways” have been used by apologists for centuries in an effort to demonstrate that God’s existence can, indeed, be philosophically or logically proven.  Note that these are logical proofs, not scientific ones, for God is pure spirit and therefore not subject to the scientific method.  This reality, however, is only a problem for those who subscribe to “scientistism,” which, ironically enough, is a belief system whereby its proponents place what is tantamount to a “religious faith” in science as the only valid source of knowledge, and the “scientific method” as the only viable means of conveying authentic or trustworthy knowledge. This philosophical conviction is also referred to as logical positivism, and, as will be demonstrated, is entirely self-inconsistent.  For, it is entirely impossible to scientifically prove that one ought only to believe that which can be scientifically proven.  Thus, science cannot prove itself, and there certainly are other ways of arriving at true, authentic knowledge.  This is not meant to belittle the scientific method as a valid source of human knowledge.  Rather, it is to say that science provides but one of many ways and means of knowing and attaining truth.  Examples of other valid sources of knowledge are logical, deductive and inductive reasoning; authority/historicity; faith; intuition; etc.  Moreover, the “proofs” for God’s existence might meet with the radical epistemological skepticism of those who claim that it is impossible to know anything.  Of them, one might ask, “But you claim to “know” that you cannot know.  How, then, can you know that?”  For, any time an assertion of any sort is made, the human mind’s ability to ‘know’ is presupposed.  Further, some might assert, “There is no such thing as truth.”  Yet, it is clear that the one making this assertion believes it to be true, otherwise, there would be no point in making the assertion at all.  Yet, if any assertion is true, including this particular assertion, that “There is no such thing as “Truth,” then there is, in fact, such a thing as truth.  Therein lies the self-inconsistency.   (more…)