Does God Exist?
Since the beginning of time, man has been struggling to answer the question, how did we get here? What or who was responsible for the creation of life and the cosmos? It seemed natural to conclude that there must have been a higher power that created the reality known by man. However, how does one prove the existence of such a God? This has been the major preoccupation of theologians and philosophers which began several hundred years before Jesus Christ, and has continued to be the subject of heated debate ever since. We readily accept the universe and everything contained within it, but can't seem to agree upon how it got here in the first place. After all, stating that God exists and then actually proving His existence are two different things, and the latter can prove to be a rather daunting task.
Most early philosophers maintained that God most certainly did exist and attempted to use scientific arguments to prove their point. However, perhaps the most quoted philosopher on the absolute existence of God is not a scientist, but rather, perhaps more appropriately, a theologian. St. Thomas Aquinas was a student of philosophy and was influential in incorporating philosophy into the religious doctrine, which provides the foundation for the modern-day Roman Catholic religious beliefs. Aquinas examined the question of God's existence in great detail in his philosophical works, Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles. He wrote, "Beginning with sensible things, our intellect is led to the point of knowing about God that He exists, and other such characteristics that must be attributed to the First Principle" (Thompson, 59). Aquinas had the typical philosopher mentality by asserting that it cannot be just merely accepted that God exists, since this contention is not immediately evident. It is a declaration that must be proven. In other words, faith alone is not sufficient enough evidence to conclude that God exists. Aquinas pointed out that what may be conceived in the intellect does not necessarily exists in reality (Grace, 1996). To make his own case regarding this issue, Aquinas established his five criteria on the existence of God through Summa Theologica, the first three of which became known form the basis of the cosmological argument confirming God's existence.
The five ways Aquinas used to confirm the existence of God all stemmed from a first cause argument (Titus and Smith, 242). In other words, life perpetuates itself as one cause prompts the occurrence of an event which becomes the cause for a subsequent event and so on through infinity. However, at some point, there had to be a first cause, which set these wheels into motion, which is the being commonly referred to as God (Titus and Smith, 242). In the First Way, Aquinas established that everything that is finite undergoes change, and by following these successive changes, finite man is eventually led to God. Until this happens, finite...