Proving the Existence of God
A Comparison of St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the greatest theologians that has ever been. He recognized that there were some people who doubted the existence of God because, to them, logic did not allow for or explain God's existence. Being a devout Christian, he naturally believed in God, but he wanted to prove God's existence to those who could not accept things on faith alone. As a result, we have five proofs of the existence of God by St. Thomas Aquinas, all of which are based on logic and observation of nature. One of his proofs is based on the idea of a first mover and another is based on the idea that intelligence is necessary to direct non-intelligent objects. I believe that this fifth argument is better that the first. St.
Thomas Aquinas' first argument tries to prove that there must be a first mover. He calls this first mover God. He proves this by saying that whatever is in motion must have been put in motion by something else. He then defines one type of motion as the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality, and says that nothing can make this movement except by something that is already in actuality in the same respect as the first object is in potentiality. He goes on to say that no thing can be both actual and potential in respect to the same aspect and, thus, that nothing can be both moved and mover. In this, he means that nothing can move itself. Therefore, if something is in motion, it must have been put in motion by something else, which must have been put in motion by yet another thing, and so on. However, this cannot go on to infinity, as St. Thomas Aquinas explains, because there would never have been a fist mover and, thus, no subsequent movers. This leads to the conclusion that there is a first mover, and this first mover is what is called God.
His fifth argument is actually much more simple. Just by observing the world, we see the non-intelligent things always act toward an end. (It is this observation of the universe that is the basis for the sciences, especially the science of physics.) We also see that non-intelligent things cannot move toward their end unless directed by an intelligent being. As an example, St. Thomas Aquinas uses an arrow. An arrow will not achieve its purpose (that of reaching its mark) unless directed to do so by an archer. Obviously, humans are the intelligent beings that direct the small objects of our world, but there must be a greater intelligence that directs the larger bodies of the universe, such as the stars and the planets, since we obviously have no control over them. This higher intelligence is what we call God.
These two arguments approach the problem of proving God's existence in two completely different ways. One goes the route of saying there must be something that started everything, and the other says there must be something that controls the things that are here, even if "it" did not create them. Both of...