Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Persistent Power of Aquinas' Five Ways (Even Today)

The Persistent Power of Aquinas' Five Ways (Even Today)

Various!Posted by Leonardo F. Olsnes-Lea 2011-07-05 16:15:05

Today I'd like to bring to you a few words over Aquinas' five ways. The words follow.

Aquinas' five ways.
Nature of God (from Wikipedia):
"Thomas believed that the existence of God is neither obvious nor improvable. In the Summa Theologica, he considered in great detail five reasons for the existence of God. These are widely known as the quinque viae, or the "Five Ways."

Concerning the nature of God, Thomas felt the best approach, commonly called the via negativa, is to consider what God is not. This led him to propose five statements about the divine qualities:
[3. way.] God is simple [in terms of pure physics], without composition of parts, such as body and soul, or matter and form.[71]
[4. way.] God is perfect, lacking nothing. That is, God is distinguished from other beings on account of God's complete actuality [actuality is another word for being and enters another debate].[72] Thomas defined God as the ‘Ipse Actus Essendi subsistens,’ subsisting act of being.[73]
[1. way.] God is infinite. That is, God is not finite in the ways that created beings are physically, intellectually, and emotionally limited. This infinity is to be distinguished from infinity of size and infinity of number [this may not be true].[74]
[2. way.] God is immutable, incapable of change on the levels of God's essence and character [because God is perfect, God's "psyche" remains forever].[75]
[5. way.] God is one, without diversification within God's self. The unity of God is such that God's essence is the same as God's existence. In Thomas's words, "in itself the proposition 'God exists' is necessarily true, for in it subject and predicate are the same [the being of God is whole since God is complete, God has no errors and has no contradictions within God's self]."[76]
In this approach, he is following, among others, the Jewish philosopher Maimonides.[77]"

I stand critical to how Wikipedia has come to these creative turns, but there is no doubt that the information that's presented by Wikipedia definitely has power/force. Yet some of the above can be considered euphemisms and creative writing out of my own summary below that I've compiled from "Summa Theologiae [1266 - 1273], Part 1, question 2, article 3. Translation is by John Cottingham.

1. way. The original mover.
2. way. The original cause.
3. way. The original substance/matter, that is, the substance who/that leads to all other substance/matter.
4. way. The perfect being, the originator of all who/that has worth.
5. way. The perfect end and the perfect leader for which end where all go who/that has worth.

The references for the above information from Wikipedia is:

71. ^ Kreeft, pp. 74–77.
72. ^ Kreeft, pp. 86–87.
73. ^ See Actus Essendi.
74. ^ Kreeft, pp. 97–99.
75. ^ Kreeft, p. 105.
76. ^ Kreeft, pp. 111–112.
77. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia, Aquinas, Thomas

Conclusion: Thomas Aquinas', the angelic doctor's, five ways stand powerful even today and this is a reminder for you toward this end today. Cheers!

Note: the link to the Wikipedia citing,

Note: originally posted as
Note2: I've added some comments in square brackets, i.e., "[]" in Wikipedia's exposition of the 5 ways, today, 14.07.2011.

1 comment:

  1. The title is from the Bible, Psalm 23:4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Just for having the explicit presence.)

    It's funny, this song is listed as if no-one is willing to take credit for it. Is it just old?

    Well, well, here is: "Even though I walk ..." lyrics:

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
    Your perfect love is casting out fear
    And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
    I won’t turn back
    I know You are near

    And I will fear no evil
    For my God is with me
    And if my God is with me
    Whom then shall I fear?
    Whom then shall I fear?

    Oh no, You never let go
    Through the calm and through the storm
    Oh no, You never let go
    In every high and every low
    Oh no, You never let go
    Lord, You never let go of me

    And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
    A glorious light beyond all compare
    And there will be an end to these troubles
    But until that day comes
    We’ll live to know You here on the earth

    Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
    And there will be an end to these troubles
    But until that day comes
    Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

    Psalm 23 and some religious singing. I think you'll live...