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.
[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]. Thomas defined God as the ‘Ipse Actus Essendi subsistens,’ subsisting act of being.
[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].
[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].
[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]."
In this approach, he is following, among others, the Jewish philosopher Maimonides."
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, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquinas#Nature_of_God.
Note: originally posted as http://blog.t-lea.net/#post233.
Note2: I've added some comments in square brackets, i.e., "" in Wikipedia's exposition of the 5 ways, today, 14.07.2011.