In the previous installments of this series, we have seen that:
- The existence of God is not known to us immediately and intuitively, but
- The existence of God is something that is open to demonstration.
It is now time to demonstrate the existence of God by philosophical argument.
St. Thomas Aquinas summarized “five ways” to carry out this demonstration in his Summa Theologica.
Each of these “five ways” is a compelling proof, which begins with consideration of a truth that can be known with certainty from observation of the world around us. Each of the “five ways” seeks to demonstrate the existence of God – “the cause” – from the study of material creation – “the effect.” Thus, they are a posteriori arguments of the kind we discussed in the previous article.
The “five ways” are not the only ways to demonstrate God’s existence. But they are sufficient to show that God certainly exists, and that man’s reason, unaided by the light of divine revelation, can arrive at the certain knowledge of this fact.
Sometimes the simplicity and power of the five ways is missed by modern readers because of a lack of familiarity with the terminology used.
In this article I will explain the “first way” in language which is familiar to all of us….