St. Thomas Aquinas’ First Three “Ways” or Proofs of God’s Existence Essay Example
St. Thomas Aquinas’ First Three “Ways” or Proofs of God’s Existence Essay Example

St. Thomas Aquinas’ First Three “Ways” or Proofs of God’s Existence Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1223 words)
  • Published: March 31, 2022
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There are many arguments centered on whether God does exist or not. In addition, there are various beliefs surrounding the issue of the existence or non-existence of God and these include; theism which is the belief that God exists, atheism and this is for those people who believe God does not exist, and agnosticism and this is for the people who do not believe in either theism or atheism. In other words, agnosticism is not believing that God exists and also not believing that God does not exist. However, St. Thomas Aquinas came up with five ways to prove that God really exists. In this case, only the first three ways that proof God exists will be discussed.

The first argument that St. Thomas Aquinas uses to prove the existence of God is known as the argument of motion. To start with,


Aquinas argues that our very own senses prove that things are in motion and therefore things are capable of moving when potential motion becomes actual motion. In this first way Aquinas argues that nothing can move itself because only an actual motion has the ability to convert a potential motion into an actual motion (Owens&Catan, 1980). As such, everything that is in motion must be moved by an entirely something else because Aquinas argues nothing can exist in both actuality and potentiality especially in the same respect. This means that it is necessary for people to recognize the first mover who is the actual motion and converts other potential motions to become actual. The potential motion is then made actual by no other being other than God himself. In this case Aquinas is movin

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from a posteriori position and for him motion includes any form of change like growth. He further argues that the natural way of thing is for them to be at rest and as such if something is moving then it must be unnatural and an unnatural thing must be put in motion by a being having an external supernatural power. Therefore, this being is known by many to be God. From this first proof, there arises other many questions that still remain unanswered. For instance, this first proof mean that God had been either not moving from infinity or he has been moving ever since. Therefore, what could have motivated God to make the first move? Another questions that Aquinas has never been able to answer is: What is the source of God’s energy that enabled him to move in the first place?

The second argument used by Aquinas to prove the existence of God is causation of existence. This argument deal with issues of existence and Aquinas states that people are able to perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world. He then claims that by using common sense, humans understand that no object or thing has the power to create itself. Therefore, from this point Aquinas comes with the argument that nothing, in the world of the things we perceive, can cause itself to exist. This means that if the previous efficient cause does not exist, then the object or thing that results does not also exist. According to Aquinas, if the first being or thing does not exist in the series, then nothing else in the series exists(Owens&Catan, 1980). This

means that there must have been an uncaused first cause that began the chain of the existence of all the other things in the world. This uncaused first cause is what Aquinas and other people believe to be God. God, therefore had to exist first, without anything causing his existence, and from him came all the other things that exist in the world. However, if God is the uncaused first cause, how was God able to cause himself? This questions arises from Aquinas contradicting claim that nothing has the power to create itself and as such he does not continue to explain how God was able to cause himself to exist.

The third proof that Aquinas presents is possibility and necessity or the contingency argument. In this argument there are two types of objects defined; necessary objects and contingent objects. Necessary objects are the kinds of objects that exist on their own without needing any other being to cause their existence. On the other hand, a contingent object, in this case, is the kind of object that cannot exist without another necessary being causing its existence. As such Aquinas argues that since the contingent objects cannot exist on their own, then there must be another being that caused their existence. In other words, it is impossible for the contingent things to have always existed in time. Therefore, contingent things necessitate the existence of a necessary being and this necessary being is God. Because not everything, according to Aquinas, can be contingent, then there must be the existence of a necessary being that causes the other contingent objects to exist in the world(Owens&Catan, 1980). If a necessary

being did not exist, Aquinas claims that there would have been nothing to create the currently existing contingent beings. This in turn means that if a necessary being did not exist to create a contingent being, then nothing would be in existence now. On the contrary, science has shown that matter and energy are two things that mutually depend on each other and as such their contingency and necessity are reflexive. Therefore, this means that there is no definition of things like necessary objects or contingent objects and as such objects could have existed in a random and irregular manner without relying on an external supernatural power to make them exist.

In the argument to prove the existence or the non-existence of God, the beginning of anything is the most important part. The big bang cosmology is based on the belief that the universe exploded into existence in a big bang approximately 15 billion years ago. According to this theory, the whole matter that make the universe began to exist at a particular point in time a very long time ago. Therefore, this means that the universe came from nothing and this means that no one created it. The theory also suggests that the universe has existed for only a finite past time. The overall conclusion from the big bang theory is that there could not have been an event that preceded the universe and brought it about. The reason provided for this is that there was no time before the start of the universe in which that event could have taken place (Everitt, 2004). This big bang theory therefore refutes the existence of God. However,

recently, people have come to interpret the big bang theory to show that the existence of God is real. This is especially because everything that has a beginning in time definitely has a cause. This means that the universe had a beginning in time and this means that universe had a cause. This serves to support Aquinas’s claim that the universe had to be caused by something else and no other being could have done so except God. Therefore, God exists.


  1. Everitt, N. (2004). The Non-existence of God. Psychology Press. Print.
  2. Owens, J., &Catan, J. R. (1980). St. Thomas Aquinas on the existence of God: Collected papers of Joseph Owens. Albany: State University of
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